Maimonides’ Proofs for the Existence of God and their Aristotelian Background in the „Guide of the Perplexed“

In Jan Aertsen & Andreas Speer (eds.), Was ist Philosophie im Mittelalter? Qu'est-ce que la philosophie au moyen âge? What is Philosophy in the Middle Ages?: Akten des X. Internationalen Kongresses für Mittelalterliche Philosophie der Société Internationale pour l'Etude de la Philosophie Médié. Erfurt: De Gruyter. pp. 914-921 (1997)
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Maimonides looks for the true axiom for a demonstration of the existence of God, and he finds it in the universal fact of movement. His logical argumentation is as follows: given the hypothesis of the eternity of the Universe, of its eternal movement, if we can think of a First Mover, that Mover has all the characteristics of the First Principle according to Aristotle; the characteristics of eternity and to be essentially moving. Maimonides' contribution to the Aristotelian theory of the First Principle is precisely the crossing of the invisible barrier between the physical proof of the First Mover and the metaphysical proof of the First Principle. By transforming Aristotle's corollary into the postulate that supports the whole proof, Maimonides avoids the aporia of the First Principle being confused with the First Mover. But setting a postulate, that is, a proposition whose opposite is equally possible, at the foundations of the theory, transforms what was meant to be "a true and indubitable proof" into a scientific theory in the modern sense of the term: a theory that can be accepted as true only regarding certain parameters or system of propositions. If there was creation of the world in time, then no doubt there is a Creator. If the world is eternally moving, then it has a Mover that is essentially moving, incorporeal, one and eternal itself, namely the divinity.



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Mercedes Rubio
Universidad Villanueva (Madrid, Spain)

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