Reason and faith : philosophy in the Middle Ages

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Reason and faith : philosophy in the Middle Ages

Table of contents :
Content: Lecture 1. Faith seeking understanding --
Lecture 2. Augustine's Platonic background --
Lecture 3. Augustine on authority, reason, and truth --
Lecture 4. Augustine on the origin of evil --
Lecture 5. Boethius's The consolation of philosophy --
Lecture 6. Boethius on foreknowledge and freedom --
Lecture 7. Anselm and the 11th-century context --
Lecture 8. Anselm's proof that God exists --
Lecture 9. Anselm on the divine attributes --
Lecture 10. Anselm on freedom and the fall --
Lecture 11. Abelard on understanding the Trinity --
Lecture 12. Abelard on understanding redemption --
Lecture 13. The rediscovery of Aristotle --
Lecture 14. Bonaventure on the mind's journey into God --
Lecture 15. Aquinas on what reason can and cannot do --
Lecture 16. Aquinas's proof of an unmoved mover --
Lecture 17. Aquinas on how to talk about God --
Lecture 18. Aquinas on human nature --
Lecture 19. Aquinas on natural and supernatural virtues --
Lecture 20. Scotus on God's freedom and ours --
Lecture 21. Scotus on saying exactly what God is --
Lecture 22. What Ockham's razor leaves behind --
Lecture 23. Ockham on the prospects for knowing God --
Lecture 24. The 14th century and beyond.

Citation preview

Reason and Faith: Philosophy in the Middle Ages Part I

Professor Thomas Williams

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Thomas Williams, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, University of South Florida Thomas Williams, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of South Florida, received his B.A. in Philosophy from Vanderbilt University in 1988 and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in 1994. Before joining the faculty of the University of South Florida in 2005, he taught at Creighton University and the University of Iowa, where he received a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Teaching Award in 2005. He was the Alvin Plantinga Fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Religion at Notre Dame from 2005 to 2006. Professor Williams’s research interests are in medieval philosophy and theology (with a focus on Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, and Duns Scotus) and the philosophy of religion. He is the coauthor of Anselm, a volume in the Great Medieval Thinkers series from Oxford University Press, with Sandra Visser. He edited The Cambridge Companion to Duns Scotus and co-edited Thomas Aquinas: Disputed Questions on the Virtues. His translations include Augustine’s On Free Choice of the Will and Anselm: Basic Writings. Professor Williams has contributed essays to four other volumes in the Cambridge Companions series—Augustine; Anselm; Abelard; and Medieval Philosophy—as well as essays for the Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy and The Oxford Handbook of Thomas Aquinas. Journals where his articles have appeared include Modern Theology, Philosophy and Literature, Apeiron, Faith and Philosophy, Journal of the History of Philosophy, and Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie. He is on the editorial board of Studies in the History of Ethics.

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Table of Contents Reason and Faith: Philosophy in the Middle Ages Part I Professor Biography ........................................................................................... i Course Scope ...................................................................................................... 1 Lecture One Faith Seeking Understanding.................................... 4 Lecture Two Augustine’s Platonic Background............................. 9 Lecture Three Augustine on Authority, Reason, and Truth ........... 13 Lecture Four Augustine on the Origin of Evil.............................. 16 Lecture Five Boethius’s The Consolation of Philosophy............. 19 Lecture Six Boethius on Foreknowledge and Freedom.............. 22 Lecture Seven Anselm and the 11th-Century Context..................... 25 Lecture Eight Anselm’s Proof That God Exists ............................ 28 Lecture Nine Anselm on the Divine Attributes ............................ 31 Lecture Ten Anselm on Freedom and the Fall ............................ 34 Lecture Eleven Abelard on Understanding the Trinity .................... 37 Lecture Twelve Abelard on Understanding Redemption.................. 40 Timeline ............................................................................................................ 43 Map ................................................................................................................... 46 Glossary ............................................................................................................ 48 Biographical Notes........................................................................................... 53 Bibliography ..................................................................................................... 57

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Reason and Faith: Philosophy in the Middle Ages Scope: The great medieval Christian thinkers would all have been bewildered by the idea, widespread in contemporary culture, that faith and reason are fundamentally at odds. Though their philosophical outlooks varied widely, they were in general agreement that philosophical reasoning could and should be used to defend and elucidate the doctrines of the Christian faith. This use of philosophy took three main forms. First, medieval thinkers used philosophical reasoning to prove the existence of God and to establish conclusions about the divine attributes. Second, they used philosophical views about the acquisition of knowledge to determine which Christian doctrines are beyond the scope of rational demonstration. And third, they used philosophical argumentation to defend Christian beliefs against objections and to establish the internal consistency of Christian doctrine by showing the compatibility of Christian beliefs that might appear to contradict each other. In making all three kinds of arguments, medieval Christian thinkers felt free to adopt the views of nonChristian philosophers when those views could be pressed into the service of Christian teaching; and they were confident that the errors of pagan philosophy could be exposed by the use of natural reason, without appealing to faith in a supernatural revelation. This general agreement about the proper roles of faith and reason provided a certain continuity in the history of medieval philosophy, but there were striking discontinuities as well. As new philosophical texts were discovered and new techniques of argumentation introduced, as philosophical schools rose to prominence or fell into eclipse, the ways in which medieval philosophers carried out their project of “faith seeking understanding” changed dramatically. For Augustine, at the beginning of the medieval period, philosophy meant Platonism, but for Thomas Aquinas, in the 13th century, it was Aristotle, not Plato, who was known simply as “the Philosopher.” Philosophers also had to cope with changing fashions in theology, not to mention simple church politics. Thus, Peter Abelard was the target of ecclesiastical harassment for making an argument that Anselm had made, without controversy, a mere half-century earlier. Medieval philosophy began with Augustine (354−430), who was deeply influenced by the fundamental Platonic distinction between the intelligible realm—perfect, unchanging, and accessible only by the mind—and the sensible realm—imperfect, ever-changing, and apprehensible by the senses. In some strands of Platonic thought, these two realms are irreconcilably at odds; the fact that our souls are embodied is a regrettable, if temporary, impediment to human fulfillment. For Augustine, however, the sensible realm is created by God and reflects his goodness. The temporal and embodied character of our experience means that we must rely on authority in our quest for truth. Nonetheless, by ©2007 The Teaching Company.

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reflecting on the imperfections and mutability of creatures, the human mind can come to understand something of the unchanging perfection of the creator. Precisely because we come to know God as both perfect and creator, Augustine was faced with the perplexing problem of the origin of evil in a world created by a perfect God. Boethius (c. 476−c. 526), writing a century later than Augustine, continued the tradition of pressing pre-Christian philosophy into the service of Christian thought. In The Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius turns to Philosophy, personified as a woman, for comfort and reassurance that the world is justly governed by divine providence. Philosophy argues that there is one God who governs the universe and has power over all things, including human affairs. She also undertakes to show how human freedom and moral responsibility are possible, arguing that because God is eternal—that is, outside time altogether— he does not foreknow our actions (he simply knows them, timelessly) and our actions are therefore not necessary in any sense that threatens freedom or moral responsibility. For nearly 500 years after the death of Boethius, there was little noteworthy philosophical activity. In the 11th century, however, there was a revival of philosophical techniques and their application to theological discussion. The outstanding Christian philosopher of the 11th century was Anselm (1033−1109), who developed an explicit and systematic account of what he called “the reason of faith”: the intrinsically rational character of Christian doctrines in virtue of which they form a coherent and rationally defensible system. Anselm’s most famous contribution to Christian philosophy is his argument for the existence of God, but his account of the divine nature has also had an enduring influence. The leading 12th-century philosopher, Peter Abelard (1079−1142), is often thought of as a theological rebel, but in fact, he was firmly in Anselm’s tradition of elucidating and defending Christian doctrine in accordance with the standards of philosophical reasoning. His controversial treatments of the Trinity and the Atonement show a willingness to challenge received theological wisdom in the pursuit of philosophical rigor. The recovery of the full Aristotelian corpus by the end of the 12th century revolutionized Christian thought in the Latin West. Aristotle’s thinking offered a conceptual apparatus of obvious power and usefulness for philosophy and theology, but many of Aristotle’s ideas were at odds with Christian doctrine. Thirteenth-century thinkers had to figure out how to accommodate this new material. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225−1274), using the works of Aristotle as his primary philosophical inspiration, developed arguments for the existence of God, as well as an account of the powers and limits of human reason in knowing God. He also drew on Aristotle for his understanding of human nature and ethics. By contrast, Bonaventure (c. 1217−1274) was willing to borrow Aristotelian doctrines when he found them helpful, but he argued passionately against excessive enthusiasm in following Aristotle. Such excesses were 2

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attributed to the integral Aristotelians of the University of Paris, for whom Aristotelian philosophy was a complete, freestanding account of the natural world. This engagement with Aristotelian philosophy, in all its different forms, made the 13th century a particularly lively and inventive period in Christian philosophy. This energy continued through the work of John Duns Scotus (1265/66−1308) and William Ockham (c. 1288−1347). But Aristotelianism did not remain dominant for long. Such thinkers as Nicholas of Autrecourt (c. 1295−1369) and Nicholas of Cusa (1401−1464) marked a turn away from Aristotle and toward a kind of Platonism that would become dominant during the Renaissance.

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Lecture One Faith Seeking Understanding Scope: The great medieval Christian thinkers would all have been bewildered by the idea, widespread in contemporary culture, that faith and reason are fundamentally at odds. Though their philosophical outlooks varied widely, they were in general agreement that philosophical reasoning could and should be used to defend and elucidate the doctrines of the Christian faith. They used philosophical reasoning to prove the existence of God and to establish conclusions about the divine attributes. They also tried to determine which Christian doctrines are beyond the scope of rational demonstration by examining philosophical views about how human beings acquire knowledge. They used philosophical argumentation to defend Christian beliefs against objections and to establish the internal consistency of Christian doctrine by showing the compatibility of Christian beliefs that might appear to contradict each other. They felt free to adopt the views of non-Christian philosophers when those views could be pressed into the service of Christian teaching, and they were confident that the errors of pagan philosophy could be exposed by the use of natural reason, without appealing to faith in a supernatural revelation.

Outline I.

The great medieval Christian thinkers would all have been bewildered by the idea that faith and reason, or theology and philosophy, are fundamentally at odds. For them, both the techniques and the content of philosophy are (by and large) compatible with the Christian faith. A. All of them agreed that philosophical reasoning can and should be used to defend and elucidate the doctrines of the Christian faith. 1. They used philosophical reasoning, in many cases borrowed from pagan philosophers, to prove the existence of God and to establish conclusions about the divine nature. 2. On the basis of philosophical doctrines about the nature and scope of human knowledge, they distinguished between Christian doctrines that can be known by reason alone and those that can be known only by faith. 3. They used philosophical argumentation to defend Christian beliefs against objections and to establish the internal consistency of Christian doctrine by showing the compatibility of Christian beliefs that might appear to contradict each other. B. All of these great thinkers took a generally accommodating attitude toward pagan philosophy.

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1.

2.

3.

They felt free to adopt the views of non-Christian philosophers when they could be pressed into the service of Christian teaching, as well as on matters on which Christian teaching was silent. They were (in general) confident that the errors of pagan philosophy could be exposed by the use of natural reason, without the need to appeal to supernatural revelation. They held that Christianity can be shown to be superior to pagan philosophy by the standards accepted by the pagan philosophers themselves.

II. In spite of these broad areas of agreement, however, medieval philosophy is far from monolithic. The contours of the accommodation between faith and reason changed as particular philosophical systems and techniques came into widespread use or fell into disfavor. A. In this course, we will examine the contributions of the most influential thinkers throughout the period, both for their intrinsic philosophical importance and as illustrating the development of Christian engagement with issues of faith and reason. B. Augustine is representative of early medieval philosophy in several ways. 1. He is heavily influenced by Platonism, which was the dominant philosophical outlook well into the 12th century. 2. What Augustine takes from Platonism is not so much a set of precise doctrines or arguments but a general outlook. Thus, he is concerned more with elaborating a vision than with articulating precise reasons in support of a thesis. This more visionary or holistic approach is typical of early medieval philosophy. C. Boethius is, broadly speaking, in the same tradition as Augustine— though as the primary transmitter of philosophical logic in the early medieval period, he is more technically minded than Augustine and provides more careful support for Platonic-Augustinian theses. D. Beginning in the 11th century, philosophy becomes more focused on the development of careful argument. This development becomes even more pronounced with the reintroduction of the complete works of Aristotle in the late 12th and early 13th centuries. 1. The 11th century saw a renewed emphasis on careful argument in the service of elucidating and defending Christian doctrine. Anselm defended recognizably Augustinian views, but his method was very unlike Augustine’s: a more-or-less continuous series of precise arguments. 2. In the 12th century, Peter Abelard conceived an ambitious project of reformulating Christian doctrine in a rationally coherent way.

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3.

The reintroduction of Aristotle in the late 12th and early 13th centuries gave Christian philosophers the materials to develop systematic theories using analytically precise and highly technical methods. At the same time, it posed new problems for the relationship between faith and reason, because Aristotle had put these methods to use in arguing for conclusions that were seen as incompatible with Christian teaching.

