Ibn Sina Avicenna Proof of The Truthful Existence and Its Causes Article Summary
Philosophy paper thats only 1 pages single spaced on Ibn Sina Avicenna, will provide the reading only a few pages and just summarize and why the argument is convincing or not.
is not in such a state and thus will not be stated of many things that
differ in such a state.
Therefore the human being, inasmuch as his reality is one, rather
inasmuch as his primary reality has no diverse multiplicity, is not sen-
sible but purely intelligible. The same is true of every universal.
FOURTH CLASS (P. 7)
On Existence and Its Causes
CHAPTER 2. DELUSION AND ADMONITION:
CONCERNING THE INTELLIGIBILITY
OF UNIVERSAL ORGANS (P. 10)
CHAPTER 1. ADMONITION: DENIAL OF THE VIEW
THAT THE EXISTENT IS SENSIBLE
Perhaps one of them will say that the human being, for example, is
such only insofar as he has organs, such as the hand, the eye,
brow, and others. But, insofar as he is such, he is sensible.
We warn him and say that the case of every universal organ!
have mentioned or left out is the same as that of the human
CHAPTER 3. ADMONITION: FURTHER EVIDENCE
THAT THE EXISTENT Is Not SENSIBLE (P. 11)
You must know that [some) people’s imagination may
[by the opinion) that the existent is sensible, that the existence of that
whose substance is not grasped by the senses is supposed impossible,
and that that which in itself is not specified by a space or a position,
such as the body, or by the cause in which it resides, such as the states
of the body, does not have a chance to exist.
It is possible for you to reflect on the sensible itself and learn
from this the falsity of the statements of such people; for both you
and he who deserves to be addressed know that one name may apply
to these sensibles (p. 8) not by way of pure homonymy but in accor-
dance with the same sense, such as the name human being. Neither
of you doubts that this name applies to Zayd and Amr in the same
This real sense cannot be such that it is either grasped by the
senses or it is not. If it is far from being grasped by the senses, then our
investigation has brought what is nonsensible out of sensible things.
But this is most astonishing. If, on the other hand, it is sensible, then
it necessarily has a position, a place, a specific quantity, and a specific
quality. It cannot be perceived or imagined except as such (p. 9); for
every sensible object and every imagined object is necessarily speci-
fied by something of these states. If this is so, then it will not befit what
If every existent were such that it enters imagination and the senses,
then the senses and imagination would also enter the senses and imagina-
tion. The intellect which is the true judge would also enter imagination.
But, after these principles, [we find that] no love, shyness, fear,
anger, courage, and cowardice is among that which enters the senses
and imagination, (even though) they are among that which attaches
to sensible things. What, then, do you think of existent things, if their
essences lie outside the order and attachments of the sensibles?
CHAPTER 4. A FOLLOW-UP: THE EXISTENCE OF A
REAL Being Is DUE TO THE ESSENTIAL REALITY
of THAT BEING AND CANNOT BE POINTED TO (P. 12)
Every real [being] is such by virtue of its essential reality, because
of which it is real. Thus it is concordant and one (with its essential
Fourth Class 121
reality] and cannot be pointed to. What about, then, that by virtue of
every real [being] acquires its existence?
existence it is an effect of it. The efficient cause is a certain cause of
(p. 17) the existence of the final cause, if the latter is among the ends
that occur in actuality, but it is not a cause of the causality or idea of
the final cause.
CHAPTER 5. ADMONITION: CONCERNING THE
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CAUSES OF QUIDDITY
AND THOSE OF EXISTENCE (P. 13)
CHAPTER 8. REMARK: IF THERE IS A FIRST CAUSE,
It Must BE AN EFFICIENT CAUSE FOR EVERYTHING
ELSE THAT EXISTS (P. 18)
Thus, if there is a first cause, it is a cause of every existence and of the
cause of the reality of every concrete existence.
A thing may be caused in relation to its quiddity or reality, and it may
be caused in its existence. You can consider this in the triangle, for
example. The reality of the triangle depends on the surface and on
the line which is its side. Both the surface and the line constitute the
triangle inasmuch as it is a triangle and has a reality of triangularity,
as if they are its two causes: the material and the formal (p. 14). But
inasmuch as a triangle exists, it may also depend on a cause other than
these [two), which is not a cause that constitutes its triangularity and
is not a part of its definition. This is the efficient cause or the final
cause that is an efficient cause of the causality of the efficient cause.
CHAPTER 9. ADMONITION: THE NECESSARY
IN ITSELF AND THE POSSIBLE IN ITSELF (P. 19)
CHAPTER 6. ADMONITION: REGARDING THE
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ESSENCE AND
CONCRETE EXISTENCE (P. 15)
You must know that you understand the concept of triangle while in
doubt as to whether or not concrete existence is attributed to triangle.
