PHIL249 Study Guide - Nominalism, Thomas Aquinas, Medieval Philosophy
SchoolUniversity of Alberta
DepartmentPhilosophy at St Joseph's College
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MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY: CONCLUSION!
Medieval philosophy is kind of peculiar: ﬁrst of all, not sure what philosophy is. not sure what medieval is either.
everyone we read construed their project as a theological one. They were all theologians. So everything we are
dealign with here is theology permeating the boundaries of what is 'philosophy'. The time frame is weird too. The
geography is also huge. Why 400 ad? why not 500? etc. The borders are porous. !
What medieval philosophy is: a passing on of a tremendous tradition of thought that gives modern philosophy its
Medieval philosophy uniﬁes ancient philosophy and judeo-christian thought. An attempt to join faith and reason.!
ancient philosophy (reason) modern philosophy
judeochristian theology (faith) religion!
A basic attempt to unify faith and reason. !
that is part of the unifying feature to medieval philosophy, but it is a very general picture. for it to be true in even a
general way, the questions we ask today have to have been inﬂuenced by medieval philosophy.!
contemporary ø hinges on what was set in the medieval period.!
when you read descartes, you need to understand something of scotus. his notion of objectivity is extraordinarily
important. descartes is taking sides on a debate between thomas and scotus. he wasn't the ﬁrst one to be a skeptic
(his project is antiskeptical but where did those skeptical concerns come from? medieval period).!
at the very end of 'medievalism' comes William of Ockham, which it is too bad we didn't get a chance to read!!
what he is talking about in his razor is not just a scientiﬁc principle:!
"DO NOT MULTIPLY BEINGS BEYOND NECESSITY"!
what was he talking about when he says 'beings'? !
UNIVERSALS. he is deeply anti-realist. a hardcore nominalist on this. !•this also applies to his cognitive theory contra aquinas. aquinas is a moderate realist because he feels universals • are just held in the mind of God. Ockham is like, no, there are just things.!
simpliﬁes method, isn't looking for transcendental things to hold universals!•
things we didn't study!
the development of 'natural rights', this came from christian medieval philosophy. rights that couldn't be forfeit or
in the middle medieval period rights begin to accrue according to your oﬃce: king, baron, serf, etc.!
then you get a development in ockham a notion of an individual right that falls to you precisely because you are a
human being. this limits the rights of the higher ups, including the pope!!
the rights language takes full fruit when the dominicans stand up for the rights of the native americans, standing
up to spain.!
each human has a right because they are created in the likeness of God.!
we could have done the course on medieval logic.!
or medieval ethics!
the notion of the con-science (with knowledge) emerges with abelard, developed to distinguish between an act and
one's moral culpability. a construal of the intention of the act being part of culpability.!
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