An excerpt from one of Avicenna’s (in all probability) early works, entitled A treatise on knowledge of the rational soul and its states (ed. N. Nadir, Beirut: 1960), ch. 3, pp. 32-33:

For the soul is of the category of substance and its association (muqarina) with the body is of the category of the relative (al-muzaf).  A relation (al-izafa) though is the weakest of accidents; for its existence is not fully realized through its subject but rather depends on something else, which is the thing to which there is a relation (al-izafa ilayhi). And so how can a substance that subsists by itself cease to be by the ceasing to be of the weakest of accidents which depends on it?


2 thoughts on “The soul’s independence from the body

  1. Not really, or at least nothing in the way of a full justification. He does say something though which I take it is an important part of the reason why the association between the two falls under the category of relation (ibid., p. 32, emphasis mine):

    “[…] its substance is more powerful (aqwa) than the substance of the body because it is the mover (muharik) of this body, its governor (mudabiruhu), and rules in it (mutasarif fihi).”

    Now the mover and the thing moved or in motion are relatives – cf., Aristu’s Physics III.1, 200b29-32.

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