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A HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY

313 Pages · 2008 · 6.93 MB · English

  • A HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY

    A HISTORY


    OF


    PHILOSOPHY A HISTORY


    OF


    PHILOSOPHY


    VOLUME II


    Medieval Philosophy


    Frederick Copleston, S.J.


    ~


    -


    IMAGE BOOKS


    DOUBLEDAY


    New York London Toronto Sydney Auckland CONTENTS


    Chapter Page


    I. INTRODUCTION 1


    AN IMAGE BOOK PART I


    PUBLISHED BY DOUBLEDAY


    PRE-MEDIAEVAL INFLUENCE&


    a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.


    1540 Broadway, New York, New York 10036 II. THE PATRISTIC PERIOD 13


    Christianity and Greek philosophy-Greek Apologists


    IMAGE, DOUBLEDAY, and the portrayal of a deer drinking from (A ristides , St. Justin Martyr, Tatian. Athenagoras,


    Theophilus)-Gnosticism and writers against Gnosticism


    a stream are trademarks of Doubleday, a division of Bantam


    (St. Irenaeus. Hippolytus)-Latin Apologists (Minucius


    Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. Felix, Tertullian. Arnobius. Lactantius)-Catechetical


    School of Alexandria (Clement, Origen)-Greek Fathers


    (St. Basil, Eusebius. St. Gregory of Nyssa)-Latin


    Fathers (St. Ambrose)-St. John Damascene-Summary.


    First Image Books edition of Volume II of A History of Philosophy published 1962


    by special arrangement with The Newman Press. III. ST. AUGUSTINE-I


    Life and writings-St. Augustine and Philosophy.


    This Image edition published April 1993 IV. ST. AUGUSTINE-II: KNOWLEDGE 51


    Knowledge with a view to beatitude-Against scepticism


    De Licentia Superiorum Ordinis: Martinus D'Arcy, S.J., Praep. Provo Ang!iae _Experiential knowledge-Nature of sensation-Divine


    ideas-Illumination and Abstraction.


    Nihil Obstat: T. Corbishley, S.J. Censor Deputatus V. ST. AUGUSTINE-III: GOD . 68


    Imprimatur: Joseph, Archiepiscopus BirmiDgamiensis Die 24 Aprilis 1948 Proof of God from eternal truths-Proofs from creatures


    and from universal consent-The various proofs as stages


    in one process-Attributes of God-Exemplarism.


    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data


    VI. ST. AUGUSTINE-IV: THE WORLD 74


    Copleston, Frederick Charles. Free creation out of nothing-Matter-Rationes seminales


    A history of philosophy / Frederick Copleston. -Numbers-Soul and body-Immortality-Origin of


    soul.


    p. cm.


    Includes bibliographical references and indexes .. VII. ST. AUGUSTINE-V: MORAL THEORY 81


    Contents: V. 1. Greece and Rome-v. 2. Augustine to Scotus-v. Happiness and God-Freedom and Obligation-Need of


    3. Middle Ages and early Renaissance. grace-Evil-the two Cities.


    1. Philosophy, Ancient. 2. Philosophy, Medieval. 3. Philosophy, VIII. ST. AUGUSTINE-VI: THE STATE


    Renaissance. I. Title. The State and the City of Babylon not identical-The


    B72.C62 1993 pagan State does not embody true justice-Church


    190-dc20 92-34997 superior to State.


    CIP IX. THE PSEUDO-DIONYSIUS 91


    Volume II copyright 1950 by Frederick Copleston Writings and author-Affirmative way-Negative way


    Neo-Platonic interpretation of Trinity-Ambiguous teach-


    ISBN 0-385-46844-X ing on creation-Problem of evil-Orthodoxy or un~xad


    thodoxy?


    3 5 798 642


    X. BOETHIUS. CASSIODORUS. ISIDORE 101


    All Rights Reserved Boethius's transmission of Aristotelian ideas-Natural


    theology-Influence on Middle Ages-Cassiodorus on the


    PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA seven liberal arts and the spirituality of the soul


    Isidore's Etymologies and Senlences. CONTENTS CONTENTS


    PART II PART IV


    THE CAROLINGIAN RENAISSANCE ISLAMIC AND JEWISH PHILOSOPHY TRANSLATIONS


    Chaplet' Claapler P."


