Averroës
(or Ibn Rushd ) (1126–1198)
The most distinguished and influential Islamic Aristotelian, Averroës was born in 1126 in Cordoba, and was educated in law and various sciences. He lived partly in Marrakesh, and became a judge in Seville in 1169. Towards the end of his life he fell into disgrace, but although exiled for a short time was restored to favour, and died in Marrakesh. The majority of his works were commentaries on the writings of Aristotle. Averroës wrote with the intention of rescuing Aristotle from Neoplatonic and religious impurities, especially as found in the works of Avicenna . In particular, whereas for Avicenna existence is an accident of essence, or in other words the universal or form precedes the individual thing, for Averroës individual substances are the primary existents, and the distinction between them and their essence is the work of the mind. He also criticized Avicenna's cosmological argument, holding instead that only physical arguments, such as that showing the need for a prime mover, can prove the existence of physical things. Averroës was much concerned with improving and expanding upon Aristotle's doctrine of the intellect and the soul, holding a curious doctrine of a universal and immaterial passive intellect, common to all, and providing what is common, and immortal, in human beings. Because he held non-Christian doctrines, including the eternity of the world, the absence of individual providence, and the doctrine of merely collective immortality, Averroës became associated with the doctrine of double truth, the slightly underhand way of reconciling theology and philosophy, although he himself never subscribed to such a view. As well as his 38 commentaries on Aristotle, he wrote the Incoherence of the Incoherence against the anti-rationalism of Al-Ghazali, works on medicine, a commentary on Plato's Republic, and treatises on religion.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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