Medieval philosophy

Medieval philosophy

Overview
Medieval philosophy is the philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 in the era now known as medieval or the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, the period roughly extending from the fall of the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

 in the fifth century AD to the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 in the sixteenth century. Medieval philosophy, understood as a project of independent philosophical inquiry, began in Baghdad, in the middle of the eighth century, and in France, in the itinerant court of Charlemagne, in the last quarter of the eighth century.
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Encyclopedia
Medieval philosophy is the philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 in the era now known as medieval or the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, the period roughly extending from the fall of the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

 in the fifth century AD to the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 in the sixteenth century. Medieval philosophy, understood as a project of independent philosophical inquiry, began in Baghdad, in the middle of the eighth century, and in France, in the itinerant court of Charlemagne, in the last quarter of the eighth century. It is defined partly by the process of rediscovering the ancient culture developed in Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 and Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 in the classical period, and partly by the need to address theological problems
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 and to integrate sacred doctrine with secular learning.

The history of medieval philosophy is traditionally divided into two main periods: the period in the Latin West following the Early Middle Ages
Early Middle Ages
The Early Middle Ages was the period of European history lasting from the 5th century to approximately 1000. The Early Middle Ages followed the decline of the Western Roman Empire and preceded the High Middle Ages...

 until the twelfth century, when the works of Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 and Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

 were preserved and cultivated and the 'golden age' of the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in the Latin West, which witnessed the culmination of the recovery of ancient philosophy
Ancient philosophy
This page lists some links to ancient philosophy. In Western philosophy, the spread of Christianity through the Roman Empire marked the ending of Hellenistic philosophy and ushered in the beginnings of Medieval philosophy, whereas in Eastern philosophy, the spread of Islam through the Arab Empire...

, along with a reception of its Arabic commentators
Islamic philosophy
Islamic philosophy is a branch of Islamic studies. It is the continuous search for Hekma in the light of Islamic view of life, universe, ethics, society, and so on...

, and significant developments in the field of Philosophy of religion
Philosophy of religion
Philosophy of religion is a branch of philosophy concerned with questions regarding religion, including the nature and existence of God, the examination of religious experience, analysis of religious language and texts, and the relationship of religion and science...

, Logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

 and Metaphysics
Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...

.

The medieval era was disparagingly treated by the Renaissance humanists, who saw it as a barbaric 'middle' period between the classical age of Greek and Roman culture, and the 'rebirth' or renaissance of classical culture. Modern historians consider the medieval era to be one of philosophical development, although one heavily influenced by Christian theology. One of the most notable thinkers of the era, Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

, never considered himself a philosopher, and criticized philosophers for always "falling short of the true and proper wisdom to be found in Christian revelation".

The problems discussed throughout this period are the relation of faith to reason, the existence
Existence of God
Arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed by philosophers, theologians, scientists, and others. In philosophical terms, arguments for and against the existence of God involve primarily the sub-disciplines of epistemology and ontology , but also of the theory of value, since...

 and simplicity
Divine simplicity
In theology, the doctrine of divine simplicity says that God is without parts. The general idea of divine simplicity can be stated in this way: the being of God is identical to the "attributes" of God. In other words, such characteristics as omnipresence, goodness, truth, eternity, etc...

 of God, the purpose of theology and metaphysics, and the problems of knowledge, of universals
Problem of universals
The problem of universals is an ancient problem in metaphysics about whether universals exist. Universals are general or abstract qualities, characteristics, properties, kinds or relations, such as being male/female, solid/liquid/gas or a certain colour, that can be predicated of individuals or...

, and of individuation
Principle of individuation
The Principle of Individuation is a criterion which supposedly individuates or numerically distinguishes the members of the kind for which it is given, i.e. by which we can supposedly determine, regarding any kind of thing, when we have more than one of them or not. It is also known as a...

.

Character of medieval philosophy



Medieval philosophy is characteristically theological: With the possible exceptions of Avicenna
Avicenna
Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Sīnā , commonly known as Ibn Sīnā or by his Latinized name Avicenna, was a Persian polymath, who wrote almost 450 treatises on a wide range of subjects, of which around 240 have survived...

 and Averroes
Averroes
' , better known just as Ibn Rushd , and in European literature as Averroes , was a Muslim polymath; a master of Aristotelian philosophy, Islamic philosophy, Islamic theology, Maliki law and jurisprudence, logic, psychology, politics, Arabic music theory, and the sciences of medicine, astronomy,...

, medieval thinkers did not consider themselves philosophers at all. Their concerns are theological: For them, the philosophers were the ancient pagan writers such as Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

 and Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

. However, the theological works of medieval writers use the ideas and logical techniques of the ancient philosophers to address difficult theological questions, and points of doctrine. Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

, following Peter Damian
Peter Damian
Saint Peter Damian, O.S.B. was a reforming monk in the circle of Pope Gregory VII and a cardinal. In 1823, he was declared a Doctor of the Church...

, argued that philosophy is the handmaiden of theology (ancilla theologiae).