    XI. THE CAROLINGIAN RENAISSANCE. XIX. ISLAMIC PHILOSOPHY 186


    Charlemagne-Alcuin and the Palatine School-Other Reasons for discussing Islamic philosophy-Origins of


    schools, curriculum, libraries-Rhabanus Maurus. Islamic philosophy-AUarabi - A vicenna-Averroes


    Dante and the Arabian philosophers.


    XII. JOHN SCOTUS ERIUGENA-I 1I2


    XX. JEWISH PHILOSOPHY . 201


    Life and works.


    The Cabala-Avicebron-Maimonides.


    XIII. JOHN SCOTUS ERIUGENA-II 1I6 XXI. THE TRANSLATIONS 205


    Nature-God and creation-Knowledge of God by affir The translated works-Transl_tions from Greek and from


    mativeand negative ways; inapplicability of categories Arabic-Effects of translations and opposition to Aris


    to God-How, then, can God be said to have made the totelianism.


    world?-Divine Ideas in the Word-Creatures as partici


    pations and theophanies; creatures are in God-Man's V


    PART


    nature-Return of all things to God-Eternal punish-


    ment in light of cosmic return-Interpretation of John THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY


    Scotus's system.


    XXII, INTRODUCTION 212


    PART III The University of Paris-Universities closed and privi-


    leged corporations-Curriculum-Religious Orders at


    THE TENTH, ELEVENTH AND TWELFTH CENTURIES Paris-Currents of thought in the thirteenth century.


    XIV. THE PROBLEM OF UNIVERSALS 136 XXIII. WILLIAM OF AUVERGNE 218


    Situation following death of Charlemagne-Origin of dis Reasons for treating of William of Auvergne-Cod and


    cussion in texts of Porphyry and Boethius-Importance creatures; essence and existencfr-Creation by God


    of the problem-Exaggerated realism-Roscelin's 'nomi directly and in time-Proofs of God's existence-Hylo


    nalism'-St. Peter Damian's attitude to dialectic morphism-The soul-Knowledge-William of Auvergne


    William of Champeaux-Abelard-Gilbert de la Porr~ a transition-thinker.


    and John of Salisbury-Hugh of St. Victor-St. Thomas


    Aquinas. XXIV. ROBERT GROSSETESTE AND ALEXANDER OF HALES 228


    (a) Robert Grosseteste's life and writings-Doctrine of


    XV. ST. ANSELM OF CANTERBURY 156 light-God and creatures-Doctrine of truth and of illu


    St. Anselm as philosopher-Proofs of God's existence in mination.


    the Monoiocium-The proof of God's existence in the (6) Alexander of Hales's attitude to philosophy-Proofs


    Prosiocium-Idea of truth and other Augustinian elements of God's existence-The divine attributes-Comp08ition


    in St. Anselm's thought. in creatures-Soul, intellect, will-Spirit of Alexander's


    philosophy.


    XVI. THE SCHOOL OF CHARTRES . 166 XXV, ST. BONAVENTURE-I 240


    Universalism of Paris, and systematisation of sciences in Life and works-Spirit-Theology and philosophy


    twelfth century-Regionalism, humanism-Platonism of Attitude to Aristotelianism.


    Chartres-Hylomorphism at Chartres-Prima facie pan


    theism-John of Salisbury's political theory. XXVI. ST. BONAVENTURE-II: GoD'S EXISTENCE 250


    Spirit of Bonaventure's proofs of God's existence-


    XVII. THE SCHOOL OF ST. VICTOR 175 Proofs from sensible world-A priari knowledge of God


    Hugh of St. Victor; proofs of God's existence, faith, -The Anselmian argument-Argument from truth.


    mysticism-Richard of St. Victor; proofs of God's exis


    tence-Godfrey of St. Victor and Walter of St. Victor. XXVII. ST. BONAVENTURE-III: RELATION OF CREATURES


    TO GoD 258


    XVIII. DUALISTS AND PANTHEISTS 183 Exemplarism-The divine knowledge-Impossibility of


    creation from eternity-Errors which follow from denial


    Albigensians and Cathari-Amalric of Bene--David of


    of exemplarism and creation-Likeness of creatures to


    Oinant.


