Ibn Rushd

Ibn Rushd or Averroes, was a Muslim philosopher, physician, and a master of theology, Maliki law, astronomy, geography, mathematics, medicine, physics and psychology. He was born in modern day Spain, and died in modern day Morocco. His school of philosophy is known as Averroism. He is considered the founding father of secular thought in Western Europe.

Rushd is famous for his commentaries and translations of Aristotle’s works, contributing to the rediscovery of the Master, after centuries of oblivion in Western Europe. He believed in the concept of existentialism, that “existence precedes essence”. In astronomy, he rejected the eccentric deferents introduced by Ptolemy, and argued for a concentric model of the universe. He supported human dissection and autopsy, though he never undertook it. He was among the first to prescribe treatment of sexual dysfunction and erectile dysfunction, through oral medication, or topical or transurethral means. He suggested the existence of Parkinson’s disease, and was the first to attribute photoreceptor properties to the retina. He was the first to define force as “the rate at which work is done in changing the kinetic condition of a material body”.

Averroism believes that religion and philosophy are different ways of reaching the same truth. Its main ideas are that the world is eternal; the soul is divided into an individual and a divine part; the individual soul is not eternal; all humans at the basic level share the same divine soul; resurrection of the dead is not possible.

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