This is after triangle is represented to you as constituted of a line and
a surface and is not represented to you as existing.“
Every being, if considered from the point of view of its essence and
without consideration of other things, is found to be such that either
existence necessarily belongs to it in itself or it does not. If existence
belongs to it necessarily, then it is the truth in itself and that whose
existence is necessary from itself. This is the Independent Reality. If,
on the other hand, existence does not belong to it necessarily, it is not
permissible to say that it is impossible in itself after it was supposed
existing. But if, in relation to its essence, a condition is linked to it, such
as the condition of the nonexistence of its cause, it becomes impos-
sible or, such as the condition of the existence of its cause, it becomes
If no condition is linked to its essence, neither existence nor
nonexistence of a cause, then there remains for it in itself the third
option, that is, possibility. Thus, with respect to its essence, it would
be a thing that is neither necessary nor impossible. Therefore every
existent either has necessary existence in essence or has possible exis-
tence in essence.
CHAPTER 7. REMARK: CAUSALITY OF THE
EFFICIENT AND FINAL CAUSES
The cause of the existence of a thing, which has causes constitutive
of its quiddity, is a cause of some of those causes, such as the form,
or of all of them in existence—this is the cause of the union of those
causes (p. 16). The final cause, for whose sake a thing is, is in quiddity
and idea, a cause of the causality of the efficient cause; whereas in
CHAPTER 10. REMARK: THE POSSIBLE IN ITSELF
CANNOT EXIST EXCEPT DUE TO A Cause
OTHER THAN ITSELF (P. 20)
CHAPTER 13. REMARK: THE CAUSE OF A TOTALITY
OF UNITS IS FIRST THE CAUSE OF EVERY ONE
OF THE UNITS (P. 25)
That to which possibility belongs in essence does not come into exis-
tence by its essence, for, inasmuch as it is possible, existence by its
essence is not more appropriate than nonexistence. Thus, if its exis-
tence or nonexistence becomes more appropriate [than the other), that
is because of the presence or absence of a certain thing (respectively).
It follows that the existence of every possible thing is from another.
Every cause of a totality that is something other than its units is, first
of all, a cause of the units and then of the totality. If this is not so,
then let the units not be in need of this cause. Then, if the totality
is completed by its units, it will not need this cause either. Rather,
a certain thing may be a cause of some of the units to the exclusion
of some [others). Such a thing is not a cause of the totality in an
CHAPTER 11. ADMONITION: AN INFINITE CHAIN
OF POSSIBLES IS POSSIBLE AND CANNOT BECOME
NECESSARY EXCEPT THROUGH ANOTHER (P. 21)
CHAPTER 14. REMARK: IF A CHAIN OF CONSECUTIVE
CAUSES AND EFFECTS INCLUDES AN UNCAUSED
Cause, That Cause MusT BE AN EXTREMITY (P. 26)
If that (other) goes on to infinity, every one of the units of the chain
will be possible in essence. (But] the whole chain depends on these
units. Thus the chain too will not be necessary and becomes necessary
through another (p. 22). Let us clarify this further.
Every totality organized of causes and effects consecutively, including
a noncaused cause, has this uncaused cause as an extremity; for if this
cause were an intermediate, it would be caused.
CHAPTER 12. EXPLICATION (P. 23)
CHAPTER 15. REMARK: SINCE THAT UNCAUSED
Cause Must Be A LIMIT, IT MUST BE
A NecessaRY BEING IN ITSELF (P. 27)
Every totality having every one of its units as caused requires a cause
external to its units. This is because either  it does not require a
cause at all; hence it is necessary and not possible. But how could this
be so when it is only necessitated by its units?  It requires a cause
that is all its units; hence it is caused (p. 24) by itself.? That totality
and all [its units) are one thing. Further, kull in the sense of “every
one” is not something through which the totality is necessitated. 
It requires a cause that is some of its units. But if every one of its units
is caused, then some of its units are not more deserving of being the
cause than some others. The reason is that the cause of the caused is
more deserving of being the cause. Or  it requires a cause external
to all its units. This is the remaining (truth).
It has become clear that every chain organized of causes and effects,
be it finite or infinite, is in need of a cause external to it if it does not
include anything save effects. It is necessary that this external cause
be linked to it as an extremity.
It has also become clear that if this chain includes an uncaused
thing, then this thing is an extremity and a limit. Therefore every
chain terminates in that whose existence is necessary in itself.
Fourth Class 125
CHAPTER 16. REMARK: CONCERNING THE RELATION
OF THINGS DIFFERING IN CONCRETE EXISTENCE
To Those AGREEING IN ESSENCE (P. 28)
All things differing in concrete existence and agreeing in something
constitutive of them are such that either  That in which they agree
is one of the concomitants of that in which they differ. Thus things
that differ would have the same concomitant. This is undeniable.
