Ibn Rushd (Arabic: ابن رشد; full name Arabic: أبو الوليد محمد ابن احمد ابن رشد, romanized: Abū l-Walīd Muḥammad Ibn ʾAḥmad Ibn Rušd; 1126 – 11 December 1198), often Latinized as Averroes (English pronunciation: /əˈvɛroʊiːz/), was a Muslim Andalusian philosopher and thinker who wrote about many subjects, including philosophy, theology, medicine, astronomy, physics, Islamic jurisprudence and law, and linguistics. His philosophical works include numerous commentaries on Aristotle, for which he was known in the West as The Commentator. He also served as a judge and a court physician for the Almohad caliphate.
He was born in Córdoba in 1126 to a family of prominent judges—his grandfather was the chief judge of the city. In 1169 he was introduced to the caliph Abu Yaqub Yusuf, who was impressed with his knowledge, became his patron and commissioned many of Averroes' commentaries. Averroes later served multiple terms as a judge in Seville and Córdoba. In 1182, he was appointed as court physician and the chief judge of Córdoba. After Abu Yusuf's death in 1184, he remained in royal favor until he fell into disgrace in 1195. He was targeted on various charges—likely for political reasons—and was exiled to nearby Lucena. He returned to royal favor shortly before his death on 11 December 1198.
Averroes was a strong proponent of Aristotelianism; he attempted to restore what he considered the original teachings of Aristotle and opposed the Neoplatonist tendencies of earlier Muslim thinkers, such as Al-Farabi and Avicenna. He also defended the pursuit of philosophy against criticism by Ashari theologians such as Al-Ghazali. Averroes argued that philosophy was permissible in Islam and even compulsory among certain elites. He also argued scriptural text should be interpreted allegorically if it appeared to contradict conclusions reached by reason and philosophy. His legacy in the Islamic world was modest for geographical and intellectual reasons.
In the West, Averroes was known for his extensive commentaries on Aristotle, many of which were translated into Latin and Hebrew. The translations of his work reawakened Western European interest in Aristotle and Greek thinkers, an area of study that had been widely abandoned after the fall of the Roman Empire. His thoughts generated controversies in Latin Christendom and triggered a philosophical movement called Averroism based on his writings. His unity of the intellect thesis, proposing that all humans share the same intellect, became one of the most well-known and controversial Averroist doctrines in the West. His works were condemned by the Catholic Church in 1270 and 1277. Although weakened by the condemnations and sustained critique by Thomas Aquinas, Latin Averroism continued to attract followers up to the sixteenth century.
Statue of Ibn Rushd in Córdoba, Spain
|Died||11 December 1198 (aged 72 years)|
|Era||Medieval, Islamic Golden Age|
|Islamic theology, philosophy, Islamic jurisprudence, medicine, astronomy, physics, linguistics|
|Relation between Islam and philosophy, non-contradiction of reason and revelation, unity of the intellect|
Ibn Rushd's full, transliterated Arabic name is "Abū l-Walīd Muḥammad Ibn ʾAḥmad Ibn Rushd". Sometimes, the nickname al-Hafid ("The Grandson") is appended to his name, to distinguish him from his similarly-named grandfather, a famous judge and jurist. "Averroes" is the Medieval Latin form of "Ibn Rushd"; it was derived from the Spanish pronunciation of the original Arabic name, wherein "Ibn" becomes "Aben" or "Aven". The Latinized name is also spelled in some instances as "Averroës", "Averrhoës" or "Averroès", with varying accents to denote that the "o" and "e" are separate vowels and not an "œ" digraph. Other forms of the name include "Ibin-Ros-din", "Filius Rosadis", "Ibn-Rusid", "Ben-Raxid", "Ibn-Ruschod", "Den-Resched", "Aben-Rassad", "Aben-Rasd", "Aben-Rust", "Avenrosdy", "Avenryz", "Adveroys", "Benroist", "Avenroyth" and "Averroysta".
Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Rushd was born in 1126 (520 AH) in Córdoba. His family was well known in the city for their public service, especially in the legal and religious fields. His grandfather Abu al-Walid Muhammad (d. 1126) was the chief judge (qadi) of Córdoba and the imam of the Great Mosque of Córdoba under the Almoravids. His father Abu al-Qasim Ahmad was not as celebrated as his grandfather, but was also chief judge until the Almoravids were replaced by the Almohads in 1146.
According to his traditional biographers, Averroes' education was "excellent", beginning with studies in hadith (traditions of Prophet Muhammad), fiqh (jurisprudence), medicine and theology. He learned Maliki jurisprudence under al-Hafiz Abu Muhammad ibn Rizq and hadith with Ibn Bashkuwal, a student of his grandfather. His father also taught him about jurisprudence, including on Imam Malik's magnum opus the Muwatta, which Averroes went on to memorize. He studied medicine under Abu Jafar Jarim al-Tajail, who probably taught him philosophy too. He also knew the works of the philosopher Ibn Bajjah (also known as Avempace), and might have known him personally or been tutored by him. He joined a regular meeting of philosophers, physicians and poets in Seville which was attended by philosophers Ibn Tufayl and Ibn Zuhr as well as the future caliph Abu Yusuf Yaqub. He also studied the kalam theology of the Ashari school, which he criticized later in life. His 13th century biographer Ibn al-Abbar said he was more interested in the study of law and its principles (usul) than that of hadith and he was especially competent in the field of khilaf (disputes and controversies in the Islamic jurisprudence). Ibn al-Abbar also mentioned his interests in "the sciences of the ancients", probably in reference to Greek philosophy and sciences.