E. Even in the period of Aristotelian dominance—the 13th and early 14th centuries—a variety of approaches to questions of faith and reason were possible. 1. Bonaventure cast traditionally Augustinian positions in Aristotelian language but generally resisted the claims of Aristotelian philosophy to provide an adequate account of the natural world, let alone the supernatural world. 2. Thomas Aquinas and John Duns Scotus largely agreed in their views about what we can know about God using the methods of Aristotelian philosophy; they also shared a generally Aristotelian view of knowledge. But they drew quite different conclusions from that view in their account of religious language. 3. William Ockham was also heavily influenced by Aristotle, but he was much more skeptical about the prospects for a purely philosophical knowledge of God. F. In the 14th century, as the Aristotelian tradition began to lose its dominating position, new philosophical stances came to the fore and, with them, new ways of understanding the relationship between faith and reason. III. Within the historical narrative just outlined, certain authors and certain topics will receive particular attention. A. Though medieval philosophers wrote on an astonishingly wide range of topics, we will consider only those that have an obvious connection with the central topic of faith and reason: 1. How, in general, do human beings come to know anything? And in light of the answer to that question, how (if at all) can human beings come to know about God apart from supernatural revelation? 2. What are the attributes of God, and how do those attributes bear on other philosophical topics? For example, can divine foreknowledge be reconciled with human free will? 3. If indeed God is unimaginably different from the objects of our ordinary experience, how can we use our language—which is derived from such experience—to talk about God?

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4.

Can such Christian doctrines as the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Atonement be defended against charges of irrationality and incoherence?

B. This course focuses on the history of philosophy; we will not be concerned either with matters of revealed theology or with intellectual history more broadly. 1. Revealed theology (or just theology, for short) takes some kind of supernatural revelation as its starting point, whereas philosophy takes its starting point from premises that are accessible to unaided human reason. Natural theology—the project of trying to prove the existence and nature of God by reason alone, without relying on supernatural revelation—is, thus, a part of philosophy and not of (revealed) theology. 2. The chief concern of the historian of philosophy is what people thought and what arguments they brought forward in support of what they thought, whereas the intellectual historian is more attentive to external contextual influences on what people thought. 3. Given the relative isolation of medieval philosophy from broader currents of the time, a history-of-philosophy approach is especially fitting, though we will examine broader contextual matters where appropriate. C. Though many topics receive frequent discussion throughout the period, we will concentrate on particularly influential or striking examples. 1. For example, although nearly all medieval Christian philosophers discussed the claim that God is outside of time, we will examine the discussion of the topic in Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy, which was particularly influential. 2. Anselm and Abelard made similar arguments against a traditional theory of the Atonement, but only Abelard got into hot water for them; thus, we will consider Abelard’s discussion. Essential Reading: Stephen P. Marrone, “Medieval Philosophy in Context,” in A. S. McGrade, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Philosophy. Paul Vincent Spade, “Medieval Philosophy.” Supplementary Reading: David Knowles, The Evolution of Medieval Thought. Thomas Williams, “Some Reflections on Method in the History of Philosophy.”

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Questions to Consider: 1. In what ways does the medieval discussion of the relationship between faith and reason challenge contemporary assumptions? 2.

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How does the significance of “reason” change over the course of the Middle Ages in light of changing philosophical interests and approaches?

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Lecture Two Augustine’s Platonic Background Scope: Platonic philosophy draws a fundamental distinction between the intelligible realm—perfect, unchanging, and accessible only by the mind—and the sensible realm—imperfect, ever-changing, and apprehensible by the senses. According to Plato, the objects of the senses are merely imperfect copies of what is ultimately real, but because we inhabit bodies, which bombard us with sensation and entice us with pleasure, we find it difficult to know those ultimate realities. To remedy this blindness, we need to detach our souls from our bodies as much as possible. Although Augustine (354−430) finds this Platonist picture compelling and adopts much of it, he also sees that Christian belief requires him to modify it in several ways. The doctrine of the Incarnation in particular challenges Platonism’s negative assessment of the body and the material world.

Outline I.

Platonism was Augustine’s primary philosophical inspiration. A. Augustine puts his encounter with Platonism at the center of the Confessions. B. Two developments reduce his overt appeals to Platonism as his career progresses. 1. As Augustine immerses himself in Scripture, scriptural language and imagery tend to supplant Platonist language and imagery. Moreover, his reading of Scripture (particularly of Saint Paul) provides an independent starting point for philosophical reflection. 2. Augustine’s discovery of anti-Christian writings by one of the leading Platonists forces him to establish a critical distance between Platonism and his own thinking. C. Nevertheless, Augustine can be aptly described as a Platonist to the end of his days. Even his interpretation of Scripture has a recognizably Platonist cast. D. What Augustine took from the Platonists was not so much a set of doctrines as a particular outlook and approach. The essentials of Augustine’s Platonic outlook can be best conveyed by means of an extended analogy. 1. Imagine that you are a high-school senior who has found the one and only perfect partner, Pat.

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2.

3.

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You leave your hometown to go to college; Pat remains behind. Yet you remain committed to Pat and seek to maintain as much of a relationship as you can, in spite of the distance. Eventually, however, yielding to loneliness and to the importunity of friends, you agree to go out with Chris. Chris, though no Pat, is enough like Pat to be attractive to you. Gradually, you become involved with Chris and forget about Pat altogether.

E. The analogy illustrates the fundamental Platonic contrast between the perfect and the imperfect, the changeless and the changing, the intelligible and the sensible. 1. Your hometown is the world of what is perfect, unchanging, and accessible only by the mind (intelligible). It is your true homeland, the only place in which you can have perfect peace and rest. 2. Pat represents something in that perfect, unchanging, intelligible world that will give you that peace and rest. 3. College is the world of what is imperfect, changing, and busy: the world of what can be apprehended by the senses (sensible, as opposed to intelligible). 4. Chris represents the imperfect, sensible things that we spend our lives chasing after, even though they can never truly bring us that perfect peace and rest. II. Platonism exploits this fundamental contrast between intelligible and sensible in at least three important ways that influence Augustine. A. In metaphysics, the part of philosophy that asks questions about the fundamental structure of reality, it supports the doctrines of participation and emanation. 1. Sensible things are said to participate in (or imitate) certain perfect and unchanging realities that Plato called Forms. 2. These sensible things emanate (literally, “flow forth”) from an unchanging first principle, the One. The further something is from the One, the less good it is. B. In epistemology, the part of philosophy that asks questions about the nature and acquisition of knowledge, this fundamental contrast leads to a certain ambivalence about sensible things. 1. On the one hand, because sensible things participate in the Forms, they can remind us of the Forms. 2. On the other hand, because sensible things are deficient, they can also blind us to the Forms.

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3.

The general tendency of Platonism is to emphasize the epistemic dangers posed by sensible things, rather than their epistemic usefulness.

C. In ethics, this fundamental contrast supports an emphasis on asceticism and moral purification. Given that what blinds us to our true intelligible homeland is sensation and sensation is a function of the body, it is very important to the Platonist to separate the soul from the body as much as possible. III. Although Augustine accepts this general Platonic outlook, his Christian belief requires him to modify its application in several ways. A. In metaphysics, he accepts participation but rejects emanation. God creates all things, including sensible things, freely and by choice. Given that God creates sensible things, it is no longer open to Augustine to say that sensible things as such are bad. B. This metaphysical revision requires a revision in the ethical application, as well. 1. The body is a divine creation, not an evil, shadowy pseudo-reality that only gets in the way of our true happiness. Its dangerousness lies not in its distance from the good but in its tendency to monopolize our attention and pervert our imagination. 2. The mere metaphysical “distance” of sensible things from God is not a fall, because it is in accordance with God’s perfect will that there be highly limited, changeable, material beings, including bodies. But moral depravity is truly a fall. This is the moral revolt against God’s ordering of things, the deliberate choice to prefer the lower to the higher or to choose the lower for its own sake rather than for God’s sake. C. Augustine continues to accept the Platonists’ epistemological application of the contrast, but he seems much more interested in the reminding aspect than in the blinding aspect. He concentrates on ways in which we can use sensible things as a springboard for coming to know intelligible reality. Essential Reading: J. M. Rist, Augustine: Ancient Thought Baptized. Augustine, Confessions, Book VII. Supplementary Reading: Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo: A Biography. James J. O’Donnell, Augustine: A New Biography.

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Questions to Consider: 1. To what uses does Augustine adapt the fundamental Platonist contrast between the intelligible and the sensible? 2.

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In what ways does his Christian belief require Augustine to modify or even reject his Platonic inheritance?

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Lecture Three Augustine on Authority, Reason, and Truth Scope: Augustine argues that every human being’s search for truth must begin with the acceptance of authority, not merely in religion, but in all areas of human life. Historical claims in particular must be accepted or rejected on the basis of authoritative testimony. Christianity involves such historical claims, and Augustine seeks to show that it is reasonable to accept the testimony on which Christianity rests. Yet although Augustine emphasizes the importance of believing, he affirms that human reason, properly exercised, is capable of coming to some knowledge of God. By reflecting on the imperfections and mutability of creatures, the human mind can come to understand something of the unchanging perfection of the creator.

Outline I.

Augustine was a crucial figure in the development of the notion that a religion is a body of teaching about historical and metaphysical realities. A. For many people in Augustine’s day and before, religion was primarily a matter of what people did, not what they believed. Similar attitudes are in evidence today among those who are not concerned with doctrine but participate in worship because it “works for them” in some way. B. Augustine criticizes philosophers before him who were willing to participate in religious rituals that were at odds with their philosophical beliefs. Augustine’s view—that ritual and teaching must be consistent—marks an important turning point and remains influential to the present day.

II. If we are to evaluate religion in terms of truth, we must ask how human beings attain truth. When this question is posed with reference to religious matters, it is often referred to as the problem of faith and reason. A. Faith and reason seem to be opposed in several ways. 1. They involve different methods of arriving at beliefs. Faith relies on testimony; reason relies on evidence and examination. 2. They involve different contents. Faith involves belief in such things as the Trinity and the Incarnation, which seem incompatible with basic principles of reason. 3. They seem to involve different ways of holding beliefs. Faith involves commitment; reason involves detachment.

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B. This standard way of contrasting faith and reason, though not entirely inapplicable to Augustine, misrepresents Augustine’s approach in three crucial ways. 1. It treats both faith and reason entirely as ways of acquiring beliefs—as cognitive processes. But for Augustine, both faith and reason involve not only our cognitive side but also our affective side. 2. It ignores the purpose of seeking the truth. Until we know what knowledge is for, we can’t evaluate whether faith or reason or both might serve that aim. 3. It assumes that there is such a thing as a purely rational approach to the truth, so that faith involves a repudiation of the purely rational life that would otherwise be possible. But Augustine denies that any such purely rational approach to truth is possible. III. Augustine’s account of how we attain truth is called the theory of illumination. Though the theory is not much more than an extended analogy between sight and intellectual “vision,” it does help make sense of Augustine’s emphasis on the importance of the affective side in our attainment of truth. A. The theory of illumination presents knowledge as an analogue to vision. 1. In order for physical vision to take place, we need the power of vision itself, the presence of a visible object, light, and the proper direction of our eyes. 2. Analogously, for intellectual vision to take place, we need the power of intellectual vision (the mind itself), the presence of the intelligible object, some kind of intelligible “light,” and the proper direction of our wills. B. The proper direction of our wills is the only requirement for intellectual vision that is not always met. Consequently, failure of intellectual vision will always be traceable in some way to a failure of will: that is, to sin in some form. IV. The purpose of seeking truth is transformation rather than information. A. For someone so committed to the life of the mind, Augustine places a strikingly low value on the possession of knowledge. 1. He argues in the Confessions that knowledge is valuable only insofar as it leads one to love and honor God. 2. He applies this analysis even to biblical interpretation: Knowledge of Scripture is not a destination in itself but merely a vehicle by which we might be carried toward our destination.

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B. In principle, reliance on authority (that is, on testimony taken to be reliable and definitive) can be as valuable for transformation as reliance on reason. In fact, Augustine is convinced that the humility necessary for acceding to authority is in itself a precondition for transformation. V. A successful search for truth will always involve reliance on authority at some point. Because this is true in everyday life, it should not surprise or dismay us that it is true with respect to Christianity, as well. Faith is simply reliance on divine authority. Essential Reading: Augustine, Confessions and On Free Choice of the Will. J. M. Rist, “Faith and Reason,” in Eleonore Stump and Norman Kretzmann, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Augustine. Supplementary Reading: Ronald H. Nash, The Light of the Mind: St. Augustine’s Theory of Knowledge. Thomas Williams, “Biblical Interpretation,” in Eleonore Stump and Norman Kretzmann, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Augustine. Questions to Consider: 1. What is the role of the will in knowledge, according to Augustine? What are his philosophical reasons for giving the will so great a role? 2.

Under what circumstances, and for what purposes, is the pursuit and attainment of knowledge valuable, according to Augustine?

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Lecture Four Augustine on the Origin of Evil Scope: According to Augustine, given that God is good, everything he creates is good, and given that God is the creator, nothing exists that he does not create. The origin of evil is, therefore, a particularly perplexing problem for Augustine. Part of his solution is to argue that evil, in itself, is not anything. It is a mere privation: a lack of measure, form, or order. The other part of his solution is to blame moral evil—the privation of goodness in the will—on human free choice. Moral evil enters the picture when we misuse our free choice to turn away from the perfect goodness of God to the fragmentary and defective goodness of creatures. Yet even though free choice comes with the potential for misuse, God was right to give it to us, because we cannot live rightly without it.

Outline I.

Augustine begins his dialogue On Free Choice of the Will by asking, “Isn’t God the cause of evil?” The question seems surprising because it expects an affirmative answer. A. If God is ultimately responsible for the whole of creation and there is evil in creation, it seems that God must be responsible for evil. But if God is responsible for evil, he acts unjustly in punishing sinners. B. The question of the origin of evil was the first philosophical question to get a grip on Augustine, and he remained deeply interested in the question throughout his career. C. His inability (at first) to answer the question drove him to the Manichees, who taught that evil was independent of, and co-eternal with, good. Augustine credits the Platonists with providing the answer he was seeking.

