On Human Thought

Introduction by Richard Taylor

Averroes says: “And he said 'the highest understanding,' because the master of this faculty is concerned also with matters beyond those, namely about the void and infinity and about place and things similar to it from among those mentioned in the aforementioned book; and he intended, by 'understanding,' certain understanding, and by 'nature,' natural things, and he intended by 'knowledge,' demonstrating that certain knowledge which is acquired through demonstration. And it seems to us that the name of 'understanding' and 'knowledge' are not said to be synonyms, since a demonstrable doctrine does not use such names: he meant therefore by 'understanding,' realizing a concept, and by 'knowledge,' faith, or he meant by 'understanding,' the first understanding, and by 'knowledge' the subsequent understanding from the first understanding, namely the one acquired through reason. On account of which he said 'the knowledge which demonstrates it,' and not 'the knowledge of it.'”

Original Latin