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Averroes’ Understanding Of The Philosopher’s Role In Society

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Chapter Summary

The pursuit of the truth along philosophical lines thus had a religious dimension for all Muslim philosophers, however divorced it was from more conventional religious practices, as it was for Averroes. The scientific approach which Aristotelian philosophy proclaimed and to which Averroes was pledged was, he knew, foreign to the vast majority of his fellow men, and therefore Averroes felt no compulsion to acquaint them with it. The Commentary on Plato's Republic thus does little to change the impression of Averroes' sense of the responsibility of the philosopher. Still, Averroes was aware that as a member of his society, the philosopher must conform to its mores and rituals, performing the deeds that society deems virtuous In the closing chapters of his Epistle on the Possibility of Conjunction with the Active Intellect, Averroes addresses this issue and endorses various ascetic practices and ritual performances peculiar to Islam.

Keywords: Aristotelian philosophy; Averroes; Commentary on Plato's Republic; Islamic society; philosopher's role; ritual performances



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