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 ?
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).
The leading idea here, one shared by Aquinas but not by the Latin Averroists or Aristotle himself, is that the ultimate end of human life is beatitude, which is achieved by union with and knowledge of God.
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.
It may not have been until 1513 that the Fifth Lateran Council condemned the Averroists and the Epicureans for believing "in the mortality or in the unity of the soul and the eternity of the world," and it may not have been until December 1516 that the Florentine synod outlawed reading De rerum natura in the local schools on the grounds that it was "a lascivious and wicked work, in which every effort is used to demonstrate the mortality of the soul.
66) He claimed that without a true beginning and end, there could be no real exemplary relationship between God and creation, a position he defended against the Averroists.
These authors had recently begun to stage a battle against the double-truth doctrine of the so-called Averroists, according to whom certain philosophical statements could be philosophically true while at the same time being theologically wrong.
Thus, while both writers were Averroists, their works did not conform to one another.
But he was thinking of the Averroists at the Faculty of Arts in Paris against whom he would write his treatise De unitate intellectus contra averroistas.
Indeed, nearly all the world is inhabited by the Peripatetics and divided into two schools, the Alexandrists and the Averroists.
The Latin Averroists defended the latter position and held that there is one specific form of humanity, and thus one intellect, for all human beings; it is this universal intellect that subsists without respect to any material body.
Averroists, in general, found it difficult to reconcile the roles of sensory representations and active intellect in producing both intelligible species and mental acts.
To appreciate the full depth of his attacks on the Averroists, one needs to be presented with an analysis and appreciation of the Averroist position that is sufficiently penetrating to explain why Aquinas would consider Averroes a worthy though pernicious philosophical adversary.