Dr. Kostelecky - Philosophy 249 - 3

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Matthew Kostelecky

PHILOSOPHY 249 Is Boethius a realist or a nominalist? realist - universals exist independent of the human mind nominalist - particulars exist, universal are only names we put on them. historians of ideas call him a moderate realist. Boethius dies in 525 Abelard writes in the 12th century. Boethius dies without being able to translate all of aristotle like he wants. He only translates some logical works (like the categories) and the isogoge. Aristotle does get translated into ISLAM / ARABIC however! they have all of aristotle's works and some of Plato. Abelard does not get Aristotle's other works yet. We skip ahead a half millenium. The world had changed in substantial ways. The complete and utter collapse of the western Roman Empire. the so called 'dark ages', the rise of islam, the beginnings of the university. BUT what htey are trying to do in the 12th century is metaphysics, which they are doing without aristotle's book, the metaphysics. What do they have to rely on? Boethius commentaries and theological tracks, the isogoge, and the logical works of aristotle. And so the kind of metaphysical problems asked have to do with universals. Abelard falls for his students, Helloise. She gets pregnant, her daughter is adopted by her parents, and she was sent to a nunnery, and he gets castrated and sent to a monastery. they write love letters. He never lost a debate, ever, at any point. When he is 16 or 17 he gets heavy into aristotle's logic. gets attached to some well known teachers: William of Champeaux. Learns lots, then rejects him. Then he goes to study under william's teacher, Anselm of Laon. At the same time there is this other student of Anselm named Bernard of Clairvaux. Abelard is like, yo bernard, let's have a debate on Theology. (Abelard invented academic theology, protected and housed by the university, and become the apex of academia. to get your doctorate you have to comment on his student, Peter Lombard's (i think) commentary (and this is the invention of the dissertation). Abelard is like ok, let's debate on the nature of theology. when they meet, it isn't a debate, it is a kangaroo court that proclaims he is unorthodox, so he runs off to rome to appeal to the pope, but bernard sent a letter ahead of him, so abelard has to run away. after all this he goes to the wilderness, people follow him and beg him to teach him. so he does. and then he gets asked to become the abbott of the monastery, where there were three attempts on this life by the monks which hated his reform. in addition, he invents ethical theory, saying tha sin occurs not by doing something wrong but b
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