This book contains the first English translation of an important medieval treatise on Aristotle's Metaphysics. The original Arabic text was composed around 1160 by the famous Andalusian philosopher Averroes (Ibn Rushd).
Biography of Ibn Rushd ... Averroes, old heathen, If only you had been right, if Intellect Itself were absolute law, sufficient grace. Our lives could be a myth of captivity. Which we might enter: an unpeopled region.
Averroës, the greatest Aristotelian of the Islamic philosophical tradition, composed some thirty-eight commentaries on the "First Teacher's" corpus, including three separate treatments of De Anima ("On the Soul"): the works commonly referred to as the Short, Middle, and Long Commentaries. The Middle Commentary--actually Averroës's last writing on the text-remains one of his most refined and politically discreet treatments of Aristotle, offering modern readers Averroës's final statement on the material intellect and conjunction as well as an accessible historical window on Aristotle's (...) work as it was interpreted and transmitted in the medieval period. (shrink)
Averroës (Ibn Rushd, 1126-1198) emerged from an eminent family in Muslim Spain to become the first and last great Aristotelian of the classical Islamic world his meticulous commentaries influenced Christian thinkers and earned him favorable mention (and a relatively pleasant fate) in Dante's Divina Commedia . The Book of the Decisive Treatise was and remains one his most important works and one of history's best defenses of the legitimate role of reason in a community of faith. The text presents itself (...) as a plea before a tribunal in which the divinely revealed Law of Islam is the sole authority Averroës, critical of the anti-philosophical tone of the Islamic establishment, argues that the Law not only permits but also mandates the study of philosophy and syllogistic or logical reasoning, defending earlier Muslim philosophers and dismissing criticisms of them as more harmful to the Islamic community than the philosophers' own views had been. As he details the three fundamental methods the Law uses to aid people of varied capacities and temperaments, Averroës reveals a carefully formed and remarkably argued conception of the boundaries and uses of faith and reason. (shrink)