Averroes and the Metaphysics of Causation

By Barry S. Kogan

Subjects: Metaphysics
Paperback : 9780887060656, 360 pages, September 1985
Hardcover : 9780887060632, 360 pages, September 1985

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Table of contents


1. Introduction: Averroes and the Theory of Causal Efficacy
2. Averroes on the Logic of Agents and Acts
The Literary Character of the Tahāfut Debates
The Context and Structure of Averroes' Criteriological Analysis
Agents and Agency
Acts and Effects

3. Averroes on Necessary Connection: Causes, Effects, and the Missing Link
Necessary Connection and the Problem of the Miraculous
Empirical Evidence and the Cause for Causal Efficacy
Metaphysics and the Case for Causal Efficacy
Nature vs. the Habitual Course of Events
Malleable Natures vs. Stable Natures

4. Spheres, Cycles, and Celestial Intelligences: The Celestial Links in the Causal Chain
The Sphere System and the Problem of Continuous Change
Celestial Animation and the "Kinetic" Code

5. Divine Causation and the Doctrine of Eternal Creation
The World as an Eternal Creation
Eternal Creation by Will or Intellect?
Causal Knowing and the Theory of Emanation
Did Averroes Subscribe to the Theory of Emanation?



Averroes and the Metaphysics of Causation examines the controversial causation issue. That causes produce their effects and can be known to do so is the view that Averroes defends in his Tahafut Al-Tahafut, where he summarizes and evaluates the debates about causation—debates that took place over several generations between the philosophers and the theologians of medieval Islam. Drawing from his Tahafut, his commentaries, and other writings, Kogan shows that Averroes' discussion of causation represents a dialogue across the generations and a rich contribution to the history of the causal controversy.

Averroes responds to al-Ghazali's proto-Humean critique of the philosophers' account which treats causation as an entailment relation. In this response Averroes develops an independent position that is of philosophical interest because it clearly anticipates many of the contemporary responses to Hume associated with the singularist position. Building on this analysis, Kogan resolves many long-standing paradoxes in Averroes' treatment of miracles, eternal creation, God's causal knowing, and the theory of emanation.

Barry S. Kogan is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Hebrew Union College.


"Congratulations on a very substantial intellectual product. ..I have read the work with great interest and profit. ..we are badly in need of monographs of this kind and quality. " — George F. Hourani, Professor of Philosophy, SUNY-Buffalo