Download PDF by Christopher Martin: An Introduction to Medieval Philosophy

By Christopher Martin

ISBN-10: 0748607900

ISBN-13: 9780748607907

Takes the coed step by step throughout the highbrow difficulties of Medieval idea, explaining the primary strains of argument from Augustine of Hippos to the 16th century.

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Example text

This means that by modern standards we scarcely ever believe or act on good reasons. We are thus worse off than were people in the Middle Ages. They accepted authority as giving a good reason for believing or acting, though this reason < previous page page_22 next page > < previous page page_23 next page > Page 23 could be outweighed by other, better reasons. Thus they thought that they were acting reasonably, which is always an advantage. In this case they were able to apply reasonable standards to correct their views and actions: they were able to reflect, reasonably, on authority, and sometimes go against it for good reason.

Medieval thinkers, therefore, did not and could not believe in the rationalist, Cartesian dream of a perfect system of complete knowledge which could be worked out in the generations of human life on earth. The ultimate standards by which their tradition, however perfectly developed, was to be judged, were not < previous page page_31 next page > < previous page page_32 next page > Page 32 of this world. But at the same time they could not reject all traditions and all standards as equally partial, equally imperfect: they believed that a perfect standard did exist, and that they would be called upon one day to measure up their own developed tradition against it.

In the schematic summary which is the Summa Aquinas usually limits himself to a single counter-argument in favour of the thesis, nearly always giving a plain authoritative statement.

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An Introduction to Medieval Philosophy by Christopher Martin


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