Ibn-Sina, Maimonides and Aquinas Ibn Sina FOCUS In Ibn Sina, it is especially clear that the distinction between essence and existence (in contingent beings) is supposed to be a real, and not just a logical or mental, distinction. Ibn Sina describes 'existence' as a kind of "accident" that is super-added to the essence of a thing, thereby bringing one thing of that kind or essence into real existence. At the same time, Ibn Sina recognizes that is is not quite appropriate to say that existence is a "property" of a thing -- as though, in addition to having two legs and being warm-blooded, I have the additional property of existing. Existence is a special sort of accident -- one that does not characterize things, but which constitutes their being. As I explained last time, al-Farabi and ibn Sina are "realists", in the sense that they believe that essences and accidents (properties) are real constituents of the world, not things that are merely invented by us and projected on the world through language or thought. Therefore, to learn about
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