By 1153 Averroes was in Marrakesh (Morocco), the capital of the Almohad caliphate, to perform astronomical observations and to support the Almohad project of building new colleges. He was hoping to find physical laws of astronomical movements instead of only the mathematical laws known at the time but this research was unsuccessful. During his stay in Marrakesh he likely met Ibn Tufayl, a renowned philosopher and the author of Hayy ibn Yaqdhan who was also the court physician in Marrakesh. Averroes and ibn Tufayl became friends despite the differences in their philosophies.
In 1169 Ibn Tufayl introduced Averroes to the Almohad caliph Abu Yaqub Yusuf. In a famous account reported by historian Abdelwahid al-Marrakushi the caliph asked Averroes whether the heavens had existed since eternity or had a beginning. Knowing this question was controversial and worried a wrong answer could put him in danger, Averroes did not answer. The caliph then elaborated the views of Plato, Aristotle and Muslim philosophers on the topic and discussed them with Ibn Tufayl. This display of knowledge put Averroes at ease; Averroes then explained his own views on the subject, which impressed the caliph. Averroes was similarly impressed by Abu Yaqub and later said the caliph had "a profuseness of learning I did not suspect".
After their introduction, Averroes remained in Abu Yaqub's favor until the caliph's death in 1184. When the caliph complained to Ibn Tufayl about the difficulty of understanding Aristotle's work, Ibn Tufayl recommended to the caliph that Averroes work on explaining it. This was the beginning of Averroes' massive commentaries on Aristotle; his first works on the subject were written in 1169.
In the same year, Averroes was appointed qadi (judge) in Seville. In 1171 he became qadi in his hometown of Córdoba. As qadi he would decide cases and give fatwas (legal opinions) based on the Islamic law (sharia). The rate of his writing increased during this time despite other obligations and his travels within the Almohad empire. He also took the opportunity from his travels to conduct astronomical researches. Many of his works produced between 1169 and 1179 were dated in Seville rather than Córdoba. In 1179 he was again appointed qadi in Seville. In 1182 he succeeded his friend Ibn Tufayl as court physician and later the same year he was appointed the chief qadi of Córdoba, a prestigious office that had once been held by his grandfather.
In 1184 Caliph Abu Yaqub died and was succeeded by Abu Yusuf Yaqub al-Mansur. Initially, Averroes remained in royal favor but in 1195 his fortune reversed. Various charges were made against him and he was tried by a tribunal in Córdoba. The tribunal condemned his teachings, ordered the burning of his works and banished Averroes to nearby Lucena. Early biographers' reasons for this fall from grace include a possible insult to the caliph in his writings but modern scholars attribute it to political reasons. The Encyclopaedia of Islam said the caliph distanced himself from Averroes to gain support from more orthodox ulema, who opposed Averroes and whose support al-Mansur needed for his war against Christian kingdoms. Historian of Islamic philosophy Majid Fakhry also wrote that public pressure from traditional Maliki jurists who were opposed to Averroes played a role.
After a few years, Averroes returned to court in Marrakesh and was again in the caliph's favor. He died shortly afterwards, on 11 December 1198 (9 Safar 595 in the Islamic calendar). He was initially buried in North Africa but his body was later moved to Córdoba for another funeral, at which future Sufi mystic and philosopher Ibn Arabi (1165–1240) was present.
Averroes was a prolific writer and his works, according to Fakhry, "covered a greater variety of subjects" than those of any of his predecessors in the East, including philosophy, medicine, jurisprudence or legal theory, and linguistics. Most of his writings were commentaries on or paraphrasings of the works of Aristotle that—especially the long ones—often contain his original thoughts. According to French author Ernest Renan, Averroes wrote at least 67 original works, including 28 works on philosophy, 20 on medicine, 8 on law, 5 on theology, and 4 on grammar, in addition to his commentaries on most of Aristotle's works and his commentary on Plato's The Republic. Many of Averroes' works in Arabic did not survive, but their translations into Hebrew or Latin did. For example, of his long commentaries on Aristotle, only "a tiny handful of Arabic manuscript remains".
Averroes wrote commentaries on nearly all of Aristotle's surviving works. The only exception is Politics, which he did not have access to, so he wrote commentaries on Plato's Republic. He classified his commentaries into three categories that modern scholars have named short, middle and long commentaries. Most of the short commentaries (jami) were written early in his career and contain summaries of Aristotlean doctrines. The middle commentaries (talkhis) contain paraphrases that clarify and simplify Aristotle's original text. The middle commentaries were probably written in response to his patron caliph Abu Yaqub Yusuf's complaints about the difficulty of understanding Aristotle's original texts and to help others in a similar position. The long commentaries (tafsir or sharh), or line-by-line commentaries, include the complete text of the original works with a detailed analysis of each line. The long commentaries are very detailed and contain a high degree of original thought, and were unlikely to be intended for a general audience. Only five of Aristotle's works had all three types of commentaries: Physics, Metaphysics, On the Soul, On the Heavens, and Posterior Analytics.
Averroes also wrote stand alone philosophical treatises, including On the Intellect, On the Syllogism, On Conjunction with the Active Intellect, On Time, On the Heavenly Sphere and On the Motion of the Sphere. He also wrote several polemics: Essay on al-Farabi's Approach to Logic, as Compared to that of Aristotle, Methaphysical Questions Dealt with in the Book of Healing by Ibn Sina, and Rebuttal of Ibn Sina's Classification of Existing Entities.
