This book offers a major reinterpretation of the `secularization' of medieval ideas by examining scholastic discussions on the nature of the common good. It challenges the view that the rediscovery of Aristotle was the primary catalyst for the emergence of a secular theory of the state. A detailed exposition of the content and the context of late scholastic political and ethical thought reveals that the roots of medieval 'secularization' were profoundly theological.
Later Medieval Philosophy (1150-1350) provides an introduction to philosophy in the Latin West between 1150 and 1350. Part I describes the medieval thinker's intellectual and historical context, by examining the structure of courses in the medieval universities, the methods of teaching, the forms of written work, and the translation and availability of ancient Greek, Arab, and Jewish philosophical texts. Part II examines the nature of intellectual knowledge by explaining the arguments given by Aristotle, his antique commentators, and the Arab philosophers, (...) Avicenna and Averroes. (shrink)
Buridan's life, works, and influence -- Buridan's logic and the medieval logical tradition -- The primacy of mental language -- The various kinds of concepts and the idea of a mental language -- Natural language and the idea of a formal syntax in Buridan -- Existential import and the square of opposition -- Ontological commitment -- The properties of terms (proprietates terminorum) -- The semantics of propositions -- Logical validity in a token-based, semantically closed logic -- The possibility of scientific (...) knowledge -- Buridan's anti-skepticism -- Buridan's essentialist nominalism. (shrink)
The Renaissance has long been recognized as a brilliant moment in the development of Western civilization. Little attention has been devoted, however, to the distinct contribution of philosophy to Renaissance culture. This volume introduces the reader to the philosophy written, read, taught, and debated during the period traditionally credited with the "revival of learning." Beginning with original sources still largely inaccessible to most readers, and drawing on a wide range of secondary studies, the author examines the relation of Renaissance philosophy (...) to humanism and the universities, the impact of rediscovered ancient sources, the recovery of Plato and the Neoplatonists, and the evolving ascendancy of Aristotle. Renaissance Philosophy also explores the original contributions of major figures including Bruni, Valla, Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, Pomponazzi, Machiavelli, More, Vitoria, Montaigne, Bruno, and Camapanella. (shrink)
At least since Darwin's Origin of Species was published in 1859, it has increasingly become accepted that the existence of God is, intellectually, a lost cause, and that religious faith is an entirely non-rational matter--the province of those who willingly refuse to accept the dramatic advances of modern cosmology. Are belief in God and belief in science really mutually exclusive? Or, as noted philosopher of science and religion Richard Swinburne puts forth, can the very same criteria which scientists use to (...) reach theories about everything from DNA to the Big Bang be used to argue for the existence of God? In Is There a God? Swinburne presents a powerful and approachable case for the existence of God. Using the methods of scientific reasoning, Swinburne rigorously argues that science, far from replacing God, provides good grounds for belief in God. With each new discovery and advance, from black holes to quarks, superstrings to continuing evolution, science brings us closer to a complete understanding of how things work--but science can only go so far. Though it can explain much of how the universe works, science doesn't tell us why there is a universe at all. We can understand much of how life evolved, but why is there any life on earth? We can name and explicate scientific laws, but how is it that they operate in the universe? The Darwinian theory holds that the complex animal and human bodies that are here today exist because, ages ago, there were certain chemicals on earth, and given the laws of evolution, it was probable that complex organisms would emerge. But why those laws rather than any other? Why those chemicals? In Swinburne's view, the ultimate grand unifying theory is possible only by a belief in what he calls theism, acknowledging the existence of God: it was God who brought about the natural laws so that humans and animals would evolve. The watch may have been made, Swinburne asserts in reference to Richard Dawkins, with the aid of some blind screwdrivers (or even a blind watchmaking machine), but they were guided by a watchmaker with some very clear sight. At the heart of his argument is Swinburne's belief that the very success of science in showing us how deeply ordered the natural world is provides strong grounds for believing there is an even deeper cause of that order. By embracing a belief in God that acknowledges the truth in science, Swinburne's elegant argument supplies an essential spiritual element to our understanding of order and beauty, the structure beneath the chaos of the natural world. This informed and provocative volume will be essential reading for all readers of popular science, philosophy, and religion. (shrink)
In his introduction to this new translation by Russell Price, Professor Skinner presents a lucid analysis of Machiavelli's text as a response both to the world of Florentine politics, and as an attack on the advice-books for princes published by a number of his contemporaries. This new edition includes notes on the principal events in Machiavelli's life, and on the vocabulary of The Prince, as well as biographical notes on characters in the text.
The idea that the Renaissance witnessed the emergence of the modern individual remains a powerful myth. In this important new book Martin examines the Renaissance self with attention to both social history and literary theory and offers a new typology of Renaissance selfhood which was at once collective, performative and porous. At the same time, he stresses the layered qualities of the Renaissance self and the salient role of interiority and notions of inwardness in the shaping of identity.
