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By Averroes

The Incoherence of the Incoherence, Volumes I and II, translated from the Arabic.

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Extra info for Averroes: Tahafut al Tahafut: The Incoherence of the Incoherence, Volumes I and II

Sample text

As to the problem of possibility, both parties commit the same inconsistencies and hold sometimes that the world could, sometimes that it could not, have been different from what it is. Finally, both parties believe in God’s ultimate Unity. And if one studies the other works of Ghazali the resemblance between him and the philosophers becomes still greater. For instance, he too believes in the spirituality of the soul, notwithstanding the arguments he gives against it in this book; he too sometimes regards religious concepts as the symbols of a higher philosophical or mystical truth, although he admits here only a literal interpretation.

But in this case, if we posit as a principle that for each new disposition there is an agent, this new disposition 36 in the first agent will either need another agent, and then this first agent was not the first and was not on his own account sufficient for the act but needed another, or the agent of the disposition which is the condition of the agent’s act will be identical with the agent of the act. Then this act which we regarded as being the first act arising out of him will not be the first, but his act producing the disposition which is the condition of the effect will be anterior to the act producing the effect.

Therefore also this unlimited aggregate, as being limited in the soul, can be called even or uneven; in so far, however, as it exists outside the soul, it can be called neither even nor uneven. e. e. as having beginning and end. e. ’ And it follows from the nature of circular movement that it is neither even nor uneven except as represented in the soul. The cause of this mistake is that it was believed that, when something possesses a certain quality in the soul, it must possess this quality also outside the soul, and, since anything that has happened in the past can only be represented in the soul as finite, it was thought that everything that has happened in the past must also be finite outside the soul.

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Averroes: Tahafut al Tahafut: The Incoherence of the Incoherence, Volumes I and II by Averroes


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