Alfarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes, on Intellect
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Alfarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes, on Intellect : Their Cosmologies, Theories of the Active Intellect and Theories of Human Intellect

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The distinction between the potential intellect and the active intellect was first drawn by Aristotle. Medieval Islamic, Jewish, Christian philosophers, and European philosophers in the sixteenth century considered it a possible key to deciphering the nature of man and the universe. In this book, Herbert Davidson examines the treatment of intellect in Alfarabi (d. 950), Avicenna (980-1037) and Averroes (1126-1198), with particular attention to the way in which they addressed the tangle of issues that grew up around the active intellect.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 374 pages
  • 158 x 232 x 32mm | 721.21g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195074238
  • 9780195074239
  • 1,323,977

Review quote

Davidson organizes his book in an extremely lucid, even schematic way. ... a wonderfully lucid guide to the Aristotelian tradition on intellect in the Middle Ages. * The Jewish Quarterly Review, nos.3-4, January-April 1996 * `one of the most impressive scholarly books that I have seen in a long time. It is informed, erudite, well researched, and well structured ... the work of a mature, accomplished, thoughtful, and judicious scholar.' Arthur Hyman, Yeshiva Universityshow more

Back cover copy

A study of problems revolving around the subject of intellect in the philosophies of Alfarabi (d. 950), Avicenna (980-1037), and Averroes (1126-1198), this book pays particular attention to the way in which these philosophers addressed the tangle of issues that grew up around the active intellect. Davidson starts by reviewing discussions in Greek and early Arabic philosophy that served as the background for the three Arabic thinkers. He examines the cosmologies and theories of human and active intellect of the three philosophers and covers such subjects as the emanation of the supernal realm from the First Cause, the emanation of the lower world from the transcendent active intellect, stages of human intellect, illumination of the human intellect by the transcendent active intellect, conjunction of the human intellect with the transcendent active intellect, prophecy, and human immortality. Davidson traces the impact of the three philosophers on medieval Jewish philosophy and Latin Scholasticism. He shows that the later medieval Jewish philosophers and the Scholastics had differing perceptions of Averroes because they happened to use works belonging to different periods of his philosophic career. This book will be of interest to the student and scholar in medieval philosophy, the history of philosophy, and medieval culture.show more

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