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Document Details :
Title: Philosophizing without Philosophy?
Subtitle: On the Concept of Philosophy in Ibn Ṭufayl's «Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān»
Author(s): GERMANN, Nadja
Journal: Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie Médiévales
Volume: 75 Issue: 2 Date: 2008
This article focuses on the notion of philosophy in Ibn Ṭufayl’s Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān. In the prologue to his work, Ibn Ṭufayl (d. 1185) promises to reveal the «secrets» of Avicenna’s Eastern Philosophy — a book already lost at that time and only referred to by Avicenna in his Book of the Healing. Since Ibn Ṭufayl identifies these «secrets» with the «truth» he himself has attained, and contrasts them with the views of the philosophers of his day, the question arises as to what concept of philosophy he supports. The article will argue that he generally agrees with the prevailing philosophical curriculum of his time. Moreover, he subscribes to the traditional conviction that man strives for the good, and that this good must be sought in noetic perfection. As will become clear, however, Ibn Ṭufayl amplifies these common notions by integrating into them a peculiar concept of immediate vision of God and its concomitant, namely enjoyment. Therefore, in contrast to his most important predecessors, al-Fārābī and Avicenna, for Ibn Ṭufayl philosophy has an unambiguously practical character, as it places great practical demands upon humans for the achievement of perfect knowledge.