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AFTER THE ENLIGHTENMENT: THE REDISCOVERY OF AVERROES BY TIEDEMANN AND HERDER

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 February 2023

Stefan Schick*
Affiliation:
Universität Leipzig, Institut für Philosophie
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Abstract

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Both Arabic modernists and Western humanists often regard the Muslim philosopher Averroes as one of the earliest precursors of Kant and the European Enlightenment. In contrast to this reputation, this paper argues that it was Kant’s critics Herder and Tiedemann who rediscovered Averroes. Tiedemann was the first German historiographer to give an accurate account of Averroes’ thought. This was accompanied by a re-evaluation of Averroes by Herder in his Letters for the Advancement of Humanity, in which he recognized the similarity between his own concept of the spirit of the age as historical reason – his alternative to the Enlightenment concept of a universal and ahistorical reason – and Averroes’ concept of a single material intellect for all individual human minds. Finally, the paper outlines the possible connections between Averroes’ interpretation of Aristotle’s intellect and Hegel’s concept of reason in history.

Résumé

Résumé

Les modernistes arabes et les humanistes occidentaux considèrent souvent le philosophe musulman Averroès comme l’un des premiers précurseurs de Kant et des Lumières européennes. Contrairement à cette réputation, cet article soutient que ce sont les critiqueurs de Kant, Herder et Tiedemann, qui ont redécouvert Averroès. Tiedemann a été le premier historiographe allemand à donner un compte rendu précis de la pensée d’Averroès. Cela s’est accompagné d’une réévaluation d’Averroès par Herder dans ses Lettres sur les progrès de l’humanité, dans lesquelles il reconnaît la similitude entre son propre concept de l’esprit du temps en tant que raison historique – son alternative au concept des Lumières d’une raison universelle et anhistorique – et le concept d’Averroès d’un intellect matériel unique pour tous les esprits humains individuels. Enfin, l’article expose les liens possibles entre l’interprétation d’Averroès de l’intellect d’Aristote et le concept de raison historique de Hegel.

Type
Research Article
Creative Commons
Creative Common License - CCCreative Common License - BY
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press