Scholarly sources, including Fakhry and the Encyclopedia of Islam, named three theological works as Averroes' key writings in this area. Fasl al-Maqal ("The Decisive Treatise") is an 1178 treatise that argues for the compatibility of Islam and philosophy. Al-Kashf 'an Manahij al-Adillah ("Exposition of the Methods of Proof"), written in 1179, criticizes the theologies of the Asharites, and lays out Averroes' argument for proving the existence of God, as well as his thoughts on God's attributes and actions. The 1180 Tahafut al-Tahafut ("Incoherence of the Incoherence") is a rebuttal of al-Ghazali's (d. 1111) landmark criticism of philosophy The Incoherence of the Philosophers. It combines ideas in his commentaries and stand alone works, and uses them to respond to al-Ghazali. The work also criticizes Avicenna and his neo-Platonist tendencies, sometimes agreeing with al-Ghazali's critique against him.
Averroes, who served as the royal physician at the Almohad court, wrote a number of medical treatises. The most famous was al-Kulliyat fi al-Tibb ("General Principles of Medicine", Latinized in the west as the Colliget), written around 1162, before his appointment at court. The Latin translation became a medical texbook in Europe for centuries. He also wrote summaries of the works of Greek physician Galen (died c. 210) and a commentary on Avicenna's Urjuzah fi al-Tibb ("Poem on Medicine").
Averroes served multiple tenures as judge and produced multiple works in the fields of Islamic jurisprudence or legal theory. The only book that survives today is Bidāyat al-Mujtahid wa Nihāyat al-Muqtaṣid ("Primer of the Discretionary Scholar"). In this work he explains the legal difference between the Sunni madhhabs (schools of Islamic jurisprudence) both in practice and in their underlying juristic principles. Despite his status as a Maliki judge, the book also discusses the opinion of other schools, including liberal and conservative ones. Other than this surviving text, bibliographical information shows he wrote a summary of Al-Ghazali's On Legal Theory of Muslim Jurisprudence (Al-Mustasfa) and tracts on sacrifices and land tax.
In his philosophical writings, Averroes attempted to return to Aristotelianism, which according to him had been distorted by the Neoplatonist tendencies of Muslim philosophers such as Al-Farabi and Avicenna. He rejected al-Farabi's attempt to merge the ideas of Plato and Aristotle's, pointing out the difference between the two, such as Aristotle's rejection of Plato's theory of ideas. He also criticized Al-Farabi's works on logic for misinterpreting its Aristotelian source. He wrote an extensive critique of Avicenna, who was the standard-bearer of Islamic Neoplatonism in the Middle Ages. He argued that Avicenna's theory of emanation had many fallacies and was not found in the works of Aristotle. Averroes disagreed with Avicenna's view that existence is merely an accident added to essence, arguing the reverse; something exists per se and essence can only be found by subsequent abstraction. He also rejected Avicenna's modality and Avicenna's argument to prove the existence of God as the Necessary Existent.
During Averroes' lifetime, philosophy came under attack from the Sunni Islam tradition, especially from theological schools like the traditionalist (Hanbalite) and the Ashari schools. In particular, the Ashari scholar al-Ghazali (1058 – 1111) wrote The Incoherence of the Philosophers (Tahafut al-falasifa), a scathing and influential critique of the Neoplatonic philosophical tradition in the Islamic world and against the works of Avicenna in particular. Among others, Al-Ghazali charged philosophers with non-belief in Islam and sought to disprove the teaching of the philosophers using logical arguments.
In Decisive Treatise, Averroes argues that philosophy—which for him represented conclusions reached using reason and careful method—cannot contradict revelations in Islam because they are just two different methods of reaching the truth, and "truth cannot contradict truth". When conclusions reached by philosophy appear to contradict the text of the revelation, then according to Averroes, revelation must be subjected to interpretation or allegorical understanding to remove the contradiction. This interpretation must be done by those "rooted in knowledge"—a phrase taken by from the Quran 3:7, which for Averroes refers to philosophers who during his lifetime had access to the "highest methods of knowledge". He also argues that the Quran calls for Muslims to study philosophy because the study and reflection of nature would increase a person's knowledge of "the Artisan" (God). He quotes Quranic passages calling on Muslims to reflect on nature and used them to render a fatwa (legal opinion) that philosophy is allowed for Muslims and is probably an obligation, at least among those who have the talent for it.
Averroes also distinguishes between three modes of discourse; the rhetorical (based on persuasion) accessible to the common masses; the dialectical (based on debate) and often employed by theologians and the ulama (scholars); and the demonstrative (based on logical deduction). According to Averroes, the Quran uses the rhetorical method of inviting people to the truth, which allows it to reach the common masses with its persuasiveness, whereas philosophy uses the demonstrative methods that were only available to the learned but provided the best possible understanding and knowledge.
Averroes also tries to deflect Al-Ghazali's criticisms of philosophy by saying that many of them apply only to the philosophy of Avicenna and not that of Aristotle, which Averroes argues to be the true philosophy from which Avicenna deviated.
Averroes lays out his views on the existence and nature of God in the treatise The Exposition of the Methods of Proof. He examines and critiques the doctrines of four sects of Islam: the Asharites, the Mutazilites, the Sufis and those he calls the "literalists" (al-hashwiyah). Among other things, he examines their proofs of God's existence and critiques each one. Averroes argues that there are two arguments for God's existence that he deems logically sound and in accordance to the Quran; the arguments from "providence" and "from invention". The providence argument considers that the world and the universe seem finely tuned to support human life. Averroes cited the sun, the moon, the rivers, the seas and the location of humans on the earth. According to him, this suggests a creator who created them for the welfare of mankind. The argument from invention contends that worldly entities such as animals and plants appear to have been invented. Therefore, Averroes argues that a designer was behind the creation and that is God. Averroes's two arguments are teleological in nature and not cosmological like the arguments of Aristotle and most contemporaneous Muslim kalam theologians.