    God, an&logy-II this world the best possible world? CONTENTS


    CONTENTS


    Cllapur Pag,


    Chapter XXXVII. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS-VII: PSYCHOLOGY 375


    XXVIII. ST. BONAVENTURE-IV: THE MATERIAL CREATION One substantial form in man-The powers of the soul


    Hylomorphic composition in all creatures-Individuation The interior senses-Free will-The noblest faculty


    -Light-·-Plurahty of forms-Rahones semlnales. Immortality-The active and passive intellects are not


    numerically the same in all men.


    XXIX. ST. BONAVENTURE-V: THE HUMAN SOUL


    Unity of human soul-Relation of soul to body~Immorxad XXXVIII. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS-VIII: KNOWLEDGE


    talityof the human soul-Fal~lty of ;\verrOlsbc mono 'Theory of knowledge' in St. Thomas-The process of


    psychism-Knowledge of sensible o.bJects an~ of first knowledge; knowledge of the universal and of the parti


    logical principles-Knowledge of spmtual realities-illu cular-The soul's knowledge of itself-The possibility of


    mination-The soul's ascent to God-Bonaventure as metaphysics.


    philosopher of the Christian life.


    XXXIX. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS-IX: MORAL THEORY.


    XXX. ST. ALBERT THE GREAT 293


    Eudaemonism-The vision of God-Good and bad-The


    Life and intellectual activity-Philosophy and theology virtues-The natural law-The eternal law and the


    -God-·Creation-The soul-Reputation and importance foundation of morality in God-Natural virtues recognised


    of St. Albert. by St. Thomas which were not recognised by Aristotle;


    the virtue of religion.


    XXXI. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS-I 302


    Life-Works-Mode of exposing St. Thomas's philosophy XL. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS-X: POLITICAL THEORY 412


    --The spirit of St. Thomas's philosophy. St. Thomas and Aristotle-The natural origin of human


    society and government-Human society and political


    XXXII. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS-II: PHILOSOPHY AND authority willed by God-Church and State-Individual


    THEOLOGY 312 and State - Law - Sovereignty - Constitutions - St.


    Distinction betwcpn philosophy and theology-Moral Thomas's political theory an integral part of his total


    necessity of revelation-Incompatibility of fait~ and system.


    science in the same mind concernmg the same obJect Note on St. Thomas's aesthetic theory.


    Natural end and supernatural end-St. Thomas and St.


    Bonaventure-St. Thomas as 'innovator'. XLI. ST. THOMAS AND ARISTOTLE: CONTROVERSIES


    St. Thomas's utilisation of Aristotle-Non-Aristotelian


    XXXIII. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS-III: PRINCIPLES OF CREATED


    elements in Thomism-Latent tensions in the Thomist


    BEING 3~ synthesis-Opposition to Thomist 'novelties'.


    Reasons for starting with corporeal being-Hylomorphism


    -Rejection of rationes semina!es-Rejection of. plurality XLII. LATIN AVERROISM: SIGER OF BRABANT 435


    of substantial forms-RestTictlOn of hylomorphlc compo-


    Tenets of the 'Latin Averroists'-Siger of Brabant-


    sition to corporeal substances-Potentiality and act


    Dante and Siger of Brabant-Opposition to A verroism;


    Essence and existence. condemnations.


    XXXIV. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS-IV: PROOFS OF GOD'S


    XLIII. FRANCISCAN THINKERS 442


    EXISTENCE 336


    Roger Bacon, life and works-Philosophy of Roger Bacon


    Need of proof-St. Anselm's argument-Possibility of -Matthew of Aquasparta-Peter John Olivi-Roger


    proof-The first three proofs-The fourth proof-The Marston-Richard of Middleton-Raymond Lull.


    proof from finality-The 'third way' fundamental.