II. Augustine comes to his account of good and evil by reflecting on God and his relation to creation. A. God is incorruptible and immutable. 1. God is a being so great that one cannot even conceive of a being that would be greater. Given that the incorruptible is greater than the corruptible and the immutable greater than the mutable, God must be incorruptible and immutable. 2. Augustine learns from the Platonists that if God is to be incorruptible and immutable, he must be entirely outside of space and time, just as truth is. In fact, God is identical with truth.

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B. Things other than God have being because they are from God and are in some ways like God. But they also lack being because they are not wholly what God is. They are corruptible and extended in space and time. C. By reflecting on the logic of corruptibility, Augustine comes to see that evil is a privation (that is, a mere lack or absence). 1. There are two ways in which something can be incorruptible: either by being supremely good or by not being good at all. 2. Corruption by definition involves damage, and if something is not at all good, it cannot be damaged. Thus, everything that can be corrupted has to be, in some sense, good. If something is completely corrupted—that is, deprived of all goodness—it will then be incorruptible, but only in the sense that it will not exist at all. 3. Thus, everything that exists is good insofar as it exists. Evil is not a substance (a positive reality in its own right) but merely a privation. In other words, evil is nothing more than a lack of goodness where goodness ought to be. III. Goodness consists in “measure, form, and order”; evil is a privation of measure, form, or order. A. By measure Augustine means the greatness or excellence of a nature. The more measure a thing has, the more it resembles God. 1. It is in this sense that angels are better than human beings and that worms and vipers are low-level goods. 2. One could speak of the privation of this form of good as ontological evil, though Augustine does not use such language. Ontological evil is not evil in any worrisome sense, because the things that suffer from such “evil” are still good insofar as they exist. B. Augustine uses form to refer to the extent to which a given thing lives up to the standards of its nature. 1. It is in this sense that a virtuous human being is better than a vicious human being. (Every human being has the same measure.) 2. The most noteworthy privation of form is moral evil. The origin of moral evil is a particularly perplexing question and will be treated independently below. C. Augustine uses order to refer to the harmonious arrangement of things. 1. The privation of order would be called “natural evil,” but Augustine argues that there is no privation of order. 2. The appearance of disorder in the universe results from our limited perspective. If we could grasp the arrangement of the whole

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cosmos, we would see that it is perfectly ordered by divine providence. IV. Augustine devotes sustained attention to the origin of moral evil, which is a deprivation of form. A. Augustine argues that the human will’s initial turning from good to evil must be uncoerced and, therefore, a matter for which human beings are themselves responsible. 1. If God created human nature in such a way that the fall was inevitable, God would be blameworthy for our evil will. 2. Thus, it is the human will itself that is responsible for its own turning from good to evil. 3. There remains, however, a degree of mystery. Because evil is “a nothing,” the human turn to evil is, in one sense, inexplicable. B. Note that immoral acts subsequent to the original sin could, in principle, be explained in the same way or differently. Augustine comes more and more to emphasize the ways in which an inherited defect in human nature interferes with, or perhaps completely eliminates, our freedom. 1. Pursuing the details of this development would take us very far afield and require consideration of theological and scriptural matters. 2. Nevertheless, to the end of his career, Augustine remains concerned to uphold the justice of God. Essential Reading: Augustine, On Free Choice of the Will and Confessions, Book VII. Supplementary Reading: Eleonore Stump, “Augustine on Free Will,” in Eleonore Stump and Norman Kretzmann, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Augustine. Questions to Consider: 1. What is the significance of Augustine’s view that evil is a privation, and how does Augustine arrive at that view? 2.

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How does Augustine’s understanding of goodness as “measure, form, and order” complicate his account of the origin of evil?

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Lecture Five Boethius’s The Consolation of Philosophy Scope: Deposed from high government office and imprisoned on charges of treason, Boethius (c. 476–c. 526) composed The Consolation of Philosophy, in which Philosophy, personified as a woman, appears to offer him comfort and reassure him that human affairs are governed by an all-encompassing providence. Many readers have wondered why Boethius, a Christian, would turn to philosophy rather than to theology or Scripture for consolation during his troubles. But because his grief stems from his inability to see that everything in the universe comes together to form a single, rationally coherent system, the therapy that he needs must come from reason, as manifested in Philosophy. Philosophy argues that there is one God who governs the universe and has power over all things, including human affairs.

Outline I.

Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy, written when Boethius was exiled and in prison, was one of the most influential books ever written in Latin. It takes the form of a dialogue between the prisoner Boethius and Philosophy, personified as a woman. A. Both its imagery and its arguments became part of the common stock of medieval ideas. B. Its interpretation poses a problem, however, because it does not seem explicitly Christian. Why would a Christian author turn to philosophy, not to faith, in the greatest crisis of his life? 1. Some interpretations suggest that Boethius was never more than superficially Christian and that his real loyalty was to pagan philosophy. 2. Others emphasize the Christian imagery and language of the Consolation and present it as a thoroughly Christian work. 3. Intermediate between these two views is a third: Boethius set out to write a philosophical rather than a theological work in order to emphasize what Christians had in common with the best pagan thought, as representatives of “civilization” over against the “barbarians” who had falsely accused and imprisoned him. C. The prisoner’s main complaint is that divine providence leaves human affairs ungoverned, so that the wicked have power and the good suffer at their hands. The Consolation, therefore, examines the nature of providence, its relation to human affairs, and the nature of good and evil, moving outward from one man’s feelings about a specific

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historical situation to a timeless, global, “God’s-eye” view of the whole sweep of the universe. II. Boethius first complains about the loss of good fortune. A. Philosophy replies that it is of the nature of fortune to be fickle. B. Moreover, the goods of fortune are not true goods. III. What, then, are true goods? Philosophy begins to answer this question by examining false goods. A. Everyone seeks happiness: a good so complete that it leaves nothing more to be desired. B. Misguided people seek to attain happiness through wealth, public office, kingship, celebrity, and pleasure. Yet these false goods do not even provide the partial happiness for the sake of which people pursue them. C. People seek these goods as if they were separate things, when in fact, they are all one. True happiness is an all-encompassing good. D. Such happiness cannot be found in transient things. IV. God is the perfect good and the source of happiness. A. There has to be a perfect good that is the source of all goods. B. That good has to be in God, because we already believe that nothing better than God can be imagined. We must further admit that God is the source of his own goodness and is, indeed, identical with that goodness. C. Further, given that divinity and happiness are the same thing, it follows that human beings become happy by attaining divinity. V. Recall that all the imperfect goods can be recognized as imperfect because they are partial; the perfect good must be a unity. Thus, the one and the good (or unity and goodness) are the same. A. We can see this by looking at the natural tendency of things to maintain their unity and integrity and noting that when a thing loses its unity altogether, it ceases to exist. B. Thus, all things desire or aim at unity, which means that all things desire or aim at the good. C. This good, the one God, governs the universe, as we can see from the way in which all the disparate natures that inhabit the universe form a single coherent system. Essential Reading: Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy. 20

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Supplementary Reading: John Marenbon, Boethius. Questions to Consider: 1. How does the discussion of happiness in The Consolation of Philosophy serve as part of Philosophy’s answer to the challenge posed by the prisoner Boethius? 2.

In what specific ways do human beings misconceive, and therefore, miss happiness?

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Lecture Six Boethius on Foreknowledge and Freedom Scope: The Consolation of Philosophy is best known for its influential discussion of the problem of divine foreknowledge and human freedom. Boethius worries that if God’s foreknowledge is both comprehensive and infallible, our actions are necessary. We cannot do anything other than what we, in fact, do because we cannot act in such a way that God turns out to have been mistaken. Yet it is hard to see how we could ever deserve blame or punishment for doing wrong, or praise or reward for doing right, if we never have the power to do anything other than what we do. Philosophy undertakes to show how human freedom and moral responsibility are possible within God’s providential governance of the universe. She explains that God is eternal—that is, outside time altogether—so that he does not foreknow our actions; he simply knows them, timelessly. She then uses the doctrine of divine eternity to show how our actions are not necessary in any sense that threatens freedom or moral responsibility.

Outline I.

Philosophy’s arguments to this point have solved one problem only to introduce another: If God is really as powerful and good as she says, why are there evils? A. Philosophy sets a high bar for herself: She plans to argue that “the powerful men are in fact always the good, while the wicked are always the abject and weak; that vices never go unpunished, nor virtues unrewarded; that the good always achieve success, and the wicked suffer misfortune.” 1. Success in human action depends on two things: will and power. Everyone, whether virtuous or wicked, wants to attain happiness, but the wicked don’t attain it. Therefore, we must conclude that they lack the power to attain it. 2. Boethius objects: Don’t evil men clearly have power, given that they are able to do evil? Philosophy replies: No, because evil is nothing, the power to do evil isn’t really power at all. 3. Because goodness is the reward everyone seeks, the virtuous person has his reward simply in virtue of being good. 4. Just as virtue itself is the reward of the good, wickedness itself is the punishment of the wicked. Wickedness demeans the wicked person and transforms him into an animal.

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B. Boethius is willing to accept these arguments, but he still expresses the wish that these wild animals were not allowed to go on rampages and destroy the good. 1. Philosophy replies that they are not allowed to do so. Their schemes often come to bad ends, and in any event, death soon overtakes them. 2. Philosophy also notes that the wicked are actually worse off when their schemes succeed: It’s bad to desire evil but even worse to achieve it. C. Yet Boethius notes that even the wise would prefer wealth, respect, status, and power at home to poverty and disgrace in exile. 1. Philosophy invokes divine providence in answer to reassure Boethius. Boethius, however, insists on more than reassurance; he wants an explanation. 2. Philosophy notes that such an explanation will have to include a discussion of several complicated issues: fate, chance, divine foreknowledge, predestination, and free will. The discussion of foreknowledge and free will is the chief philosophical legacy of the Consolation of Philosophy. II. In Book V of the Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius offers a solution of enduring value to the problem of foreknowledge and freedom. In the course of laying out his solution, he also offers the classic discussion of the doctrine of divine eternity. A. The problem of foreknowledge and freedom is an argument purporting to show that divine foreknowledge is incompatible with human free choice. 1. What God foreknows must be the case. 2. What must be the case is not subject to human free choice. 3. God foreknows all our future actions. 4. Therefore, our future actions are not subject to human free choice. B. Philosophy says that the solution depends on a correct understanding of two things: the nature of God’s foreknowledge and the nature of necessity (the “must” referred to in II.A.1 and II.A.2). C. God’s knowledge of the future is not properly called foreknowledge at all, because God is eternal. 1. Eternity is “the complete and perfect possession of illimitable life all at once.” 2. God’s life is not successive, as ours is. He has no past or future but only an all-encompassing, eternal present. 3. Consequently, his foreknowledge is analogous to our own vision of something present, as when we watch a chariot race. ©2007 The Teaching Company.

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D. The necessity involved in God’s knowledge of the future is not incompatible with free choice. 1. It’s true that if we see the charioteer doing something, he “must” be doing it, yet we do not suppose that this “must” in any way interferes with the charioteer’s free choice. 2. This is the same kind of necessity—Boethius calls it “conditional necessity”—that attaches to what God “foreknows.” 3. Thus, what God foreknows is conditionally necessary. But something that is conditionally necessary can still be subject to human free choice. Therefore, the original argument for the incompatibility of foreknowledge and freedom fails. Essential Reading: Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy. Supplementary Reading: John Marenbon, Boethius. Questions to Consider: 1. What is the problem of foreknowledge and freedom, and what is Philosophy’s solution to the problem? 2.

What role does the doctrine of divine eternity play in the Consolation?

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Lecture Seven Anselm and the 11th-Century Context Scope: For nearly 500 years after the death of Boethius, there was little noteworthy philosophical activity. The 11th century saw a revival of the techniques of philosophical argument known as dialectic and of their application to theological discussion. Though leading 11th-century figures differed in emphasis and temperament, there came to be considerable agreement that it was appropriate to use dialectic both to elucidate Christian doctrine and to defend it. But it remained for Anselm (1033–1109) to develop an explicit and systematic view of the place of dialectic in theology. Anselm speaks of “the reason of faith,” the intrinsically rational character of Christian doctrines in virtue of which they form a coherent and rationally defensible system. The doctrines of the Christian faith are intrinsically rational because they concern the nature and activity of God, who is himself supreme reason and exemplifies supreme wisdom in everything he does. And because human beings are rational by nature, we can grasp the reason of faith.

Outline I.

There was little noteworthy philosophical activity from Boethius to Anselm. A. The political instability caused by the fall of Rome and the various “barbarian invasions” was hardly conducive to intellectual life generally. B. The education of the period was primarily literary and historical, rather than philosophical. C. The only noteworthy philosopher of the period was John Scottus Eriugena, who wrote during the relative calm of the Carolingian era (9th century). He had no subsequent influence to speak of, except as a translator, but the story of his death is worth knowing.

II. For no reason that we can discern, the 11th century saw a revival of dialectic. According to a standard picture of the period, the disputes over the relationship between dialectic and Christian theology produced three main camps. A. Rationalists, typified by Berengar of Tours, maintained the absolute supremacy of reason and disdained reliance on authority of any kind. B. Obscurantists, typified by Saint Peter Damian, privileged faith and authority; they were highly skeptical of dialectic or even overtly hostile to its use.