Averroes upholds the doctrine of divine unity (tawhid) and argues—in agreement with contemporary theologians—that God has seven divine attributes: knowledge, life, power, will, hearing, vision and speech. He devotes the most attention to the attribute of knowledge and argues that divine knowledge differs from human knowledge because God knows the universe because God is its cause while humans only know the universe through its effects.
Averroes argues that the attribute of life can be inferred because it is the precondition of knowledge and also because God willed objects into being. Power can be inferred by God's ability to bring creations into existence. Averroes also argues that knowledge and power inevitably give rise to speech. Regarding vision and speech, he says that because God created the world, he necessarily knows every part of it in the same way an artist understands his or her work intimately. Because two elements of the world are the visual and the auditory, God must necessarily possess the vision and speech.
In the centuries preceding Averroes, there had been a debate between Muslim thinkers questioning whether the world was created at a specific moment in time or whether it has always existed. Neo-Platonic philosophers such as Al-Farabi and Avicenna argued the world has always existed. This view was criticized by theologians and philosophers of the Ashari kalam tradition; in particular, al-Ghazali wrote an extensive refutation of the pre-eternity doctrine in his Incoherence of the Philosophers and accused the Neo-Platonic philosophers of unbelief (kufr).
Averroes responded to Al-Ghazali in his Incoherence of the Incoherence. First, he argued that the differences between the two positions were not vast enough to warrant the charge of unbelief. He also said the pre-eternity doctrine did not necessarily contradict the Quran and cited verses that mention pre-existing "throne" and "water" in passages related to creation. Averroes argued that a careful reading of the Quran implied only the "form" of the universe was created in time but that its existence has been eternal. Averroes further criticized the kalam theologians for using their own interpretations of scripture to answer questions that should have been left to philosophers.
Averroes states his political philosophy in his commentary of Plato's Republic. He combines his ideas with Plato's and with Islamic tradition; he considers the ideal state to be one based on the Islamic law (shariah). His interpretation of Plato's philosopher-king followed that of Al-Farabi, which equates the philosopher-king with the imam, caliph and lawgiver of the state. Averroes' description of the characteristics of a philosopher-king are similar to those given by Al-Farabi; they include love of knowledge, good memory, love of learning, love of truth, dislike for sensual pleasures, dislike for amassing wealth, magnanimity, courage, steadfastness, eloquence and the ability to "light quickly on the middle term". Averroes writes that if philosophers cannot rule—as was the case in the Almoravid and Almohad empires around his lifetime—philosophers must still try to influence the rulers towards implementing the ideal state.
According to Averroes, there are two methods of teaching virtue to citizens; persuasion and coercion. Persuasion is the more natural method consisting of rhetorical, dialectical and demonstrative methods; sometimes, however, coercion is necessary for those not amenable to persuasion, e.g. enemies of the state. Therefore, he justifies war as a last resort, which he also supports using Quranic arguments. Consequently, he argues that a ruler should have both wisdom and courage, which are needed for governance and defense of the state.
Like Plato, Averroes calls for women to share with men in the administration of the state, including participating as soldiers, philosophers and rulers. He regrets that contemporaneous Muslim societies limited the public role of women; he says this limitation is harmful to the state's well-being.
Averroes also accepted Plato's ideas of the deterioration of the ideal state. He cites examples from Islamic history when the Rashidun caliphate—which in Sunni tradition represented the ideal state led by "rightly guided caliphs"—became a dynastic state under Muawiyah, founder of the Umayyad dynasty. He also says the Almoravid and the Almohad empires started as ideal, shariah-based states but then deteriorated into timocracy, oligarchy, democracy and tyranny.
As did Avempace and Ibn Tufail, Averroes criticizes the Ptolemaic system using philosophical arguments and rejects the use of eccentrics and epicycles to explain the apparent motions of the moon, the sun and the planets. He argued that those objects move uniformly in a strictly circular motion around the earth, following Aristotelian principles. He postulates that there are three type of planetary motions; those that can be seen with the naked eye, those that requires instruments to observe and those that can only be known by philosophical reasoning. Averroes attempted to redefine astronomy as being based on physics rather than just mathematics as was commonly practiced by Arabic and Andalusian astronomers of his time; later in his life he declared that his attempts had failed. Averroes argues that the occasional opaque colors of the moon are caused by variations in its thickness; the thicker parts receive more light from the Sun than the thinner parts.
In physics, Averroes did not adopt the inductive method that was being developed by Al-Biruni in the Islamic world and is closer to today's physics. Rather, he was—in the words of historian of science Ruth Glasner—a "exegetical" scientist who produced new theses about nature through discussions of previous texts, especially the writings of Aristotle. because of this approach, he was often depicted as an unimaginative follower of Aristotle, but Glasner argues that Averroes' work introduced highly original theories of physics, especially his elaboration of Aristotle's minima naturalia and on motion as forma fluens, which were taken up in the West and are important to the overall development of physics. Averroes also proposed a definition of force as "the rate at which work is done in changing the kinetic condition of a material body"—a definition close to the definition of power in today's physics.
