Category Archives: Islam-Medieval

Averroes: The Decisive Treatise (II) – Faith, Reason, and Rhetoric

Averroes devotes his Decisive Treatise to a single theme: a defense of synthesizing the dictates of revealed religion with external philosophical concerns. Inasmuch as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have all been forced to deal with this question, it seems that … Continue reading

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Averroes: The Book of the Decisive Treatise (I)

The theme of Averroes’ Decisive Treatise is, as he puts it, “to investigate, from the perspective of Law-based reflection, whether reflection upon philosophy and the sciences of logic is permitted, prohibited, or commanded – and this as a recommendation or … Continue reading

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Avicenna, Pt. II

As mentioned in the previous installment, Avicenna is famous for making a distinction between essence (“what it is”) and existence (“that it is”) regarding contingent beings. Given that at the same time as he was attempting to correlate Muslim doctrine … Continue reading

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Avicenna, Pt. I

This set of posts will be exploratory in nature. Not being a professional philosopher or even a full-time student of philosophy, I represent my presentations or conclusions in these posts to be merely provisionally informative, the result of my non-specialist … Continue reading

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God’s Word and God’s world

In On Christian Doctrine III.10.14, St. Augustine has famously told us that “Whatever there is in the word of God that cannot, when taken literally, be referred either to purity of life or soundness of doctrine, you may set down … Continue reading

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Aristotelians, Nestorians, and Arabs

You learn something new every day. It’s common enough in histories of Medieval philosophy to read about the lack of most of Aristotle’s corpus in the West until the beginning of the 13th century, and particularly that the Latin West … Continue reading

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Al-Ghazali and Averroes: Islamic “Nominalism” vs. Islamic “Realism,” Pt. III

Returning to his earlier example of there being no necessary causal connection between fire and the burning of a piece of cotton brought into contact with the fire, Al-Ghazali gets to the root of his voluntaristic understanding of God: “If … Continue reading

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Al-Ghazali and Averroes: Islamic “Nominalism” vs. Islamic “Realism,” Pt. II

In the last entry I cautiously described the Medieval Arabic philosophers Al-Ghazali and Averroes as, respectively, an Islamic “nominalist” and an Islamic “realist.” Strictly speaking, I suppose the characteristic of Al-Ghazali with which I am here dealing is actually “voluntarism,” … Continue reading

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Al-Ghazali and Averroes: Islamic “Nominalism” vs. Islamic “Realism,” Pt. I

While I’m not sure if the characterizations of “nominalist” and “realist” properly apply to the 11th and 12th century Muslim philosophers Al-Ghazali and Averroes,:”(Indeed, over the past several years I have found myself increasingly having to revise my early thoughts … Continue reading

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