Aristotle’s Dunamis Transformed: On Avicenna’s Conception of Natural Isti‘dād and Tahayyu’


Avicennan theory of isti‘dād ve tahayyu’ is one of the most important components of Avicenna’s natural philosophy and this theory achieves important revisions on Aristotelian conception of dunamis, but up to now received little attention in the secondary literature. In order to arrive at a correct understanding of Avicenna’s theory of isti‘dād, this article analyzes the aforementioned concepts in relation to the division of essential possibility and possibility in the form of propensity and tries to find an answer to the question “what types of transformations the concept have undergone in comparison to the Aristotelian dunamis?”. In this context, questions on whether the usage of the terms isti‘dād and tahayyu’, which cannot be found in Greek-Arabic translations of Aristotle’s texts, points to a simple passage to a new scientific terminology or there occurred a new conceptual framework and it forced introduction of such new vocabulary are discussed in comparison to Aristotle’s division of dunamis-heksis, Alexander of Aphrodisias’ theory of natural powers and eventually Simplicius’ and Philoponus’ Neoplatonic conception of epitêdeiotês.


Avicenna natural Powers Aristotle epitêdeiotês isti‘dâd tahayyu’