Some Considerations on Averroes' Views Regarding Women and their Role in Society, 2009
By: Catarina Belo
Title Some Considerations on Averroes' Views Regarding Women and their Role in Society
Type Article
Language English
Date 2009
Journal Journal of Islamic Studies
Volume 20
Pages 1–20
Categories Theology
Author(s) Catarina Belo
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
Traditional view on women have been the subject of much debate with some studies offering a comprehensive overview of the problem. The present study contributes to the discussion by focusing on a Muslim philosopher, Averroes (Ibn Rushd, d. 1198) known in medieval Europe as an Aristotelian commentator. Modern research shows him as a philosopher in his own right. The originality of his veiws on women would place him in that category. This study examines Averroes' view on women against the background of his society and faith. It also contextualizes them within his philosophy background, not just Ancient, such a Plato and Aristotle, but also contemporary, in particular his forerunners Alfarabi and Avicenna.To that end, this study focuses on two main works, the Commentary on Plato's Republic, where Averroes expounds Plato's model of the ideal society, and women's role in it, and his book on Islamic law, the Bidāyat al-mujtahid (A Jurist's Primer) In both cases Averroes, while following the tradition, philosophical or religious, displays an undeniable preference for women's emancipation.Averroes' considerations on women offer a remarkably original insight. He considers women essentially identical with men, possessing the same intellectual abilities. He advocates their active participation in society and performance of all tasks, including those that had been the prerogative of men. He urges socitey, in particular his Muslim contemporaries, to allow women a greater role in public affairs for the benefit of the entire state. His references to women break new ground, and prefigure important debates that would flourish in modern Europe. Averrores does not see a contradiction between this and Islamic religion.

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Esencia y existencia en Avicenna y Averroes, 2009
By: Catarina Belo
Title Esencia y existencia en Avicenna y Averroes
Translation Essence and Existence in Avicenna and Averroes
Type Article
Language Spanish
Date 2009
Journal Al-Qanṭara
Volume 30
Issue 2
Pages 403–426
Categories Metaphysics
Author(s) Catarina Belo
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
This article explores the views on existence of medieval Muslim philosophers Avicenna (d. 1037) and Averroes (d. 1198), whose works followed closely the philosophy of Aristotle. In addition to the Aristotelian influence, which permeated all medieval Islamic philosophy, Avicenna and Averroes were also inspired by Islamic theology, known in Arabic as kalām. The distinction between essence and existence is one of the most central and controversial aspects of Avicenna's philosophy, together with his claim that existence is an accident. Averroes in turn has a radically different conception of existence, identifying it with existing beings rather than considering it as something in itself. With the Latin translation of Avicenna's metaphysical works in the 12th century, the Avicennian distinction went on to shape much of the debate on existence in medieval Scholastic philosophy and beyond. This article assesses the meaning of the distinction in Avicenna as well as Averroes' criticism. In explicating their radically different views on existence, it also touches on later discussions concerning existence, for example the issue whether existence is a predicate, in the Modern Age.

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Ibn Rushd on God's Decree and Determination (al-qaḍāʾ wa-l-qadar), 2009
By: Catarina Belo
Title Ibn Rushd on God's Decree and Determination (al-qaḍāʾ wa-l-qadar)
Type Article
Language English
Date 2009
Journal Al-Qanṭara
Volume 27
Issue 2
Pages 245–264
Categories Metaphysics
Author(s) Catarina Belo
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
This article is based on Ibn Rushd's chapter on God's qaḍāʾ wa-qadar, which adresses the question of predestination, as illustrative of a rationalistic approach that introduces philosophical views into an age-old religious debate. My aim is to present Ibn Rushd's argument, which has unmistakable Aristotelian overtones; therefore, the harmonization of religion and philosophy implicit in his argument is one of the points I would like to explore in this paper. In the same way, I am interested in discussing whether Ibn Rushd's proposed solution constitutes a middle way between two opposite positions and solves the perennial problem of determinism. The paper also discusses the issue whether he supports predestination, i.e., the view that events are predetermined by God before they happen.