    XLIV. GILES OF ROME AND HENRY OF GHENT 460


    XXXV. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS-V: GOD'S NATURE 347


    (a) Giles of Rome. Life and works-The independence of


    The negative way-The affirmative way-Analogy- Giles as a thinker-Essence and existence-Form and


    Types of analogy-A difficulty-The di~ine ideas-No matter; soul and body-Political theory.


    real distinction between the divine attributes-God as


    (b) Henry of Ghent. Life and works-Eclecticism, illus


    existence itself.


    trated by doctrines of illumination and innatism-Idea


    XXXVI. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS-VI: CREATION 363 of metaphysics-Essence and existence-Proofs of God's


    existence-General spirit and significance of Henry's


    Creation out of nothing-God alone can create-God philosophy.


    created freely-The motive of creation-Impossibility of


    creation from eternity has not been demollstrated-Could XLV. SCOTus-I 476


    God create an actually infinite multitude?-Divine omni


    potence-The problem of evil. Life-Works-Spirit of Scotus's philosophy. CONTENTS


    Chapter


    XLVI. ScoTus-II: KNOWLEDGE


    The primary object of the human intellect-Why the in


    tellect depends on the phantasm-The soul's inability to MEDIAEVAL PHILOSOPHY


    intuit itself in this life-Intellectual apprehension of the


    individual thing-Is theology a science?-Our knowledge


    is based on sense-experience, and no special illumination


    CHAPTER I


    is required for intellectual activity-Intuitive and


    abstractive knowledge--Induction.


    INTRODUCTION


    XLVII. ScoTus-III: METAPHYSICS 500


    Being and its transcendental attributes-The univocal 1. IN this second volume of my history of philosophy I had


    concept of being-The formal objective distinction


    originally hoped to give an account of the development of philo


    Essence and existence-Universals-Hylomorphism


    Rationes semi1lQles rejected, plurality of forms retained sophy throughout the whole period of the Middle Ages, under


    -Individuation.


    standing by mediaeval philosophy the philosophic thought and


    XLVIII. ScoTUs-IV: NATURAL THEOLOGY 518 systems which were elaborated between the Carolingian renaissance


    Metaphysics and God-Knowledge of God from creatures in the last part of the eighth century A.D, (John Scotus Eriugena,


    -Proof of God's existence-Simplicity and intelligence


    the first outstanding mediaeval philosopher was born about 810)


    of God-God's infinity-The Anselmian argument


    Divine attributes which cannot be philosophically and the end of the fourteenth century. Reflection has convinced


    demonstrated-The distinction between the divine attn


    me, however, of the advisability of devoting two volumes to


    butes-The divine ideas-The divine will-Creation.


    mediaeval philosophy. As my first volume1 ended with an account


    XLIX. ScOTUS-V: THE SoUL 535 of neo-Platonism and contained no treatment of the philosophic


    The specific form of man-Union of soul and body-Will


    ideas to be found in the early Christian writers, I considered it


    and intellect-Soul's immortality not strictly demon


    strated. desirable to say something of these ideas in the present volume.


    It is true that men like St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Augustine


    L. ScoTus-VI: ETHICS 545


    belonged to the period of the Roman Empire, that their philo


    Morality of human acts-Indifferent acts-The moral


    law and the will of God-Political authority. sophic affiliations were with Platonism, understood in the widest


    sense, and that they cannot be termed mediaevals; but the fact


    remains that they were Christian thinkers and exercised a great


    LI. CONCLUDING REVIEW 552


    influence on the Middle Ages. One could hardly understand St.


    Theology and philosophy-'Christian philosophy'-The


    Thomist synthesis-Various ways of regarding and inter Anselm or St. Bonaventure without knowing something of St.


    preting mediaeval philosophy.


    Augustine, nor could one understand the thought of John Scotus


    Eriugena without knowing something of the thought of St. Gregory


    APPENDICES of Nyssa and of the Pseudo-Dionysius. There is scarcely any need,


    1. HONORIFIC TITLES APPLIED IN THE MIDDLE AGES then, to apologise for beginning a history of mediaeval philosophy


    TO PHILOSOPHERS TREATED OF IN THIS VOLUME 567 with a consideration of thinkers who belong, so far as chronology


    II. A SHORT BIBLIOGRAPHY 568 is concerned, to the period of the Roman Empire.


    The present volume, then, begins with the early Christian period


    INDEX OF NAMES 589


    and carries the history of mediaeval philosophy up to the end of


    INDEX OF SUBJECTS 598 the thirteenth century, including Duns Scotus (about 1265-1308).