The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Philosophy provides an introduction to a complex period of change in the subject matter and practice of philosophy. The philosophy of the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries is often seen as transitional between the scholastic philosophy of the Middle Ages and modern philosophy, but the essays collected here, by a distinguished international team of contributors, call these assumptions into question, emphasizing both the continuity with scholastic philosophy and the role of Renaissance philosophy in the emergence of (...) modernity. They explore the ways in which the science, religion and politics of the period reflect and are reflected in its philosophical life, and they emphasize the dynamism and pluralism of a period which saw both new perspectives and enduring contributions to the history of philosophy. This will be an invaluable guide for students of philosophy, intellectual historians, and all who are interested in Renaissance thought. (shrink)
In the thousand years from the end of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance and Reformation of the Sixteenth century the discussion of the great questions of philosophy and religion was intense. Does God exist? What is he like? What is the purpose of human life and how does God show concern for the future of mankind? This is an introduction to the debates which did more than anything else to transform the ancient into the modern world of thought.
The first modern treatise of political philosophy, The Prince remains one of the world’s most influential and widely read books. Machiavelli, whose name has become synonymous with expedient exercises of will, reveals nothing less than the secrets of power: how to gain it, how to wield it, and how to keep it. But curiously, this work of outspoken clarity has, for centuries, inspired myriad interpretations as to its author’s true message. The Introduction by noted Italian Renaissance scholar Albert Russell Ascoli (...) provides a perfect opening to Peter Constantine’s illuminating new translation of this seminal work. "Constantine elegantly captures in English the pith of Machiavelli’s brilliant Italian prose." –Edward Muir, Clarence L. Ver Steeg Professor in the Arts and Sciences, Northwestern University “Peter Constantine’s excellent translation belongs in everyone’s library. Perhaps now more than ever we have much to learn from this Renaissance thinker, present at the birth of the modern world.” –John Jeffries Martin, professor of history, Duke University. (shrink)
The most comprehensive collection of its kind, this unique anthology presents fifty-four readings--many of them not widely available--by the most important and influential Christian, Jewish, and Muslim philosophers of the Middle Ages. The text is organized topically, making it easily accessible to students, and the large selection of readings provides instructors with maximum flexiblity in choosing course material. Each thematic section is comprised of six chronologically arranged readings. This organization focuses on the major philosophical issues and allows a smooth introduction (...) to the material. The topics covered are: (1) The Existence of God, (2) Ethics and the Problem of Evil, (3) God's Foreknowledge and Free Will, (4) Theology, (5) Political Philosophy, 6) Knowledge and Sensation, (7) Universals, (8) Logic and the Philosophy of Language and (9) Physics. Each text is preceded by a biographical note on the author and a brief analytical introduction. Unlike other anthologies, which present sources as a series of truncated excerpts, this collection avoids intrusive editing and includes many selections in their entirety, thus preserving the rich flavor of the medieval mind at work. (shrink)
Erasmus of Rotterdam was the greatest Christian humanist scholar of the Northern European Renaissance, a correspondent of Sir Thomas More and many other learned men of his time, known to his contemporaries and to posterity for subtlety of his thought and the depth of his learning. He was also, according to some modern writers, an anti-Semite. In this complete analysis of all of Erasmus' writings on Jews and Judaism, Shimon Markish asserts that the accusation cannot be sustained. For Markish, to (...) ask whether Erasmus was a friend or enemy of the Jews is to ask a modern question of a sixteenth-century man, whose attitude can best be called "asemitism." Erasmus' chief preoccupation was with the future of "the true philosophy of Christ"; he had little interest in the Jewish community of his own time. Erasmus and the Jews discusses Erasmus' critique of Mosaic law and his view of the conflict between "Judaism" as legalistic morality and Jesus' teaching; his judgment on the Pharisees of Jesus' time; his emphasis on the importance of the study of Hebrew; and his opinions of sixteenth-century Jews. This meticulous analysis reveals an Erasmus who defended his vision of true piety by rejecting "Judaizing" Christians more than Jews and who saw the Old Testament as integral to the Christian worldview. As a Christian, he regretted nonbelief and pitied unbelievers, without vicious hostility toward any single people. His theological opposition to a form of religious thought which he identified with Judaism was not translated into crude prejudice against actual Jews. In general, his calm consideration of the strange and the foreign and his willingness to restrict his judgments to the philosophical realm were, Markish argues, early and significant steps toward enlightened toleration. Markish's discussion of Erasmus is supplemented with an Afterword by theologian and philosopher Arthur A. Cohen, who offers a variant interpretation of Erasmus' writings and attitudes. The juxtaposed arguments of the two scholars make this an especially illuminating work for any student of Erasmus and his influence. Erasmus and the Jews also gives a necessary clarity to our understanding of the meaning of anti-Semitism and the history of religious toleration. Markish's profound knowledge of Erasmus allows him to demonstrate the fundamental importance of putting arguments and terminology in the context of a thinker's work and his own time. (shrink)
