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Encyclopedia > Medieval philosophy
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History of Western philosophy
Pre-Socratic philosophy
Ancient philosophy
Medieval philosophy
Renaissance philosophy
17th-century philosophy
18th-century philosophy
19th-century philosophy
20th-century philosophy
Postmodern philosophy
Contemporary philosophy
See also:
Eastern philosophy
Indian philosophy
Iranian philosophy
Chinese philosophy
Korean philosophy
Christian philosophy
Islamic philosophy
Jewish philosophy
Philosophy seated between the seven liberal arts – Picture from the Hortus deliciarum of Herrad von Landsberg (12th century)

Medieval philosophy is the philosophy of Europe and the Middle East in the era now known as medieval or the Middle Ages, the period roughly extending from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance. It is defined partly by the process of rediscovering the ancient culture developed in Greece and Rome in the classical period, and partly by the need to address theological problems and to integrate sacred doctrine and secular learning. Image File history File links Cropped version of [1] File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... For the book by Bertrand Russell, see History of Western Philosophy (Russell) Philosophy has a long history conventionally divided into three large eras: the Ancient, Medieval and Modern. ... The Pre-Socratic philosophers were active before Socrates or contemporaneously, but expounding knowledge developed earlier. ... This page lists some links to ancient philosophy, although for Western thinkers prior to Socrates, see Pre-Socratic philosophy. ... Renaissance philosophy is the period of the history of philosophy in Europe that falls roughly during the between the Middle Ages and the Enlightenment. ... 17th-century philosophy in the West is generally regarded as seeing the start of modern philosophy, and the shaking off of the mediæval approach, especially scholasticism. ... The Age of Enlightenment (French: ; German: ) was an eighteenth-century movement in European and American philosophy, or the longer period including the Age of Reason. ... In the 18th century the philosophies of The Enlightenment would begin to have dramatic effect, and the landmark works of philosophers such as Immanuel Kant and Jean-Jacques Rousseau would have an electrifying effect on a new generation of thinkers. ... It has been suggested that Contemporary philosophy be merged into this article or section. ... Postmodern philosophy is an eclectic and elusive movement characterized by its criticism of Western philosophy. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The term Indian philosophy may refer to any of several traditions of philosophical thought, including: Hindu philosophy Buddhist philosophy Jain philosophy Sikh philosophy Carvaka atheist philosophy Lokayata materialist philosophy Tantric religious philosophy Bhakti religious philosophy Sufi religious philosophy Ahmadi religious philosophy Political and military philosophy such as that of Chanakya... Iranian philosophy can be traced back as far as to Old Iranian philosophical traditions and thoughts which originated in ancient Indo-Iranian roots and were considerably influenced by Zarathustras teachings. ... Yin Yang symbol and Ba gua paved in a clearing outside of Nanning City, Guangxi province, China. ... There has been a continuous history of philosophy in Korea, that goes back more than two thousand years. ... It is proposed that this article be deleted, because of the following concern: Filled with OR and completely unsourced. ... Islamic philosophy (الفلسفة الإسلامية) is a branch of Islamic studies, and is a longstanding attempt to create harmony between philosophy (reason) and the religious teachings of Islam (faith). ... Jewish philosophy refers to the conjunction between serious study of philosophy and Jewish theology. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1401x1839, 672 KB) Septem artes liberales from Hortus deliciarium of Herrad von Landsberg (about 1180) File links The following pages link to this file: Liberal arts Medieval philosophy Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Philosophy ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1401x1839, 672 KB) Septem artes liberales from Hortus deliciarium of Herrad von Landsberg (about 1180) File links The following pages link to this file: Liberal arts Medieval philosophy Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Philosophy ... In the history of education, the seven liberal arts comprise two groups of studies, the trivium and the quadrivium. ... Hell, as illustrated in Hortus deliciarum. ... Herrad of Landsberg Selfportrait from Hortus deliciarum, ca. ... The philosopher Socrates about to take poison hemlock as ordered by the court. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... Motto Senatus Populusque Romanus (SPQR) The Roman Empire at its greatest extent. ... The Renaissance (French for rebirth, or Rinascimento in Italian), was a cultural movement in Italy (and in Europe in general) that began in the late Middle Ages, and spanned roughly the 14th through the 17th century. ...


The problems discussed throughout this period are the relation of faith to reason, the existence and unity of God, the object of theology and metaphysics, and the problems of knowledge, of universals, and of individuation.

Contents

Character of medieval philosophy

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. Yet this period of nearly a thousand years was the longest period of philosophical development in Europe and the Middle East, and possibly the richest. Jorge Gracia has argued that 'in intensity, sophistication, and achievement, the philosophical flowering in the thirteenth century could be rightly said to rival the golden age of Greek philosophy in the fourth century B.C.' (Gracia, p. 1).