    In my third volume I propose to treat of the philosophy of the


    fourteenth century, laying special emphasis on Ockhamism. In


    1 A History of Philosophy, Vol. I, Greece and Rome, London, 1946.


    I 2 INTRODUCTION INTRODUCTION 3


    that volume I shall also include a treatment of the philosophies of commonly regarded, one factor which was partly responsible for


    the Renaissance, of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and of the attitude adopted towards mediaeval thinkers was doubtless


    the 'Silver Age' of Scholastic thought, even though Francis Suarez the language used concerning Scholasticism by men like Francis


    did not die until the year 1617, twenty-one years after the birth Bacon and Rene Descartes. Just as Aristotelians are prone to


    of Descartes. This arrangement may appear to be an arbitrary evaluate Platonism in terms of Aristotle's criticism, so admirers of


    one, and to some extent it is. But it is extremely doubtful if it is the movement apparently initiated by Bacon and Descartes were


    possible to make any hard and fast dividing line between mediaeval prone to look on mediaeval philosophy through their eyes, unaware


    and modern philosophy, and a good case could be made out for of the fact that much of what Francis Bacon, for instance, has to


    including Descartes with the later Scholastics, contrary to tradi say against the Scholastics could not legitimately be applied to the


    tion as this would be. I do not propose, however, to adopt this great figures of-mediaeval thought, however applicable it may have


    course, and if I include in the next volume, the third, some philo been to later and 'decadent' Scholastics, who worshipped the letter


    sophers who might seem to belong properly to the 'modern period', at the expense 'of the spirit. Looking on mediaeval philosophy


    my reason is largely one of convenience, to clear the decks, so that from the very start in this light historians could perhaps scarcely


    in the fourth volume I may develop in a systematic manner the be expected to seek a closer and first-hand acquaintance with it:


    interconnection between the leading philosophical systems from they condemned it unseen and unheard, without knowledge either


    Francis Bacon in England and Descartes in France up to and of the rich variety of mediaeval thought or of its profundity: to


    including Kant. Nevertheless, whatever method of division be them it was all of a piece,an arid playing with words and a slavish


    adopted, one has to remember that the compartments into which dependence on theologians. Moreover, insufficiently critical, they


    one divides the history of philosophic thought are not watertight, failed to realise the fact that, if mediaeval philosophers were in


    that transitions are gradual, not abrupt, that there is overlapping fluenced by an external factor, theology, modern philosophers


    and interconnection, that succeeding systems are not cut off from were also influenced by external factors, even if by other external


    one a.nother with a hatchet. factors than theology. It would have seemed to most of these


    2. There was a time when mediaeval philosophy was considered historians a nonsensical 'proposition were one to suggest to them


    as unworthy of serious study, when it was taken for granted that that Duns Scotus, for example, had a claim to be considered as


    the philosophy of the Middle Ages was so subservient to theology a great British philosopher, at least as great as John Locke, while


    that it was practically indistinguishable therefrom and that, in so in their praise of the acumen of David Hume they were unaware


    far as it was distinguishable, it amounted to little more than a that certain thinkers of the late Middle Ages had already


    barren logic-chopping and word-play. In other words, it was taken anticipated a great deal of the criticism which used to be con


    for granted that European philosophy contained two main periods, sidered the peculiar contribution to philosophy of the eminent


    the ancient peri~d, which to all intents and purposes meant the Scotsman.


    philosophies of Plato and Aristotle, and the modern period, when I shall cite one example, the treatment accorded to mediaeval


    the speculative reason once more began to enjoy freedom after the philosophy and philosophers by a man who was himself a great


    dark night of the Middle Ages when ecclesiastical authority reigned philosopher, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. It is an interesting


    supreme and the human reason, chained by heavy fetters, was example, since Hegel's dialectical idea of the history of philosophy


    compelled to confine itself to the useless and fanciful study of obviously demanded that mediaeval philosophy should be por


    theology, until a thinker like Descartes at length broke the chains trayed as making an essential contribution to the development of


    and gave reason its freedom. In the ancient period and the modern philosophic thought, while Hegel personally was no mere vulgar


    period philosophy may be considered a free man, whereas in the antagonist of mediaeval philosophy. Now, Hegel does indeed


    mediaeval period it was a slave. admit that mediaeval philosophy performed one useful function,


    Apart from the fact that mediaeval philosophy naturally shared that of expressing in philosophic terms the 'absolute content' of


    in the disesteem with which the Middle Ages in general were Christianity, but he insists that it is only formalistic repetition INTRODUCTION