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Averroes on God's Knowledge of Particulars, 2006
By: Catarina Belo
Title Averroes on God's Knowledge of Particulars
Type Article
Language English
Date 2006
Journal Journal of Islamic Studies
Volume 17
Issue 2
Pages 177–199
Categories Metaphysics
Author(s) Catarina Belo
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
This article discusses a central issue in the debate between philosophy and theology in the Islamic Middle Ages. In his attempt to show that Greek philosophy was contrary to Islam, theologian al-Ghazzālī charged Muslim philosophers with unbelief (kufr) on three counts: the eternity of the world, bodily resurrection and God's knowledge of particulars. The latter was particularly significant within an Islamic context. If God does not know particulars, how can He know for instance individual prophets or pass judgement on Doomsday? The main target of al-Ghazālī's criticism was Avicenna and his contention that God knows particulars in a universal way. In the Aristotelian epistemological model followed by Avicenna the subject and object of knowledge become one in the epistemological process. Since God is immutable He cannot know particulars in time, therefore He must know individuals insofar as they are universal.In his response to al-Ghazzālī, Averroes' main contribution is his rejection of Avicenna's formulation that God knows particulars in a universal way. Averroes criticizes this view because it does away with the distinction between divine and human knowledge. While in humans the process of knowing entails abstraction of universals from individual substances, God's knowledge cannot be characterized as universal or particular. It is neither particular—because it does not involve sense experience—nor universal—because it is not abstracted from individuals.Consequently, Averroes presents the essence of God's knowledge as at bottom unknowable to the human mind. This position may resemble al-Ghazzālī's overall negative stance concerning our understanding of this issue but in actuality it is radically different. By way of stating what it is not, and by clearly showing the differences between divine and human knowledge, Averroes provides a clearer grasp of what divine knowledge must be like.

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Averroes on God's Knowledge of Particulars, 2006
By: Catarina Belo
Title Averroes on God's Knowledge of Particulars
Type Article
Language English
Date 2006
Journal Journal of Islamic Studies
Volume 17
Issue 2
Pages 177–199
Categories Metaphysics
Author(s) Catarina Belo
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
This article discusses a central issue in the debate between philosophy and theology in the Islamic Middle Ages. In his attempt to show that Greek philosophy was contrary to Islam, theologian al-Ghazzālī charged Muslim philosophers with unbelief (kufr) on three counts: the eternity of the world, bodily resurrection and God's knowledge of particulars. The latter was particularly significant within an Islamic context. If God does not know particulars, how can He know for instance individual prophets or pass judgement on Doomsday? The main target of al-Ghazālī's criticism was Avicenna and his contention that God knows particulars in a universal way. In the Aristotelian epistemological model followed by Avicenna the subject and object of knowledge become one in the epistemological process. Since God is immutable He cannot know particulars in time, therefore He must know individuals insofar as they are universal.In his response to al-Ghazzālī, Averroes' main contribution is his rejection of Avicenna's formulation that God knows particulars in a universal way. Averroes criticizes this view because it does away with the distinction between divine and human knowledge. While in humans the process of knowing entails abstraction of universals from individual substances, God's knowledge cannot be characterized as universal or particular. It is neither particular—because it does not involve sense experience—nor universal—because it is not abstracted from individuals.Consequently, Averroes presents the essence of God's knowledge as at bottom unknowable to the human mind. This position may resemble al-Ghazzālī's overall negative stance concerning our understanding of this issue but in actuality it is radically different. By way of stating what it is not, and by clearly showing the differences between divine and human knowledge, Averroes provides a clearer grasp of what divine knowledge must be like.