 That in which they differ is a concomitant of that in which they
agree. Thus what necessarily attaches to the one thing wouldbe differ-
ent and opposite. This is deniable (p. 29).  That in which they agree
is an accident that occurs to that in which they differ. This is undeni-
able. Or  that in which they differ is an accident that occurs to that
in which they agree. This, too, is undeniable.
hand, its specificity is not due to this but to something else, then it is
caused (p. 37). This is because  if the existence of that whose exis-
tence is necessary necessarily attaches to its specificity, then existence
necessarily attaches to the quiddity or to an attribute of something
other than it. But this is impossible (p. 38).  If the existence of that
whose existence is necessary is an accident (to its specificity), then it
is more appropriate that this existence be due to [an external] cause.
 If that which specifies that whose existence is necessary is an acci-
dent of [its specificity), then that which specifies is also due to a cause
(p. 39). If (its specificity] and that by means of which it is specified
are one quiddity, then the cause is a cause of the singularity of that
whose existence is necessary by essence. But this is impossible (p. 40).
 Finally, if its occurrence as an accident is posterior to the specific-
ity of a prior first thing, then our discourse is about that prior thing
(p. 41) and the remaining divisions are impossible.
CHAPTER 17. REMARK: THE EXISTENCE OF A THING
CANNOT BE CAUSED BY THAT THING’S QUIDDITY,
WHICH IS NOT EXISTENCE (P. 30)
CHAPTER 19. A BENEFIT: CONCERNING THE
DIFFERENCE AMONG THINGS WITH THE SAME
SPECIFIC DEFINITION (P. 42)
It is permissible that the quiddity of a thing is a cause of one of the
attributes of that thing (p. 31) and that one of the attributes of that
thing is a cause of another attribute, as the specific difference [is a
cause of] property’ (p. 32). However, it is not permissible that exis-
tence, which is an attribute of a thing, be verily (p. 33) caused by that
thing’s quiddity, which is not existence, or by another attribute (p. 34).
This is because the cause is prior in existence, and nothing is prior in
existence to existence.
One learns from this that things having the same specific definition
differ only by causes other (than their specific nature]. If one of these
things is not accompanied by the capacity for receiving the influence
of such causes-this capacity being the matter-this thing will not be
specified except if it belongs to a nature whose species requires the
existence of one individual (p. 43). If, on the other hand, it were pos-
sible for the nature of its species to be predicable of many, then the
specification of every one is due to a cause (other than this nature],
for there are no two blacks nor two whites in the same thing, if they
do not differ in place and the like.
CHAPTER 18. REMARK: PROOF FOR THE UNITY
Of The Necessary in ExisTENCE (P. 36)
That whose existence is necessary is something specific. If its specific-
ity is due to the fact that it is that whose existence is necessary, then
there is nothing else whose existence is necessary. If, on the other
CHAPTER 20. A FOLLOW-UP: THE NECESSARY
IN EXISTENCE IS NEITHER A Species
NOR A GENUS (P. 44)
body multiplies into matter and form by quantitative division and by
conceptual division. Again, for every sensible body, you find another
body of its species15 or of another species,16 if [considered]”? in relation
to its corporeality. [Thus), every sensible body and everything depen-
dent on it is caused.
The conclusion of this is that that whose existence is necessary is one
in accordance with the specification of its essence and in no way can
it be stated of many.
CHAPTER 24. REMARK: THAT Which Is NECESSARY
IN ITSELF Has No GENUS OR SPECIES (P. 49)
CHAPTER 21. REMARK: THAT WHose Essence
Is NECESSARY IS SIMPLE AND INDIVISIBLE
If the essence of that whose existence is necessary is composed of two
or more things that unite, it becomes necessary by them. One of these
things or every one of them will be prior to it and a constituent of
it (p. 45). Therefore that whose existence is necessary is indivisible,
whether in concept or in quantity.10
That whose existence is necessary does not share in the quiddity of
anything; for any quiddity belonging to anything other than to that
whose existence is necessary requires the possibility of existence. As
for existence, it is not a quiddity of something nor a part of the quid-
dity of something. I mean that things having quiddities do not include
“existence” in the comprehension of their quiddities. Rather, exis-
tence is something that occurs to these quiddities.
Thus that whose existence is necessary does not share a generic
or a specific idea with anything (p. 50). Therefore, it does not need
to be distinguished from anything by a differential or an accidental
idea. Rather, it is distinguished by its essence. Hence its essence has
no definition, since this essence has neither a genus nor a difference.18
CHAPTER 22. REMARK: A THING WHOSE CONCEPT
OF Essence Does Not INCLUDE EXISTENCE DERIVES
ITS EXISTENCE FROM SOMETHING OTHER THAN
ITS ESSENCE (P. 46)”
Everything, the comprehension of whose essence does not include exis-
tence, according to our earlier consideration,2 such that existence is not
a constituent of its quiddity. Further, it is not permissible that existence
be a concomitant of its essence, as has been made clear.13 It remains,
therefore, that existence is due to something other than its essence.
