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Abstract

Averroes (an Islamic Andalusian philosopher in the 12th century) discusses the metaphysics of human epistemology extensively, and his socio-religious context sheds light on this discussion. Several of his works, most prominently his three commentaries on Aristotle’s De Anima, attempt to explain how finite, particular minds interact with universal, eternal intelligibles. Current scholarship focuses on the two longer commentaries, the Middle Commentary and the Long Commentary, but there is no consensus regarding which of these presents Averroes’ final articulation of the metaphysics of human epistemology. Those who maintain that Averroes wrote the Middle Commentary last tend to minimize the differences between the two accounts. This paper does not take a position on the chronology of Averroes’ works. Rather, it seeks to demonstrate that, even if Averroes wrote the Middle Commentary last, in light of Averroes’ socio-political environment, it is evident that the accounts of the metaphysics of human epistemology in the Middle and Long commentaries differ substantively.