Volume 13, 2022
Ibn Sīnā on Nature as Matter and Form: An Exposition of the Physics of the Healing I, 6 and I, 9
The concept of nature (Gr. phúsis; Ar. ṭabīʿa) lies at the heart of classical physics. Seemingly small differences about nature can blossom into significant disagreements. The present study offers an exposition of certain neglected passages concerning ṭabīʿa in Ibn Sīnā’s al-Samāʿ al-ṭabīʿī(The Physics of the Healing). The predominant view of ṭabīʿa is that it as an active principle, a conception of nature that radically departs from Aristotle’s account of phúsis in Physics I-II. I dispute this interpretation by investigating two neglected texts in the Physics of the Healing. First, these texts indicate that nature should be associated with matter and form (I, 6) and, second, they argue that failing to account for matter and form makes knowledge of nature incomplete (I, 9).