The three principles that underlie all their work are the use of logic, dialectic, and analysis to discover the truth, known as ratio, respect for the insights of ancient philosophers, in particular Aristotle, and deference to their authority (auctoritas), and the obligation to co-ordinate the insights of philosophy with theological teaching and revelation (concordia).

One of the most heavily debated topics of the period was that of faith versus reason. Avicenna
Avicenna
Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Sīnā , commonly known as Ibn Sīnā or by his Latinized name Avicenna, was a Persian polymath, who wrote almost 450 treatises on a wide range of subjects, of which around 240 have survived...

 and Averroes
Averroes
' , better known just as Ibn Rushd , and in European literature as Averroes , was a Muslim polymath; a master of Aristotelian philosophy, Islamic philosophy, Islamic theology, Maliki law and jurisprudence, logic, psychology, politics, Arabic music theory, and the sciences of medicine, astronomy,...

 both leaned more on the side of reason. Augustine
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

 stated that he would never allow his philosophical investigations to go beyond the authority of God. Anselm
Anselm of Canterbury
Anselm of Canterbury , also called of Aosta for his birthplace, and of Bec for his home monastery, was a Benedictine monk, a philosopher, and a prelate of the church who held the office of Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109...

 attempted to defend against what he saw as partly an assault on faith, with an approach allowing for both faith and reason. The Augustinian solution to the faith/reason problem is to (1) believe, and then (2) seek to understand.

Early Medieval Christian Philosophy



The boundaries of the early medieval period are a matter of controversy. It is generally agreed that it begins with Augustine
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

 (354 – 430) who strictly belongs to the classical period, and ends with the lasting revival of learning in the late eleventh century, at the beginning of the high medieval period

After the collapse of the Roman empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, Western Europe lapsed into the so-called Dark Ages. Monasteries were among the limited number of focal points of formal academic learning, which might be presumed to be a result of a rule of St Benedict's in 525, which required monks to read the Bible daily, and his suggestion that at the beginning of Lent, a book be given to each monk. In later periods, monks were used for training administrators and churchmen.

Early Christian thought, in particular in the patristic
Church Fathers
The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were early and influential theologians, eminent Christian teachers and great bishops. Their scholarly works were used as a precedent for centuries to come...

 period, tends to be intuitional and mystical, and is less reliant on reason and logical argument. It also places more emphasis on the sometimes-mystical doctrines of Plato, and less upon the systematic thinking of Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

. Much of the work of Aristotle was unknown in the West in this period. Scholars relied on translations by Boethius into Latin of Aristotle's Categories, the logical work On Interpretation
On Interpretation
Aristotle's De Interpretatione or On Interpretation is one of the earliest surviving philosophical works in the Western tradition to deal with the relationship between language and logic in a comprehensive, explicit, and formal way.The work begins by analyzing simple categoric...

, and his Latin translation of Porphyry's Isagoge
Isagoge
The Isagoge or "Introduction" to Aristotle's "Categories", written by Porphyry in Greek and translated into Latin by Boethius, was the standard textbook on logic for at least a millennium after his death. It was composed by Porphyry in Sicily during the years 268-270, and sent to Chrysaorium,...

, a commentary on Aristotle's Categories
Categories (Aristotle)
The Categories is a text from Aristotle's Organon that enumerates all the possible kinds of thing that can be the subject or the predicate of a proposition...

.

Two Roman philosophers had a great influence on the development of medieval philosophy: Augustine
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

 and Boethius. Augustine is regarded as the greatest of the Church Fathers
Church Fathers
The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were early and influential theologians, eminent Christian teachers and great bishops. Their scholarly works were used as a precedent for centuries to come...

. He is primarily a theologian and a devotional writer, but much of his writing is philosophical. His themes are truth
Truth
Truth has a variety of meanings, such as the state of being in accord with fact or reality. It can also mean having fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal. In a common usage, it also means constancy or sincerity in action or character...

, God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

, the human soul
Soul
A soul in certain spiritual, philosophical, and psychological traditions is the incorporeal essence of a person or living thing or object. Many philosophical and spiritual systems teach that humans have souls, and others teach that all living things and even inanimate objects have souls. The...

, the meaning of history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

, the state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

, sin
Sin
In religion, sin is the violation or deviation of an eternal divine law or standard. The term sin may also refer to the state of having committed such a violation. Christians believe the moral code of conduct is decreed by God In religion, sin (also called peccancy) is the violation or deviation...

, and salvation
Salvation
Within religion salvation is the phenomenon of being saved from the undesirable condition of bondage or suffering experienced by the psyche or soul that has arisen as a result of unskillful or immoral actions generically referred to as sins. Salvation may also be called "deliverance" or...

. For over a thousand years, there was hardly a Latin work of theology or philosophy that did not quote his writing, or invoke his authority. Some of his writing had an influence on the development of early modern philosophy
Early modern philosophy
Early modern philosophy is a period in the history of philosophy at the beginning or overlapping with the period known as modern philosophy. The early modern period in history is roughly 1500-1800, but the label "early modern philosophy" is sometimes used to refer to a more specific period of...

