Averroism

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Averroism

 

a trend in medieval philosophy founded by the 12th-century Arab philosopher ibn-Rushd (Aver-roës). Averroism developed the materialistic tendencies of ibn-Rushd’s interpretation of Aristotle—the idea of the eternity and, consequently, the absence of creation of the world, the mortality of the soul, and the theory of double truth—separating and even opposing knowledge to faith, philosophy to theology. Thus, in Averroism an antitheolog-ical tendency revealed itself—that “joyous free thinking,” which, as Engels put it, came to the Romance peoples from the Arabs and paved the way for the materialism of the 18th century (see his Dialectic of Nature, 1969, p. 7). Averroism was disseminated in Western Europe as a result of the Latin translations of ibn-Rushd’s works; its main representative there was Siger de Brabant, who was criticized by Thomas Aquinas in De unitate intellectus contra Averrois-tas. The persecution of the Averroists by the Catholic Church did not end their influence on European philosophy, as the appearance of the Spanish philosopher Lully in the 13th century demonstrates. In Italy, especially at the University of Padua, Averroism remained an influence until the 16th century. In 1513, Averroism was condemned by the Benevento council.

REFERENCES

Renan, E. Averroes i averroizm. Kiev, 1903. (Translated from French.)
Trakhtenberg, O. Ocherki po istorii zap.-evrop. sr.-vek. filosofii. Moscow, 1957.
Ley, H. Ocherk istorii sr.-vek. materializma. Moscow, 1962. (Translated from German.)
O’Leary, De Lacy E. Arabic Thought and Its Place in History. London, 1939.

S. N. GRIGORIAN

References in periodicals archive ?
Aquinas presents two attempts of the Averroists to explain how a human being thinks when the principle of thinking is a separate substance, and then shows why they are unsuccessful.
And Cantor believes Dante to have been not a Christian but an Averroist.
Still more interesting is that Thomas' attack on Siger and Tempier's attack on Averroists had had its pre-history which proves that the combat against Averroists had in fact its roots in the rift between Franciscan and Dominican views and that certain of Thomas's propositions (his clinging to creatio in theology and his concession to eternity in philosophy), together with their more or less supposed Averroism, had exactly been in the backsight of Franciscan friars (among these of Bonaventure) before the escalation of events in the 1270s (Gilson 2006:26-30).
That theology can correct the errant philosopher is a significant point that would never be conceded by the Latin Averroists.
Aquinas famously felt compelled to defend the Christian faith against the Averroist interpretation of Aristotle proposed in the 1260s by Siger of Brabant in his treatise De unitate intellectus.
Angel Martinez Casado was the first to situate the movement in what seems to be its most realistic context: radical Aristotelianism, or even Averroist Aristotelianism, directly connected to the twelfth-century translation schools that occupied themselves with Latinizing the Arabic peripatetics.
On the other hand, Ficino spends much of this book refuting the Averroist notion that there was a unity of intellect for all humankind, a notion that would destroy individual immortality, effectively merging the individual human soul, separated from the body after death, with a vast, eternal (but undifferentiated) intellect, so that individual rewards and punishments would be out of the question and a staple of Platonic-Christian ethics would become impossible.
II: "Nota sulla cultura 'bolognese' del Boccaccio, dal Decameron alle Esposizioni" e il riferimento alla lettera, forse non a caso dispersa, a Boccaccio, ivi, 55); Libera ("Petrarque et la romanite" 26-27) ipotizza che l'ostilita di Petrarca nei confronti degli "averroisti" possa risalire agli anni del suo giovanile soggiorno bolognese; Kristeller, "Petrarch's Averroists," ha ben chiarito come l'aristotelismo del quattro accusatori di Petrarca sia di marca bolognese, non padovana.
The Aristotelian tradition was lost for centuries to the Christian world, preserved only in the Arab writings of Averroes and Al-Bitrogi, translated into Latin only late in the Middle Ages in the court of Alfonso X of Castille; it was adopted during the Renaissance by the hallan Averroists of the School of Padua and, according to Duhem, inherited by Copernicans and Inquisitors alike (although with obviously competing interpretations) during the Galilean trials.
Strauss would probably have had no quarrel with Machiavelli and Hobbes had they been good Averroists or good Epicureans, but they were not.
In fact, the immortality of the individual soul had been questioned much earlier by Aristotelians and especially more recently by Averroists.
Back in Paris, in debate with the Averroists, he composed the treatises On the Eternity of the World and On the Soul, together with another series of commentaries on works of Aristotle.