    INTRODUCTION 5


    of the content of faith, in which God is represented as something


    In adducing the instance of Hegel I am not, of course, concerned


    'external', and if one remembers that for Hegel faith is the mode


    to blame the philosopher: I am rather trying to throw into relief


    of religious consciousness and is definitely inferior to the philo


    the great change that has taken place in our knowledge of mediaeval


    sophic or speculative standpoint, the standpoint of pure reason, it


    philosophy through the work of modem scholars sinc~ about 1880.


    is clear that in his eyes mediaeval philosophy can be philosophy


    Whereas one can easily understand and pardon the nusrepresenta


    only in name. Accordingly he declares that Scholastic philosophy


    tions of which a man like Hegel was unconsciously guilty, one


    is really theology. By this Hegel does not mean that God is not


    would have little patience with similar misrepresentations to-day,


    the object of philosophy as well as of theology: he means that


    after the work of scholars like Baeumker, Ehrle, Grabmann, De


    mediaeval philosophy considered the same object as is considered


    Wulf, Pelster, Geyer, Mandonnet, Pelzer, etc. After the light that


    by philosophy proper but that it treated that object according to


    has been thrown on mediaeval philosophy by the publication of


    the categories of theology instead of substituting for the external


    texts and the critical editing of already published works, after the


    connections of theology (for example, the relation of the world to


    splendid volumes brought out by the Franciscan Fathers of


    God as external effect to free creative Cause) the systematic,


    Quaracchi, after the publications .of so m~y ~um~ers of the


    scientific, rational and necessary categories and connections of


    Beitrdge series, after the producbon of histones like that of


    philosophy. Mediaeval philosophy was thus philosophy according


    Maurice De Wulf, after the lucid studies of Etienne Gilson, after


    to content, but theology according to form, and in Hegel's eyes,


    the patient work done by the Mediaeval Academy of America, it


    the history of mediaeval philosophy is a monotonous one, in which


    should no longer be possible to think that mediaeval philosophers


    men have tried in vain to discern any distinct stages of real


    were 'all of apiece', that mediaeval philosophy lacked richness


    progress and development of thought.


    and variety, that mediaeval thinkers were uniformly men of low


    In so far as Hegel's VIew of mediaeval philosophy is dependent


    stature and of mean attainments. Moreover, writers like Gilson


    on his own particular system, on his view of the relation of religion


    have helped us to realise the continuity between mediaeval and


    to philosophy, of faith to reason, of immediacy to mediacy, I can


    modem philosophy. Gilson has shown how Cartesianism was more


    not discuss it in this volume; but I wish to point out how Hegel's


    dependent on mediaeval thought than was formerly supposed. A


    treatment of mediaeval philosophy is accompanied by a very real


    good deal still remains to be done in the way of edition and inter


    ignorance of the course of its history. It would be possible no


    pretation of texts (one needs only to mention William of Ockham's


    doubt for an Hegelian to have a real knowledge of the develop


    Commentary on the Sentences), but it has now become possible to


    ment of mediaeval philosophy and yet to adopt, precisely because


    see the currents and development, the pattern and texture, the


    he was an Hegelian, Hegel's general standpoint in regard to it; but


    high lights and low lights of mediaeval philosophy with a synoptic


    there can be no shadow of doubt, even allowing for the fact that


    eye.


    the philosopher did not himself edit and publish his lectures on the


    3. But even if mediaeval philosophy was in fact richer and more


    history of philosophy, that Hegel did not possess the real know


    varied than has been sometimes supposed, is it not true to say


    ledge in question. How could one, for instance, attribute a real


    that it stood in such a close relation to theology that it is practi


    knowledge of mediaeval philosophy to a writer who includes Roger


    cally indistinguishable therefrom? Is it not, for example, a fact


    Bacon under the heading 'Mystics' and simply remarks 'Roger


    that the great majority of mediaeval philosophers were priests and


    Bacon treated more especially of physics, but remained without


    theologians, pursuing philosophic studies in the spirit of a


    influence. He invented gunpowder, mirrors, telescopes, and died


    theologian or even an apologist?


    in I297'? The fact of the matter is that Hegel relied on authors


    In the first place it is necessary to point out that the relation of


    like Tennemann and Brucker for his information concerning


    theology to philosophy was itself an important theme of mediaeval


    mediaeval philosophy. whereas the first valuable studies on


    thought and that different thinkers adopted different attitudes in


    mediaeval philosophy do not antedate the middle of the nineteenth


    regard to this question. Starting with the endeavour to understand


    century.