, such as that of Descartes.. Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius
Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius
Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius, commonly called Boethius was a philosopher of the early 6th century. He was born in Rome to an ancient and important family which included emperors Petronius Maximus and Olybrius and many consuls. His father, Flavius Manlius Boethius, was consul in 487 after...

 (480– c.525) was a Christian philosopher born in Rome to an ancient and influential family. He became consul in 510 in the kingdom of the Ostrogoths. His influence on the early medieval period was also marked (so much so that it is sometimes called the Boethian period). He intended to translate all the works of Aristotle and Plato from the original Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 into Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, and translated many of Aristotle’s logical works, such as On Interpretation
On Interpretation
Aristotle's De Interpretatione or On Interpretation is one of the earliest surviving philosophical works in the Western tradition to deal with the relationship between language and logic in a comprehensive, explicit, and formal way.The work begins by analyzing simple categoric...

, and the Categories
Categories (Aristotle)
The Categories is a text from Aristotle's Organon that enumerates all the possible kinds of thing that can be the subject or the predicate of a proposition...

. He wrote commentaries on these works, and on the Isagoge
Isagoge
The Isagoge or "Introduction" to Aristotle's "Categories", written by Porphyry in Greek and translated into Latin by Boethius, was the standard textbook on logic for at least a millennium after his death. It was composed by Porphyry in Sicily during the years 268-270, and sent to Chrysaorium,...

 by Porphyry
Porphyry (philosopher)
Porphyry of Tyre , Porphyrios, AD 234–c. 305) was a Neoplatonic philosopher who was born in Tyre. He edited and published the Enneads, the only collection of the work of his teacher Plotinus. He also wrote many works himself on a wide variety of topics...

 (a commentary on the Categories). This introduced the problem of universals
Problem of universals
The problem of universals is an ancient problem in metaphysics about whether universals exist. Universals are general or abstract qualities, characteristics, properties, kinds or relations, such as being male/female, solid/liquid/gas or a certain colour, that can be predicated of individuals or...

 to the medieval world.


The first significant renewal of learning in the West came when Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

, advised by Peter of Pisa
Peter of Pisa
Peter of Pisa was a grammarian of the Early middle ages. He originally taught at Pavia. In 776, after the conquest of the Lombard Kingdom, Charlemagne summoned him to his court to teach Latin. Peter was a friend of Alcuin. He returned about the year 790 to Italy where he died no later than 799...

 and Alcuin of York, attracted the scholars of England and Ireland, and by imperial decree in 787 AD established schools in every abbey in his empire. These schools, from which the name Scholasticism
Scholasticism
Scholasticism is a method of critical thought which dominated teaching by the academics of medieval universities in Europe from about 1100–1500, and a program of employing that method in articulating and defending orthodoxy in an increasingly pluralistic context...

 is derived, became centres of medieval learning.

Johannes Scotus Eriugena
Johannes Scotus Eriugena
Johannes Scotus Eriugena was an Irish theologian, Neoplatonist philosopher, and poet. He is known for having translated and made commentaries upon the work of Pseudo-Dionysius.-Name:...

 (c. 815 - 877), successor of Alcuin of York as head of the Palace School, was an Irish
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 theologian and Neoplatonic
Neoplatonism
Neoplatonism , is the modern term for a school of religious and mystical philosophy that took shape in the 3rd century AD, based on the teachings of Plato and earlier Platonists, with its earliest contributor believed to be Plotinus, and his teacher Ammonius Saccas...

 philosopher. He is notable for having translated and made commentaries upon the work of Pseudo-Dionysius, initially thought to be from the apostolic age
Apostolic Age
The Apostolic Age of the history of Christianity is traditionally the period of the Twelve Apostles, dating from the Crucifixion of Jesus and the Great Commission in Jerusalem until the death of John the Apostle in Anatolia...

. Around this period several doctrinal controversies emerged, such as the question of whether God had predestined some for salvation and some for damnation. Eriugena was called in to settle this dispute. At the same time, Paschasius Radbertus raised an important question about the real presence
Real Presence
Real Presence is a term used in various Christian traditions to express belief that in the Eucharist, Jesus Christ is really present in what was previously just bread and wine, and not merely present in symbol, a figure of speech , or by his power .Not all Christian traditions accept this dogma...

 of Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 at the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

. Is the host
Sacramental bread
Sacramental bread, sometimes called the lamb, altar bread, host or simply Communion bread, is the bread which is used in the Christian ritual of the Eucharist.-Eastern Catholic and Orthodox:...

 the same as Christ's historical body? How can it be present at many places and many times? Radbertus argued that Christ's real body is present, veiled by the appearance of bread and wine, and is present at all places and all times, by means of God's incomprehensible power.

This period also witnessed a revival of scholarship. At Fleury, Theodulphus, bishop of Orléans, established a school for young noblemen recommended there by Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

. By the mid-ninth century, its library was one of the most comprehensive ever assembled in the West, and scholars such as Lupus of Ferrières (d. 862) traveled there to consult its texts. Later, under St. Abbo of Fleury
Abbo of Fleury
Abbo of Fleury , also known as Abbon or Saint Abbo was a monk, and later abbot, of the Benedictine monastery of Fleury sur Loire near Orléans, France....

