What are Ibn Rushd’s Principles of Existence?June 27, 2021
According to the philosopher, who states that there is a causal (illet-ma’lûl) relationship between the beings in the external world, being causal means being in an “active” (agent) position, while being causative means being in a “passive” (munfail) position.
Since the cause of these two contradictory qualities cannot be the same, there must be two separate causes, one of which is the source of passivity and the other of activity, which are “matter” and “form”. It is neither one of these two, nor the union itself, that enables the “unification” of matter and form. In this case, a unifying cause that is itself in action is required, which is the First Principle, that is, God. (Sarioglu, 2006, 167-170)
According to Ibn Rushd, three different principles of existence can be mentioned: These are (a) the first substance (heyula), which accepts all kinds of change, multiplicity and effect, whose only essence is the state of power or possibility, and which enables the existent to be tangible/concrete; (b) although it is assumed to be in action, it can only come into existence in real terms by combining with matter, and despite the numerical multiplicity, the form that provides unity, integrity, efficiency and intelligibility in beings; It is the First Principle, that is, God, who creates/creates the field. (Sarioglu, 2001, 176)
In this case, there are basically two kinds of beings outside the mind, one of which is “necessary-causeless” and the other “possible/necessarily-caused”, which exists by combining matter and form (Ibn Rushd, 1980a: 610): Necessary existence (al-mavjudu ‘i-necessary) that is, God, being and what can never be considered separately, essential by its essence; It is an absolutely “simple” (pure, plain) existent that cannot be defined because it has no cause, agent, genus or chapter. Calling the First Principle “existing” does not mean participation in a genus, but only in terms of precedence and aftermath; The former is the cause of the latter. Necessary existence is most deserving of the name of “pure mind” as it is a mere deed (al-fi’lu’l-mahz), and of “substance” as it is the principle of substances. However, it cannot be called a “form”; because the form cannot be thought of as separate and independent from the matter in the potent state. It is perfect, necessary, unique and eternal in all respects (Ibn Rushd, 1980a: 71, 319, 335, 464-467, 556, 573, 592, 601). There is no meaning and value arising from its essence except “absence” In this respect, it is inevitable for it to be “absent” in its own essence, because if there is a reason, it exists; if there is no reason, it does not exist. In addition, since it is a logical necessity that it comes after the cause, it should be regarded as a later created (hadith). (Ibn Rushd, 1980a: 145-146, 573, 592)
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook; (Islam Ans., MEB., c. 5/II, rf. 785)