Philosophy In Andalusia
While philosophical texts and ideas are present in the eclectic thinking of the Cordoba native and Sufi Ibn Masarrah (883–931), who drew upon Mu'tazili theology and Neoplatonic and pseudo-Empedoclean texts, the beginnings of rigorous philosophical study are with Ibn Bajjah (d. 1138). This philosopher from Saragossa is most famous for his challenge to the understanding of motion in the natural philosophy of Aristotle with a theory of impetus and momentum, for his theory of intentional forms and intellect and for his political philosophy of solitude. His theory of intellect is based on the consideration of spiritual forms or intentions that are apprehended in sensation and must be traced to higher realities. Using arguments from Neoplatonic sources against Aristotle's rejection of Plato's transcendent forms, Ibn Bajjah holds in his Treatise on Conjunction with the Intellect that intelligibles in act or universals cannot be founded on abstraction from particulars but rather can only be grounded in forms located in the unique agent intellect. True knowledge is not tied in any way to the transitory world but rather is the grasp of the eternal and unchanging forms causative of things of this world. These are apprehended by an intellectual "conjoining" with the agent intellect that is a uniting in oneness without the destruction of the individual. In this the end is the perfection and happiness that consist in conjoining and uniting with a separate agent intellect, and the means is intellectual understanding. Those who are intellectual in nature either are in a society in which they can lead as philosopher-king or they are rejected by the ignorant masses and must live a solitary life. Most often they find themselves in an unreceptive society, as in Andalusa and elsewhere, where they are like weeds. A similar theme is found in Ibn Tufayl's tale Hayy ibn Yaqzan, in which the protagonists find it impossible to lead the people by religion and take refuge in a solitary life apart from society.
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