Averroes expounds his thoughts on psychology in his three commentaries on Aristotle's On the Soul. Averroes is interested in explaining the human intellect using philosophical methods and by interpreting Aristotle's ideas. His position on the topic changed throughout his career as his thoughts developed. In his short commentary, the first of the three works, Averroes follows Ibn Bajja's theory that something called the "material intellect" stores specific images that a person encounters. These images serve as basis for the "unification" by the universal "agent intellect", which, once it happens, allow a person to gain universal knowledge about that concept. In his middle commentary, Averroes moves towards the ideas of Al-Farabi and Avicenna, saying the agent intellect gives humans the power of universal understanding, which is the material intellect. Once the person has sufficient empirical encounters with a certain concept, the power activates and gives the person universal knowledge (see also logical induction).
In his last commentary—called the Long Commentary—he proposes another theory, which becomes known as the theory of "the unity of the intellect". In it, Averroes argues that there is only one material intellect, which is the same for all humans and is unmixed with human body. To explain how different individuals can have different thoughts, he uses a concept he calls fikr—known as cogitatio in Latin—a process that happens in human brains and contains not universal knowledge but "active consideration of particular things" the person has encountered. This theory attracted controversy when Averroes' works entered Christian Europe; in 1229 Thomas Aquinas wrote a detailed critique titled On the Unity of the Intellect against the Averroists.
Maimonides (d. 1204) was among early Jewish scholars who received Averroes' works enthusiastically, saying he "received lately everything Averroes had written on the works of Aristotle" and that Averroes "was extremely right". Thirteenth-century Jewish writers, including Samuel ibn Tibbon in his work Opinion of the Philosophers, Judah ibn Solomon Cohen in his Search for Wisdom and Shem-Tov ibn Falaquera, relied heavily on Averroes' texts. In 1232, Joseph Ben Abba Mari translated Averroes' commentaries on the Organon; this was the first Jewish translation of a complete work. In 1260 Moses Ben Tibbon published the translation of almost all of Averroes' commentaries and some of his works on medicine. Jewish Averroism peaked in the fourteenth century; Jewish writers of this time who translated or were influenced by Averroes include Kalonymus ben Kalonymus of Arles, France, Samuel ibn Judah of Marseilles, Todros Todrosi of Arles and Gersonides of Languedoc.
Averroes' main influence on the Christian West was through his extensive commentaries on Aristotle. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, western Europe fell into a cultural decline that resulted in the loss of nearly all of the intellectual legacy of the Classical Greek scholars, including Aristotle. Averroes' commentaries, which were translated into Latin and entered Western Europe in the thirteenth century, provided an expert account of Aristotle's legacy and made them available again. The influence of his commentaries led to Averroes being referred to simply as "The Commentator" rather than by name in Latin Christian writings.
Michael Scot (1175 – c. 1232) was the first Latin translator of Averroes who translated the long commentaries of Physics, Metaphysics, On the Soul and On the Heavens, as well as multiple middle and short commentaries, starting in 1217 in Paris and Toledo. Following this, European authors such as Hermannus Alemannus, William de Luna and Armengaud of Montpellier translated Averroes' other works, sometimes with help from Jewish authors. Soon after, Averroes' works propagated among Christian scholars in the scholastic tradition. His writing attracted a strong circle of followers known as the Latin Averroists. Paris and Padua were major centers of Latin Averroism, and its prominent thirteenth-century leaders included Siger of Brabant and Boethius of Dacia.
Authorities of the Roman Catholic Church reacted against the spread of Averroism. In 1270, the Bishop of Paris Étienne Tempier issued a condemnation against 15 doctrines—many of which were Aristotelian or Averroist—that he said were in conflict with the doctrines of the church. In 1277, at the request of Pope John XXI, Tempier issued another condemnation, this time targeting 219 theses drawn from many sources, mainly the teachings of Aristotle and Averroes.
Averroes received a mixed reception from other Catholic thinkers; Thomas Aquinas, a leading Catholic thinker of the thirteenth century, relied extensively on Averroes' interpretation of Aristotle but disagreed with him on many points. For example, he wrote a detailed attack on Averroes' theory that all humans share the same intellect. He also opposed Averroes on the eternity of the universe and divine providence.
The Catholic Church's condemnations of 1270 and 1277, and the detailed critique by Aquinas weakened the spread of Averroism in Latin Christendom, though it maintained a following until the sixteenth century, when European thought began to diverge from Aristotelianism. Leading Averroists in the following centuries included John of Jandun and Marsilius of Padua (fourteenth century), Gaetano da Thiene and Pietro Pomponazzi (fifteenth century), and Agostino Nifo and Marcantonio Zimara (sixteenth century).
Averroes had no major influence on Islamic philosophic thought until modern times. Part of the reason was geography; Averroes lived in Spain, the extreme west of the Islamic civilization far from the centers of Islamic intellectual traditions. Also, his philosophy may not have appealed to Islamic scholars of his time. His focus on Aristotle's works was outdated in the twelfth-century Muslim world, which had already scrutinized Aristotle since the ninth century and by now was engaging deeply with newer schools of thought, especially that of Avicenna. In the nineteenth century, Muslim thinkers begin to engage with the works Averroes again. By this time, there was a cultural renaissance called Al-Nahda ("reawakening") in the Arabic-speaking world and the works of Averroes were seen as inspiration to modernize the Muslim intellectual tradition.
References to Averroes appear in the popular culture of both the Western and Muslim world. The poem The Divine Comedy by the Italian writer Dante Alighieri, completed in 1320, depicts Averroes, "who made the Great Commentary", along with other non-Christian Greek and Muslim thinkers, in Limbo around Saladin. The prologue of The Canterbury Tales (1387) by Geoffrey Chaucer lists Averroes among other medical authorities known in Europe at the time. Averroes is depicted in Raphael's 1501 fresco The School of Athens that decorates the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, which features seminal figures of philosophy. In the painting, Averroes wears a green robe and a turban, and peers out from behind Pythagoras, who is shown writing a book.
A 1947 short story by Jorge Luis Borges, "Averroes's Search" (Spanish: La Busca de Averroes), features his attempts to understand Aristotle's Poetics within a culture that lacks a tradition of live theatrical performance. Averroes is also the hero of the 1997 Egyptian movie Destiny by Youssef Chahine, made partly in commemoration of the 800th anniversary of his death.
Le nom latin d' Averroès s'est formé d'Ibn-Roschd par l'effet de la prononciation espagnole, où Ibn devient Aben ou Aven.
Peu de noms ont subi des transcriptions aussi variées : Ibin-Rosdin, Filius Rosadis, Ibn Rusid, Ben-Raxid, Ibn Ruschod, Ben-Resched, Aben Rassad, Aben-Rois, Aben-Rasd. Aben-Rust, Avenrosd, Avenryz, Adveroys, Benroist, Avenroyth, Averroysta, etc.
8318 Averroes, provisional designation 1306 T-2, is a dark Themistian asteroid from the outer regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 10 kilometers (6 miles) in diameter. It was discovered on 29 September 1973, by Dutch astronomers Ingrid and Cornelis van Houten at Leiden, and Tom Gehrels the Palomar Observatory. The likely C-type asteroid was named after medieval Muslim astronomer Averroes.Active intellect
The active intellect (Latin: intellectus agens; also translated as agent intellect, active intelligence, active reason, or productive intellect) is a concept in classical and medieval philosophy. The term refers to the formal (morphe) aspect of the intellect (nous), in accordance with the theory of hylomorphism.
The nature of the active intellect was the subject of intense discussion in medieval philosophy, as various Muslim, Jewish and Christian thinkers sought to reconcile their commitment to Aristotle's account of the body and soul to their own theological commitments. At stake in particular was in what way Aristotle's account of an incorporeal soul might contribute to understanding of the nature of eternal life.Aristotelianism
Aristotelianism ( ARR-i-stə-TEE-lee-ə-niz-əm) is a tradition of philosophy that takes its defining inspiration from the work of Aristotle. This school of thought, in the modern sense of philosophy, covers existence, ethics, mind and related subjects. In Aristotle's time, philosophy included natural philosophy, which preceded the advent of modern science during the Scientific Revolution. The works of Aristotle were initially defended by the members of the Peripatetic school and later on by the Neoplatonists, who produced many commentaries on Aristotle's writings. In the Islamic Golden Age, Avicenna and Averroes translated the works of Aristotle into Arabic and under them, along with philosophers such as Al-Kindi and Al-Farabi, Aristotelianism became a major part of early Islamic philosophy.
Moses Maimonides adopted Aristotelianism from the Islamic scholars and based his famous Guide for the Perplexed on it and that became the basis of Jewish scholastic philosophy. Although some of Aristotle's logical works were known to western Europe, it was not until the Latin translations of the 12th century that the works of Aristotle and his Arabic commentators became widely available. Scholars such as Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas interpreted and systematized Aristotle's works in accordance with Christian theology.
After retreating under criticism from modern natural philosophers, the distinctively Aristotelian idea of teleology was transmitted through Wolff and Kant to Hegel, who applied it to history as a totality. Although this project was criticized by Trendelenburg and Brentano as non-Aristotelian, Hegel's influence is now often said to be responsible for an important Aristotelian influence upon Marx.
Recent Aristotelian ethical and "practical" philosophy, such as that of Gadamer and McDowell, is often premissed upon a rejection of Aristotelianism's traditional metaphysical or theoretical philosophy. From this viewpoint, the early modern tradition of political republicanism, which views the res publica, public sphere or state as constituted by its citizens' virtuous activity, can appear thoroughly Aristotelian.
The most famous contemporary Aristotelian philosopher is Alasdair MacIntyre. Especially famous for helping to revive virtue ethics in his book After Virtue, MacIntyre revises Aristotelianism with the argument that the highest temporal goods, which are internal to human beings, are actualized through participation in social practices. He juxtaposes Aristotelianism with the managerial institutions of capitalism and its state, and with rival traditions — including the philosophies of Hume and Nietzsche — that reject Aristotle's idea of essentially human goods and virtues and instead legitimate capitalism. Therefore, on MacIntyre's account, Aristotelianism is not identical with Western philosophy as a whole; rather, it is "the best theory so far, [including] the best theory so far about what makes a particular theory the best one." Politically and socially, it has been characterized as a newly "revolutionary Aristotelianism". This may be contrasted with the more conventional, apolitical and effectively conservative uses of Aristotle by, for example, Gadamer and McDowell. Other important contemporary Aristotelian theorists include Fred D. Miller, Jr. in politics and Rosalind Hursthouse in ethics.Averroes' theory of the unity of the intellect
The unity of the intellect is a philosophical theory proposed by the Muslim medieval Andalusian philosopher Averroes (1126–1198), which asserted that all humans share the same intellect. Averroes expounded his theory in his long commentary of On the Soul to explain how universal knowledge is possible within the Aristotelian theory of mind. Averroes' theory was influenced by related ideas by previous thinkers such as Aristotle, Plotinus, Al-Farabi, Avicenna (Ibn Sina) and Avempace (Ibn Bajja).
