The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth: Robert grosseteste on universals (and the posterior analytics )
Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (2):pp. 153-170 (2010)
The reintroduction of aristotle's Analytics to the Latin West—in particular, the reintroduction of the Posterior Analytics—forever altered the course of medieval epistemological discussions. 1 In the memorable words of Jonathan Barnes, "Aristotle's sweet Analytics ravished generations of European scholars and scientists. The Prior Analytics displayed the pure discipline of logic, well-formed, elegant, seductive; the Posterior Analytics beckoned to deeper mysteries, offering a sure path to scientific progress, clear and imperious in its injunctions, delicious in its rigor." 2 Although the Analytics fell decidedly from grace in later centuries, the sophisticated account of human cognition developed in the Posterior Analytics appealed so strongly to thirteenth-century European scholars that it became one of the two central theories of knowledge advocated in the later Middle Ages.Robert Grosseteste's Commentarius in Posteriorum Analyticorum Libro , written in the 1220s, is most likely the first complete Latin commentary on the Posterior Analytics. 3 As such, it offers us unique insight into the crucial period in which the work was gaining an audience in the Latin West. The story of its later reception is well-known: as the thirteenth century wore on, Aristotle's account of human cognition was generally set in opposition to the Augustinian-influenced theory of divine illumination that was de rigueur in the early thirteenth century, with Franciscans such as Roger.
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