 (abbot 988-1004), head of the reformed abbey school, Fleury enjoyed a second golden age.

Remigius of Auxerre
Remigius of Auxerre
Remigius of Auxerre was a Benedictine monk during the Carolingian period, a teacher of Latin grammar, and a prolific author of commentaries on classical Greek and Latin texts...

, at the beginning of the tenth century, produced glosses or commentaries on the classical texts of Donatus
Aelius Donatus
Aelius Donatus was a Roman grammarian and teacher of rhetoric. The only fact known regarding his life is that he was the tutor of St...

, Priscian
Priscian
Priscianus Caesariensis , commonly known as Priscian, was a Latin grammarian. He wrote the Institutiones grammaticae on the subject...

, Boethius, and Martianus Capella
Martianus Capella
Martianus Minneus Felix Capella was a pagan writer of Late Antiquity, one of the earliest developers of the system of the seven liberal arts that structured early medieval education...

. The Carolingian period was followed by a small dark age that was followed by a lasting revival of learning in the eleventh century, which owed much to the rediscovery of Greek thought from Arabic translations and Muslim contributions
Islamic Golden Age
During the Islamic Golden Age philosophers, scientists and engineers of the Islamic world contributed enormously to technology and culture, both by preserving earlier traditions and by adding their own inventions and innovations...

 such as Avicenna
Avicenna
Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Sīnā , commonly known as Ibn Sīnā or by his Latinized name Avicenna, was a Persian polymath, who wrote almost 450 treatises on a wide range of subjects, of which around 240 have survived...

's On the soul.

High Middle Ages


The period from the middle of the eleventh century to the middle of the fourteenth century is known as the 'High medieval' or 'scholastic' period. It is generally agreed to begin with Saint Anselm of Canterbury
Anselm of Canterbury
Anselm of Canterbury , also called of Aosta for his birthplace, and of Bec for his home monastery, was a Benedictine monk, a philosopher, and a prelate of the church who held the office of Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109...

 (1033–1109) an Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 philosopher, theologian
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

, and church official who is famous as the originator of the ontological argument for the existence of God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

.

The 13th and early 14th centuries are generally regarded as the high period of scholasticism
Scholasticism
Scholasticism is a method of critical thought which dominated teaching by the academics of medieval universities in Europe from about 1100–1500, and a program of employing that method in articulating and defending orthodoxy in an increasingly pluralistic context...

. The early 13th century witnessed the culmination of the recovery of Greek philosophy. Schools of translation grew up in Italy and Sicily, and eventually in the rest of Europe. Scholars such as Adelard of Bath
Adelard of Bath
Adelard of Bath was a 12th century English scholar. He is known both for his original works and for translating many important Greek and Arabic scientific works of astrology, astronomy, philosophy and mathematics into Latin from Arabic versions, which were then introduced to Western Europe...

 travelled to Sicily and the Arab world, translating works on astronomy and mathematics, including the first complete translation of Euclid’s Elements. Powerful Norman kings gathered men of knowledge from Italy and other areas into their courts as a sign of their prestige. William of Moerbeke
William of Moerbeke
Willem van Moerbeke, O.P., known in the English speaking world as William of Moerbeke was a prolific medieval translator of philosophical, medical, and scientific texts from Greek into Latin...

's translations and editions of Greek philosophical texts in the middle half of the thirteenth century helped in forming a clearer picture of Greek philosophy, and in particular of Aristotle, than was given by the Arabic versions they had previously relied on, which had distorted or obscured the relation between Platonic and Aristotelian systems of philosophy. His work formed the basis of the major commentaries that followed.

The universities
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 developed in the large cities of Europe during this period, and rival clerical orders within the Church began to battle for political and intellectual control over these centers of educational life. The two main orders founded in this period were the Franciscans and the Dominicans
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

. The Franciscans were founded by Francis of Assisi
Francis of Assisi
Saint Francis of Assisi was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men's Franciscan Order, the women’s Order of St. Clare, and the lay Third Order of Saint Francis. St...

 in 1209. Their leader in the middle of the century was Bonaventure
Bonaventure
Saint Bonaventure, O.F.M., , born John of Fidanza , was an Italian medieval scholastic theologian and philosopher. The seventh Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, he was also a Cardinal Bishop of Albano. He was canonized on 14 April 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV and declared a Doctor of the...

, a traditionalist who defended the theology of Augustine
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

 and the philosophy of Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

, incorporating only a little of Aristotle in with the more neoplatonist elements. Following Anselm, Bonaventure supposed that reason can discover truth only when philosophy is illuminated by religious faith. Other important Franciscan writers were Duns Scotus
Duns Scotus
Blessed John Duns Scotus, O.F.M. was one of the more important theologians and philosophers of the High Middle Ages. He was nicknamed Doctor Subtilis for his penetrating and subtle manner of thought....

, Peter Auriol, and William of Ockham
William of Ockham
William of Ockham was an English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher, who is believed to have been born in Ockham, a small village in Surrey. He is considered to be one of the major figures of medieval thought and was at the centre of the major intellectual and political controversies of...

