Islamic Philosophy – Averroes
Averroes (1126-1198), like Maimonides lived in Cordoba, Spain. Like Avicenna, his name, Ibn Rushd, was Latinized by Europeans. He wrote commentaries on all of Aristotle’s works, and like Avicenna he was central for Europe’s understanding of Aristotle. Against Ghazali’s book The Incoherence of the Philosophers, Averroes wrote The Incoherence of the Incoherence, arguing against skepticism for the pursuit of universal knowledge.
He turned back to Aristotle from Avicenna, and Europe largely followed him, arguing that universals are physical sets of things and not mental concepts. It was only with Sir Francis Bacon in the 1600s declaring Aristotle’s syllogisms, his forms of reasoning, as too rigid for the progress of the sciences that Europe turned from Averroism. Below is a European medieval depiction of Averroes in dialog about Aristotle with the Neoplatonist philosopher Porphyry of ancient Rome, which could not have happened as the two lived almost a thousand years apart.