Pleasure in Philosophy and the Pretext of Theology

Quaestio 15:729-738 (2015)
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Abstract

This paper considers the hermeneutic position, recently gaining some traction in the secondary literature, that Scholastics in the years 1330-1350 were not primarily interested in theology. Rather, their increasing engagement with “English subtleties” – a set of “logico-mathematical” techniques we now associate with scientific inquiry – was driven by their new, distinctively secular, natural-philosophy interests. In this, they become proto-moderns and philosophers in our contemporary sense. Consideration is given to whether this “pretext” reading of the Scholastics is coherent and plausible, and whether the logico-mathematical techniques were the province of natural philosophy at the time, or actually instead discipline-neutral, being employable in both theology and natural theology. The paper then assesses the rather meagre evidence offered for this reading and its unfortunate historiographical implications. It ends by advocating an existing and far more pro...

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