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Averroes On Matter And Necessity

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Chapter Summary

Averroes distinguishes between matter as associated with form and prime matter. Only informed matter can be considered to be closer to actuality. For Averroes, informed matter and prime matter are distinguishable in yet another way. They are studied by different disciplines. Prime matter is dealt with in metaphysics and informed matter is dealt with in physics. In his Long Commentary on the Physics, Averroes affirms that matter desires form. This view is discussed in connection with the role of privation in generation. In expounding chance, Averroes broaches the concept of the 'necessity of matter'. Averroes' views on metaphysical necessity and possibility are in stark contrast to Avicenna's position. He equates necessity with eternity and possibility with ephemeral existence. Necessity for Avicenna is related to causation; for Averroes it is tied up with eternity. This leads Averroes to defend that not everything is necessary.

Keywords: Averroes; informed matter; Long Commentary on the Physics; metaphysical necessity; prime matter



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