.

By contrast, the Dominican order, founded by St Dominic in 1215 placed more emphasis on the use of reason and made extensive use of the new Aristotelian sources derived from the East, and Moorish Spain. The great representatives of Dominican thinking in this period were Albertus Magnus
Albertus Magnus
Albertus Magnus, O.P. , also known as Albert the Great and Albert of Cologne, is a Catholic saint. He was a German Dominican friar and a bishop, who achieved fame for his comprehensive knowledge of and advocacy for the peaceful coexistence of science and religion. Those such as James A. Weisheipl...

 and (especially) Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

, whose artful synthesis of Greek rationalism and Christian doctrine eventually came to define Catholic philosophy. Aquinas placed more emphasis on reason and argumentation, and was one of the first to use the new translation of Aristotle's metaphysical and epistemological writing. This was a significant departure from the Neoplatonic
Neoplatonism
Neoplatonism , is the modern term for a school of religious and mystical philosophy that took shape in the 3rd century AD, based on the teachings of Plato and earlier Platonists, with its earliest contributor believed to be Plotinus, and his teacher Ammonius Saccas...

 and Augustinian thinking that had dominated much of early Scholasticism. Aquinas showed how it was possible to incorporate much of the philosophy of Aristotle without falling into the "errors" of the Commentator Averroes
Averroes
' , better known just as Ibn Rushd , and in European literature as Averroes , was a Muslim polymath; a master of Aristotelian philosophy, Islamic philosophy, Islamic theology, Maliki law and jurisprudence, logic, psychology, politics, Arabic music theory, and the sciences of medicine, astronomy,...

.

Authority; reinterpretation and context changes to circumvent it


Medieval philosophers wanted authority to be absolute, but faced a problem that the authorities might not be in agreement with more recently gained knowledge, or their own point of view. A formal characteristic found in medieval philosophical texts is the citation of authoritative texts, e.g., the Bible or Aristotle. A way to forge agreements with and among authorities was a reinterpretation
Interpretation
-Language:* Language interpretation, the facilitation of dialogue between parties using different languages* Interpretation of tongues, a supernatural ability to understand unknown languages* Semantics, assignment of meanings to symbols-Philosophy:...

 of them. This was a way to bring an author's view into conversation, and to be in agreement with contemporary discussions. For example, Maimonides argues that, just as a boy reared on an island without women would have difficulty imagining how children might be conceived and born, Aristotle might have had an experience too limited to allow him to develop any other accounts of the origin of things. In addition to reinterpretation, medieval interpreters might also take a given citation out of context. For example, Aquinas cites Augustine out of context to claim that theology is a “science” analogous to the Aristotelian science of “Posterior Analytics
Posterior Analytics
The Posterior Analytics is a text from Aristotle's Organon that deals with demonstration, definition, and scientific knowledge. The demonstration is distinguished as a syllogism productive of scientific knowledge, while the definition marked as the statement of a thing's nature, .....

”, by failing to note that Augustine uses the term “science” in a much older and less technical way. Alan of Lille supports the empiricist Pauline claim that the “invisible things of God are known through the visible things that are made”, but with a different context, whereby the kind of knowledge in question is the “knowledge” of faith, not of the world. Likewise, Aquinas cites and supports the categorization of sin in terms of Gregory the Great's scheme of the seven deadly sins
Seven deadly sins
The 7 Deadly Sins, also known as the Capital Vices or Cardinal Sins, is a classification of objectionable vices that have been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct followers concerning fallen humanity's tendency to sin...

, but he subordinates Gregory's classification to his own way of organizing notions of sin. This change of contexts to make a point is not necessarily done in bad faith; their strategies for harmonizing authorities discordant with each other and with their own views may be part of a hermeneutic whose basic assumption is that these authorities are all seeking and attempting to express part of a single Truth
Truth
Truth has a variety of meanings, such as the state of being in accord with fact or reality. It can also mean having fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal. In a common usage, it also means constancy or sincerity in action or character...

, so it is not a distortion of an authoritative source to put its views in a new context when new concepts and knowledge demands this be done. Silano points out that many of the tensions and even outright contradictions between authoritative sources would have disappeared had the compilers, commentators, and masters determining a question placed those authoritative claims in their historical/cultural context rather than simply set them against each other, and that they might not have done so because this would deprive these sources of their normative
Normative
Normative has specialized contextual meanings in several academic disciplines. Generically, it means relating to an ideal standard or model. In practice, it has strong connotations of relating to a typical standard or model ....

 status, making it contingent as a judicial decision, interpreted in terms of its historical/cultural context, is no longer binding. Silano wanted the task of the 12th and 13th centuries in the Latin West to be the establishment of absolute authorities, which would bound all discussion and dissention, rather than knocking them down through arguments of relativism
Relativism
Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration....

.

