Book on the Soul


Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Yahya ibn al-Sayigh, better known as Ibn Bajjah or by his Latinized name, Avempace (circa 1095–1138 AD), was an Andalusian Muslim polymath, who was born in Zaragoza, Spain, and died in Fes, Morocco. He was also a politician and served as a vizier (minister) for the Almoravids, the Islamic rulers of southern Spain and North Africa circa 1062–1150. Ibn Bajjah is best known for being the first commentator on Aristotle in Spain and is one of the earliest known representatives of the Spanish Arabic Aristotelian-Neoplatonic philosophical tradition. He wrote extensively on a wide range of topics, including astronomy, logic, philosophy, music, botany, medicine, psychology, and poetry. Kitab al-Nafs (Book on the soul) is a philosophical treatise focused on psychology and principles of logic and reason. Although the treatise draws parallels with, and is often compared to, Aristotle’s De Anima (On the soul), it is not an explicit commentary on that work. Ibn Bajjah was an influence on Ibn Rushd (also called by the Latinized name, Averroes, 1126–98 AD), the Andalusian philosopher known as “the Commentator on Aristotle.”

Last updated: March 7, 2014