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Esencia y existencia en Avicenna y Averroes, 2009
By: Catarina Belo
Title Esencia y existencia en Avicenna y Averroes
Translation Essence and Existence in Avicenna and Averroes
Type Article
Language Spanish
Date 2009
Journal Al-Qanṭara
Volume 30
Issue 2
Pages 403–426
Categories Metaphysics
Author(s) Catarina Belo
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
This article explores the views on existence of medieval Muslim philosophers Avicenna (d. 1037) and Averroes (d. 1198), whose works followed closely the philosophy of Aristotle. In addition to the Aristotelian influence, which permeated all medieval Islamic philosophy, Avicenna and Averroes were also inspired by Islamic theology, known in Arabic as kalām. The distinction between essence and existence is one of the most central and controversial aspects of Avicenna's philosophy, together with his claim that existence is an accident. Averroes in turn has a radically different conception of existence, identifying it with existing beings rather than considering it as something in itself. With the Latin translation of Avicenna's metaphysical works in the 12th century, the Avicennian distinction went on to shape much of the debate on existence in medieval Scholastic philosophy and beyond. This article assesses the meaning of the distinction in Avicenna as well as Averroes' criticism. In explicating their radically different views on existence, it also touches on later discussions concerning existence, for example the issue whether existence is a predicate, in the Modern Age.

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Ibn Rushd on God's Decree and Determination (al-qaḍāʾ wa-l-qadar), 2009
By: Catarina Belo
Title Ibn Rushd on God's Decree and Determination (al-qaḍāʾ wa-l-qadar)
Type Article
Language English
Date 2009
Journal Al-Qanṭara
Volume 27
Issue 2
Pages 245–264
Categories Metaphysics
Author(s) Catarina Belo
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
This article is based on Ibn Rushd's chapter on God's qaḍāʾ wa-qadar, which adresses the question of predestination, as illustrative of a rationalistic approach that introduces philosophical views into an age-old religious debate. My aim is to present Ibn Rushd's argument, which has unmistakable Aristotelian overtones; therefore, the harmonization of religion and philosophy implicit in his argument is one of the points I would like to explore in this paper. In the same way, I am interested in discussing whether Ibn Rushd's proposed solution constitutes a middle way between two opposite positions and solves the perennial problem of determinism. The paper also discusses the issue whether he supports predestination, i.e., the view that events are predetermined by God before they happen.

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Some Considerations on Averroes' Views Regarding Women and their Role in Society, 2009
By: Catarina Belo
Title Some Considerations on Averroes' Views Regarding Women and their Role in Society
Type Article
Language English
Date 2009
Journal Journal of Islamic Studies
Volume 20
Pages 1–20
Categories Theology
Author(s) Catarina Belo
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
Traditional view on women have been the subject of much debate with some studies offering a comprehensive overview of the problem. The present study contributes to the discussion by focusing on a Muslim philosopher, Averroes (Ibn Rushd, d. 1198) known in medieval Europe as an Aristotelian commentator. Modern research shows him as a philosopher in his own right. The originality of his veiws on women would place him in that category. This study examines Averroes' view on women against the background of his society and faith. It also contextualizes them within his philosophy background, not just Ancient, such a Plato and Aristotle, but also contemporary, in particular his forerunners Alfarabi and Avicenna.To that end, this study focuses on two main works, the Commentary on Plato's Republic, where Averroes expounds Plato's model of the ideal society, and women's role in it, and his book on Islamic law, the Bidāyat al-mujtahid (A Jurist's Primer) In both cases Averroes, while following the tradition, philosophical or religious, displays an undeniable preference for women's emancipation.Averroes' considerations on women offer a remarkably original insight. He considers women essentially identical with men, possessing the same intellectual abilities. He advocates their active participation in society and performance of all tasks, including those that had been the prerogative of men. He urges socitey, in particular his Muslim contemporaries, to allow women a greater role in public affairs for the benefit of the entire state. His references to women break new ground, and prefigure important debates that would flourish in modern Europe. Averrores does not see a contradiction between this and Islamic religion.

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