Middle ages philosophy
1. MIDDLE AGES PHILOSOPHYPlato, Seneca, and Aristotle from a medieval manuscript,
Devotional and Philosophical Writings, c. 1330
2. MIDDLE AGE PHILOSOPHY: A SHORT INTRODUCTIONMedieval
philosophy is the philosophy of
Western Europe in the "era" now known as
medieval or the Middle Ages, the period roughly
extending from the fall of the Roman Empire to
Medieval philosophy is characteristically theolo
Thomas Aquinas, following Peter Damian, argu
ed that philosophy is the
handmaiden of theology.
3. MIDDLE AGES PHILOSOPHYTwo periods can be distinguished: Patristic and
1) Patristic philosophy: “fathers” of the Christian
Church making sense of the life of Christ using
mainly Platonic Philosophy. Augustine of Hippo
2) Scholastic philosophy: with the re-apparition of
Aristotle’s works a new synthesis is needed
appearing plenty of different schools
associated with first Universities.
The philosophy of this period is characterized by
analysis of the nature and properties of God.
Many of these philosophers took as their starting
point the theories of Plato or Aristotle. Others,
however, such as Tertullian, rejected Greek
philosophy as antithetical to revelation and faith.
were connected with main
1) the problem of the Trinity,
2) the problem of the incarnation,
3) relation between freedom and Grace,
4) relation between faith and reason
5. I. PATRISTIC PHILOSOPHY.Tertullian,
(155–230) Tertullian denounced
Christian doctrines he considered heretical, but
later in life adopted views that came to be
regarded as heretical themselves.
He was the first great writer of Latin Christianity,
thus sometimes known as the "father of the Latin
He introduced the term Trinity, as the Latin
trinitas, to the Christian vocabulary and also
probably of the formula "three Persons, one
Substance" as the Latin "tres Personae, una
Substantia" and also the terms vetus
testamentum ("old testament") and novum
testamentum ("new testament").
“I do believe because it is absurd”
(100 – 165) : “ Faith is superior and
reason (philosophy) must submit to faith”
6. Dionysius the AreopagiteНе was a Christian theologian and philosopher of the late 5th to early 6th
Dionysius: Positive and Negative Religious Language
The cornerstone of his religious mysticism is his view that a direct
experience of God is so blinding and overpowering that it leaves us in
what he calls both an “unapproachable light” and a “dazzling darkness.”
The experience is “darkness” insofar as we are incapable of describing
anything concrete about it; it is ineffable, meaning that it is unspeakable.
Dionysius maintains that we must describe God by way of negation.
In his short work titled Mystical Theology, he discusses the limits of
religious language and presents a two-step process that we must take
when describing God. First, we begin with positive descriptions by which
we attempt to say what God is, such as by saying that God is powerful.
Second, realizing the inadequacy of our positive descriptions, we then
proceed negatively by denying the positive ascriptions that we made; for
example, we deny that God is powerful as humans understand the term
“power.” Thus, the more we deny our positive descriptions of God, the
closer we get to an understanding of God.
St. Augustine -
(Latin Augustinus Sanctus, full name
Aurelius Augustine; 354—430) — He
was a philosopher, a powerful
preacher, a Christian theologian and
politician. Some of the information
about Augustine goes back to his
Augustine’s doctrine of
pre-ordained by God to human bliss
or a anathema.
Theory of the state– The human
story that Augustine sets out in his
book, “The city of God’, is a struggle
between two antagonistic kingdoms
– the kingdom of followers all across
the enemies of God, that is the
secular world (civitas terrena or
diaboli), and the kingdom of God
(civitas dei). At the same time he
identifies the kingdom of God,
according to his earthly form of
existence, with Roman Church.
9. ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT: ANSELM of Canterbury (1033-1109)An ontological argument for the existence of God
is an argument that God's existence can be proved
a priori, that is, by intuition and reason alone.
The argument works by examining the concept of
God, and arguing that it implies the actual existence
of God; that is, if we can conceive of God, then God
exists — it is thus self-contradictory to state that
God does not exist. This is obviously a
controversial position, and the ontological argument
has a long history of detractors and defenders.
The ontological argument was first proposed by
Anselm of Canterbury (1033–1109) in Chapter 2
of the Proslogion. While Anselm did not propose an
ontological system, he was very much concerned
with the nature of being. He argued that there are
necessary beings – things that cannot not exist –
and contingent beings – things that may exist but
whose existence is not necessary.
10. II. SCHOLASTIC PHILOSOPHY (V-XV centuries).It is a “school philosophy” of the medieval
universities, united the Christian dogma with logical
The basic purpose is to validate the scholasticism,
protection and systematization the religious dogma
by logical way.
Dogma (opinion) is the thesis which certainly taken
it on faith and not be questioned and criticized.
He created a philosophical concept, which
became the basis of the official Catholic
In honor of his name orthodox philosophical
doctrine of Catholicism called Thomism.
The main books: “The sum of Philosophy”,
He holds a clear line between faith and
knowledge, religion and science.
Religion acquires knowledge in the
Science can logically prove the truth of
revelation, that is its purpose.
Allowing the existence of only theoretical
science. Experimental and science (sense)
knowledge is of the sinful
12. Logical proofs of God by AquinasFive of the provisions of the cosmological proof of
God he concluded from the fact that every
phenomenon has its cause.
Following from one cause to another, Thomas
comes to idea of the existence of God as the
supreme cause of all phenomena and processes,
as measure, as form of forms and as a purpose of
Aquinas was awarded the title of “angelic doctor”
13. THE PROBLEM OF UNIVERSALS: NOMINALISM VS. REALISMTHE PROBLEM OF UNIVERSALS:
At issue are the “universals”
concepts – the terms and
names, like «table», «tree», «human» and others.
Realism acknowledged that universals exist objectively, independently
of the knowing mind. Philosophical realism holds that when we use
descriptive terms such as "green" or "tree," the Forms of those
concepts really exist, independently of the world in an abstract realm.
Such thought is associated with Plato, for instance.
Nominalism admitted that there are actually only objects and general
concepts – there are the names created by the knowing subject.
Universals are just product of human abstraction. Nominalism is "the
doctrine holding that abstract concepts, general terms, or universals
have no independent existence but exist only as names." Nominalism
has also been defined as a philosophical position that various objects
labeled by the same term have nothing in common but their name. In
this view, it is only actual physical particulars that can be said to be real
and universals exist only post res, that is, subsequent to particular 13
14. Thomas of Aquinas defended that universals had three types of reality:1.
Before particular things, when they were in God’s
In the particular things, while they exist in each
creature created by God, inside each individual.
After particular things, being a product of the
human capacity to detect them in the individuals.
15. WILLIAM OF OCKHAM (1285-1347)William of Ockham (1285-1347) was an English
Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher, from
Ockham, a small village in England.
Although commonly known for Ockham's Razor, the
methodological procedure that bears his name,
William of Ockham also produced significant works
on logic, physics, and theology.