This dual-language book is a translation of John Pecham’s De aeternitate mundi, written probably in 1270. Pecham was born in England around 1230. He pursued studies in Paris, where he may have been a student of Roger Bacon’s, and at Oxford. He returned to Paris some time between 1257 and 1259 to study theology and in 1269-1270 became magister theologiae. It was at this time that he presumably wrote the essay translated here, and presented it as part of his inception, (...) the equivalent of a doctrinal defense, in 1271, when he sought to become a magister regens, a member of the theological faculty. While Pecham was studying in Paris, two controversial theological "innovations" were being debated. The first issue involved the founding of the mendicant orders in the first decade of the thirteenth century. Their active moving about, preaching and teaching, represented a departure from the established Rule of St. Benedict in which Orders were largely confined to monasteries. The second debate was over the introduction of the "new" philosophy of Aristotle. The Dominicans and Franciscans found themselves allied against the Latin Averroists on such issues as the unicity of the intellect and the assertion of the world’s eternity in the sense that is was not created. The two Orders disagreed, however, on the truth of other Aristotelian theses such as the unicity of substantial form and the demonstrability of the world’s having a beginning in time. On another front, having to do with the legitimacy of the Dominicans and Franciscans interpretation of religious life, the two Orders united under attacks from the secular clergy. Pecham, a Franciscan, witnessed his Order allied with the Dominicans against Averroists and secular clergy, and at odds with them over Aristotelianism in orthodox theology. During this tumultuous time Pecham met, and probably discussed his inception with Thomas, and his position on the eternity of the world can be compared to the treatment of the topic found in the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure. In 1279, Pecham was named the Archbishop of Canterbury by Pope Nicolas III, in this position it was expected that he carry out reforms mandated by the Council of Lyons. The ruling of that council included the eradication of the Averroists radical departures from theological philosophy and some of the theses held by the Thomists. Pecham died in 1291, no doubt in disappointment that the reforms for which he had strived never came to pass. (shrink)
Robert Grosseteste was the initiator of the English scientific tradition, one of the first chancellors of Oxford University, and a famous teacher and commentator on the newly discovered works of Aristotle. In this book, James McEvoy provides the first general, inclusive overview of the entire range of Grosseteste's massive intellectual achievement.
This volume provides a comprehensive presentation of the philosophical work of the fifteenth-century Renaissance thinker Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. In essays specially commissioned for this book, a distinguished group of scholars presents the central tropics and texts of Pico’s literary output. Best known as the author of the celebrated “Oration on the Dignity of Man,” a magnificent speech originally intended to introduce a debate of 900 theses to be held in Rome before the Pope, the College of Cardinals, and an (...) international group of scholars, Pico also wrote several other prominent works. (shrink)
Ramon Llull (1232-1316), born on Majorca, was one of the most remarkable lay intellectuals of the thirteenth century. He devoted much of his life to promoting missions among unbelievers, the reform of Western Christian society, and personal spiritual perfection. He wrote over 200 philosophical and theological works in Catalan, Latin, and Arabic. Many of these expound on his "Great Universal Art of Finding Truth," an idiosyncratic dialectical system that he thought capable of proving Catholic beliefs to non-believers. This study offers (...) the first full-length analysis of his theories about rhetoric and preaching, which were central to his evangelizing activities. It explains how Llull attempted to synthesize commonplace advice about courtly speech and techniques of popular sermons into a single program for secular and sacred eloquence that would necessarily promote love of God and neighbor. Llull's work is remarkable testimony to the diffusion of clerical culture among educated lay-people of his era, and to their enthusiasm for applying that knowledge in the pursuit of learning and piety. This book should find a place on the shelf of every scholar of medieval history, religion, and rhetoric. (shrink)
Olin’s focus in this collection of essays is the historical period of the early sixteenth century, the juncture of the Renaissance and the Reformation. Providing an in-depth alternative to the standard treatment – so often limited to the classical revival – this work concerns itself with the unique link between humanism and the great literary works of the period, and, in particular, the patristic scholarship inherent in Erasmus’ ideals of reform. Olin specifically take into account the movements of New Learning (...) and Humanism defining the cultural break between Medieval scholasticism and the renaissance of interest in the literature of antiquity. (shrink)
In this book Raymond L. Weiss examines how a seminal Jewish thinker negotiates the philosophical conflict between Athens and Jerusalem in the crucial area of ethics. Maimonides, a master of both the classical and the biblical-rabbinic traditions, reconciled their differing views of morality primarily in the context of Jewish jurisprudence. Taking into consideration the entire corpus of Maimonides' writings, Weiss focuses on the ethical sections of the Commentary on the Mishnah and the Mishneh Torah , but also (...) discusses the Guide of the Perplexed , the letters of Maimonides, and his medical works. The gulf between classical philosophy and the Torah made the task of Maimonides extraordinarily difficult. Weiss shows that Maimonides subtly preserves the tension between those traditions while producing a practical accommodation between them. To explain how Maimonides was able to accomplish this twofold goal, Weiss takes seriously the multilevel character of Maimonides' works. Weiss interrupts Maimonides as a heterodox thinker who, with utter integrity, faces the Law's encounter with philosophy and gives both the Torah and philosophy their due. (shrink)
Moral moments -- The neurotic and the penitent -- True, false, and feigned penance -- Fame without conscience -- Cain and conscience -- Feminine paradoxes -- Sincere hypocrisy -- The poetical consience -- Envoi : spiritual sophistry.