When Averroes' works were translated into Latin, this theory was taken up and expanded by Averroists in Western Europe in the following centuries, such as Siger of Brabant, John of Jandun and John Baconthorpe. It also influenced the secularist political philosophy of Dante Alighieri in the fourteenth century. However, it was rejected by other philosophers—including Thomas Aquinas, who wrote a detailed critique—and received condemnation by Catholic Church authorities. In modern times, it is no longer seen as a tenable theory and is considered a product of Averroes' time.Averroes's Search
"Averroës's Search" (original Spanish title: "La Busca de Averroes") is a 1947 short story by the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. Originally published in the magazine Sur, it was later included in his second anthology of short stories, El Aleph.Averroes High School
Founded in 2010, Averroes High School is a college preparatory Islamic high school (grades 9-12) in Fremont, California. It is the first Islamic school in the Bay Area.Averroism
Averroism refers to a school of medieval philosophy based on the application of the works of 12th-century Andalusian Islamic philosopher Averroes, a Muslim commentator on Aristotle, in 13th-century Latin Christian scholasticism.
Latin translations of Averroes' work became widely available at the universities which were springing up in Western Europe in the 13th century, and were received by scholasticists such as Siger of Brabant, Boetius of Dacia who examined Christian doctrines through reasoning and intellectual analysis.The term Averroist was coined by Thomas Aquinas in the restricted sense of the Averroists' "unity of the intellect" doctrine in his book De unitate intellectus contra Averroistas.
Based on this, Averroism came to be near-synonymous with atheism in late medieval usage.As a historiographical category, Averroism was first defined by Ernest Renan in Averroès et l'averroïsme (1852) in the sense of
radical or heterodox Aristotelianism.The reception of Averroes in Jewish thought has been termed "Jewish Averroism".
Jewish Averroist thought flourished in the later 14th century, and gradually declined in the course of the 15th century.
The last representative of Jewish Averroism was Elia del Medigo, writing in 1485.Beit al-Mamlouka Hotel
Beit al-Mamlouka (Arabic: بيت المملوكة) is a luxury boutique hotel located in the old city of Damascus, Syria. It was established in 2005 in the city's oldest borough, the Christian quarter of Bab Touma ("St. Thomas' Gate").The hotel is a restoration of a 17th-century Damascene house and offers 8 different rooms each named after a famous historic figure of Arab or Muslim history, like Averroes and Baybars. There are original paintings and features from the 18th century, together with a mid 16th century archway and a 200-year Christian fresco.Certainty
Certainty is perfect knowledge that has total security from error, or the mental state of being without doubt.
Objectively defined, certainty is total continuity and validity of all foundational inquiry, to the highest degree of precision. Something is certain only if no skepticism can occur. Philosophy (at least, historical Cartesian philosophy) seeks this state.Commentator
A commentator is a person who comments or expresses an opinion on a subject.
Commentator or commentators may refer to:
Commentator (historical) or Postglossator, a member of a European legal school which arose in France in the fourteenth century
Commentator (horse) (foaled March 27, 2001), American Thoroughbred racehorse
The Commentator, Ibn Rushd or Averroes (1126-1198), an Andalusian philosopher
"The Commentators", a 1985 UK parody single by the impressionist Rory Bremner
The Commentator, a political news and comment website published by Robin Shepherd
Oregon Commentator, formerly a student publication at the University of Oregon
Sports commentator, someone who gives a running commentary of a sports game or event
Color commentator, an expert who provides analysis and background information during a sports event
Pundit, one who offers to mass media their opinion or commentary on a particular subject area
Someone who offers biblical commentaries
Someone who wrote commentaries on AristotleDestiny (1997 film)
Destiny (Arabic: المصير, translit. Al-massir) is a 1997 French-Egyptian historical drama film directed by Youssef Chahine. It was screened out of competition at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. The film was selected as the Egyptian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 70th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.The film is about Averroes, a 12th-century philosopher from Andalusia who would be known as the most important commentator on Aristotle.Ibn Zuhr
Ibn Zuhr (Arabic: ابن زهر; 1094–1162), traditionally known by his Latinized name of Avenzoar, was an Arab physician, surgeon, and poet. He was born at Seville in medieval Andalusia (present-day Spain), was a contemporary of Averroes and Ibn Tufail, and was the most well-regarded physician of his era. He was particularly known for his emphasis on a more rational, empiric basis of medicine. His major work, Al-Taysīr fil-Mudāwāt wal-Tadbīr ("Book of Simplification Concerning Therapeutics and Diet"), was translated into Latin and Hebrew and was influential to the progress of surgery. He also improved surgical and medical knowledge by keying out several diseases and their treatments.
Ibn Zuhr performed the first experimental tracheotomy on a goat. He is thought to have made the earliest description of bezoar stones as medicinal items.Islamic philosophy
Two terms traditionally used in the Islamic world are sometimes translated as philosophy—falsafa (literally: "philosophy"), which refers to philosophy as well as logic, mathematics, and physics; and Kalam (literally "speech"), which refers to a rationalist form of Islamic theology.
Early Islamic philosophy began with al-Kindi in the 2nd century of the Islamic calendar (early 9th century CE) and ended with Averroes (Ibn Rushd) in the 6th century AH (late 12th century CE), broadly coinciding with the period known as the Golden Age of Islam. The death of Averroes effectively marked the end of a particular discipline of Islamic philosophy usually called the Peripatetic Arabic School, and philosophical activity declined significantly in Western Islamic countries such as Islamic Iberia and North Africa.
