An Introduction to Medieval Philosophy: Basic Concepts by Joseph W. Koterski

By Joseph W. Koterski

By way of exploring the philosophical personality of a few of the best medieval thinkers, An creation to Medieval Philosophy presents a wealthy review of philosophy on the planet of Latin Christianity.

  • Explores the deeply philosophical personality of such medieval thinkers as Augustine, Boethius, Eriugena, Anselm, Aquinas, Bonaventure, Scotus, and Ockham
  • Reviews the crucial positive aspects of the epistemological and metaphysical challenge of universals
  • Shows how medieval authors tailored philosophical principles from antiquity to use to their spiritual commitments
  • Takes a wide philosophical method of the medieval period by,taking account of classical metaphysics, normal tradition, and non secular themes

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But their focus is on reaching higher levels of cognition by coming to know a thing’s causes (episteme) and eventually achieving understanding by intellectual intuition (nous). 63 Philosophers of the medieval period give clear evidence of respecting the difference between faith and reason as sources of knowledge and wisdom, but they also stressed a deep connection between them. Ultimately, their juncture is rooted in their convictions that religious faith as they knew it was truly a gift from God that elicited a human response of trustworthy belief, that human reason is a creaturely participation in divine reason, and that this participation means that there must be in principle a fundamental harmony between what faith and what reason each show.

35 The Scriptures were understood to have four “senses” or levels of meaning. At the heart of this approach to interpretation is a distinction between the literal level and the three spiritual levels. Contrary to what the term might lead one to expect, the “literal level” does not mean that everything in the Scriptures is to be read as if a simple historical account. The literal level includes not only straightforward narrative but metaphor and simile and a variety of other rhetorical devices too.

73ff, in Augustine (1995a). 62 44 The principle of double effect, so important to later medieval casuistry, seems to have been developed primarily to handle questions about killing in self-defense. 45 For the lives of Abelard, Héloïse, and Bernard of Clairvaux, see Clanchy (1997), Mews (2005), and Evans (2000). 46 See Kent (1995). -P. Torrell explains: “Contrary to a deductive method that is sometimes attributed to him but which is not his, Thomas does not want to prove the truths of the faith, nor to demonstrate other truths from those that he holds in faith.

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