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Dictionary of the History of Ideas

Studies of Selected Pivotal Ideas
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7 occurrences of Dictionary_of_the_History_of_Ideas
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III

In Dalālat al-Ḥā'irīn (The Guide of the Perplexed),
of which a Latin version, based on a Hebrew transla-
tion, was known to Christian scholastics early in the
thirteenth century, Moses Maimonides (d. 1204) dis-
cussed the occasionalist atomism of kalām, criticizing
it mainly on the metaphysical level. Averroës (Ibn
Rushd; d. 1198), in his Tahāfut al-Tahāfut (The In-
coherence of “The Incoherence”
), answered Ghazali's
Tahāfut, quoting almost all of it; a Latin translation
of Averroës' work was first made in the fourteenth
century. These translations have raised the question of
a possible Islamic influence on parallel criticisms of
causation in Europe, particularly that of Nicolaus of
Autrecourt (d. 1350) whose writings suggest acquaint-
ance with Maimonides' account of Islamic atomism.
For the history of the concept of causation in Islam,
however, Averroës' Tahāfut is of special interest. In
this and other shorter works Averroës was attempting
to check the spread of Ash'arism, particularly in North
Africa and Muslim Spain. The attempt, however, was
abortive, and Aristotelian causal theory, though it con-
tinued to be held in Islam, remained on the defensive.