Machine generated contents note: Introduction: love after Aristotle; 1. Enjoyment: a medieval history; 2. Narcissus after Aristotle: love and ethics in Le Roman de la Rose; 3. Metamorphoses of pleasure in the fourteenth century Dit Amoureux; 4. Love's knowledge: fabliau, allegory, and fourteenth-century anti-intellectualism; 5. On human happiness: Dante, Chaucer, and the felicity of friendship; Coda: Chaucer's philosophical women.
There are varying opinions about whether or not the field of business ethics has a history or is a development of more modern times. It is suggested that a book by a Dominican Friar, Johannes Nider, De Contractibus Mercatorum, written ca. 1430 and published ca. 1468 provides a basis for a history of over 500 years. Business ethics grew out of attempts to reconcile Biblical precepts, canon law, civil law, the teachings of the Church Fathers, and the writings of early (...) philosophers with the realities of expanding economic activity. Nider's background is discussed as well as his book as an example of incunabula.Nider was one of the Scholastics who provided a link between Aristotle and later Reformation thinkers. In Nider we find caveat venditor as his moral guide to merchants as well as other surprisingly modern ideas such as justice in exchange; restitution for defective goods; the market as the final arbiter of value; and the importance of creating utility in products. (shrink)
This book sets out to examine the medieval understanding of Aristotle's famous discussion of "weakness of the will" (akrasia, incontinentia) in the seventh book of his Nicomachean Ethics. The medieval views are outlined primarily on the basis of the commentaries on Aristotle's "Ethics by Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, Walter Burley, Gerald Odonis and John Buridan. An investigation of the earlier Augustinian discussion concerning reluctant actions (invitus facere) rounds out the study. The recent studies of weakness of the (...) will have neglected the medieval philosophers. The present volume fills this gap in historical research and shows that especially the conceptual refinement of the fourteenth-century discussion makes contributions that are comparable to those of twentieth-century philosophers. (shrink)
This essay focuses on three of Islam's best-known philosophers: Farabi, Avicenna, and Averroes. It sets forth and compares their ethical teaching on the following basic issues: (1) the relation of philosophy to religion, (2) the communal basis of ethics and the comcomitant role of statecraft, and (3) some specific charac- teristics of their ethical teaching. Throughout the essay the close connection of medieval Islamic with classical Greek philosophy is noted.
This book makes a vigorous reassessment of the moral dimension in Chaucer's writings. For the Middle Ages, the study of human behavior generally signified the study of the morality of attitudes, choices, and actions. Moreover, moral analysis was not gender neutral: it presupposed that certain virtues and certain failings were largely gender-specific. Alcuin Blamires, mainly concentrating on The Canterbury Tales, discloses how Chaucer adapts the composite inherited traditions of moral literature to shape the significance and the gender implications of his (...) narratives. Chaucer, Ethics, and Gender is therefore not a theorization of ethical reading but a discussion of Chaucer's engagement with the literature of practical ethical advice. Working with the commonplace primary sources of the period, Blamires demonstrates that Stoic ideals, somewhat uncomfortably absorbed within medieval Christian moral codes as Chaucer realized, penetrate the poet's constructions of how women and men behave in matters (for instance) of friendship and anger, sexuality and chastity, protest and sufferance, generosity and greed, credulity and foresight. The book will be absorbing for all serious readers or teachers of Chaucer because it is packed with commanding new insights. It offers illuminating explanations concerning topics that have often eluded critics in the past: the flood-forecast in The Miller's Tale, for example; or the status of emotion and equanimity in The Franklin's Tale; the "unethical" sexual trading in the Shipman's Tale; the contemporary moral force of a widow's curse in The Friar's Tale; and the quizzical moral link between the Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale. There is even a new hypothesis about the conceptual design of The Canterbury Tales as a whole. Deeply informed and historically alert, this is a book that engages its reader in the vital role played by ethical assumptions (with their attendant gender assumptions) in Chaucer's major poetry. (shrink)
The eagerly-awaited second volume of The Cambridge Translations of Medieval Philosophical Texts will allow scholars and students access for the first time in English to major texts in ethics and political thought from one of the most fruitful periods of speculation and analysis in the history of western thought. Beginning with Albert the Great, who introduced the Latin west to the challenging moral philosophy and natural science of Aristotle, and concluding with the first substantial presentation in English of the (...) revolutionary ideas on property and political power of John Wyclif, the seventeen texts in this anthology offer late medieval treatments of fundamental issues in human conduct that are both conceptually subtle and of direct practical import. Special features of this volume include copious editorial introductions, an analytical index, and suggestions for further reading. This is an important resource for scholars and students of medieval philosophy, history, political science, theology and literature. (shrink)