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C. Moderates, typified by Lanfranc of Bec, held that dialectic, properly used and within certain limits, was compatible with Christian faith. III. The reality, however, was far more complicated than this standard picture suggests. A. Berengar was not a thoroughgoing rationalist; he accepted Christian doctrines on the basis of authority. He used dialectic to formulate those doctrines in intelligible ways and to argue against mistaken construals of doctrine. B. Damian was hostile to what he regarded as improper uses of dialectic, but he did not oppose the use of dialectic in principle. C. Thus, in Anselm’s immediate intellectual context, there is a general consensus that it is appropriate to use dialectic for at least two purposes: 1. Dialectic can be used to elucidate Christian doctrine, that is, to explain what it means and guard against misinterpretation. 2. Dialectic can be used to defend Christian doctrine, that is, to argue against challenges to the truth or intelligibility of Christian doctrine. D. It remains for Anselm to work out a clear and explicit doctrine of the powers and limits of human reason. IV. Anselm offers a clear and well-worked-out view on the relationship between faith and reason. A. Anselm has a very high view of the powers of reason and of the need for philosophical examination of authoritative texts. 1. He thinks many items of Christian belief can be definitively established by reason alone. 2. He thinks reason can even establish the truth of the doctrines of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Atonement. 3. He thinks the content of authoritative texts cannot even be definitively determined without the use of reason. B. Anselm thinks of faith primarily as a volitional rather than an epistemic state; faith is what purifies the heart and will so that reason does not get misdirected. C. To someone who already has faith, the primary use of reason is to penetrate more deeply into what is already believed. D. Anselm’s claim that “I believe in order to understand” is not inconsistent with his belief that reason can establish many truths of the Christian faith. He holds that faith is needed to discover the arguments, whereas any sufficiently well-disposed and intelligent person can follow those arguments. 26

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Essential Reading: Sandra Visser and Thomas Williams, “The Reason of Faith,” in Anselm. Thomas Williams, “Saint Anselm.” Supplementary Reading: Toivo Holopainen, Dialectic and Theology in the Eleventh Century. Questions to Consider: 1. In what ways did political and institutional factors contribute to keeping philosophical activity in abeyance between Boethius and the 11th century? 2.

What does Anselm mean by “the reason of faith”? How does he understand the relationship between faith and reason?

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Lecture Eight Anselm’s Proof That God Exists Scope: At the request of his monks, Anselm composed the Monologion, a template for philosophical reflection on the nature of God, starting from premises that were widely accessible. Anselm was dissatisfied with the complex argumentation of the Monologion; he wanted a single argument that established a whole range of conclusions about God at once. That single argument, which Anselm presents in the Proslogion, has come to be known as the ontological argument. By exploring the conception of God as “that than which a greater cannot be thought,” Anselm argues, we can prove not only that God exists but that he is wise, just, good, all-powerful, all-knowing, and so forth. Almost immediately, Anselm’s argument was criticized by a monk named Gaunilo, who complained that if Anselm’s argument proved the existence of a greatest conceivable being, it also proved the existence of the greatest conceivable island, which is nonsense.

Outline I.

Anselm’s argument for the existence of God, which has come to be known as the ontological argument, has proved to be his most enduring contribution to philosophy. A. Anselm offered several independent proofs of the existence of God in his first major work, the Monologion. The Monologion, written at the request of his monks, was intended to be a template for philosophical reflection on the nature of God, starting from premises that were accessible even to those who do not accept the authority of Scripture or the fathers of the church. B. Anselm was dissatisfied with the Monologion because it involved a complex chain of argumentation; he wanted a single argument that established a whole range of conclusions about God at once. C. Anselm became so preoccupied with his search for that “single argument” that he came to regard it as a temptation from the devil, but he found it impossible to give up on the idea. When the argument finally came to him, he presented it in a new work, the Proslogion.

II. The ontological argument is an attempt to show that merely by examining the concept of God, we can see that God does and, indeed, must exist. A. God is a being than which a greater cannot be thought. B. Because we can conceive of such a being, this being exists in our minds, in the way that a painting exists in the mind of a painter who has yet to paint it. 28

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C. To exist in reality is greater than to exist only in the mind. Thus, if we think of God as existing only in the mind, we can think of something greater than God. But God is that than which nothing greater can be thought. D. It follows, then, that God exists in reality as well. In fact, it is incoherent to suppose that that than which nothing greater can be thought exists only in the mind. III. Variations on this argument can be used to establish not just the existence of God but also God’s perfect goodness, omnipotence, justice, and so forth. It can thus serve as the “single argument” for which Anselm had been searching. IV. The reception of Anselm’s argument was influenced by his first critic, a monk named Gaunilo, who complained that if Anselm’s argument proved the existence of a greatest conceivable being, it also proved the existence of an island than which no greater island can be thought. A. Gaunilo ingeniously constructs an argument that he believes is exactly parallel to Anselm’s but with an absurd conclusion. B. He also argues that God is so beyond human comprehension that we cannot say that that than which nothing greater can be thought exists in our minds. C. Anselm replies that Gaunilo has misunderstood the original argument. The argument for a greatest conceivable island is not actually parallel to the argument for a greatest conceivable being. D. Moreover, Anselm argues, it is possible to conceive of God to the degree necessary for his argument to work. V. The ontological argument itself has been largely rejected by philosophers (although there is no consensus about where, exactly, its failure lies). But Anselm’s conception of God as “that than which nothing greater can be thought” remains influential even today. Essential Reading: Anselm, Monologion, Proslogion, and the exchange with Gaunilo, in Anselm: Basic Writings. Sandra Visser and Thomas Williams, “The Argument of the Proslogion,” in Anselm. Supplementary Reading: Brian Davies, “The Ontological Argument,” in Brian Davies and Brian Leftow, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Anselm.

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Questions to Consider: 1. What is the purpose of the ontological argument? 2.

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Why, according to Anselm, is Gaunilo’s “lost island” argument not parallel to his own ontological argument?

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Lecture Nine Anselm on the Divine Attributes Scope: The ontological argument establishes so many different divine attributes that it is difficult to see how one and the same being can possess all of them at once. For example, God is supposed to be both merciful and impassible; but to be impassible is to be incapable of emotion, whereas mercy seems to require the emotion of compassion. Anselm devotes considerable attention to dissolving such apparent contradictions in his account of the divine attributes. The picture of God that emerges is at odds with well-entrenched popular conceptions of God and even seems to contradict Scripture, but Anselm argues powerfully that his own conception of God is both rationally grounded and theologically superior.

Outline I.

Once Anselm has established the existence of God in the Proslogion, two main tasks remain. A. First, he must figure out what (if anything) we can know about God on the basis of the ontological argument, besides the fact that he exists. This is important because the whole point of the ontological argument was to provide a single argument from which we could derive a great deal of information about the divine nature. B. Second, he must demonstrate that those attributes are consistent with each other. If one of God’s attributes contradicts another, then God is logically impossible, and the whole argument falls apart. And at first glance, it does seem that some of God’s supposed attributes contradict other ones.

II. The first task proves to be altogether straightforward. A. Given that God is that than which nothing greater can be thought, we know that God is whatever it is greater to be than not to be. B. On this basis, Anselm is able to argue that God exists through himself, that everything else depends on him for existence and well-being, that God is unlimited in power and knowledge, that God is just, and so on. C. The various attributes of God, Anselm argues, are not, in fact, many distinct attributes; they are all identical with God and with each other. 1. If God’s various attributes were distinct from God himself, God would be dependent on something other than himself to be what he is—in violation of the principle that God is utterly independent of everything other than himself.

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2.

Nevertheless, we have to use a variety of distinct concepts in trying to think of the one simple divine nature.

III. The second task is considerably more difficult. Anselm has to resolve several apparent contradictions among the divine attributes that are generated in the course of completing the first task. A. It appears that God’s mercy contradicts his impassibility. 1. Mercy implies compassion, but if God is impassible (incapable of feeling emotion), he does not experience compassion. 2. Anselm distinguishes between the affect of compassion, which God does not experience, and the effect of compassion, which we do experience. God acts mercifully without experiencing any emotion. 3. Given his Platonic-Augustinian intuitions about value, Anselm did not feel the need to argue that impassibility is better than passibility. Nevertheless, it is possible to defend the doctrine of divine impassibility against contemporary objections that an impassible God would be cold and impersonal. B. It appears that God’s omnipotence contradicts his justice. 1. If God is omnipotent, he can do everything, but if God is perfectly just, he cannot lie. 2. Anselm argues that omnipotence should not be construed as the ability to do everything but as the possession of all power. The “power” to lie is not really a power at all but a kind of weakness. Therefore, omnipotence does not require the ability to lie; it actually excludes such an ability. 3. Anselm’s account of omnipotence has the resources to answer the Paradox of the Stone: “Can God create a stone so heavy that he cannot lift it?” C. It appears that God’s mercy contradicts his justice. 1. If God is just, he will punish the wicked; if God is merciful, he will spare the wicked. 2. Anselm first appeals to God’s goodness. If God is to be unsurpassably good, he must be good both to the wicked and to the good. 3. He then argues that God’s justice to himself requires God to show mercy to sinners. 4. The philosopher can trace the conceptual relations among goodness, justice, and mercy and show that God not only can but must have all three; still, no human reasoning can hope to show why God displays his justice and mercy in precisely the ways in which he does.

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IV. Anselm’s arguments concerning the divine attributes illustrate three general points about his philosophical method and his continuing relevance to philosophy. A. His arguments show the techniques of dialectic at work. Anselm frequently solves a problem by distinguishing between two different senses of an expression or noting two different ways in which a statement might be true. B. Anselm is unswerving in his commitment to exploring the reason of faith. Although he does not think that reason can uncover everything, he is convinced that reason can go a long way toward making the Christian faith intelligible. C. Although most philosophers think that the ontological argument fails as a proof for the existence of God, many contemporary philosophers of religion think that Anselm’s conception of God as “that than which nothing greater can be thought” is the most promising basis on which to think about God and his attributes. Essential Reading: Anselm, Proslogion, in Anselm: Basic Writings. Supplementary Reading: Sandra Visser and Thomas Williams, “The Divine Attributes,” in Anselm. Jasper Hopkins, A Companion to the Study of St. Anselm. Questions to Consider: 1. How does Anselm use the ontological argument to generate a list of divine attributes? How does this use of the argument relate to the argument’s original purpose? 2.

How does Anselm’s discussion of the divine attributes extend and clarify his understanding of God’s “greatness”?

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Lecture Ten Anselm on Freedom and the Fall Scope: Saint Paul asked the Corinthians, “What do you have that you have not received?” He expected the answer “nothing.” But Anselm notes that if literally everything we have—every desire, every choice, every action—is received from God, it is God who deserves all the praise for the good we do and all the blame for the evil we do. Anselm explains how we can reconcile human freedom and moral responsibility with the claim that everything we have is received from God. Rational creatures receive two fundamental inclinations from God: an inclination to choose what they think will make them happy and an inclination to do what they believe they ought to do. When they choose to act on one of these inclinations in preference to the other, that choice is not received from God, and thus, they can be held responsible for it.

Outline I.

Anselm introduces the problem of freedom and the fall by quoting from Saint Paul (1 Corinthians 4:7): “What do you have that you have not received?” A. Paul’s question clearly expects the answer “nothing.” But if, in fact, we have nothing but what we have received from God, it becomes difficult to see how we deserve credit for anything good or blame for anything bad. B. Anselm explicitly applies Paul’s question to the angels, not to human beings. 1. By discussing the fall of the angels, Anselm excludes a number of complications that arise in the case of human beings but are extraneous to Anselm’s main interest. (This is typical of the way in which medieval thinkers use angels in their philosophical discussions.) 2. Nonetheless, what Anselm says about angels will apply to human beings, because the human will is structurally the same as the angelic will, and the question about our moral responsibility is also the same. C. The essence of the problem is that the angels that did not fall had the gift of “perseverance.” If creatures have nothing that they have not received, the good angel had perseverance because he received it from God. Accordingly, the bad angel lacked it because he didn’t receive it from God; thus, the fall of the devil was God’s fault.

II. Anselm’s initial solution to the problem is that God gave all the angels the 34

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will to persevere, but the evil angels abandoned that will. In order to understand this solution, however, we must explore Anselm’s account of freedom and his theory of motivation. A. Anselm defines freedom as “the power to preserve rectitude of will for its own sake.” 1. Freedom is not the power to sin or not to sin. God is free, but he cannot sin. 2. Because “rectitude of will preserved for its own sake” is Anselm’s definition of justice, Anselm’s definition of freedom is explicitly moral: Freedom is the capacity for justice. B. Anselm argues that rational natures (angels and human beings) are motivated by two sorts of considerations. He calls them “justice” and “advantage”; in contemporary language, we could call them “morality” and “happiness.” C. The angels who abandoned the will to persevere did so because they willed something else in preference to justice. 1. Anselm acknowledges that he cannot identify what this “something extra” was. 2. When the evil angels abandoned their will for justice, God punished them by taking away all their happiness. 3. God gave the good angels that “something extra” as a reward for their choice to preserve justice. As a result, the good angels can no longer sin. III. Anselm elaborates the necessary conditions for free choice by imagining an angel that is created one step at a time. A. An angel with only the will for happiness would necessarily will happiness. Such an angel would be neither praiseworthy nor blameworthy, because his will would be “the work and gift of God.” B. Similarly, an angel with only the will for justice would necessarily will what is just. C. An angel with both wills, however, can initiate an action that is not received entirely from God. D. These considerations show that it was impossible for God to make a free creature who would be guaranteed not to fall. E. Anselm’s view clearly implies that there is something the angels did not receive from God: the content of their free choice either to persevere or to reject perseverance. Anselm recognizes this implication but is cagey about stating it openly.

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Essential Reading: Anselm, On the Fall of the Devil, in Anselm: Basic Writings. Supplementary Reading: Sandra Visser and Thomas Williams, “Anselm’s Account of Freedom,” in Brian Davies and Brian Leftow, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Anselm. Jasper Hopkins, A Companion to the Study of St. Anselm. Questions to Consider: 1. Why does Anselm use a discussion about angels to answer a question about human beings? 2.

