What is Necessary Existence, What is Compulsory Existence?June 27, 2021
In the context of the analysis of the concept of existence, it is clear that the distinction between obligatory (wâcib) and unconditional (possible) used by Ibn Sînâ in the framework of the Fârâbî logic discipline; Although not in the same clarity, it is seen that he makes determinations that will form the basis for the classification of necessary existence (vâcibü’l-wücûd) and contingent existence (mümkinü’l-wücûd) in the context of ontology.
The philosopher’s statements about the First Cause as “the state of potency cannot be spoken of in any way”, “its non-existence cannot be thought in any way”, “existing with its substance and essence”, “its existence is eternal and eternal”, its necessary/necessity-necessary/non-necessity (vacib-possible) / wucub-imkan) (Fârâbî, 1985: 37-38). In addition, al-Farabi’s “…everything is firstly divided into many opposites; one of them is [separation] between force and verb. The de facto obligatory (necessary), the potentially obligatory (possible); Or the compulsory is within the scope of the potential, and the compulsory is within the scope of the actual. …” (Farabi, 1971: 164) can also be evaluated within this framework. On the other hand, while talking about the process of “emanation”, which will be explained below, he applied the concept of “opportunity” in the context of the sub-lunar realm. Throughout the section devoted to the characteristics of the sublunar realm, the philosopher, who calls the beings in this realm as “possible beings”, refers to the necessary beings (al-mawjudatu’l-mumkine), deficient in existence, equally inclined to exist and non-existence (wujûd ve la wujûd) and in the process of emergence. characterizes them as the last (al-müteahhira) beings (Fârâbî, 1964: 56). Al-Farabi’s inclusion of the sublunar realm only in the category of “possible being” shows that he has a tendency to characterize the superlunar realm as eternal, actual, and therefore necessary, like Aristotle, although he does not explicitly state it. (For the concepts of existence and possibility in Fârâbî, see Kaya, 2008: 80-88)
Necessary existence is that which does not need any reason in order to exist and continue its existence. If it were to be assumed for a moment that it did not exist, this would lead to logical impossibility; so its absence is unthinkable. This being, which exists by its very nature and cannot be thought of as non-existence, is God.
On the other hand, if the contingent being is reasoned, that is, the being that derives its existence from someone else and is ignored, it does not lead to any logical impasse. Because it has come into existence for a reason; that is, it can either exist or not. Therefore, all beings other than God fall under the category of contingent beings.
Al-Farabi says that every being in the sub-lunar realm has a kind of archae and what distinguishes them from the beings in the superlunar realm is the “first matter” (al-mâddetü’l-ûlâ). According to him, unlike the celestial bodies in the superlunar realm, what constitutes the essence of the beings in the sublunar realm is not completely given to them at the moment they come into existence. Therefore, the beings in the sub-lunar realm are potential, not actual, in terms of their essence. For this reason, when Fârâbî speaks of “nature”, “possibility” and “isti’dât” in relation to the first item, he wants to point out its pure state of power. Because the most important feature of the first substance in the sense of pure strength is that it has a quality that can take different forms depending on the various functions of the celestial bodies. (Rock, 2008: )
Fârâbî positions the necessary being, which he defines as “the being that is both possible to exist and not to exist”, between the two extremes of “not possible not to exist” and “not possible to exist” (Fârâbî, 1964: 56-57). It is clear that the philosopher means the necessary by “not possible to exist” and the impossible by “not possible to exist”. Considering that the impossible does not come into existence in any way, and the meaninglessness of even trying to make it an adjective for “existence” is taken into account, necessary existence and contingent existence remain. (Kaya, 2008: ) Fârâbî tries to explain the relationship between the Necessary Beings and the Necessary Being, that is, God, with the theory of emanation.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook