Contrary to what is generally said about the reception of Epicurus in the Middle Ages, many medieval authors agreed on his great wisdom, even if he made some philosophical and theological errors. From the 12th century to the 14th century on can find several "Lives of Epicurus" in which the best sayings of Epicurus are gathered from ancient sources (Seneca, Cicero, Lactantius, etc.). In this paper, we follow these quite unknown sources about Epicureanism in the Middle Ages. We try to (...) show that if Epicurus was considered as a wise man in the MIddle Ages, Epicureans are condemned because after the Revelation of God's word, Christians can only accept Epicurus's ascetic ethics, not his errors about the eternity of the world, the mortality of the soul et the subordination of happiness to pleasure. (shrink)
This paper tries to understand how three medieval philosophers (Roger Bacon, Albert the Great and John Buridan) developed the idea of a special logic for ethics, taking into account Aristotle's thesis according to which ethics does not need theoretical syllogisms and uses a special kind of scientific reasoning. If rhetoric is a good candidate, we find three different readings of this approach and then three different theories of ethical reasoning.
It is well known that during the Middle Ages the Eucharist was not only a theological question but also a philosophical one. Recent studies have shown the semantical and ontological problems concerning the status of substances and accidents after the transsubstantiation. Here the paper focuses on the gnoseological problem of the Eucharist. How do we know that the substance has changed after the consecration of the host? Moreover, how do we manage to know substances in general if sometimes it changes (...) without apparent modifications in the accidental features apprehended by our sense faculties? The aim of this paper is to show that a new dilemma appeared at the end of the 13th century between the sceptical consequences of the dogma of transsubstantiation and the necessity to abandon or at least to interpret differently the sacrament. Wyclif chose the second option while most of the theologians and philosophers tried to adapt their theory of knowledge, especially the Franciscans, to which a large part of this paper is devoted. This paper tries to assess the different solutions to this problem of the knowability of substances. (shrink)