This important book investigates the emergence and development of a distinct concept of self-awareness in post-classical, pre-modern Islamic philosophy. Jari Kaukua presents the first extended analysis of Avicenna's arguments on self-awareness - including the flying man, the argument from the unity of experience, the argument against reflection models of self-awareness and the argument from personal identity - arguing that all these arguments hinge on a clearly definable concept of self-awareness as pure first-personality. He substantiates his interpretation with an analysis of Suhrawardi's use of Avicenna's concept and Mulla Sadra's revision of the underlying concept of selfhood. The study explores evidence for a sustained, pre-modern and non-Western discussion of selfhood and self-awareness, challenging the idea that these concepts are distinctly modern, European concerns. The book will be of interest to a range of readers in history of philosophy, history of ideas, Islamic studies and philosophy of mind.
Jari Kaukua is Academy of Finland Research Fellow in the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy at the University of Jyvaskyla. He is the author of several articles in journals including Vivarium and History and Theory. This is his first book.
Introduction; 1. Preliminary observations: self-cognition and Avicennian psychology; 2. Avicenna and the phenomenon of self-awareness: the experiential basis of the flying man; 3. Self-awareness as existence: Avicenna on the individuality of an incorporeal substance; 4. In the first person: Avicenna's concept of self-awareness reconstructed; 5. Self-awareness without substance: from Abu al-Barakat al-Baghdadi to Suhrawardi; 6. Self-awareness, presence, appearance: the ishraqi context; 7. Mulla Sadra on self-awareness; 8. The self reconsidered: Sadrian revisions to the Avicennian concept; Conclusion: who is the I?; Appendix: Arabic terminology related to self-awareness; Bibliography; Index.