Ortaçağ’da Bir Yorumcu: İbn Rüşd - Bir Giriş Metni

Ortaçağ Araştırmaları Dergisi (Oad) 2 (5):261-269 (2022)
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Monotheism is a product of abstract thought. Although it does not exactly overlap with the view of God in today's monotheistic religious beliefs, the thought of God in Ancient Greek philosophy, that is, the creative thought other than the creature, found its cores in Plato's Demiurge [Dēmiourgos], and this thought continued to develop with Aristotle, Plotinus and St Augustine. Thus, it can be said that the Christian faith, which includes the Jewish religion in terms of belief and Greek philosophy in terms of thought, easily managed to gain a place in the medieval world of thought. With the effort to rationalize and ground the Christian faith, philosophy has become an end rather than a means on this path. The translation of Aristotle's logical works (by Boethius) at the beginning of the 6th century gave an important impetus to the grounding of knowledge in sacred texts. However, the real influence of Aristotle occurred after the 13th century. The Crusades (1096-1272) and the Islamic world known through trade played an important role in this because the developments in Western Philosophy until the 13th century were largely based on translations and commentary texts in the Islamic world. In the Middle Ages, the person who was seen as the best commentator of Aristotle and who took the title of "commentator" [Shareh] was Averroes (1126-1198), who was also a member of this productive Islamic world of thought. He is known as the "commentator" because he interpreted Aristotle's works by adhering to his teachings. It is also said that Averroes pioneered Aristotle's recognition by westerners. Averroes’ commentaries are divided into three as long, middle, and short. In long commentaries, he blends Aristotle's philosophy with his own thoughts; he interprets Aristotle's philosophy in the middle commentaries; in short commentaries, he gives a summary of Aristotle's thoughts. Aristotle's philosophy played an active role in shaping the thought system of Averroes. So much so that his epistemology is largely similar to Aristotle's epistemology: The source of knowledge, knowledge of knowledge with causes, the processes of the formation of human knowledge, etc. Here, a point where he differs from Aristotle is the source of knowledge, since he is an Islamic thinker. According to Averroes, God is the source and cause of things, and things are the source and cause of human knowledge. The formation of human knowledge consists of three stages: outer sense, inner sense, and mind. Another important issue of his epistemology, apart from the knowledge produced by man and the knowledge of God, is causality. Through causality, knowledge is formed, and since causality is continuous and necessary, this situation brings order with it. This ensures that the information is verified and thus genuine information is obtained. Averroes’ understanding of ontology is in harmony with the teachings of Islam. He mainly talks about the relationship between philosophy and religion and thinks that these two actually talk about the same reality. He explains that philosophy and religion seem to conflict with the fact that the holy book has two meanings, visible and hidden. Thus, philosophy and religion do not actually conflict and do not say contradictory things. Averroes, who followed Aristotle's way in terms of epistemology and ontology, took Plato as an example, not Aristotle, in his political philosophy for technical reasons. For this reason, his thoughts on state structuring are similar to Plato's The Republic [Politeia]. Averroes’ political philosophy is based on ethics. His thoughts on politics can be summarized with the basic concepts of happiness, justice, and equality. As in Plato and Aristotle, happiness is important for Averroes and the state is responsible for providing and protecting it. For this reason, it describes a virtuous city, and the virtue of justice is, in a sense, the condition of existence for all other virtues. Averroes has been an important thinker for both the East and the West. He played a significant role in the efforts of the Middle Ages to reconcile religion and philosophy and became one of the names that the Western world benefited from most in establishing its bond with Greek thought. Averroes became famous as an Aristotelian commentator, but since he did not know Greek, he got to know Aristotle through translated works and wrote his comments on these translated works. Nevertheless, Aristotle's philosophy played an active role in shaping Averroes’ thought system, as he was an Aristotle commentator.

Author Profiles

Songul Kose
Hacettepe University (PhD)


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