Averroism is the term applied to either of two philosophical trends among scholastics in the late
13th century, the first of which was based on the Arab philosopher Averroës or Ibn Rushd's interpretations of Aristotleand his reconciliation of Aristotelianismwith the Islamic faith.Fact|date=January 2008 European philosophers in turn applied these ideas to Aristotle's writings and their relation to the Christianfaith. Besides Averroes, the main philosophers involved in the movement were Siger of Brabantand Boetius of Dacia.Fact|date=January 2008
The main ideas of the earlier philosophical concept of Averroism — found in Averroës' commentaries to Aristotle — were:
*there is one truth, but there are (at least) two ways to reach it: through
philosophyand through religion;
soulis divided into two parts: one individual, and one divine;
*the individual soul is "not" eternal;
*all humans at the basic level share one and the same divine soul (an idea known as "
*resurrection of the dead is not possible (this was put forth by Boëtius);
This standpoint resulted in two condemnations in 1270 and 1277 by
bishop Etienne Tempierof the Roman Catholic Church. Tempier specified 219 different unacceptable Averroist theses. It has been pointed out [ Alain de Libera, introduction to "L'Islam et la raison".] that Tempier's main accusations are almost identical to those brought by Al-Ghazaliagainst philosophers in general in his " Incoherence of the Philosophers", which Averroes had tried to demonstrate to be unjustified.
To resolve the problem, Siger tried to claim that there existed a "double truth": a factual or "hard" truth that is reached through science and philosophy, and a "religious" truth that is reached through religion. This idea had not originated in Averroës; his idea was that there was one truth reached in different ways, not two truths. He did however believe that Scripture sometimes uses metaphorical language, but that those without the philosophical training to appreciate the true meaning of the passages in question were obliged to believe the literal meaning.The later philosophical concept of Averroism was the idea that the philosophical and religious worlds are separate entities. However, upon scrutinizing the 219 theses condemned by Tempier, it was obvious that not many of them originated in Averroës. "Radical
Aristotelianism" and "heterodox Aristotelianism" were the terms commonly used for a while to refer to the actual philosophical movement started by Siger and Boëthius and differentiate it from Averroism; nowadays most scholars just call it Averroism as well. Thomas Aquinasspecifically attacked the doctrine of monopsychismin his book "De unitate intellectus contra Averroistas". In this context, the term "Averroism" is used correctly.
Although condemned in
1277, many Averroistic theses survived to the 16th centuryand can be found in the philosophies of Giordano Bruno, Pico della Mirandola, and Cesare Cremonini.These theses talk about the superiority of philosophers to the common people and the relation between the intellect and human dignity. Benedict Spinozawas also notably influenced by Averroism, his pantheism flowing from Averroistic monopsychism, as was Spinoza's belief in the higher state of the philosophers and tendencies toward secularism.
The ideas on the separation of philosophy and religion found in Averroism were influential in the development of modern
secularism. [Abdel Wahab El Messeri. [http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/tvtk/ch21.htm Episode 21: Ibn Rushd] , "Everything you wanted to know about Islam but was afraid to Ask", "Philosophia Islamica".] [Fauzi M. Najjar (Spring, 1996). [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2501/is_n2_v18/ai_18627295/pg_13 The debate on Islam and secularism in Egypt] , "Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ)".] As a result, some Muslim scholars consider Averroes the founding father of secular thought in Western Europe. [Majid Fakhry (2001). "Averroes: His Life, Works and Influence". Oneworld Publications. ISBN 1851682694.]
Averroes, the founder of Averroism
The Incoherence of the Incoherence", an important work written by Averroes
Ramon Llull, who also attacked Averroism
Mohammed Abed Al-Jabri, a pro-Averroism contemporary Moroccan philosopher
* [http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ip/rep/B012.htm "Averroism"] from the
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy
* [http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ip/rep/J022.htm "Jewish Averroism"] , Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy
* [http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=2164&letter=A "Averroism"] from the
Jewish Encyclopedia(1906) - Averroism and the philosophy of Judaism.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.