Topics in Medieval Philosophy


All the main branches of philosophy today were a part of Medieval philosophy. Medieval philosophy also included most of the areas originally established by the pagan philosophers of antiquity, in particular Aristotle. However, the discipline now called Philosophy of religion
Philosophy of religion
Philosophy of religion is a branch of philosophy concerned with questions regarding religion, including the nature and existence of God, the examination of religious experience, analysis of religious language and texts, and the relationship of religion and science...

 was, it is presumed, a unique development of the Medieval era, and many of the problems that define the subject first took shape in the Middle Ages, in forms that are still recognisable today.

Theology


Medieval philosophy is characteristically theological. Subjects discussed or developed in this period include:
  • The problem of the compatibility of the divine attributes: How are the attributes traditionally ascribed to the Supreme Being, such as unlimited power, knowledge of all things, infinite goodness, existence outside time, immateriality, and so on, logically consistent with one another?
  • The problem of evil
    Problem of evil
    In the philosophy of religion, the problem of evil is the question of how to explain evil if there exists a deity that is omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient . Some philosophers have claimed that the existences of such a god and of evil are logically incompatible or unlikely...

    : The classical philosophers had speculated on the nature of evil, but the problem of how an all-powerful, all-knowing, kind God could create a system of things in which evil exists first arose in the medieval period.
  • The problem of free will: A similar problem was to explain how 'divine foreknowledge' - God's knowledge of what will happen in the future - is compatible with our belief in our own free will
    Free will
    "To make my own decisions whether I am successful or not due to uncontrollable forces" -Troy MorrisonA pragmatic definition of free willFree will is the ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. The existence of free will and its exact nature and definition have long...

    .

Metaphysics



After the 'rediscovery' of Aristotle's Metaphysics
Metaphysics (Aristotle)
Metaphysics is one of the principal works of Aristotle and the first major work of the branch of philosophy with the same name. The principal subject is "being qua being", or being understood as being. It examines what can be asserted about anything that exists just because of its existence and...

 in the mid-twelfth century, many scholastics wrote commentaries on this work (in particular Aquinas and Scotus
Duns Scotus
Blessed John Duns Scotus, O.F.M. was one of the more important theologians and philosophers of the High Middle Ages. He was nicknamed Doctor Subtilis for his penetrating and subtle manner of thought....

). The problem of universals
Problem of universals
The problem of universals is an ancient problem in metaphysics about whether universals exist. Universals are general or abstract qualities, characteristics, properties, kinds or relations, such as being male/female, solid/liquid/gas or a certain colour, that can be predicated of individuals or...

 was one of the main problems engaged during that period. Other subjects included:
  • Hylomorphism - development of the Aristotelian doctrine that individual things are a compound of material and form (the statue is a compound of granite, and the form sculpted into it)
  • Existence
    Existence
    In common usage, existence is the world we are aware of through our senses, and that persists independently without them. In academic philosophy the word has a more specialized meaning, being contrasted with essence, which specifies different forms of existence as well as different identity...

     - being qua being
  • Causality
    Causality
    Causality is the relationship between an event and a second event , where the second event is understood as a consequence of the first....

     - Discussion of causality consisted mostly of commentaries on Aristotle, mainly the Physics
    Physics (Aristotle)
    The Physics of Aristotle is one of the foundational books of Western science and philosophy...

    , On the Heavens
    On the Heavens
    On the Heavens is Aristotle's chief cosmological treatise: it contains his astronomical theory and his ideas on the concrete workings of the terrestrial world...

    , On Generation and Corruption
    On Generation and Corruption
    On Generation and Corruption , , also known as On Coming to Be and Passing Away) is a treatise by Aristotle. Like many of his texts, it is both scientific and philosophic...

    . The approach to this subject area was uniquely medieval, the rational investigation of the universe being viewed as a way of approaching God. Duns Scotus' proof of the existence of God is based on the notion of causality.
  • Individuation
    Principle of individuation
    The Principle of Individuation is a criterion which supposedly individuates or numerically distinguishes the members of the kind for which it is given, i.e. by which we can supposedly determine, regarding any kind of thing, when we have more than one of them or not. It is also known as a...

    . The problem of individuation is to explain how we individuate or numerically distinguish the members of any kind for which it is given. The problem arose when it was required to explain how individual angel
    Angel
    Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

    s of the same species differ from one another. Angels are immaterial, and their numerical difference cannot be explained by the different matter they are made of. Important contributors to this discussion were Aquinas and Scotus
    Duns Scotus
    Blessed John Duns Scotus, O.F.M. was one of the more important theologians and philosophers of the High Middle Ages. He was nicknamed Doctor Subtilis for his penetrating and subtle manner of thought....

    .

Natural philosophy


In natural philosophy
Natural philosophy
Natural philosophy or the philosophy of nature , is a term applied to the study of nature and the physical universe that was dominant before the development of modern science...

 and the philosophy of science
Philosophy of science
The philosophy of science is concerned with the assumptions, foundations, methods and implications of science. It is also concerned with the use and merit of science and sometimes overlaps metaphysics and epistemology by exploring whether scientific results are actually a study of truth...

