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Averroës

Averroës (əvĕrˈōēz) [key], Arabic Ibn Rushd, 1126–98, Spanish-Arab philosopher. He was far more important and influential in Jewish and Christian thought than in Islam. He was a lawyer and physician of Córdoba and lived for some time in Morocco in favor with the caliphs. He was banished for a period, probably for suspected heresy. Averroës's greatest work was his commentaries on Aristotle. The Averroistic interpretation of Aristotle remained influential long after his death and was a matter of intellectual speculation well into the Renaissance. He attempted to delimit the separate domains of faith and reason, pointing out that the two need not be reconciled because they did not conflict. He declared philosophy the highest form of inquiry. He had the same Neoplatonic cast to his metaphysics as Avempace, to whom he was certainly indebted for his ideas on the intellect. Averroist doctrines on personal immortality and the eternity of matter were condemned by the Roman Catholic Church. St. Thomas Aquinas was respectful of Averroës, but he attacked the Averroist contention that philosophic truth is derived from reason and not from faith. See scholasticism. Averroës's works in English translation include Incoherence of the Incoherence, ed. by Simon Van Den Bergh (1955); On Aristotle's De Generatione et Corruptione, ed. by Samuel Kurland (1958); Commentary on Plato's Republic, ed. by E. I. J. Rosenthal (1956, repr. 1966); and On the Harmony of Religion and Philosophy, ed. by G. F. Hourani (1961).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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