Islamic philosophy persisted for much longer in Muslim Eastern countries, in particular Safavid Persia, Ottoman and Mughal Empires, where several schools of philosophy continued to flourish: Avicennism, Averroism, Illuminationist philosophy, Mystical philosophy, Transcendent theosophy, and Isfahan philosophy. Ibn Khaldun, in his Muqaddimah, made important contributions to the philosophy of history. Interest in Islamic philosophy revived during the Nahda ("Awakening") movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and continues to the present day.
Islamic philosophy had a major impact in Christian Europe, where translation of Arabic philosophical texts into Latin "led to the transformation of almost all philosophical disciplines in the medieval Latin world", with a particularly strong influence of Muslim philosophers being felt in natural philosophy, psychology and metaphysics.Lycée-Collège Averroès
Lycée-Collège Averroès is a private Muslim junior and senior high school/high school and sixth-form college in Lille, France. It contracted with the state and receives government subsidies, doing so since 2008; As of 2013 it is the only Islamic secondary school in France to do so. The Lycée is located in Lille-Sud adjacent to a mosque.Moses ben Joshua
Moses Narbonne, also known as Moses of Narbonne, mestre Vidal Bellshom, maestro Vidal Blasom, and Moses Narboni, was a medieval Catalan philosopher and physician. He was born at Perpignan, in the Kingdom of Majorca, at the end of the thirteenth century and died sometime after 1362. He began studying philosophy with his father when he was thirteen and then studied with Moses and Abraham Caslari. He studied medicine and eventually became a successful physician, and was well versed in Biblical and rabbinical literature.
Eventually he traveled to the Crown of Aragon, where he is known to have lived and studied in Cervera (1348-1349), Barcelona and Valencia, and later in Toledo, Burgos and Soria (1358-1362), in the Kingdom of Castile. In 1362 he retourned to Perpignan and died there. During the outbreak of the Black Death when persecution of Jews was widespread, ben Joshua was forced to flee Cervera when an angry mob attacked the Jewish community there. During his stay in Barcelona, he wrote a commentary on the medieval philosophical tale Hayy Ibn-Yaqzan, in which he called to appropriate autodidactisicm as a pedagogical program.Moses was an admirer of Averroes; he devoted a great deal of study to his works and wrote commentaries on a number of them. Perhaps Narboni's best known work is his Treatise on the Perfection of the Soul.
He believed that Judaism was a guide to the highest degree of theoretical and moral truth. In common with others of his era he believed that the Torah had both a simple, direct meaning accessible to the average reader as well as a deeper, metaphysical meaning accessible to thinkers. He rejected the belief in miracles, instead believing they could be explained, and defended man's free will by philosophical arguments. Because of these and other beliefs, he was not accepted by many in the rabbinical Jewish community for fear of his figurative membership in the school of extreme rationalism which gave rise to questions of his legitimacy as an authority on Jewish law, custom and philosophy.He died at an advanced age as he was returning to his native land from Soria.On the Harmony of Religions and Philosophy
Fasl al-Maqal fi ma bayn al-Hikma wa al-Shariah min Ittisal (Arabic: فصل المقال في ما بين الحكمة و الشريعة من إتصال often translated as On the Harmony of Religions and Philosophy or The Decisive Treatise, Determining the Nature of the Connection between Religion and Philosophy, with the latter often shortened to The Decisive Treatise) is an Islamic philosophical treatise written by Andalusian Muslim polymath and philosopher Ibn Rushd (Averroes) (1126–1198), in which the author "critically examine[s] the alleged tension between philosophy and religion" and concludes that philosophy (in particular, Aristotelian philosophy) is not in opposition to—and in fact, works in tandem with—Islamic thought. In the work, Averroes argues that some Muslims have an obligation to study philosophy, and that the subject should be considered an Islamic science. The work also contains several other unique ideas, including Averroes' assertion that the Qur’an should sometimes be read in a non-literal way. According to William Theodore De Bary and Ainslie Embree, On the Harmony of Religions and Philosophy represents a "classic attempt to reconcile religion and philosophy."Passive intellect
The passive intellect (Latin: intellectus possibilis; also translated as potential intellect or material intellect), is a term used in philosophy alongside the notion of the active intellect in order to give an account of the operation of the intellect (nous), in accordance with the theory of hylomorphism, as most famously put forward by Aristotle.The Incoherence of the Incoherence
The Incoherence of the Incoherence (Arabic: تهافت التهافت Tahāfut al-Tahāfut) by Andalusian Muslim polymath and philosopher Averroes (Arabic, ibn Rushd, 1126–1198) is an important Islamic philosophical treatise in which the author defends the use of Aristotelian philosophy within Islamic thought.
It was written in the style of a dialogue against al-Ghazali's claims in The Incoherence of the Philosophers (Tahāfut al-Falasifa), which criticized Neoplatonic thought.
Originally written in Arabic, The Incoherence of the Incoherence was subsequently translated into many other languages. The book is considered Averroes' landmark; in it, he tries to create harmony between faith and philosophy.The School of Athens
The School of Athens (Italian: Scuola di Atene) is a fresco by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. It was painted between 1509 and 1511 as a part of Raphael's commission to decorate the rooms now known as the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. The Stanza della Segnatura was the first of the rooms to be decorated, and The School of Athens, representing Philosophy, was probably the third painting to be finished there, after La Disputa (Theology) on the opposite wall, and the Parnassus (Literature). The picture has long been seen as "Raphael's masterpiece and the perfect embodiment of the classical spirit of the Renaissance".