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Medieval Philosophy: Texts and Studies
A Study in Scholasticism of the Baroque Era
The influence of the Spanish Jesuit Francisco Suarez (1548-1617) on 17th-century philosophy, theology, and law can hardly be underestimated. In this groundbreaking book, Daniel D. Novotny explores one of the most controversial topics of Suarez's philosophy: "beings of reason." Beings of reason are impossible intentional objects, such as blindness and square-circle. The first part of this book is structured around a close reading of Suarez's main text on the subject, namely Disputation 54. The second part centers on texts on this topic by other outstanding philosophers of the time, such as the Spanish Jesuit Pedro Hurtado de Mendoza (1578-1641), the Italian Franciscan Bartolomeo Mastri (1602-73), and the Spanish-Bohemian-Luxembourgian polymath Juan Caramuel de Lobkowitz (1606-82). The book should be of interest not just to those concerned with beings of reason but also for all those with a broader interest in the history of the period. It is written in a clear style that will make it appealing both to historians of philosophy and to anyone interested in applying analytical tools to the history of philosophy.
It is commonly supposed that certain elements of medieval philosophy are uncharacteristically preserved in modern philosophical thought through the idea that mental phenomena are distinguished from physical phenomena by their intentionality, their intrinsic directedness toward some object. The many exceptions to this presumption, however, threaten its viability._x000B__x000B_This volume explores the intricacies and varieties of the conceptual relationships medieval thinkers developed among intentionality, cognition, and mental representation. Ranging from Aquinas, Scotus, Ockham, and Buridan, through less familiar writers, the collection sheds new light on the various strands that run between medieval and modern thought, and bring us to a number of fundamental questions in the philosophy of mind as it is conceived today. _x000B__x000B_
Ontology, Language, and Logic
This book begins with standard ontological topics--such as the nature of existence--and of metaphysics generally, such as the status of universals, form, and accidents. What is the proper subject matter of metaphysical speculation? Are essence and existence really distinct in bodies? Does the body lose its unifying form at death? Can an accident of a substance exist in separation from that substance? Are universals real, and, if so, are they anything more than general concepts? Among the figures it examines are Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, Walter Chatton, John Buridan, Dietrich of Freiburg, Robert Holcot, Walter Burley, and the 11th-century Islamic philosopher Ibn-Sina (Avicenna).There is also an emphasis on metaphysics broadly conceived. Thus, additional discussions of connected topics in medieval logic, epistemology, and language provide a fuller account of the range of ideas included in the later medieval worldview.
Augustine to Ockham
This book recounts the remarkable history of efforts by significant medieval thinkers to accommodate the ontology of the Trinity within the framework of Aristotelian logic and ontology. These efforts were remarkable because they pushed creatively beyond the boundaries of existing thought while trying to strike a balance between the Church's traditional teachings and theoretical rigor in a context of institutional politics. In some cases, good theology, good philosophy, and good politics turned out to be three different things.The principal thinkers discussed are Augustine, Boethius, Ablard, Gilbert of Poitiers, Bonaventure, Aquinas, Scotus, and Ockham. The aspects of Trinitarian doctrine dealt with are primarily internal ontological questions about the Trinity. The approach draws on history of theology and philosophy, as well as on the modern formal disciplines of set-theoretic semantics and formal ontology.Augustine inaugurated the project of constructing models of the Trinity in language drawn from Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy, especially the conceptual framework of Aristotle's Categories. He used the Aristotelian notions of substance and relation to set up a model whose aim was not so much to demystify the Trinity as to demonstrate the logical consistency of maintaining that there is one and only one God at the same time as maintaining that there are three distinct persons, each of whom is God. Standing against this tradition are various heretical accounts of the Trinity. The book also analyzes these traditions, using the same techniques.All these accounts of the Trinity are evaluated relative to the three constraints under which they were formed, bearing in mind that the constraints on philosophical theorizing are not limited to internal consistency but also take note of explanatory power. Besides analyzing and evaluating individual accounts of the Trinity, the book provides a novel framework within which different theories can be compared.
From Plato to William of Ockham
The notion that human thought is structured like a language, with a precise syntax and semantics, has been pivotal in recent philosophy of mind. Yet it is not a new idea: it was systematically explored in the fourteenth century by William of Ockham and became central in late medieval philosophy. Mental Language examines the background of Ockham's innovation by tracing the history of the mental language theme in ancient and medieval thought. Panaccio identifies two important traditions: one philosophical, stemming from Plato and Aristotle, and the other theological, rooted in the Fathers of the Christian Church. The study then focuses on the merging of the two traditions in the Middle Ages, as they gave rise to detailed discussions over the structure of human thought and its relations with signs and language. Ultimately, Panaccio stresses the originality and significance of Ockham's doctrine of the oratio mentalis (mental discourse) and the strong impression it made upon his immediate successors.
The Vatican Mythographers offers the first complete English translation of three important sources of knowledge about the survival of classical mythology from the Carolingian era to the High Middle Ages and beyond. The Latin texts were discovered in manuscripts in the Vatican library and published together in the nineteenth century. The three so-called Vatican Mythographers compiled, analyzed, interpreted, and transmitted a vast collection of myths for use by students, poets, and artists. In terms consonant with Christian purposes, they elucidated the fabulous narratives and underlying themes in the works of Ovid, Virgil, Statius, and other poets of antiquity. In so doing, the Vatican Mythographers provided handbooks that included descriptions of ancient rites and customs, curious etymologies, and, above all, moral allegories. Thus we learn that Bacchus is a naked youth who rides a tiger because drunkenness is never mature, denudes us of possessions, and begets ferocity; or that Ulysses, husband of Penelope, passed by the monstrous Scylla unharmed because a wise man bound to chastity overcomes lust. The extensive collection of myths illustrates how this material was used for moral lessons. To date, the works of the Vatican Mythographers have remained inaccessible to scholars and students without a good working knowledge of Latin. The translation thus fulfills a scholarly void. It is prefaced by an introduction that discusses the purposes of the Vatican Mythographers, the influences on them, and their place in medieval and Renaissance mythography. Of course, it also entertains with a host of stories whose undying appeal captivates, charms, inspires, instructs, and sometimes horrifies us.The book should have wide appeal for a whole range of university courses involving myth.