    the data of revelation, so far as this is possible to human reason, 6 INTRODUCTION INTRODUCTION 7


    early mediaevals, in accordanct with the maxim Credo, ut intelli whereas St. Bonaventure maintained that this very incomplete


    gam, applied rational dialectic to the mysteries of faith in an ness or inadequacy has the character of a· falsification, so that,


    attempt to understand them. In this way they laid the founda though a true natural philosophy would be possible without the


    tions of Scholastic theology, since the application of reason to light of faith, a true metaphysic would not be possible. If a


    theological data, in the sense of the data of revelation, is and philosopher, thought St. Bonaventure, proves by reason and


    remains theology: it does not become philosophy. Some thinkers maintains the unity of God, without at the same time knowing


    indeed, in their enthusiastic desire to penetrate mysteries by that God is Three Persons in One Nature, he is attributing to God


    reason to the utmost degree possible, appear at first sight to be a unity which is not the divine Unity.


    rationalists, to be what one might call Hegelians before Hegel. In the second place, St. Thomas was perfectly serious when he


    Yet it is really an anachronism to regard such men as 'rationalists' gave philosophy its 'charter'. To a superficial observer it might


    in the modern sense, since when St. Anselm, for example, or appear that when St. Thomas asserted a clear distinction between


    Richard of St. Victor, attempted to prove the mystery of the dogmatic theology and philosophy, he was merely asserting a


    Blessed Trinity by 'necessary reasons' they had no intention of formalistic distinction, which had no influence on his thought and


    acquiescing in any reduction of the dogma or of impairing the which he did not take seriously in practice; but such a view would


    integrity of divine revelation. (To this subject I shall return in be far from the truth, as can be seen by one example. St. Thomas


    the course of the ·work.) So far they were certainly acting as believed that revelation teaches the creation of the world in time,


    theologians, but such men, who did not make, it is true, any very the world's non-eternity; but he maintained and argued stoutly


    clear delimitation of the spheres of philosophy and theology, cer that the philosopher as such can prove neither that the world


    tainly pursued philosophical themes and developed philosophical was created from eternity nor that it was created in time, although


    arguments. For instance, even if St. Anselm is primarily important he can show that it depends on God as Creator. In holding to


    as one of the founders of Scholastic theology, he also contributed this point of view he was at variance with, for example, St.


    to the growth of Scholastic philosophy, for example, by his Bonaventure, and the fact that he maintained the point of view


    rational proofs of God's existence. It would be inadequate to dub in question shows clearly that he seriously accepted in practice


    Abelard a philosopher and St. Anselm a theologian without quali his theoretical delimitation of the provinces of philosophy and


    fication. In any case in the thirteenth century we find a clear dogmatic theology.


    distinction made by St. Thomas Aquinas between theology, which In the third place, if it were really true to say that mediaeval


    takes as its premisses the data of revelation, and philosophy (in philosophy was no more than theology, we should expect to find


    cluding, of course, what we call 'natural theology'), which is the that thinkers who accepted the same faith would accept the same


    work of the human reason unaided positively by revelation. It is philosophy or that the differences between them would be confined


    true that in the same' century St. Bonaventure was a conscious to differences in the way in which they applied dialectic to the


    and determined upholder of what one might call the integralist, data of revelation. In point of fact, however, this is very far from


    Augustinian view; but, though the Franciscan Doctor may have being the case. St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Duns


    believed that a purely philosophical knowledge of God is vitiated Scotus, Giles of Rome, and, one may pretty safely say, William of


    by its very incompleteness, he was perfectly well aware that there Ockham accepted the same faith, but their philosophical ideas


    are philosophical truths which are ascertainable by reason alone. were by no means the same on all points. Whether or not their


    The difference between him and St. Thomas has been stated thus.l philosophies were equally compatible with the exigencies of


    St. Thomas held that it would be possible, in principle, to excogi theology is, of course, another question (William of Ockharn's


    be


    tate a satisfactory philosophical system, which, in respect of know philosophy could scarcely considered as altogether compatible


    ledge of God for instance, would be incomplete but not false, with these exigencies); but that question is irrelevant to the point


    at issue, since, whether they were all compatible with orthodox


    1 This bald statement, however, though sponsored by M. Gilson. requires a


    certain modification. See pp. 245-9. theology or not, these philosophies existed and were not the same. 8 INTRODUCTION INTRODUCTION 9