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What are the two fundamental motivations that Anselm recognizes, and how do the two of them together provide the necessary condition for free choice?

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Lecture Eleven Abelard on Understanding the Trinity Scope: Peter Abelard (1079–1142) was famously a wreck in his personal life and constantly at odds with ecclesiastical authority (his works were condemned at two church councils), but he was the outstanding philosopher and theologian of the 12th century. Although he acknowledged that God surpasses the power of human understanding, he was not willing to make the incomprehensibility of God an excuse for obscurity or careless thinking. Christian doctrine, he argued, must be elucidated and defended in accordance with the standards of philosophical reasoning. Abelard took this approach most persistently (and most controversially) to the doctrine of the Trinity. Through the use of philosophical techniques, we can show that the doctrine of the Trinity makes sense and can be defended against any objections.

Outline I.

Abelard’s life explains a lot about the difficulties he encountered in his academic career. A. His combativeness and intellectual arrogance made enemies of his teachers. B. His infamous romance with Heloise demonstrated his impetuousness. Its brutal conclusion was the occasion for his entering monastic life and focusing on his theological work.

II. One of Abelard’s primary interests was a wide-ranging effort to reformulate Christian doctrine in a rationally coherent way. The doctrine of the Trinity was at the center of this project. A. Abelard wrote three treatises on Christian theology, each focused on the Trinity. 1. The first treatise, written around 1120, was condemned by the Council of Soissons in 1121, and Abelard was forced to burn it. 2. Undeterred, Abelard elaborated his arguments in a second treatise, which was twice as long and added a great deal of praise for pagan philosophers. This second treatise was left unfinished when Abelard abandoned it to produce a third. 3. Thanks to a vigorous propaganda war and clever ecclesiastical maneuvering by Bernard of Clairvaux, the third treatise was condemned at the Council of Sens in 1141. This condemnation put an end to Abelard’s teaching career. B. Three general features of Abelard’s engagement with Trinitarian doctrine reveal his approach to questions of faith and reason. ©2007 The Teaching Company.

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1. 2.

3.

Abelard placed his specific reflections on the Trinity in the context of a general account of the scope and limits of human knowledge. He argued that pre-Christian philosophers recognized the Trinitarian nature of God. Consequently, we can see that the doctrine of the Trinity can be grasped (to some extent) by reason alone. He insisted on the use of philosophical techniques to elucidate and defend the doctrine of the Trinity. The fact that God is ultimately beyond human comprehension does not excuse sloppy thinking or entitle us to take refuge in vague claims about “mystery.”

III. Abelard situates his reflections on the Trinity in the context of a general account of the scope and limits of human knowledge. Although it is difficult to make out exactly how Abelard envisions the relationship between faith and reason, it is clear that he denies the possibility of any genuine conflict between the two. A. He says that “except by divine illumination, no one can learn the least thing.” If all learning, of whatever kind, is a product of divine illumination, we can expect that what is learned by means of authority will cohere with what is learned by means of reason. B. Reason itself also reveals that “God far exceeds what can come under human discussion or the powers of human intelligence.” Thus, reason recognizes its own limits and the consequent need to accede to authority. C. Because God exceeds the powers of human reason, it is both proper and necessary to use “similitudes” (analogies) in talking about God. IV. As evidence that the doctrine of the Trinity can be grasped by reason, Abelard cites what he regards as adumbrations of the doctrine in preChristian philosophers. A. Pagan philosophers had knowledge of the Trinity both by reason and by grace. 1. Abelard’s need to defend his citation of pagan writers says a lot about the intellectual climate of the time. 2. Abelard brings forward pagan witness that the Word was generated (was begotten), that the Word (the Son) and the Father are co-eternal, and that the Holy Spirit as a third person proceeded from God and the Word. B. Abelard probably goes further than is necessary (or wise) when he defends the claim that Gentile philosophers before Christ were saved, even though he does so in part by appealing to Paul. V. Because there is no conflict between reason and authority and because the adumbrations of Trinitarian doctrine in pre-Christian philosophers 38

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demonstrate that the Trinity is amenable to rational investigation, Abelard insists on developing a rational account of the Trinity that dissolves its apparent paradoxes. A. The ultimate incomprehensibility of God is not a license for obscurity. By using “similitudes,” arguments, and careful philosophical distinctions, we can at least approximate the truth about God. B. The fundamental issue in making sense of the doctrine of the Trinity, Abelard holds, requires getting clear on the various kinds of sameness and difference. 1. The doctrine of the Trinity requires (for example) that the Father and the Son be the same God but different persons. If the three persons are not the same God, Abelard will fall into the heresy of tritheism; if the three persons are not distinct from each other, he will fall into the heresy of modalism. 2. Believing that the traditional accounts of sameness and difference (deriving from Boethius) are not sufficient, Abelard develops a more fine-grained account by appealing to everyday things that can serve as analogues to the way in which the three persons are both the same and different. 3. This account allows him to speak coherently of the relations of sameness and difference that must hold within the Godhead according to the doctrine of the Trinity. Essential Reading: Peter King, “Peter Abelard.” Supplementary Reading: Jeffery Brower, “Trinity,” in Jeffrey Brower and Kevin Guilfoy, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Abelard. Questions to Consider: 1. On what grounds did Abelard’s teaching on the Trinity run afoul of the orthodoxy of his day? 2.

Does Abelard treat the doctrine of the Trinity any differently from the way he would treat any other problem in metaphysics?

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Lecture Twelve Abelard on Understanding Redemption Scope: Abelard’s theory of the Atonement shows the complexities of his engagement with both authority and reason. He developed his theory in commenting on Paul’s Letter to the Romans, accepting the authority of the scriptural text but showing how its meaning can be made clear only through philosophical analysis. He risked ecclesiastical censure by rejecting a widely held theory of the Atonement on the grounds that it makes no philosophical sense. He also tried to show how an understanding of the divine nature enables us to adjudicate among rival theories of the Atonement. According to Abelard, the death of Christ delivers us from the punishment for the sin of our first parents, thereby inspiring our gratitude and enabling us to serve God out of love rather than out of fear.

Outline I.

The Christian doctrine of the Atonement states that the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ effect a reconciliation between God and human beings. Various theories of the way in which the Atonement works have been proposed, and Abelard got in trouble for revising or rejecting the dominant theories of his own day. A. Theories of the Atonement can be classified as objective or subjective. 1. Objective theories describe the Passion itself as accomplishing something. For example, a penal substitution theory holds that Christ undergoes on our behalf the punishment owed to us for sin; a ransom theory holds that Christ’s death pays a ransom owed to the devil in order to free us from his control. 2. Subjective theories locate the efficacy of the Passion in us. For example, an exemplarist theory holds that the Passion is simply a manifestation of divine love that awakens an answering love in the believer. B. It is commonly said that Abelard both rejects objective theories and accepts a subjective, exemplarist theory. Neither claim is true, though neither claim is entirely without foundation. C. As in the case of Trinitarian doctrine, Abelard seeks an account of the Atonement that is philosophically defensible and coherent. His arguments against the theories he rejects are purely philosophical ones.

II. Abelard discusses the Atonement in his commentary on Paul’s Letter to the Romans. A. The commentary has two overarching themes: 40

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1.

2.

Abelard insists that Paul always wishes to exalt divine grace at the expense of human merit. Accordingly, he denies Pelagianism, the view that it is possible to act well without divine grace. We are meant to serve God out of love rather than out of fear.

B. A purely exemplarist theory does not fit the themes of the Romans commentary at all well. Though Abelard will emphasize the subjective transformation brought about by the Passion (in accordance with the second theme), he also has to acknowledge an objective aspect, because otherwise, our response to the Passion would bring about our own redemption (in violation of the first theme). III. Before he explains what the objective element is, Abelard explains what it is not. He rejects the ransom theory (thereby incurring the wrath of Bernard of Clairvaux). A. The elect are, by definition, not under the jurisdiction of the devil. B. The only right the devil could have over human beings would be one given by God. 1. The devil had wrongly seduced us, thereby gaining no right over us. 2. It would be more fitting for us to have some right over the devil than vice versa. 3. The devil lied in promising immortality. C. Human beings sinned only against God, and it is therefore up to God to forgive. IV. The objective element in the Atonement, Abelard argues, is our release from what we might call the “objective dominion of sin”: that is, our being liable to the punishment for sin. Thus, Abelard teaches a theory of penal substitution. V. There is also a “subjective dominion of sin,” which is disordered desire— concupiscence. The Passion also delivers us from disordered desire. VI. The question is whether the Passion delivers us from disordered desire naturally or supernaturally. If it is does so naturally, Abelard will be open to Bernard’s charge of Pelagianism. A. Abelard emphatically affirms that no one acts well apart from grace. But the text “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Romans 9:13) poses a problem for this view. 1. It appears that God acts unjustly. Abelard argues, however, that God can treat human beings however he pleases without doing them any injustice.

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2.

3.

4.

5.

Yet even if God is not blameworthy for giving grace to some but not others, it certainly appears that human beings are not at fault if they act badly because they have not received grace. In response, Abelard first argues that God is not blameworthy, because he offers grace to saints and sinners alike. Sinners are blameworthy for rejecting grace. The problem with this response, as Abelard sees it, is that (if we are to avoid Pelagianism) we must say that it takes grace to accept grace. Abelard’s unstated assumption in his solution to this problem is that the grace we need in order to accept grace is just God’s creating our nature appropriately.

B. In light of these arguments, one cannot entirely acquit Abelard of Pelagianism in his attempt to offer a philosophically palatable account of the Atonement. It depends on how we define Pelagianism. 1. If we define it as the view that one can act rightly apart from grace, then Abelard is no Pelagian. 2. But if we define it as the view that human beings in their present state can will rightly through an unaided exercise of their power of free choice, then Abelard is an unapologetic Pelagian. Any other view, Abelard thinks, would be inconsistent with what we know about the nature of God. Essential Reading: Thomas Williams, “Sin, Grace, and Redemption,” in Jeffrey Brower and Kevin Guilfoy, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Abelard. Supplementary Reading: Gustav Aulen, Christus Victor: An Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of the Atonement. Philip Quinn, “Abelard on Atonement: Nothing Unintelligible, Arbitrary, Illogical, or Immoral About It,” in Eleonore Stump, ed., Reasoned Faith. Questions to Consider: 1. How does Abelard’s overall interpretation of the Letter to the Romans constrain his account of the Atonement? 2.

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What are the subjective and objective elements in the Atonement as Abelard understands it? How do those elements work together?

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Timeline 354 .................................................. Birth of Augustine 387 .................................................. Augustine baptized by Ambrose of Milan 397 .................................................. Augustine writes the Confessions 411 .................................................. Augustine becomes aware of the influence of Pelagius 430 .................................................. Death of Augustine c. 476 .............................................. Birth of Boethius 526 .................................................. Execution of Boethius c. 540 .............................................. Benedict writes his Rule 711 .................................................. Moors control Spain 768–814 .......................................... Reign of Charlemagne 800 .................................................. Birth of John Scottus Eriugena 877 .................................................. Death of John Scottus Eriugena 910 .................................................. Beginning of Benedictine monastic reform at Cluny 1033 ................................................ Birth of Anselm 1054 ................................................ Schism between Western and Eastern Churches 1073–1085 ...................................... Papacy of Gregory VII, a period of extensive church reform 1076–1078 ...................................... Anselm writes the Monologion and Proslogion 1079 ................................................ Birth of Peter Abelard 1085–1090 ...................................... Anselm writes On the Fall of the Devil 1090 ................................................ Birth of Bernard of Clairvaux 1093 ................................................ Anselm becomes archbishop of Canterbury 1095 ................................................ First Crusade begins 1099 ................................................ Crusaders take Jerusalem 1109 ................................................ Death of Anselm 1115 ................................................ Bernard founds monastery at Clairvaux

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1121 ................................................ Abelard’s theology condemned by the Council of Soissons c. 1128 ............................................ Latin translations of Aristotle’s “new logic” made by James of Venice in Constantinople 1141 ................................................ Abelard’s theology condemned by the Council of Sens 1142 ................................................ Death of Abelard 1153 ................................................ Death of Bernard of Clairvaux 1206 ................................................ Birth of Albert the Great 1208 ................................................ Beginning of the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) 1215 ................................................ Statutes of the University of Paris approved by the papal legate 1216 ................................................ Beginning of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) 1217 ................................................ Birth of Bonaventure 1225 ................................................ Birth of Thomas Aquinas 1243 ................................................ Bonaventure joins the Franciscans 1253 ................................................ Death of Robert Grosseteste, translator of Aristotle’s Ethics 1256–1259 ...................................... Aquinas is Dominican regent master of theology at Paris; begins Summa contra Gentiles 1259 ................................................ Bonaventure writes The Journey of the Mind to God 1265/66 ........................................... Birth of John Duns Scotus 1266 ................................................ Aquinas begins Summa theologiae 1269–1272 ...................................... Aquinas is Dominican regent master of theology at Paris for the second time 1274 ................................................ Death of Bonaventure; death of Thomas Aquinas 1277 ................................................ The bishop of Paris condemns 219 propositions 1280 ................................................ Death of Albert the Great c. 1288 ............................................ Birth of William Ockham 44

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1295 ................................................ Birth of Nicholas of Autrecourt 1305–1307 ...................................... John Duns Scotus is Franciscan regent master of theology at Paris 1308 ................................................ Death of John Duns Scotus 1309 ................................................ The papal court moves to Avignon 1324 ................................................ Ockham is called to Avignon to answer charges of heresy 1328 ................................................ Ockham flees Avignon under cover of darkness 1337 ................................................ The Hundred Years’ War begins 1347 ................................................ Death of William Ockham; the Black Death 1369 ................................................ Death of Nicholas of Autrecourt 1377 ................................................ The papal court returns to Rome 1378 ................................................ Rival claimants to the papacy create the Great Schism 1401 ................................................ Birth of Nicholas of Cusa 1417 ................................................ The Council of Constance ends the Great Schism 1453 ................................................ Fall of Constantinople 1464 ................................................ Death of Nicholas of Cusa

