Kaczmarek Piotr
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49(2013)2 - Papers

Piotr Kaczmarek

Was Averroes an averroist?

  • language: Polish


Abstract

We can identify many branches of philosophy in 13th century Europe. The newly rediscovered philosophy of Aristotle, brought together the so–called “averroists”. The title “averroist” became linked with Averroes, a Muslim philhosopher in the 12th century. This article examines the philosophy of Averroes with the aim of showing that the linking of averroist approaches with his name is oversimplistic. The article does this in a few ways. The main sources of this exploration are two works written by Averroes: “The Decisive Treatise” (Fasl al.-maqal) and “Faith and Reason in Islam” (Al.-Kaszf an manahidż al.-adilla).

The first issue is in regard to free will and determinism. Averroes placed predestination, as put forward by averroists, between two extremes: occasionalism and determinism. The philosopher from Cordoba argued that the man is not a fully determined being but moves in accordance with certain laws, for which he requires the grace of God to fulfil. The next part of the article looks at the soul. Averroists thought that a human soul is mortal and dies with the body. They believed that there is one common soul for all mankind. However, this is not Averroes’ theory. In examining his writings, it is clearly seen that he believed in the existence of individual souls after death, in a life following the resurrection. The final matter involves the theory of “double–truth”. Advocates of this idea believe that there are two independent ways of discovering the truth: theological and philosophical. Averroists argued that theology and philosophy are independent of one another and that each has its own truth. In our article we demonstrate that Averroes is not an atheist, for whom theological truth has no real value. On the contrary, he was a faithful Muslim, who respected the creed of his religion. However, Averroes (aka Ibn Rushd) showed three ways of reasoning. He divided people into three groups: philosophers, theologians and the common people. According to him, each group uses its own methodological tools. The common people understand the truth of their faith based on the methods of rhetoric, theologians are dialecticians, and philosophers use the syllogic demonstration, which is the most effective way of arriving at the truth. Certainly the study of Averroes’ philosophy remains a constant task. One needs to bear in mind however, that one should always try to distinguish his original thoughts from his comments on the works of Aristotle, which do not always correspond to his own views.

 

 
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48(2012)2 - Reviews and Reports

Piotr Kaczmarek

 

Przewodnik po filozofii średniowiecznej. Od św. Augustyna do Joachima z Fiore, red. Agnieszka Kijewska, Wydawnictwo WAM, Kraków 2012, ss. 408

  • language: Polish