Aristotle and Averroes

Philosophical Inquiry 25 (3-4):189-197 (2003)
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Abstract

This article begins by taking issue with Husserl’s claims on the inseparability of fact and essence. It is shown that factuality and essence are independent from each other, although not epistemologically separable. Turning to Aristotle and Averroes, it examines the claim that in order to have become aware of necessity as necessity one would have to have been aware of contingency. Establishing a difference between the world of necessary existence and the world of contingent existence as two realms of truth, the article then asks: what implications follow concerning the existence of the world from the fact that a relationship of two realms of truth is known as an essent when one of the terms of the relationship is a term which refers to the contingent world? Further, is it of any significance that the idea of necessary essence itself might not be noticeable if it were not for the fact that it could be contrasted with the kind of truth that could be otherwise? It is shown that it may be possible, apart from the possibility of ‘false contingency’, to think of essence without contingency, but that this possibility is not knowable to the philosopher due to the fact that the world in which the philosopher lives already includes and is apparently inseparable from contingent existence. The article then shifts attention to the necessary existence of consciousness, and to the claim that the necessary cognition that is the state of consciousness is the most basic (and indubitable) starting point of the philosophic scaffolding, a starting point which has been mistakenly ignored by contemporary Western philosophy. It is claimed that it is the philosopher’s task to populate the list of necessarily known truths which begins with Descartes’ claim that a consciousness exists and that that is an indubitable claim. Some examples are given, and the claim is advanced that an infinite number of certain truths can be generated, so long as the right starting point is chosen.

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Robert E. Allinson
Soka University

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