Ibn Rushd The Possibility of Knowledge and ReasonabilityJune 27, 2021
Examining the problem of knowledge in the context of the concepts of “existence”, “soul” and “reason”, not under a separate title and as an independent section, Ibn Rushd repeats the understanding of “knowing something in real terms means knowing that thing together with its causes” at every opportunity.
This situation leads us to deal with the philosopher’s understanding of “causality” first. According to him, the meaning and importance of the principle of “causality” is better understood when it is remembered that there is a causal relationship between the Necessary Existing, that is, God and the universe, which is the sum of the contingent beings, and between the contingent beings themselves.
Ghazali and other theologians do not accept that a passive existent with an active cause (agent) can be an active cause. Because they argue that evaluating beings in such a causal relationship will lead to an endless progression (teselsul), and this will cause inconveniences in terms of proving the existence of Allah. Ibn Rushd, on the other hand, considers it sufficient for something to be active (agent) if it actually exists and to have a certain function, and also states that there is no requirement for it to be passive. Moreover, contrary to what the theologians think, the necessity for the chain of passive and active entities to end in an activity that is not passive in any way is more obvious than the necessity that only the passive ones end up in the purely active. (Ibn Rushd, 1980: 370)
Like his master Aristotle, Ibn Rushd speaks of four causes: matter, form (form), active (agent) and purpose (goal). The most important of these in terms of our subject is the effective (perpetrator) cause. Because the discussions in the context of the causality problem show whether the function of the agent cause is the emergence of something from non-existence into existence or from power into action, in other words, the combination of matter, which expresses the state of potency, and the form, which represents the state of action, and thus, whether the function of ensuring the realization of both existence and purpose is also attributed to non-necessary/caused beings. focuses on what is not possible.
According to Ibn Rushd, as long as there are no obstacles and the conditions are suitable, every object definitely exerts the effect (action) arising from its “nature” (nature). For example, when a fire and a burning object come together, burning or burning may not occur due to a factor that prevents burning or burning. However, this will never mean that the quality of “burning” is removed from fire as long as it has the name and character of “fire”. (Ibn Rushd, 1980: 782-784, 806-807) On the other hand, the fact that the “burning” in cotton occurred as a result of the effect (actual) of fire does not mean that the fire is absolutely active (perpetrator). Because the existence of cotton, fire and the passive and active “nature” in them did not originate from them but from someone else, namely Allah, the Active Principle; therefore, he is the only one who is absolutely active (agent). (Ibn Rushd, 1980a: 793)
Our philosopher, who uses the example of the tool (saw blade, saw) for sawing timber in order to provide a better understanding of the subject, underlines that the tool in question must have a certain quantity, quality and form in order to perform this function. According to this, Ibn Rushd, who states that it cannot be made of any material other than metal, in any form other than the shape of the saw, and in an arbitrary size, said that the saw does not need to be called “necessary existent” in absolute terms because there is a necessity here, and to say that causal beings are agents means that they are considered absolute agents. does not come. (Ibn Rushd, 1980a: 178, 627-634, 787)
It is Allah who organizes and directs the existence of objects and their special actions in a causal relationship that will serve the formation and continuity of the unity and integrity of the world. Therefore, the denial of the necessity in the causal relationship will mean that this act of Allah regarding the universe carries absolute uncertainty. This means that he is conceived as a despotic king who does not know a rule and order on which to base, and who does not know what to do when. Such an understanding, on the other hand, leads to the conclusion that it is impossible to speak of certain knowledge of anything, even for a blink of an eye. This determination of Ibn Rushd forms the basis of his philosophy of knowledge, philosophy of religion, and the method he followed in reconciling religion-philosophy. Because, according to him, certain knowledge (al-ilmü’l-yakîn) is to know something as it is and it occurs depending on the nature of the objects. If there is knowledge about beings in the human mind, it is possible that there is a “characteristic” or a special “state” (amr, hal) in which the knowledge is related, and what philosophers call “nature” is one of these “characteristics”. consists of. In the relationship between Allah’s knowledge and these natures, while divine knowledge is the cause and natures are the result; When it comes to human knowledge, nature is the cause and human knowledge is the result. (Ibn Rushd, 1980a: 795-797, 812; 1964: 227-232)
As stated before, reason or knowledge is the causality of beings.