CHAPTER 25. DelusION AND ADMONITION:
REFUTATION OF THE VIEW THAT THAT WHICH
Is NECESSARY IN ITSELF Falls UNDER THE GENUS
OF SUBSTANCE (P. 51)
CHAPTER 23. ADMONITION: THAT WHICH
Is NECESSARY IN ITSELF IS NEITHER A BODY
Nor DEPENDENT ON A BODY (P. 47)14
may think that the idea of the existent that does not inhere in a
subject is common to the First and to other things, in the manner that
a genus is common; Thus the First falls under the genus of substance.
But this is an error; for the existent that does not inhere in a sub-
ject-this being like a description for substance-does not signify that
which exists in actuality, such that its existence lies outside a subject;
so that he who knows that Zayd in himself is a substance also knows
Everything whose existence is dependent on a sensible body is neces-
sitated by that body and not by its own essence (p. 48). Every sensible
Page 148 of 239
Fourth Class 129
is naturally at the extreme end.” But the essence of the First does not
depend on anything, let alone on a subject. Therefore, in no way does
the First have a contrary.
CHAPTER 27. ADMONITION: THAT Which Is
NECESSARY IN ITSELF Has No DEFINITION
The First has no alike, no contrary, no genus, and no difference.
Thus it has no definition and cannot be indicated except by pure intel-
lectual knowledge. 20
from this that Zayd primarily exists in actuality, let alone the manner
of that existence.
Rather, the idea of that which is predicable of substance, such as
its description, is something in which specific substances participate
(p. 52) when they are in potentiality, as they participate in a genus. It
is a quiddity or an essential reality that exists only outside a subject.
This predication is applicable to Zayd and to Amr due to their essences
and not to [an external] cause. Regarding its being in actual existence,
which is a part of its being in actual existence outside a supject, this
may belong to it due to [an external] cause. What about, then, that
which is composed of it and of an additional idea?
Therefore, that which is predicable of Zayd as a genus cannot be in
any way predicable of that whose existence is necessary, because that
whose existence is necessary does not have a quiddity that is neces-
sarily accompanied by such a judgment. Rather, necessary existence
belongs to it as a quiddity belongs to other things.
You must know that since that which exists in actuality is not
stated of the well-known predicables as a genus, it does not become a
genus of anything by the addition of a negative idea. Since existence is
not one of the constituents of the quiddity, but one of its concomitants,
it cannot fall outside a subject [as] a part of a constituent (would), for
then it will become a constituent. If this is not so, then, by the addition
of an affirmative idea to it, it becomes a genus for the accidents that
exist in a subject.
CHAPTER 28. REMARK: THAT Which Is NECESSARY
IN ITSELF IS AN INTELLIGENCE THAT KNOWS ITSELF
AND IS KNOWN BY ITSELF
The essence of the First is intelligible and independent. Thus the First
is self-subsistant, free from attachments, defects, matter, and other
things that make the essence in a state additional [to itself]. It has been
learned that that of which this statement is true intellects its essence
and is intellected by its essence.21
CHAPTER 29. ADMONITION: PROOF FOR THE
EXISTENCE OF THAT WHICH IS NECESSARY
IN ITSELF BY MEANS OF REFLECTION
on EXISTENCE ITSELF (P. 54)
CHAPTER 26. REMARK: THAT Which Is NECESSARY
IN ITSELF HAS NO CONTRARY
The multitude uses contrary in the sense of “an opposite equal force.”
Everything other than (p. 53) the First is caused; but that which is
caused is not equal to the necessary Principle. Therefore, there is no
contrary to the First in this sense.
The elite, on the other hand, uses contrary in the sense of that
which shares in a subject consecutively and not simultaneously-if it
Reflect on how our demonstration of the First’s existence, oneness,
and detachment from [accidental] qualities does not require reflection
on anything other than existence itself, nor does it require consid-
eration of its creation or its acts, even though such things give evi-
dence of it. But [the former] way [of demonstration) is more solid and
nobler (than the latter]. That is, if we consider the state of existence,
existence attests to the First inasmuch as it is existence. After that,
the First attests to all the things that follow it in existence (p. 55).
Page 150 of 239
Fourth Class 131
Something like this is pointed out in the Divine Book: “We will show
them our signs in the [various] horizons and in themselves, so that it
becomes clear to them that He is the truth.”22 I say that this is the rule
for a group of people. The Book continues: “Is it not sufficient that
your Lord attests to everything?”23 I say that this is a rule for truthful
people who draw testimony from him [for other things] and not [from
other things] for him.