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1. Duns, Scotland: John Duns Scotus was born in Duns in 1265 or 1266. 2. Oxford: Oxford was the leading English university in the 13th and 14th centuries.Both John Duns Scotus and William Ockham were educated there. Robert Grosseteste was chancellor of the university from 1215 to 1221. 3. London: William Ockham taught philosophy in London from 1321 until he was summoned to Avignon in 1324. 4. Canterbury: Lanfranc of Bec was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1070 to 1089.Anselm was Archbishop from 1093 to 1109. 5. Moerbeke, Flanders: William of Moerbeke was born here around 1215. 6. Brabant, Flanders: Siger of Brabant was born here in 1240. 7. Cologne: Albert the Great taught at Cologne from 1248 to 1254; Thomas Aquinas was his student there and then began teaching in his own right. Scotus began teaching at Cologne in 1307 and died there the next year. 8. Laon: John Scottus Eriugena resided at the court of the Charles the Bald from 845. 9. Soissons: The Council of Soissons condemned Abelard’s teaching in 1121. 10. Bec, Normandy: Anselm studied in Bec (under Lanfranc) from 1059, became prior of Bec in 1063, and became abbot of Bec in 1078—a post he held until becoming Archbishop of Canterbury in 1093. 11. Paris: Abelard tutored and married Héloïse here in the 1110’s and was castrated by her relatives. The University of Paris, which received its official charter in 1215, was the leading European university in the 13th and early 14th centuries. Albert the Great taught at Paris from 1245 to 1248; Thomas Aquinas was among his students. Bonaventure was Franciscan master of theology at Paris (1254–1257) while Aquinas was Dominican master of theology (1256–1259, 1268–1272). The Condemnation of 1277 was issued by the Bishop of Paris, Stephen Tempier. Scotus was Franciscan master of theology from 1305 to 1307. 12. Chartres: A ground of Platonically-inclined theologians and philosophers flourished at Chartres in the 12th century. 13. Sens: Condemnation by the Council of Sens (1141) ended Abelard’s teaching career. 14. Munich: Ockham was in Munich under the protection of Ludwig of Bavaria from 1329 until his death in 1347. 15. Nantes: Abelard was born here in 1079. 16. Brixen: Nicholas of Cusa was Bishop of Brixen from 1450 to 1464. 17. Cluny: The Abbey of Cluny was the center of monastic reform in the 12th century. Its abbot, Peter the Venerable, welcomed Peter Abelard and mediated with Bernard of Clairvaux after Abelard’s condemnation by the Council of Sens in 1141. 18. Aosta: Anselm was born in Aosta in 1033. 19. Pavia: Boethius was exiled to Pavia, where he wrote The Consolation of Philosophy and was executed around 526. 20. Ravenna: King Theodoric employed Boethius as head of government c. 520 21. Avignon: The papal court was at Avignon from 1309 to 1377. Ockham was summoned to Avignon to answer charges of heresy in 1324, and he fled in 1328. 22. Bagnoregio: Bonaventure (Giovanni di Fidanza) was born in Bagnoregio in 1217. 23. Rome: Boethius was born in Rome around 476. 24. Aquino: Thomas Aquinas was born in Aquino in 1225. 25. Hippo: Augustine was ordained a priest in 391, served as bishop from 395 until his death in 430, and wrote his major works (including the Confessions and City ofGod), in Hippo. 26. Tagaste: Augustine was born in Tagaste in 354. ©2007 The Teaching Company.

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Glossary absolute power: God’s ability to act beyond the limits of nature as discerned by reason (as contrasted with ordained power). accidental form: In Aristotelianism, a form that can begin or cease to characterize a thing without affecting the thing’s identity (for example, color, size). active (agent) intellect (nous poietikos in Greek; intellectus agens in Latin): In Aristotelianism, the power that creates intelligible objects out of the objects of sensation. actuality (energeia in Greek; actus in Latin): In Aristotelianism, the state of actually being a certain way (as opposed to potentiality). analogy: A use of language in which a single term has different but related meanings. aseity: From the Latin a se, “from himself”; God’s aseity is his complete independence from anything other than himself, not merely with respect to his existence but with respect to every feature or quality that he possesses. concupiscence (concupiscentia in Latin): Excessive or disordered desire. dialectic: In medieval educational theory, techniques of philosophical reasoning that involve distinguishing the meanings of ambiguous terms and developing rigorous arguments; see also trivium. Dominican: A member of the Order of Preachers, founded in the early 13th century to teach, preach, and defend the Christian faith. emanation: In neo-Platonism, the necessary “flowing forth” of all things from the One. epistemology: The part of philosophy that asks questions about the nature and acquisition of knowledge. equivocity (aequivocitas in Latin): A use of language in which a single term has two or more unrelated meanings. eternity (aeternitas in Latin): According to Boethius, “the complete and perfect possession of illimitable life all at once”; a mode of existence in which there is no before and after. everlasting (sempiternus in Latin): Existing at all times or having endless temporal duration (as contrasted with eternity). exemplarism: A theory of the Atonement according to which the effectiveness of the death of Christ is limited to its serving as an inspiring example of divine love. 48

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fideism: Exclusive reliance on faith, at least in theological matters (as opposed to rationalism). form: (1) In Platonism (idea or eidos in Greek; idea in Latin), the perfect paradigm of a quality or nature; for example, the Form of the Good or the Form of Beauty. (2) In Aristotelianism (morphe in Greek; forma in Latin), a constituent of a thing that gives it actuality (see substantial form and accidental form). fortitude (fortitudo in Latin): The virtue in the sensitive appetite by which we are disposed to overcome obstacles that stand in the way of our attaining what reason recognizes as good. Franciscan: A member of the Order of Friars Minor (Order of Lesser Brothers), founded in the early 13th century to carry out the ideals of Saint Francis of Assisi. illumination: The divine enlightening of the human intellect so as to enable it to grasp intelligible things (variously interpreted by different medieval thinkers). immutable: Incapable of undergoing change. impassible: Incapable of experiencing emotion. infused virtues (virtutes infusae in Latin): Virtues “poured in” by God (as contrasted with natural virtues). integral Aristotelians: Medieval philosophers who treated Aristotelian philosophy as a complete, freestanding account of the natural world. Also called Latin Averroists. intellectual appetite: The capacity for rational desire (as contrasted with sensitive appetite). Thomas Aquinas identifies the will with intellectual appetite. intelligible: Knowable by, or accessible to, the mind or intellect (as opposed to sensible). irenic separatism: An expression used to describe Ockham’s approach to the relation between faith and reason that avoids both fideism and rationalism. justice (iustitia in Latin): The virtue in the will by which we are disposed properly toward the common good. Latin Averroists: See integral Aristotelians. Manicheism: A sect that taught that evil is independent of, and co-eternal with, good. metaphysics: The part of philosophy that asks questions about the fundamental structure of reality.

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motion (kinesis in Greek; motus in Latin): In Aristotelianism, change in quality or size or place. mysteries of faith (mysteria fidei in Latin): In Thomas Aquinas, Christian doctrines that cannot be proved philosophically and, therefore, must be taken on faith (as contrasted with preambles to faith). natural law: In Thomas Aquinas, the self-evident principles on which all practical reasoning is based; in John Duns Scotus, the necessary and self-evident moral truths that even God cannot change. natural theology: The project of trying to prove the existence and nature of God by reason alone, without relying on supernatural revelation. natural virtues (virtutes naturales in Latin): Virtues acquired by practice or teaching (as contrasted with infused virtues). nominalism: The denial that there are universal entities. Ockham’s razor (Occam’s razor): Also known as the principle of ontological parsimony; the methodological principle that one should not posit more entities or kinds of entities than are necessary to explain something. ordained power: God’s ability to act within the limits of the natures he has created (as contrasted with absolute power). participation: In Platonism, the way in which particular finite things resemble or imitate the perfect paradigms (Forms). passive intellect (nous pathetikos in Greek; intellectus passivus in Latin): In Aristotelianism, the storehouse of intelligible objects; the initially blank slate on which the active intellect writes ideas. Pelagianism: The denial of the need for divine grace for right action. The heresy gets its name from the British monk Pelagius (c. 354–c. 420), whom Augustine accused of magnifying human freedom at the expense of divine grace. penal substitution theory: The theory of the Atonement according to which Christ undergoes the punishment for sin on behalf of human beings potentiality (dynamis in Greek; potentia in Latin): In Aristotelianism, the state of being possibly but not actually a certain way (as opposed to actuality). practical reason: The kind of thinking that aims at making or doing something (as opposed to theoretical reason). practical wisdom/prudence (prudentia in Latin): The virtue of practical reason that enables someone to ascertain readily, in particular circumstances, how to attain the human good.

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preambles to faith (praeambula fidei in Latin): In Thomas Aquinas, Christian doctrines that can be proved philosophically, without appeal to revelation (as contrasted with mysteries of faith). privation: A lack or absence. propter quid argument: An argument from the essence of a thing to some feature that it possesses. quadrivium: In medieval educational theory, the secondary or advanced disciplines of music, astronomy, arithmetic, and geometry; in practice, the quadrivium (a term coined by Boethius, though the underlying idea goes back to Pythagoras) was in eclipse for much of the period from the 6th through the 11th centuries, and the trivium was dominant. quia argument: An argument from effect to cause. ransom theory: The theory of the Atonement according to which the death of Christ was a ransom paid to release human beings from captivity. rationalism: Exclusive or excessive reliance on reason in theological matters; excessive optimism about the powers of human reason to arrive at the truth, particularly the truth about God (as opposed to fideism). self-evident: Knowable without proof, simply by reflection on the concepts involved. sensible: Knowable by, or accessible to, the senses (as opposed to intelligible). sensitive appetite: In human beings, the capacity for sub-rational desire (as contrasted with intellectual appetite). simple: Not composite. skepticism: Doubts about the power of human reason to come to a truthful account of the ways things are. soul (psyche in Greek; anima in Latin): In Aristotelianism, whatever it is that accounts for the fact that something is alive. spiration: Literally, “breathing out”: a word used to describe the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son. substance: A being capable of independent existence (not independent of God but independent of other things, as opposed to an accident, which can exist only in a substance). substantial form: In Aristotelianism, a form that makes a thing what it is (for example, the soul makes a human being human). temperance (temperantia in Latin): The virtue in the sensitive appetite by which we are disposed to desire what reason recognizes as good and reject what reason recognizes as evil. ©2007 The Teaching Company.

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theoretical reason: The kind of thinking that aims simply at knowing (as opposed to practical reason). trivium: In medieval educational theory, the elementary or foundational disciplines of grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic (logic). However, in the period from the 6th through the 11th centuries, dialectic was either omitted or treated as mere memory work, and the resulting education focused on grammar and rhetoric and was, thus, largely literary. In the 11th century, dialectic was revived as a serious intellectual discipline. univocity (univocitas in Latin): A use of language in which a single term is used with one consistent meaning. via affirmationis/via affirmativa: Literally, “the way of affirming”; an approach to discourse about God that emphasizes what God is. Also called kataphatic theology. via remotionis/via negativa: Literally, “the way of negating”; an approach to discourse about God that emphasizes what God is not. Also called apophatic theology. virtue: A disposition in the emotions, will, or intellect that enables its possessor to act reliably, readily, and with pleasure in accordance with the demands of morality. voluntarism: A theory of freedom that gives particular emphasis to the will (voluntas) and accords it a high degree of independence from the intellect.

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Biographical Notes Note: In keeping with what has become the standard practice in histories of medieval philosophy, these biographical notes are alphabetized according to their subjects’ first names. Albert the Great (1206–1280). Albert was received into the Dominican Order in 1223 and educated by Dominicans in Padua and Cologne. In the 1240s, he rose through the ranks at the University of Paris, becoming a leading exponent of the “new” Aristotle and the teacher of Thomas Aquinas. From 1248 to 1252, he directed the Dominican house of studies in Cologne. In later years, he served in a variety of ecclesiastical roles, including three years as bishop of Ratisbon (now Regensburg). Albert was an encyclopedic thinker, writing on a remarkable range of scientific, philosophical, and theological topics. His work on natural science proved especially important to later thinkers, but his greatest influence was through his student, Thomas Aquinas. Anselm of Canterbury (1033–1109). Anselm was the most important philosopher-theologian in the 800 years between Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. Deeply influenced by Augustine, he was nevertheless a highly original thinker, with a fertile mind for the development of arguments. Originally attracted to the Abbey of Bec because of the reputation of its school, which was under the direction of the eminent theologian Lanfranc, Anselm was soon inspired to become a monk himself. He never lost his love of the monastic life, though his ever-increasing administrative responsibilities—first prior, then abbot of Bec and, ultimately, archbishop of Canterbury under two exceedingly vexatious kings of England—took him further and further away from the peace of the cloister. In such works as the Monologion and Proslogion (1076–1078) and Cur Deus Homo (1094–1098), Anselm seeks to offer “necessary reasons” in support of Christian doctrine. Augustine of Hippo (354–430). Both as a transmitter of Christian Platonism and as a theologian and biblical commentator, Augustine has been one the most influential figures in Western Christianity. When Augustine converted to Christianity in 386, he wanted to lead a life of philosophical retirement. His ordination to the priesthood in Hippo Regius in 391, then his elevation to bishop of Hippo in 395 made such a life impossible for him. As a bishop, Augustine was a public figure: a spell-binding preacher, ecclesiastical controversialist, pastor, polemicist, and theologian of wide reputation. His extensive writings include the semi-autobiographical Confessions, The City of God, and his influential work On the Trinity. Boethius (Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, c. 476–c. 526). Boethius was born into the Roman aristocracy and educated in the Classical tradition. He conceived the ambitious project of translating all of Plato and Aristotle into Latin, then showing how the two thinkers could be harmonized. Though he came nowhere near finishing this project, he did translate a good deal of ©2007 The Teaching Company.

