What is Imagination, Active Mind, Passive Mind and Ittisal?June 27, 2021
According to our philosopher, the mind, which is a completely different power from the other cognitive powers of the human soul in terms of its nature and functioning, has three basic functions: (a) To abstract the intelligibles (ma’kûlât) that are in power (ma’kûlât) into action (tajrîd), that is, to produce concepts, (b) to accept these concepts. (idrâk), (c) to reveal new concepts and judgments by “analyzing” (analysis) and “combining” (terkîb) between them (istinbat ve tasdîk): (İbn Rüşd, 1994, 124-125, 129-130) ; 1986, 54-55) Ibn Rushd collects the different approaches of previous philosophers and commentators in two groups: One of them is that the passive (heyulani) mind represented by Alexander Aphrodite is a mere “talent” (istidât) and active (active) mind. the approach that sees it as a divine substance separate from matter; the other is the approach that accepts the passive and active mind represented by Themistius as one and asserts that it is completely separate.
According to our philosopher, a more correct conclusion can be reached if these approaches, both of which are wrong when taken alone, are reconciled. (Ibn Rushd, 1994, 125; 1950, 87) Because the illusory mind is neither a mere talent and opportunity, as Alexander suggested, nor a completely separate (mufarik) substance, as Themistius claims.
According to Ibn Rushd, “spiritual intellect” consists of an intellect that is unique to human beings with the imagination and distinguishes it from the imagination of other living things, and a must-have mind that is related to it (absolute) and is ready to step into the field of action at any moment. The question that needs to be answered at this point is this: Is the basis of the illusory mind, which is a talent in one way, the body, the soul, or the mind? The basis of the disposition, which Ibn Rushd called the “first illusory mind” in order to distinguish it from the known “spiritual intellect”, is the imaginary forms in the imagination, that is, the images.
According to our philosopher, imaginary forms are in a way intelligible and the basis of the first illusory mind (istîdât) that accepts them is, in a way, the initiator (muharrik) of the well-known “spiritual mind”. This second position of imaginary forms is the same as that of the sensible object before the sense power; that is, what objects are to the senses, so are imaginary forms to the illusory mind. Instinct, one of the two dimensions of the illusory mind, means that it is ready to take forms at the beginning, just like the first matter or a blank slate; The obligatory mind, which constitutes the second dimension, also expresses its consciousness of its own essence and its ability to abstract. With this position, “must’id mind” is the first core of “active mind” according to Ibn Rushd. In this case, the human mind, which is essentially a single thing, takes the name “active mind” (active mind) in terms of forming concepts and “passive mind” (munfa’il mind) in terms of accepting them. (Ibn Rushd, 1994, 124-130; 1950, 84-88; 1982, 47)
The following assessment made by Ibn Rushd regarding the analogy, which consists of comparing the intellect and sense perception, which Alexander Aphrodisi uses inspired by Aristotle while grounding his understanding of active (active) mind, is remarkable: It has not been proven whether an intellect, whose position is similar to the position of the sensible form in action compared to the sense in power, exists outside of man. (…) Even if we say that our mental comprehension is similar to our sense comprehension, it does not follow from this that there is a mind outside of the nafs, just as sensible forms exist outside the mind…” (Ibn Rushd, 1986, 48-50)
How did Ibn Rushd, who considers the passive mind and active mind as one and the same thing, that is, the functions of the human mind, understand and interpret the relationship between these two minds, namely ittisâl? It is noteworthy that the philosopher used the terms “discrete mind” instead of “active mind”, and the terms “intellect” and “ascension” instead of “ittisal”, although the name “spiritual mind” always remained the same in his handling of the problem. This situation shows that he understands “ittissal” as a hierarchical competence and comprehension of discrete forms. There is a hierarchy (hierarchy) and a kind of matter-form relationship between the powers of the human soul, and they make each other competent. Accordingly, the imagination, for example, acquires competence by perceiving the sensible forms in the common sense and elevating them to the state of images (imaginary images). In the same way, the “intellect in action” perceives imaginary forms and raises them to a more perfect level, transforming them into intelligible forms, and in the meantime, it becomes perfect. Ibn Rushd, who calls this relationship “existence unity” in one aspect and “unification of perception” in another aspect, argues that the same relationship exists between the passive mind and the active mind, and thus both of them become more competent. (Sarıoğlu, 2006, 126 et al.)
According to him, the active mind is in “existence unity” with the human, that is, the passive mind, from the very beginning; but since it takes the passive mind, which is the first competence of man, from the state of power to the field of action, it seems as if it is something different from it. However, the unity between these two minds is more like the relation between matter and form (ittisāli) rather than the agent-work relation. Active mind, power of passive mind