By Averroes, Simon Van Den Bergh
The Incoherence of the Incoherence, Volumes I and II, translated from the Arabic.
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Extra resources for Averroes' Tahafut Al-Tahafut (The Incoherence of the Incoherence) Volumes I and II
The production of one man by another ad infinitum is accidental, whereas the relation of before and after in it is essential. The agent who has no beginning cither for his existence or for those acts of his which he performs without an instrument, has no first instrument* cither to perform those acts of his without beginning which by their nature need an instrument. 4 But since the theologians mistook the accidental for the essential, they denied this eternal agent; the solution of their problem was difficult and they believed this proof to be stringent.
This, as a matter of fact, is a truism, since the meaning of substantiality and immateriality for the philosophers implies already the idea of eternity. On the other hand, if the soul is the form of the body, as is also affirmed by them, it can only exist with its matter and the mortality of its body would imply its own mortality, as Ghazali rightly points out. T h e Arabic philosophers through their combination of Platonism and Aristotelianism hold, indeed, at the same time three theories inconsistent with each other, about the relation of body and soul: that the soul is the form of the body, that the soul is a substance, subsistent by itself and immortal, and that the soul after death takes a pneumatic body (a theory already found in Porphyry).
But you, reader of this book, you have already heard the arguments of the philosophers to establish the eternity of the world and the refutation of the Ash'arites. Now hear the proofs of the Ash'arites for their refutation and hear the arguments of the philosophers to refute those proofs in the wording of Ghazaliif I say. This is in brief that, if you imagine two circular movements in one and the same finite time and imagine then a limited part of these movements in one and the same finite time, the proportion between I he parts of these two circular movements and between their wholes will be the same.