The World Explored, the World Suffered Education Issue Nr. 32 July 2020 - Page 35

"Averroes was concerned to improve the Arabic interpretation of Aristotle, which had been widely influenced by Neoplatonism. He gave to Aristotle the sort of reverence that is given to the founder of a religion--much more than was given even by Avicenna. He holds that the existence of God can be proved by reason independently of revelation, a view also held by Thomas Aquinas." Not only can the existence of God be proven, according to Averroes but according to Brett it can also be proven that: "there is ultimately only one soul, that the individual reason is no more than a temporary manifestation of that generic or Universal soul in the same sense that Humanity may be said to be manifested in the human individual. This is not so much a religious as a logical doctrine." A human soul is thus a temporary form of existence compared to the eternal form of existence which is God. Human reason is here passive in comparison to divine active reason, i.e. God has an active form and humanity has a passive nature. In hylomorphic theory, humanity is the matter in the equation formed by God. Viewing God non-materialistically implies not conceiving such a being as a physical designer manipulating physical variables but rather in terms of an abstract principle working in ways we could never completely understand. Like Avicenna, Averroes believes in the eternity of the world but this in itself is not incompatible with the coming to exist in a time of existing beings--in human form for example--which in terms of the divine principle that has caused it, can itself be regarded as eternal(by association). Bertrand Russell claims that Arab thinkers of this period were not original thinkers on the grounds that they merely transmitted the thoughts of others. This, however, may be a gratuitous criticism of a historical period in which the cultural task appeared to be the reinterpretation of Aristotle in order to restore an Aristotelian platform for the development of Philosophy and Science(a platform similar to that which we encounter in Kant's Philosophy of science). This point would, however, be rejected by Russell because he believed that Aristotle's "Metaphysics" was in many respects an obscure and confusing work. Given Brett's avoidance of Aristotelian metaphysics in his characterization of Aristotle's scientific method in the following quote, one might imagine that he too would, therefore, deny any connection between Aristotelian and Kantian Philosophy: "Aristotle is often extolled as the founder of scientific method. His claim to this title rests on a single misconception of science which dies very hard--the view that science is a vast body of knowledge accumulated by a laborious and systematic process of classification and