This article examines the, hitherto comparatively unexplored, reception of Greek embryology by medieval Muslim jurists. The article elaborates on the views attributed to Hippocrates (d. ca. 375 BC), which received attention from both Muslim physicians, such as Avicenna (d. 1037), and their Jewish peers living in the Muslim world including Ibn Jumayʽ (d. ca. 1198) and Moses Maimonides (d. 1204). The religio-ethical implications of these Graeco-Islamic-Jewish embryological views were fathomed out by the two medieval Muslim jurists Shihāb al-Dīn (...) al-Qarāfī (d. 1285) and Ibn al-Qayyim (d. 1350). By putting these medieval religio-ethical discussions into the limelight, the article aims to argue for a two-pronged thesis. Firstly, pre-modern medical ethics did exist in the Islamic tradition and available evidence shows that this field had a multidisciplinary character where the Islamic scriptures and the Graeco-Islamic-Jewish medical legacy were highly intertwined. This information problematizes the postulate claiming that medieval Muslim jurists were hostile to the so-called ‘ancient sciences’. Secondly, these medieval religio-ethical discussions remain playing a significant role in shaping the nascent field of contemporary Islamic bioethics. However, examining the exact character and scope of this role still requires further academic ventures. (shrink)
In contrast to other articles in this series on the history of moral philosophy the present essay is not devoted to expounding the views of a single author, or to examining a particular moral theory. Instead it discusses an important dispute between two medieval accounts of the relation between theological and moral propositions. In addition to its historical interest this debate is important both because it connects earlier and later ethical thought--being influenced by Greek moral theories and influencing subsequent (...) European philosophy--and because it concerns issues that remain important to philosophers and to those who claim that their ethical beliefs are dictated by religious convictions. (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.
The great medieval philosopher Thomas Aquinas (1224/6-1274) was Dominican regent master in theology at the University of Paris, where he presided over a series of questions - academic debates - on ethical topics. This volume offers new translations of disputed questions on the nature of virtues in general, the fundamental or 'cardinal' virtues of practical wisdom, justice, courage, and temperateness, the divinely bestowed virtues of hope and charity, and the practical question of how, when and why one should rebuke (...) a 'brother' for wrongdoing. The introduction explains how Aquinas's theory of virtue fits into his ethics as a whole, and it illuminates Aquinas's views by explaining the institutional and intellectual context in which these disputed questions were debated. (shrink)
In the history of ethics, it remains remains unclear how Christians of the Middle Ages came to see God-given virtues as dispositions (habitus) created in the human soul. Patristic works could surely support other conceptions of the virtues given by grace. For example, one might argue that all such virtues are forms of charity, so that they must be affections of the soul, or that they consist in what the soul does, not anything the soul has. Scholars usually assume that (...) the explanation lies in the impact of Aristotle's philosophy on medieval theology. This essay argues that the dispositional account of God-given virtues was already entrenched by the end of the twelfth century and probably owes more to the influence of Augustine's treatise On the Good of Marriage. (shrink)
In Medicine, Society, and Faith in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds Darrel Amundsen explores the disputed boundaries of medicine and Christianity by focusing on the principle of the sanctity of human life, including the duty to treat or attempt to sustain the life of the ill. As he examines his themes and moves from text to context, Amundsen clarifies a number of Christian principles in relation to bioethical issues that are hotly debated today. In his examination of the moral (...) stance of the earliest syphilographers, for example, he finds insights into the ethical issues surrounding the treatment of AIDS, which he believes has its closest historical antecedent not in plague but in syphilis. He also shows that the belief that all healing comes from God, whether directly, through prayer, or through the use of medicine -- a sentiment commonly held by contemporary Christians -- cannot be accurately attributed to any extant source from the patristic period. Indeed, all the Church Fathers were convinced that healing sometimes came from evil sources: Satan and his demons were able to heal, for example, and Asclepius was a demon "to be taken very seriously indeed.". (shrink)
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 article reassesses Peter Abelard's account of moral intention, or, better, consent, in light of recent work on his own thought and on the twelfth-century background of that thought. The author argues (1) that Abelard's focus on consent as the determining factor for morality does not rule out, but, on the contrary, presupposes objective criteria for moral judgment and (2) that Abelard's real innovation does not lie in his doctrine of consent as the sole source of merit or guilt, but, (...) rather, in his exploration of the ways in which this doctrine affects our understanding of the objective criteria for moral judgment. In particular, Abelard is led by his doctrine of consent to a thoroughgoing reassessment of the moral significance of the passions, which, in turn, leads him to reject the view that actions should be evaluated in terms of the praiseworthy or vicious character of the passions they express. (shrink)
Albert and the career of virtue theory -- Modern virtue theory as foreground to Albert's moral philosophy -- Albert's ethical treatises -- The significance of Albert's moral treatises in early-thirteenth-century moral philosophy -- Approaching the moral order -- Meta-ethical reflections on "moral science" and its procedures -- The metaphysics of the good -- The architecture of moral goodness -- The genesis of virtue : intrinsic causes -- The genesis of virtue : extrinsic causes -- The concept of virtue -- The (...) organization of the virtues -- The passions -- Morality, obligation, and law -- Natural law -- Virtue's rewards -- Friendship -- Last ends and happiness -- Conclusion: Albertus redux. (shrink)
In the development of Roman Catholic social thought from the teachings of the scholastics to the modern social encyclicals, changes in normative economics reflect the transformation of an economic terrain from its feudal roots to the modern industrial economy. The preeminence accorded by the modern market to the allocative over the distributive function of price broke the convenient convergence of commutative and distributive justice in scholastic just price theory. Furthermore, the loss of custom, law, and usage in defining the boundaries (...) of economic behavior led to a depersonalization of economic relationships that had previously provided effective informal means of protecting individual well-being. Hence, recent economic ethics has had to look for nonprice, nonmarket mechanisms for distributive justice. This is reflected, for example, in the shift in attitude from the medieval antipathy toward unions to the contemporary defense of organized labor on moral grounds. (shrink)
J. B. Schneewind's "The Invention of Autonomy" has been hailed as a major interpretation of modern moral thought. Schneewind's narrative, however, elides several serious interpretive issues, particularly in the transition from late medieval to early modern thought. This results in potentially distorted accounts of Thomas Aquinas, Hugo Grotius, and G. W. Leibniz. Since these thinkers play a crucial role in Schneewind's argument, uncertainty over their work calls into question at least some of Schneewind's larger agenda for the history of (...) ethics. (shrink)
Virtuous Bodies breaks new ground in the field of Buddhist ethics by investigating the diverse roles bodies play in ethical development. Traditionally, Buddhists assumed a close connection between body and morality. Thus Buddhist literature contains descriptions of living beings that stink with sin, are disfigured by vices, or are perfumed and adorned with virtues. Taking an influential early medieval Indian Mahayana Buddhist text-Santideva's Compendium of Training (Siksasamuccaya)-as a case study, Susanne Mrozik demonstrates that Buddhists regarded ethical development as a (...) process of physical and moral transformation. Mrozik chooses The Compendium of Training because it quotes from over one hundred Buddhist scriptures, allowing her to reveal a broader Buddhist interest in the ethical significance of bodies. The text is a training manual for bodhisattvas, especially monastic bodhisattvas. In it, bodies function as markers of, and conditions for, one's own ethical development. Most strikingly, bodies also function as instruments for the ethical development of others. When living beings come into contact with the virtuous bodies of bodhisattvas, they are transformed physically and morally for the better. Virtuous Bodies explores both the centrality of bodies to the bodhisattva ideal and the corporeal specificity of that ideal. Arguing that the bodhisattva ideal is an embodied ethical ideal, Mrozik poses an array of fascinating questions: What does virtue look like? What kinds of physical features constitute virtuous bodies? What kinds of bodies have virtuous effects on others? Drawing on a range of contemporary theorists, this book engages in a feminist hermeneutics of recovery and suspicion in order to explore the ethical resources Buddhism offers to scholars and religious practitioners interested in the embodied nature of ethical ideals. (shrink)