    The historian can trace the lines of development and divergence fact may possibly tend to obscure the general lines of connection


    in mediaeval philosophy, and, if he can do this, there must clearly and development, but, as I have said, it was not my intention to


    be such a thing as mediaeval philosophy: without existence it provide simply a sketch of mediaeval philosophy, and it is probably


    could not have a history. only through a somewhat detailed treatment of the leading philo


    We shall have to consider different views on the relation between sophical systems that one can bring out the rich variety of


    philosophy and theology in the course of this work, and I do not mediaeval thought. To place in clear relief the main lines of


    want to dwell any more on the matter at present; but it may be connection and development and at the same time to develop at


    as well to admit from the very start that, owing to the common some length the ideas of selected philosophers is certainly not an


    background of the Christian faith, the world presented itself for easy task, and it would be foolish to suppose that my inclusions


    interpretation to the mediaeval thinker more or less in a common and omissions or proportional allotment of space will be acceptable


    light. Whether a thinker held or denied a clear distinction between to everybody: to miss the trees for the wood or the wood for the


    the provinces of theology and philosophy, in either case he looked trees is easy enough, but to see both clearly at the same time is not


    on the world as a Christian and could hardly avoid doing so. In so easy. However, I consider it a task worth attempting, and


    his philosophic arguments he might prescind from Christian revela while I have not hesitated to consider at some length the philo


    tion, but the Christian outlook and faith were none the less there sophies of St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas, Duns Scot us and Ockham,


    at the back of his mind. Yet that does not mean that his philo I have tried to make intelligible the general development of


    sophic arguments were not philosophic arguments or that his mediaeval philosophy from its early struggles, through its splendid


    rational proofs were not rational proofs: one would have to take maturity, to its eventual decline.


    each argument or proof on its own merits or demerits and not If one speaks of a 'decline', it may be objected that one is


    dismiss them as concealed theology on the ground that the writer speaking as philosopher and not as historian. True enough, but


    was a Christian. if one is to discern an intelligible pattern in mediaeval philosophy,


    4. Having argued that there really was such a thing as mediaeval one must have a principle of selection and to that extent at least


    philosoph\' or at any rate that there could be such a thing, even one must be a philosopher. The word 'decline' has indeed a valua


    if the great majority of mediaeval philosophers were Christians and tional colouring and flavour, so that to use such a word may seem


    most of them theologians into the bargain, I want finally to say to constitute an overstepping of the legitimate territory of the


    something about the aim of this book (and of the succeeding historian. Possibly it is, in a sense; but what historian of philosophy


    volume) and the way in which it treats its subject. was or is merely an historian in the narrowest meaning of the term?


    I certainly do not intend to attempt the task of narrating all No Hegelian, no Marxist, no Positivist, no Kantian writes history


    the known opinions of all known mediaeval philosophers. In other without a philosophic viewpoint, and is the Thomist alone to be


    words, the second and third volumes of my history are not condemned for a practice which is really necessary, unless the


    designed to constitute an encyclopaedia of mediaeval philosophy. history of philosophy is to be rendered unintelligible by being


    On the other hand, it is not my intention to give simply a sketch made a mere string of opinions?


    or series of impressions of mediaeval philosophy. I have en By 'decline', then, I mean decline, since I frankly regard


    deavoured to give an intelligible and coherent account of the mediaeval philosophy as falling into three main phases. First


    development of mediaeval philosophy and of the phases through comes the preparatory phase, up to and including the twelfth


    which it passed, omitting many names altogether and choosing century, then comes the period of constructive synthesis, the


    out for consideration those thinkers who are of special importance thirteenth century, and finally, in the fourteenth century, the


    and interest for the content of their thought or who represent and period of destructive criticism, undermining and decline. Yet


    illustrate some particular type of philosophy or stage of develop from another point of view I should not hesitate to admit that the


    ment. To certain of these thinkers I have devoted a considerable last phase was an inevitable phase and, in the long run, may be of


    amount of space, discussing their opinions at some length. This benefit, as stimulating Scholastic philosophers to develop and


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