This article explicates Averroes's understanding of human knowing and abstraction in this three commentaries on Aristotle's De Anima. While Averroes's views on the nature of the human material intellect changes through the three commentaries until he reaches is famous view of the unity of the material intellect as one for all human beings, his view of the agent intellect as 'form for us' is sustained throughout these works. In his Long Commentary on the De Anima he reveals his dependence on (...) al-Fârâbî for this notion and provides a detailed critique of the Farabian notion that the agent intellect is 'form for us' only as agent cause, not as our true formal cause. Although Averroes argues that the agent intellect must somehow be intrinsic to us as our form since humans are per se rational and undertake acts of knowing by will, his view is shown to rest on an equivocal use of the notion of formal cause. The agent intellect cannot be properly our intrinsic formal principle while remaining ontologically separate. (shrink)
Do our lives have meaning? Should we create more people? Is death bad? Should we commit suicide? Would it be better if we were immortal? Should we be optimistic or pessimistic? Life, Death, and Meaning brings together key readings, primarily by English-speaking philosophers, on such 'big questions.'.
Born in 1126 to a family of Maliki legal scholars, Ibn Rushd, known as Averroes, enjoyed a long career in religious jurisprudence at Seville and Cordoba while at the same time advancing his philosophical studies of the works of Aristotle. This translation of Averroes’ Long Commentary on Aristotle’s _De Anima_ brings to English-language readers the complete text of this influential work of medieval philosophy. Richard C. Taylor provides rich notes on the Long Commentary and a generous introduction that discusses Averroes’ (...) most mature reflections on Aristotle’s teachings as well as Averroes' comprehensive philosophical views on soul and intellect. It is only in the Long Commentary that Averroes finally resolves to his satisfaction the much vexed issue of the nature of intellect, Taylor shows. (shrink)
Averroes asserts in his Long Commentary on the De Anima and in his Long Commentary on the Metaphysics that principles of the science of metaphysics are established in the science of psychology. In psychology, human intellectual understanding is found to require the separate agent intellect for the coming to be of knowledge. The analysis of human psychology establishes that intellect must exist and must be separate from the human being in existence. Moreover there exists potency in those things called intellect, (...) thanks to the argument for the existence of the material intellect. (shrink)
Philosophy written in Arabic and in the Islamic world represents one of the great traditions of Western philosophy. Inspired by Greek philosophical works and the indigenous ideas of Islamic theology, Arabic philosophers from the ninth century onwards put forward ideas of great philosophical and historical importance. This collection of essays, by some of the leading scholars in Arabic philosophy, provides an introduction to the field by way of chapters devoted to individual thinkers or groups, especially during the 'classical' period from (...) the ninth to the twelfth centuries. It also includes chapters on areas of philosophical inquiry across the tradition, such as ethics and metaphysics. Finally, it includes chapters on later Islamic thought, and on the connections between Arabic philosophy and Greek, Jewish, and Latin philosophy. The volume also includes a useful bibliography and a chronology of the most important Arabic thinkers. (shrink)
Al-Fârâbî’s thought on intellect was known to the Latin West through the translation of his Letter on the Intellect, through the Long Commentary on the De Anima by Averroes and through some other works. Al-Fârâbî identified the active power of intellect in Aristotle’s De Anima 3.5 as the unique and separately existing Agent Intellect, but the role of the Agent Intellect in forming intelligibles in act in the human soul is by no means unequivocally clear. Further, the apprehension of intelligibles (...) by human beings and the intellectual development of the soul, oftentimes described as an activity of abstracting (intaza`a), seems to be a genuineabstraction from experience, yet it somehow involves the emanative power of the Agent Intellect. This paper works to provide a coherent explanation of the natureof abstraction and the role of Agent Intellect in that activity. (shrink)