Realism Transformed: The Ontology of Universals in Avicennan Philosophy and Qutb al-Din al-Rāzī’s Theory of Mental Exemplars


The onto-epistemological status of mental representations can be seen among the most controversial problems of Post-Avicennan philosophy. The problem has its roots in Ibn Sīnā’s attempt to get a predicational unity between the layers of being on one hand and in Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī’s criticisms of mental existence and universality of mental exemplars on the other. Al-Rāzī’s criticisms led the prominent followers of Ibn Sīnā to reconsider the Avicennan principle of the preservation of essences in multi-layered being and Ibn Sīnā’s conception of knowledge as an immaterial representation of nature. Against al-Rāzī’s criticism, al- Ṭūsī tried to narrow the ontological extension of essences and to redefine universal predication. Quṭb al-Dīn al-Rāzī’s involvement in the discussion took the restrictive efforts to the next level. In addition to al-Ṭūsī‘s restricting the ontological extensions of essences by only giving them an epistemological role, Quṭb al-Dīn al-Rāzī downgraded their epistemological roles as well and counted them just as individual exemplars (mithāl) in the individual’s mind. In addition to al-Ṭūsī’s hesitant rejection of universal natures in external world, he also clearly rejected the existence of universal natures in the external world. His first position led him to redefine the notion of correspondence and universality, and his second position led him to propose a non- explanatory interpretation of Ibn Sīnā’s hylomorphic substances. In this paper, I will discuss the continuities and discontinuities of his interpretations with respect to Ibn Sīnā’s strong metaphysical realism and his philosophical project’s aim to construct the unity of essences in a multi-layered being.


İbn Sînâ İbn Sînâ sonrası felsefe Metafizik gerçekçilik Tümeller problemi Tümellerin Ontolojisi Temsil Fahreddin er-Râzî Nasîrüddin et-Tûsî Kutbüddin er-Râzî