Abraham Bibago on the Logic of Divine Science

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For Abraham Bibago, as for other medieval Aristotelians, the science of the divine is both the culmination of all scientific study, i.e., the pinnacle of a framework built on Aristotelian logic, and also “first philosophy,” the inquiry into those first principles on which logic and the sciences are built. Accordingly, metaphysics must turn inward to look for its logical first principles, and if necessary reinterpret logic and the sciences to accord with its discoveries. Bibago's Commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics thus dismisses the logical principles developed in Aristotle's organon, especially the Categories, on the grounds that they are based on common opinions and consequently dialectic. The logic Bibago outlines in his Commentary is, he says, demonstrative, rather than dialectical. Although in the case of metaphysics dialectics and demonstration become intertwined since they both, he says, pursue knowledge of being, Bibago nevertheless dismisses any kind of science based on common opinion. Yet in his better known Derekh Emunah, Bibago defines faith as a kind of parallel to science, operating in the sphere of public opinion while relying on principles that explicitly mimic Aristotelian logic. Influenced by Thomas Aquinas, Bibago identifies this faith as the source of happiness and salvation for humanity. Faith, according to the Derekh Emunah, establishes opinions that allow people, whether philosophically talented or not, to go beyond their human condition to an angelic type of intellectual apprehension of divine things. Even so, that faith in the Derekh Emunah concerns common opinions means that in terms of the Commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics it is inferior to demonstration. Consequently, when both works are viewed together, Bibago presents an Averroist view of the divine science: the philosophically talented can study metaphysics in demonstrative terms, while others can turn to works of faith to receive proper opinions.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 2014
EventSIEPM Colloquium on the “Origin and Nature of Language and Logic - Société Internationale pour l'Étude de la Philosophie Médiévale, Freiburg, Germany
Duration: 21 Aug 201422 Aug 2014


ConferenceSIEPM Colloquium on the “Origin and Nature of Language and Logic


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