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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-B012-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved May 18, 2024, from

Article Summary

‘Averroism’, ‘radical Aristotelianism’ and ‘heterodox Aristotelianism’ are nineteenth- and twentieth-century labels for a late thirteenth-century movement among Parisian philosophers whose views were not easily reconcilable with Christian doctrine. The three most important points of difference were the individual immortality of human intellectual souls, the attainability of happiness in this life and the eternity of the world. An ‘Averroist’ or ‘Radical Aristotelian’ would hold that philosophy leads to the conclusions that there is only one intellect shared by all humans, that happiness is attainable in earthly life and that the world has no temporal beginning or end. Averroists have generally been credited with a ‘theory of double truth’, according to which there is an irreconcilable clash between truths of faith and truths arrived at by means of reason. Averroism has often been assigned the role of a dangerous line of thought, against which Thomas Aquinas opposed his synthesis of faith and reason. The term ‘Averroism’ is also used more broadly to characterize Western thought from the thirteenth through sixteenth centuries which was influenced by Averroes, and/or some philosophers’ self-proclaimed allegiance to Averroes.

Citing this article:
Ebbesen, Sten. Averroism, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-B012-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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