, medieval philosophers were mainly influenced by Aristotle. However, from the fourteenth century onward, the increasing use of mathematical reasoning in natural philosophy prepared the way for the rise of science in the early modern period. Important figures include William Heytesbury and William of Ockham. Other contributors to natural philosophy are Albert of Saxony
Albert of Saxony (philosopher)
Albert of Saxony was a German philosopher known for his contributions to logic and physics...

, John Buridan, and Nicholas of Autrecourt
Nicholas of Autrecourt
Nicholas of Autrecourt was a French medieval philosopher and Scholastic theologian....

. See also the article on the Continuity thesis
Continuity thesis
In the history of ideas, the continuity thesis is the hypothesis that there was no radical discontinuity between the intellectual development of the Middle Ages and the developments in the Renaissance and early modern period. Thus the idea of an intellectual or scientific revolution following the...

, the hypothesis that there was no radical discontinuity between the intellectual development of the Middle Ages and the developments in the Renaissance and early modern period.

Logic


The great historian of logic I. M. Bochenski
Józef Maria Bochenski
Józef Maria Bocheński was a Polish Dominican, logician and philosopher.-Life:...

 regarded the Middle Ages as one of the three great periods in the history of logic
History of logic
The history of logic is the study of the development of the science of valid inference . Formal logic was developed in ancient times in China, India, and Greece...

. From the time of Abelard until the middle of the fourteenth century, scholastic writers refined and developed Aristotelian logic to a remarkable degree. In the earlier period, writers such as Peter Abelard
Peter Abelard
Peter Abelard was a medieval French scholastic philosopher, theologian and preeminent logician. The story of his affair with and love for Héloïse has become legendary...

 wrote commentaries on the works of the Old logic (Aristotle's Categories
Categories (Aristotle)
The Categories is a text from Aristotle's Organon that enumerates all the possible kinds of thing that can be the subject or the predicate of a proposition...

, On interpretation, and the Isagoge
Isagoge
The Isagoge or "Introduction" to Aristotle's "Categories", written by Porphyry in Greek and translated into Latin by Boethius, was the standard textbook on logic for at least a millennium after his death. It was composed by Porphyry in Sicily during the years 268-270, and sent to Chrysaorium,...

 of Porphyry
Porphyry (philosopher)
Porphyry of Tyre , Porphyrios, AD 234–c. 305) was a Neoplatonic philosopher who was born in Tyre. He edited and published the Enneads, the only collection of the work of his teacher Plotinus. He also wrote many works himself on a wide variety of topics...

). Later, new departments of logical enquiry arose, and new logical and semantic notions were developed. For logical developments in the Middle Ages, see the articles on Insolubilia
Insolubilia
In the Middle Ages, variations on the liar paradox were studied under the name of insolubilia .Although the liar paradox was well known in antiquity, interest seems to have lapsed until the twelfth century, when it appears to have been reinvented independently of ancient authors...

, Medieval theories of modality, Obligations, Properties of terms, Medieval theories of singular terms, Syllogism
Syllogism
A syllogism is a kind of logical argument in which one proposition is inferred from two or more others of a certain form...

, and Sophismata
Sophismata
Sophismata in medieval philosophy are difficult or puzzling sentences presenting difficulties of logical analysis that must be solved...

. Other great contributors to medieval logic include Albert of Saxony
Albert of Saxony (philosopher)
Albert of Saxony was a German philosopher known for his contributions to logic and physics...

, John Buridan, John Wyclif, Paul of Venice
Paul of Venice
Paul of Venice was a Roman Catholic Scholastic philosopher, theologian, and logician of the Hermits of the Order of Saint Augustine.-Life:...

, Peter of Spain
Peter of Spain
Peter of Spain or, in Latin, Petrus Hispanus is the Mediaeval author of Tractatus, later known as Summulae logicales magistri Petri Hispani , a standard textbook on logic...

, Richard Kilvington
Richard Kilvington
Richard Kilvington was an English scholastic philosopher at the University of Oxford. His surviving works are lecture notes from the 1320s and 1330s. He was a Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford...

, Walter Burley
Walter Burley
Walter Burley was a medieval English Scholastic philosopher and logician. He was a Master of Arts at Oxford in 1301, and a fellow of Merton College, Oxford until about 1310. He spent sixteen years at Paris until 1326, becoming a fellow of the Sorbonne by 1324. After that, he spent seventeen...

, William Heytesbury
William Heytesbury
William Heytesbury , philosopher and logician, is best known as one of the Oxford Calculators of Merton College, where he was a fellow by 1330....

, and William of Ockham
William of Ockham
William of Ockham was an English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher, who is believed to have been born in Ockham, a small village in Surrey. He is considered to be one of the major figures of medieval thought and was at the centre of the major intellectual and political controversies of...

.

Philosophy of Mind


Medieval philosophy of mind is based on Aristotle's De Anima, another work discovered in the Latin West in the twelfth century. It was regarded as a branch of the philosophy of nature. Some of the topics discussed in this area include:
  • Divine illumination
    Illuminationism
    Illuminationism is a doctrine in theology according to which the process of human thought needs to be aided by God. It is the oldest and most influential alternative to naturalism in the theory of mind and epistemology...