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Aristotle’s logic, as well as writing commentaries on Aristotle and Porphyry. These works were the primary philosophical textbooks in the Latin West for the next 600 years. Boethius also wrote several short theological works, but he is best known for his Consolation of Philosophy, written while he was in prison. Boethius had been a high-ranking official under Theodoric, but for reasons that are not altogether clear, he fell out of favor and was charged with treason and engaging in magic. He was executed on those charges, probably in 526. Bonaventure (1217–1274). Born Giovanni di Fidanza in Tuscany, he took the name Bonaventure (“good fortune”) when he became a Franciscan in 1243/44. From 1254 through 1257, Bonaventure served as Franciscan master of theology at the University of Paris, engaging in public disputation, lecturing, and writing on philosophical and theological topics. In 1257, he was appointed minister general of the Franciscans, a move that put an end to his university career, though not to his writing. Bonaventure’s most influential work, The Journey of the Mind to God, was written to provide a spiritual path to God that any Franciscan could follow, yet it was no less a philosophical and theological treatise than any of his academic writing had been. Bonaventure became an influential figure in the church and was appointed a cardinal in 1273. John Duns Scotus (1265/66–1308). We know little of Scotus’s early life, though it seems likely that he began his studies with the Franciscans at an early age. He studied at Oxford, then went to the University of Paris, where he lectured on the Sentences of Peter Lombard in 1302–1303 and served as Franciscan master of theology from 1305 through 1307. For reasons we do not know, he was transferred to the Franciscan house in Cologne in 1307; he died in Cologne the following year. Even during his life, the adjective subtle had come to be associated with Scotus’s thought, which is ingenious, difficult, and inventively defended; soon after his death, he came to be known as the “Subtle Doctor.” His surname, Duns, is the origin of our English word dunce—a slur on the inanities of some of his followers, who emulated the difficulties of Scotus’s thought without being able to approach his brilliance. John Scottus Eriugena (c. 800–c. 877). Although he worked at the court of Charles the Bald in France in the late Carolingian period, Eriugena was an Irish monk. (Eriugena, a name he apparently bestowed on himself, means “Irishborn”; other people called him Scottus, which means “Scottish,” but in those days, people thought of Ireland as part of Scotland.) At that time, Irish monks were almost the only people in the West who still knew Greek, and Eriugena’s greatest influence was as a translator, particularly of the works of pseudoDionysius the Areopagite. Eriugena’s own philosophical system, an ambitious neo-Platonic construction with decidedly pantheistic overtones, has occasionally drawn some interest from philosophers with an affinity for more exotic versions of Platonism than Augustine’s, but it has never been part of the mainstream of Christian thinking. Eriugena was condemned as a heretic at two regional councils in the 850s for his teaching on predestination, which was regarded as

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having Pelagian tendencies and as placing too much confidence in the power of dialectic to solve theological problems. Nicholas of Autrecourt (c. 1295–1369). Most of what we know about Nicholas’s life is limited to his trial in the 1340s. In 1340, Nicholas was charged with teaching 66 erroneous propositions. The trial dragged on, first in Paris, then at the papal court in Avignon, until 1346, when Nicholas was required to make a public recantation. In 1347, his treatise Exigit ordo (Order Demands) was ceremonially burned, though the work continued to be circulated, and at least one copy has survived to the present day. Nicholas of Cusa (1401–1464). Nicholas’s original academic interest was in canon law, in which he received a doctorate from the University of Padua in 1423. His interest in philosophy and theology came from a sort of revelation he had on his journey back from Constantinople, to which he had been sent in 1437 on a fruitless mission to negotiate the reunion of the Eastern and Western Churches. Nicholas described this revelation as an experience of “learned ignorance,” an insight that transcends the limits of reason, and he gave the title On Learned Ignorance (De docta ignorantia) to his most influential work. Despite suspicions that his views were ultimately pantheistic, Nicholas was never accused of heresy. He was made a cardinal in 1449 and a bishop in 1450. Peter Abelard (1079–1142). Born in Brittany into the minor nobility but determined from an early age to devote himself to learning, Abelard studied under many of the most eminent teachers of his day. He frequently quarreled with his teachers and was eager to defeat them in public debate. As a result, he acquired a reputation as an intellectual powerhouse, attracting students of his own. After his ill-fated affair with Heloise, which resulted in his castration, Abelard sought the peace of monastic life and devoted himself to teaching and writing theology. His Trinitarian speculations were condemned at two councils (Soissons, 1121; Sens, 1141). Though these condemnations, along with Bernard of Clairvaux’s energetic propaganda campaign against him, discouraged people from citing Abelard explicitly, it is clear that he had extensive influence on 12thcentury thought. Siger of Brabant (1240–c. 1284). Siger was a leader of the integral Aristotelians at the University of Paris and one of the prime targets of the Condemnation of 1277. In the face of charges of heresy, Siger fled from Paris to Italy, where he died under mysterious circumstances. Dante placed Siger in heaven in the Paradiso, where Thomas Aquinas—in life a bitter opponent of the integral Aristotelians—introduces Siger to the poet. Stephen Tempier (d. 1279). A Paris-trained theologian, Stephen (Étienne) Tempier became bishop of Paris in 1268. His chief legacy was the Condemnation of 1277, a list of 219 condemned theses taught by “some scholars of arts.” The Condemnation circulated widely, and bachelors of theology were required to swear that they would not teach any of the prohibited theses. ©2007 The Teaching Company.

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Thomas Aquinas (Thomas of Aquino) (c. 1225–1274). After joining the Dominicans over the protests of his family, Thomas Aquinas was sent to study at Paris under Albert the Great. He followed Albert to Cologne but then returned to Paris in 1251 to complete his studies. From 1256 to 1259 and again from 1268 to 1272, he occupied one of the Dominican chairs of theology at the University of Paris. Aquinas was a tireless opponent of the integral Aristotelians in the arts faculty, but he was also an ardent defender of the propriety of using Aristotle in formulating Christian theology. His writings include extensive commentary on Aristotle, as well as his two great syntheses of theology, Summa theologiae and Summa contra Gentiles. Aquinas was regarded by some as rather too friendly to Aristotle to be quite safe, and some of his views were officially proscribed by the Condemnation of 1277. The condemnation of Aquinas was soon retracted, however, and Aquinas was canonized in 1323. William (of) Ockham (c. 1288–1347). Ockham (also spelled Occam) was educated by the Franciscans in London and Oxford. Around 1323, someone went to the papal court, then located in Avignon, and charged Ockham with teaching heresy. Ockham was summoned to Avignon to answer the charges. Ockham remained in Avignon for four years, being questioned occasionally by the investigators but otherwise left free to continue his writing. A dispute between Michael Cesana, the minister general of the Franciscans, and Pope John XXII led Ockham to accuse the pope of effectively abdicating his office by stubbornly teaching heresy. The fallout from this bold declaration led Cesana, Ockham, and two other Franciscans to flee Avignon under the cover of night. They eventually came under the protection of Ludwig of Bavaria, the Holy Roman Emperor, in Munich. Ockham was excommunicated in 1328 for leaving Avignon without permission. He remained under imperial protection for the rest of his life and wrote exclusively on political matters.

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Bibliography All quotations from the works discussed in this course were translated from Latin by the instructor. Some of these translations, including all the quotations from Anselm, as well as those from Augustine’s On Free Choice of the Will, have appeared in print; the books in which they appear are listed in the bibliography. (In a few cases, the translation used in this course differs slightly from the published version in order to bring out a nuance that is particularly relevant to the material being discussed.) The other translations were made specifically for this course. The bibliography also lists the work of other translators. These translations were not used in the course itself, but they represent, in the instructor’s judgment, the best published English translations of the Latin works. Those especially in interested in issues arising in the translation of medieval philosophers from the Latin West may wish to consult Thomas Williams, “Transmission and Translation,” The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2003, pp. 328–346), also available at http:// shell.cas.usf.edu/~twilliam/trans.pdf. Essential Reading: Anselm. Anselm: Basic Writings. Translated by Thomas Williams. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2007. This volume contains all the major works of Anselm in a careful translation with notes and a glossary. Augustine. Confessions. Translated by Rex Warner. New York: Signet Classics, 1963. Much more than an autobiography, the Confessions is a wide-ranging meditation on God, creation, sin, and the human condition. Of the many translations of the Confessions, Warner’s offers the best combination of fidelity to the Latin text and a vivid, accessible style. ———. On Free Choice of the Will. Translated by Thomas Williams. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1993. This work represents Augustine’s earliest attempts to come to grips with the origin of evil. It introduces many of the themes that become prominent in Augustine’s mature works, and for that reason, it serves as the best short introduction to Augustine’s thought in his own words. ———. On True Religion. In Augustine: Earlier Writings, edited by John H. S. Burleigh. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1979. On True Religion is one of the key texts in which Augustine lays out his view of the relationship between faith and reason. Boethius. The Consolation of Philosophy. Translated by V. E. Watts, New York: Penguin, 1969, or translated by P. G. Walsh, New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. “To acquire a taste for” The Consolation of Philosophy, C. S. Lewis wrote, “is almost to become naturalised in the Middle Ages.” Bonaventure. The Journey of the Mind to God. Translated by Philotheus Boehner. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1993. This remarkable work unites philosophy, ©2007 The Teaching Company.

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theology, and Franciscan spirituality in a dense but rewarding meditation on the possibility for knowledge of God. Brower, Jeffrey, and Kevin Guilfoy, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Abelard. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Abelard is most often studied today for his contributions to the more technical areas of philosophy. As a result, some of the essays in this volume are dense and difficult in spots. Nonetheless, the collection as a whole is an excellent guide to Abelard’s thought. Cross, Richard. John Duns Scotus. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. This book is an excellent short introduction to Scotus’s philosophy and theology. Davies, Brian. The Thought of Thomas Aquinas. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. Davies writes with exceptional clarity even about the most difficult material in Aquinas’s thought. Hyman, Arthur, and James J. Walsh, eds. Philosophy in the Middle Ages. 2nd ed. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1983. This exemplary collection of philosophical texts represents the Christian, Islamic, and Jewish traditions from the 4th through the 14th centuries. John Duns Scotus. Duns Scotus on the Will and Morality. Translated by Allan B. Wolter. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1998. This volume contains translations of Scotus’s most important writings on the nature of the will and its freedom, the natural law and its relation to the divine will, and other aspects of morality. ———. Philosophical Writings: A Selection. Translated by Allan B. Wolter. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1987. Scotus’s central writings on metaphysics, natural theology, the theory of knowledge, and human nature are collected in this indispensable volume. King, Peter. “Peter Abelard.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http:// plato.stanford.edu/entries/abelard. King offers the best short overview of Abelard’s thought, with more attention to Abelard’s views on faith and reason than that topic is usually given. Lohr, C. H. “The Medieval Interpretation of Aristotle.” In The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy, edited by Norman Kretzmann, Anthony Kenny, and Jan Pinborg, pp. 80–98. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992. Lohr discusses the varying fortunes of Aristotle in science, philosophy, and theology from Boethius through the Renaissance. He gives particular attention to the crucial debates of the 13th century. McGrade, A. S., ed. The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Philosophy. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. This collection of essays offers an excellent overview of the development of medieval philosophy in the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic traditions. The volume is organized topically, rather than according to individual authors, giving a sense of the sweep of medieval

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thinking on such issues as language and logic, metaphysics, ethics, human nature, and politics. McInerny, Ralph, and John O’Callaghan. “Saint Thomas Aquinas.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/aquinas. Two leading Thomists present the essentials of Aquinas’s thought in a form accessible to non-specialists. Nicholas of Cusa. Nicholas of Cusa: Selected Spiritual Writings. Edited by H. Lawrence Bond. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1997. This collection contains On Learned Ignorance and other works of Nicholas of Cusa, as well as an extensive introduction. Noone, Timothy B., and R. E. Houser. “Saint Bonaventure.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/bonaventure. The authors survey Bonaventure’s main philosophical and theological contributions and offer a good sense of the distinctive flavor of Bonaventure’s thought. Pasnau, Robert C. Thomas Aquinas on Human Nature. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Pasnau offers a detailed account of Aquinas’s views on the relationship between mind and body, the mechanisms of cognition, personal identity and immortality, and the will. Rist, J. M. Augustine: Ancient Thought Baptized. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Rist explores Augustine’s thought against the background of the Platonism that Augustine adopted and developed. Many readers find this the best single book on Augustine’s thought, and it is fully accessible to a non-specialist. Spade, Paul Vincent, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Ockham. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. The leading scholars of William of Ockham analyze his contributions to logic, metaphysics, the theory of knowledge, ethics, and politics. This is an indispensable guide to Ockham’s thought. ———. “Medieval Philosophy.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/medieval-philosophy. This article serves as a short orientation tour for medieval philosophy, with many links to more detailed discussions of particular authors and topics. ———. “William of Ockham.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ockham. Spade provides an excellent overview of the central areas of Ockham’s philosophical and political writings. Stump, Eleonore, and Norman Kretzmann, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Augustine. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001. The 18 essays in this volume cover the whole range of Augustine’s philosophical work, as well as much of his theology. Thijssen, Hans. “Condemnation of 1277.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/condemnation. Thijssen surveys the history of the Condemnation of 1277 and explains the unanswered questions about who exactly was being condemned and what significance the Condemnation had.