Medieval philosophy is characteristically theological due to one of the heavily debated topics of that age: faith vs. reason. Avicenna and Averroes both leaned more on the side of reason. Augustine and Anselm both believed in the primacy of faith. The Augustinian solution to the faith/reason problem is to (1) believe, and then (2) seek to understand. Thus, we do find plenty of philosophy in the works of medieval writers, who used the ideas and logical techniques of the ancient philosophers to address difficult theological questions and points of doctrine. Thomas Aquinas sought a harmony of both faith and reason. While some regard him as strictly a theologian, others disagree. He called philosophy ancilla theologiae, the handmaiden of theology. On the other hand, he also says that theology is the guidepost of philosophy. He writes that philosophy and theology are in harmony because both are created by God. If one's philosophy conflicts with the theology, then a mistake was made. That philosopher must go back and seek out his or her error. Thus, he admits a reciprocal relationship between philosophy and theology.[1] This article needs additional references or sources to facilitate its verification. ... Ibn Rushd, known as Averroes (1126 – December 10, 1198), was an Andalusian-Arab philosopher and physician, a master of philosophy and Islamic law, mathematics, and medicine. ... “Augustinus” redirects here. ... Anselm may refer to any of several historical figures: Saint Anselm, 8th-century Abbot of Nonantula Saint Anselm of Canterbury (ca 1033 - 1109), Archbishop of Canterbury Anselm of Laon (died 1117), Medieval theologian Anselm of Liège (1008-1056), chronicler Saint Anselm of Lucca (ca 1036 - 1086) This is a... Saint Thomas Aquinas (also Thomas of Aquin, or Aquino; c. ...


Generally speaking, there are three features that characterise medieval thinking. (1) The use of logic, dialectic and analysis to discover the truth – the principle of reasoned argumentation or ratio. (2) Respect for the insights of ancient philosophers, particularly Aristotle, and deference to their authority – the principle of auctoritas. (3) The obligation to co-ordinate the insights of philosophy with theological teaching and revelation – the principle of concordia. The last was the most important. Perhaps no other issue concerned medieval thinkers more than the relation of faith to reason.


Historical Background

Islamic philosophy in the Middle Ages

Plato, Seneca, and Aristotle from a medieval manuscript, Devotional and Philosophical Writings, c. 1330
Plato, Seneca, and Aristotle from a medieval manuscript, Devotional and Philosophical Writings, c. 1330

Whereas Judaism and Christianity began as a religion of small groups, Islam developed as the religion of an expanding empire. Within a hundred years of Mohammed's death in 632 AD, military conquest extended the Islamic world to India, North Africa and Southern Spain. Islamic philosophy (الفلسفة الإسلامية) is a branch of Islamic studies, and is a longstanding attempt to create harmony between philosophy (reason) and the religious teachings of Islam (faith). ... Early Muslim philosophy is considered influential in the rise of modern philosophy. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (754x1158, 146 KB) The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States and in those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (754x1158, 146 KB) The two-dimensional work of art depicted in this image is in the public domain in the United States and in those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years. ...


As a result, a variety of different communities came under Muslim rule, and Islam came into contact with the theological systems of Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastranism, and the philosophy of India and Greece. This led Islamic theologians to use philosophical ideas and principles to interpret Koranic doctrines.


The first stage of this process was the translation into Arabic of Greek philosophical and scientific works that had been preserved by Eastern Christians in Mesopatamia, Syria and Egypt. The translators were mostly Nestorian and Jacobite Christians, working in the two hundred years following the early Abbasid period (c. 800). The most important translator of this group was the Syriac-speaking Christian Hunayn Ibn Ishaq (809-873), known to the Latins as Joannitius. The texts were first translated into Syriac, then into Arabic. Despite this process, the translations were generally accurate, aiming for a literal reading rather than elegance. Hunayn ibn Ishaq al-Ibadi (809—873) was Nestorian physician in the House of Wisdom. ... Syriac is an Eastern Aramaic language that was once spoken across much of the Fertile Crescent. ...


In the tenth century another school arose among the Jacobites. These knew little Greek, and used only Syriac translations. The works translated included nearly all the works of Aristotle, the writings of commentators such as Alexander of Aphrodisias, Themistius and Theophrastus, most of the dialogues of Plato, and some Neoplatonist works. The Syriac Orthodox Church is an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox church based in the Middle East with members spread throughout the world. ... Aristotle (Greek: Aristotélēs) (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... Alexander of Aphrodisias, a pupil of Aristocles of Messene, was the most celebrated of the Greek commentators on the writings of Aristotle. ... Themistius (317 - c. ... Theophrastus (Greek Θεόφραστος, 370 — about 285 BC), a native of Eressos in Lesbos, was the successor of Aristotle in the Peripatetic school. ... PLATO was one of the first generalized Computer assisted instruction systems, originally built by the University of Illinois (U of I) and later taken over by Control Data Corporation (CDC), who provided the machines it ran on. ...