     - The doctrine of Divine illumination is an old and important alternative to naturalism
    Naturalism (philosophy)
    Naturalism commonly refers to the philosophical viewpoint that the natural universe and its natural laws and forces operate in the universe, and that nothing exists beyond the natural universe or, if it does, it does not affect the natural universe that we know...

    . It holds that humans need a special assistance from God in their ordinary thinking. The doctrine is most closely associated with Augustine and his scholastic followers. It reappeared in a different form in the early modern era.
  • theories of demonstration
  • mental representation - The idea that mental states have 'intentionality'; i.e., despite being a state of the mind, they are able to represent things outside the mind is intrinsic to the modern philosophy of mind. It has its origins in medieval philosophy. (The word 'intentionality' was revived by Franz Brentano
    Franz Brentano
    Franz Clemens Honoratus Hermann Brentano was an influential German philosopher and psychologist whose influence was felt by other such luminaries as Sigmund Freud, Edmund Husserl, Kazimierz Twardowski and Alexius Meinong, who followed and adapted his views.-Life:Brentano was born at Marienberg am...

    , who was intending to reflect medieval usage). Ockham is well-known for his theory that language signifies mental states primarily by convention, real things secondarily, whereas the corresponding mental states signify real things of themselves and necessarily.


Writers in this area include Saint Augustine, Duns Scotus
Duns Scotus
Blessed John Duns Scotus, O.F.M. was one of the more important theologians and philosophers of the High Middle Ages. He was nicknamed Doctor Subtilis for his penetrating and subtle manner of thought....

, Nicholas of Autrecourt
Nicholas of Autrecourt
Nicholas of Autrecourt was a French medieval philosopher and Scholastic theologian....

, Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

, and William of Ockham
William of Ockham
William of Ockham was an English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher, who is believed to have been born in Ockham, a small village in Surrey. He is considered to be one of the major figures of medieval thought and was at the centre of the major intellectual and political controversies of...

.

Ethics


For details on some important developments in medieval ethics, see the articles on Medieval theories of conscience, practical reason
Practical reason
In philosophy, practical reason is the use of reason to decide how to act. This contrasts with theoretical reason , which is the use of reason to decide what to believe. For example: agents use practical reason to decide whether to build a telescope, but theoretical reason to decide which of two...

, Medieval theories of natural law.

Writers in this area include Anselm
Anselm of Canterbury
Anselm of Canterbury , also called of Aosta for his birthplace, and of Bec for his home monastery, was a Benedictine monk, a philosopher, and a prelate of the church who held the office of Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109...

, Augustine, Peter Abelard
Peter Abelard
Peter Abelard was a medieval French scholastic philosopher, theologian and preeminent logician. The story of his affair with and love for Héloïse has become legendary...

, Scotus
Duns Scotus
Blessed John Duns Scotus, O.F.M. was one of the more important theologians and philosophers of the High Middle Ages. He was nicknamed Doctor Subtilis for his penetrating and subtle manner of thought....

, Peter of Spain
Peter of Spain
Peter of Spain or, in Latin, Petrus Hispanus is the Mediaeval author of Tractatus, later known as Summulae logicales magistri Petri Hispani , a standard textbook on logic...

, Aquinas, and Ockham
William of Ockham
William of Ockham was an English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher, who is believed to have been born in Ockham, a small village in Surrey. He is considered to be one of the major figures of medieval thought and was at the centre of the major intellectual and political controversies of...

. Writers on political theory include Dante
DANTE
Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe is a not-for-profit organisation that plans, builds and operates the international networks that interconnect the various national research and education networks in Europe and surrounding regions...

, John Wyclif, and Ockham.

See also

  • Christian philosophy
    Christian philosophy
    Christian philosophy may refer to any development in philosophy that is characterised by coming from a Christian tradition.- Origins of Christian philosophy :...

  • Jewish philosophy
    Jewish philosophy
    Jewish philosophy , includes all philosophy carried out by Jews, or, in relation to the religion of Judaism. Jewish philosophy, until modern Enlightenment and Emancipation, was pre-occupied with attempts to reconcile coherent new ideas into the tradition of Rabbinic Judaism; thus organizing...

  • Early Muslim philosophy
  • Scholastic philosophy
  • Renaissance of the 12th century
    Renaissance of the 12th century
    The Renaissance of the 12th century was a period of many changes at the outset of the High Middle Ages. It included social, political and economic transformations, and an intellectual revitalization of Western Europe with strong philosophical and scientific roots...

  • Supposition Theory
    Supposition theory
    Supposition theory was a branch of medieval logic that was probably aimed at giving accounts of issues similar to modern accounts of reference, plurality, tense, and modality, from within an Aristotelian context. Philosophers such as John Buridan, William of Ockham, William of Sherwood, Walter...

  • Nominalism
    Nominalism
    Nominalism is a metaphysical view in philosophy according to which general or abstract terms and predicates exist, while universals or abstract objects, which are sometimes thought to correspond to these terms, do not exist. Thus, there are at least two main versions of nominalism...


External links