The next stage was the development of Islamic theology by the Mutakallimun. These were divided into the Mu'tazilites and the Ash'arites. The Mu'tazilites originated in groups that met in Basrah and Baghdad to discuss how Greek philosophical ideas might help to resolve certain theological problems, such as divine unity, and how human beings can be free even though God is omnipotent. They also developed proofs of the creation of the world, using Christian Neoplatonist ideas. The Ash'arites (founded by Al-Ash'ari, 873-935) tried to clarify Koranic doctrines. They denied the existence of any causation except through God, and therefore denied the freedom of human will. Why does anything happen? 'God wills it'. Kalam (علم الكلم) in Arabic means speech or discourse, and refers to the Islamic tradition of seeking theological principles through dialectic. ... Mutazilah (Arabic المعتزلة al-mu`tazilah) is a theological school of thought within Islam. ... The Ashari (Arabic الأشعرية al-ash`aryah) is a school of early Muslim philosophy named after its founder, the theologian Abu lHasan al-Ashari (d. ...


Al-Kindi (801–873) is generally regarded as the first Aristotelian philosopher. He advocated the independent study of philosophy, and also wrote on science and logic. Al-Razi (865- c. 925), by contrast, defended Plato against Aristotle, who he regarded a corrupter of philosophy. Aristotelianism continued with Al-Farabi (870-930) and Ibn Sina, known to the Latins as Avicenna (980-1037). The Ash'arite theologian Al-Ghazali (1058-1111), by contrast, represents Islamic reaction to Aristotle. Ghazali bitterly denounced Aristotle, Socrates and other Greek writers as non-believers and labelled those who employed their methods and ideas as corrupters of the Islamic faith. Abū-Yūsuf Ya’qūb ibn Ishāq al-Kindī (c. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Al Farabi (870-950) was born of a Turkish family and educated by a Christian physician in Baghdad, and was himself later considered a teacher on par with Aristotle. ... This article needs additional references or sources to facilitate its verification. ... Abu Hāmed Mohammad ibn Mohammad al-GhazzālÄ« (1058-1111) (Persian: ), known as Algazel to the western medieval world, born and died in Tus, in the Khorasan province of Persia (modern day Iran). ...


Islamic Aristotelianism reached its height with Ibn Rushd, known to the Latin as Averroes, best known in the West for his commentaries on Aristotle. Hebrew translations of his work also had a lasting impact on Jewish philosophy. Ibn Rushd, known as Averroes (1126 – December 10, 1198), was an Andalusian-Arab philosopher and physician, a master of philosophy and Islamic law, mathematics, and medicine. ... Jewish philosophy refers to the conjunction between serious study of philosophy and Jewish theology. ...


Early Medieval Christian Philosophy

High Middle Ages

See also: Scholasticism

Scholasticism comes from the Latin word scholasticus, which means that [which] belongs to the school, and is the school of philosophy taught by the academics (or schoolmen) of medieval universities circa 1100–1500. ...

See also

It is proposed that this article be deleted, because of the following concern: Filled with OR and completely unsourced. ... Early Muslim philosophy can be starkly divided into four clear sets of influences: First, the life of Muhammad or sira which generated both the Quran (revelation) and hadith (his daily utterances and discourses on social and legal matters), during which philosophy was defined by acceptance or rejection of his... Jewish philosophy refers to the conjunction between serious study of philosophy and Jewish theology. ... Scholastic redirects here. ... New technological discoveries allowed the development of the gothic style. ... 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. ...

Further reading

  • The London Philosophy Study Guide offers many suggestions on what to read, depending on the student's familiarity with the subject: Medieval Philosophy
  • Gracia, J.G. and Noone, T.B., A Companion to Philosophy in the Middle Ages, London 2003
  • Hyman, J. and Walsh, J.J., Philosophy in the Middle Ages, Indianapolis 1973
  • Maurer, Armand A. [1982]. Medieval Philosophy. 2nd ed. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.
  • Schoedinger, Andrew B., ed. [1996]. Readings in Medieval Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press.

On the campus of the University of St. ... Oxford University Press (OUP) is a highly-respected publishing house and a department of the University of Oxford in England. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Medieval philosophy : Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online (4948 words)
The general character of medieval philosophy in the West is determined to a significant extent by historical events associated with the collapse of Roman civilization.
Medieval philosophy, however, was also shaped by what was left to it and, in particular, by two pieces of the cultural legacy of late antiquity that survived the collapse of Roman civilization.
Medieval philosophers understood the nature of human beings in terms of the metaphysics of form and matter, identifying the human rational soul, the seat of the capacities specific to human beings, with form.
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