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Thomas Aquinas. Disputed Questions on the Virtues. Translated by E. M. Atkins, edited by Thomas Williams. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. These “disputed questions” are records of academic debates on the virtues held while Aquinas was teaching at the University of Paris. The introduction explains the role of virtue in Aquinas’s ethics as a whole and places the disputed questions in their intellectual context. ———. Summa contra Gentiles, Book One: God. Translated by Anton C. Pegis. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1997. This volume is the most accessible source for Aquinas’s account of faith and reason, his arguments for the existence of God, and his account of the divine nature. Visser, Sandra, and Thomas Williams. Anselm. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming (2008). Visser and Williams divide their discussion of Anselm’s work into two main areas: the divine nature and the economy of redemption. This book seeks to offer a comprehensive and systematic account of the whole of Anselm’s philosophy and theology. Williams, Thomas. “John Duns Scotus.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/duns-scotus. This article aims at giving a nontechnical explanation of the thought of this most technically sophisticated thinker. The presentation of Scotus’s celebrated argument for the existence of God is worth especially close attention. ———. “Saint Anselm.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/anselm. This article offers an overview of Anselm’s life and works, his proofs of the existence of God, his account of the divine nature, and his views on sin and freedom. Supplementary Reading: Aulen, Gustav. Christus Victor: An Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of the Atonement. Translated by A. G. Herbert. New York: Wipf & Stock, 2003. Aulen’s classic study of the history of the Christian doctrine of redemption helps situate Abelard’s contributions in their intellectual context. Brown, Peter. Augustine of Hippo: A Biography. Revised edition with a new epilogue. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. Brown’s 1967 biography of Augustine quickly became the standard work on Augustine’s life. This revised edition takes account of developments in scholarship since the publication of the original work. Davies, Brian, and Brian Leftow, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Anselm. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. This useful collection considers every major aspect of Anselm’s thought, as well as his intellectual background and his influence on later thinkers. Dod, Bernard G. “Aristoteles latinus.” In The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy, edited by Norman Kretzmann, Anthony Kenny, and Jan Pinborg, pp. 45–79. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992. Dod discusses the translations and translators that made possible the complete reintroduction of Aristotle into the Latin West in the 12th and 13th centuries. 60

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Holopainen, Toivo. Dialectic and Theology in the Eleventh Century. New York: E.J. Brill, 1996. Holopainen argues persuasively for a reexamination of the four leading figures in the 11th-century revival of dialectic: Peter Damian, Lanfranc of Bec, Berengar of Tours, and Anselm of Canterbury. Hopkins, Jasper. A Companion to the Study of St. Anselm. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1972. Hopkins offers a useful roadmap through Anselm’s writings, as well as philosophical commentary. Knowles, David. The Evolution of Medieval Thought. New York: Vintage Books, 1962. This classic work is a highly readable survey of medieval thought from its roots in Classical Greek philosophy through the 14th century. It is, unfortunately, out of print and hard to find, but it is worth the search. Kretzmann, Norman. The Metaphysics of Theism: Aquinas’s Natural Theology in Summa Contra Gentiles I. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Kretzmann carefully expounds Aquinas’s account of our knowledge of God, his arguments for the existence of God, and his account of the divine attributes. A mix of historical scholarship and philosophical defense, this book is challenging but rewarding reading. Luscombe, David. Medieval Thought. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. Luscombe’s work is especially useful for its discussion of the 14th and 15th centuries. Marenbon, John. Boethius. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Marenbon discusses the full range of Boethius’s work and its intellectual context, devoting about a third of the book to The Consolation of Philosophy. ———. The Philosophy of Peter Abelard. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Marenbon’s treatment of Abelard’s philosophy is particularly noteworthy for its careful and extensive assessment of Abelard’s ethical theory. McInerny, Ralph. “Analogy of Names Is a Logical Doctrine.” In Being and Predication: Thomistic Interpretations, pp. 279–286. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1986. In this essay, the leading exponent of Aquinas’s doctrine of analogy gives his most succinct and accessible explanation of the doctrine. Murray, Michael J., ed. Reason for the Hope Within. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998. The rising generation of Christian philosophers considers the fundamental topics of faith seeking understanding. Nash, Ronald H. The Light of the Mind: St. Augustine’s Theory of Knowledge. Ann Arbor, MI: Academic Renewal Press, 2003. Nash’s treatment of Augustine’s theory of knowledge offers the most careful investigation available of the theory of illumination, along with a discussion of other topics, such as skepticism. Noone, Timothy B. “The Franciscan and Epistemology: Reflections on the Roles of Bonaventure and Scotus.” In Medieval Masters: Essays in Memory of E. A. Synan, edited by R. E. Houser, pp. 63–90. Minneapolis: Center for Thomistic Studies, 1999. A leading exponent of medieval Franciscan ©2007 The Teaching Company.

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philosophy considers the theory of knowledge in Bonaventure and John Duns Scotus against the broader historical context of developments in epistemology. O’Donnell, James J. Augustine: A New Biography. New York: HarperCollins, 2005. This highly controversial (and hostile) reappraisal of Augustine’s life and work is written with extraordinary verve. Quinn, Philip. “Abelard on Atonement: Nothing Unintelligible, Arbitrary, Illogical, or Immoral About It.” In Reasoned Faith, edited by Eleonore Stump, pp. 281–300. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993. Quinn seeks to rescue Abelard from the misunderstandings of both his critics and his admirers in this excellent and admirably clear essay. Stump, Eleonore. Aquinas. New York: Routledge, 2005. Stump places Aquinas in dialogue with contemporary philosophy on such issues as metaphysics, the nature of God, human nature and cognition, ethics, incarnational theology, and the problem of evil. Many regard this as the best book available on Aquinas’s thought as a whole. ———, ed. Reasoned Faith. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993. This collection of essays by both theists and non-theists explores faith and reason, the nature of revelation, the nature of God, and the problem of evil. Van Inwagen, Peter. The Problem of Evil. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. A leading philosopher of religion examines the greatest difficulty for belief in God. Williams, Thomas, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Duns Scotus. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. This collection provides the most comprehensive account of Scotus’s philosophical writings, although (owing to the highly technical nature of Scotus’s philosophy) some of the essays in this volume make for difficult reading in spots. ———. “A Most Methodical Lover? On Scotus’s Arbitrary Creator.” Journal of the History of Philosophy 38 (2000): 169–202. This article makes the case for a controversial reading of Scotus as teaching that God’s creative act is, in an important sense, arbitrary. ———. “Some Reflections on Method in the History of Philosophy.” http://shell.cas.usf.edu/~twilliam/method.pdf. This brief essay considers a range of possible approaches to the history of philosophy, including an account of the approach exemplified by this course. ———. “The Libertarian Foundations of Scotus’s Moral Philosophy.” The Thomist 62 (1998): 193–215. This article examines the importance of Scotus’s account of freedom, as contrasted with that of Thomas Aquinas, in the larger context of his ethical theory. ———. “Transmission and Translation.” In The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Philosophy, edited by A. S. McGrade, pp. 328–346. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. This paper considers the channels of transmission by which medieval philosophical texts have come down to us, with special attention to three case studies: the works of Anselm, John Duns Scotus, 62

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and the 14th-century Dominican Robert Holcot. It also discusses the difficulties, both interpretive and linguistic, involved in translating Latin texts into English. A preprint is available online at http://shell.cas.usf.edu/~twilliam/trans.pdf. Internet Resources: Christian Classics Ethereal Library. http://ccel.org. The library links to a variety of classics of Christian thought, including extensive translations of Augustine. EpistemeLinks. www.epistemelinks.com/Main/MainText.aspx. EpistemeLinks offers more than 2,000 e-texts, including works of Aristotle and all the major medieval philosophers. The Franciscan Archive. www.franciscan-archive.org. The archive offers both Latin editions and extensive translations of Bonaventure, John Duns Scotus, and other important Franciscan writers. The translations can be somewhat oldfashioned and stodgy, but they include a great deal of material not available elsewhere. Internet Medieval Sourcebook. www.fordham.edu/halsall/sbook.html. This site contains vast resources for the student of medieval history. Summa Theologica. www.newadvent.org/summa. Aquinas’s greatest work is presented in the standard translation by the fathers of the English Dominican Province.

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Reason and Faith: Philosophy in the Middle Ages Part II

Professor Thomas Williams

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Thomas Williams, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, University of South Florida Thomas Williams, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of South Florida, received his B.A. in Philosophy from Vanderbilt University in 1988 and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in 1994. Before joining the faculty of the University of South Florida in 2005, he taught at Creighton University and the University of Iowa, where he received a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Teaching Award in 2005. He was the Alvin Plantinga Fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Religion at Notre Dame from 2005 to 2006. Professor Williams’s research interests are in medieval philosophy and theology (with a focus on Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, and Duns Scotus) and the philosophy of religion. He is the coauthor of Anselm, a volume in the Great Medieval Thinkers series from Oxford University Press, with Sandra Visser. He edited The Cambridge Companion to Duns Scotus and co-edited Thomas Aquinas: Disputed Questions on the Virtues. His translations include Augustine’s On Free Choice of the Will and Anselm: Basic Writings. Professor Williams has contributed essays to four other volumes in the Cambridge Companions series—Augustine; Anselm; Abelard; and Medieval Philosophy—as well as essays for the Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy and The Oxford Handbook of Thomas Aquinas. Journals where his articles have appeared include Modern Theology, Philosophy and Literature, Apeiron, Faith and Philosophy, Journal of the History of Philosophy, and Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie. He is on the editorial board of Studies in the History of Ethics.

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Table of Contents Reason and Faith: Philosophy in the Middle Ages Part II Professor Biography ........................................................................................... i Course Scope ...................................................................................................... 1 Lecture Thirteen The Rediscovery of Aristotle .................................... 4 Lecture Fourteen Bonaventure on the Mind’s Journey into God .......... 8 Lecture Fifteen Aquinas on What Reason Can and Cannot Do ....... 12 Lecture Sixteen Aquinas’s Proof of an Unmoved Mover ................. 15 Lecture Seventeen Aquinas on How to Talk About God ...................... 18 Lecture Eighteen Aquinas on Human Nature...................................... 21 Lecture Nineteen Aquinas on Natural and Supernatural Virtues ........ 24 Lecture Twenty Scotus on God’s Freedom and Ours ....................... 27 Lecture Twenty-One Scotus on Saying Exactly What God Is .................. 30 Lecture Twenty-Two What Ockham’s Razor Leaves Behind ................... 34 Lecture Twenty-Three Ockham on the Prospects for Knowing God .......... 38 Lecture Twenty-Four The 14th Century and Beyond ................................. 41 Map ................................................................................................................... 44 Timeline ............................................................................................................ 46 Glossary ............................................................................................................ 49 Biographical Notes........................................................................................... 54 Bibliography ..................................................................................................... 58

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Reason and Faith: Philosophy in the Middle Ages Scope: The great medieval Christian thinkers would all have been bewildered by the idea, widespread in contemporary culture, that faith and reason are fundamentally at odds. Though their philosophical outlooks varied widely, they were in general agreement that philosophical reasoning could and should be used to defend and elucidate the doctrines of the Christian faith. This use of philosophy took three main forms. First, medieval thinkers used philosophical reasoning to prove the existence of God and to establish conclusions about the divine attributes. Second, they used philosophical views about the acquisition of knowledge to determine which Christian doctrines are beyond the scope of rational demonstration. And third, they used philosophical argumentation to defend Christian beliefs against objections and to establish the internal consistency of Christian doctrine by showing the compatibility of Christian beliefs that might appear to contradict each other. In making all three kinds of arguments, medieval Christian thinkers felt free to adopt the views of nonChristian philosophers when those views could be pressed into the service of Christian teaching; and they were confident that the errors of pagan philosophy could be exposed by the use of natural reason, without appealing to faith in a supernatural revelation. This general agreement about the proper roles of faith and reason provided a certain continuity in the history of medieval philosophy, but there were striking discontinuities as well. As new philosophical texts were discovered and new techniques of argumentation introduced, as philosophical schools rose to prominence or fell into eclipse, the ways in which medieval philosophers carried out their project of “faith seeking understanding” changed dramatically. For Augustine, at the beginning of the medieval period, philosophy meant Platonism, but for Thomas Aquinas, in the 13th century, it was Aristotle, not Plato, who was known simply as “the Philosopher.” Philosophers also had to cope with changing fashions in theology, not to mention simple church politics. Thus, Peter Abelard was the target of ecclesiastical harassment for making an argument that Anselm had made, without controversy, a mere half-century earlier. Medieval philosophy began with Augustine (354−430), who was deeply influenced by the fundamental Platonic distinction between the intelligible realm—perfect, unchanging, and accessible only by the mind—and the sensible realm—imperfect, ever-changing, and apprehensible by the senses. In some strands of Platonic thought, these two realms are irreconcilably at odds; the fact that our souls are embodied is a regrettable, if temporary, impediment to human fulfillment. For Augustine, however, the sensible realm is created by God and reflects his goodness. The temporal and embodied character of our experience means that we must rely on authority in our quest for truth. Nonetheless, by ©2007 The Teaching Company.

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reflecting on the imperfections and mutability of creatures, the human mind can come to understand something of the unchanging perfection of the creator. Precisely because we come to know God as both perfect and creator, Augustine was faced with the perplexing problem of the origin of evil in a world created by a perfect God. Boethius (c. 476−c. 526), writing a century later than Augustine, continued the tradition of pressing pre-Christian philosophy into the service of Christian thought. In The Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius turns to Philosophy, personified as a woman, for comfort and reassurance that the world is justly governed by divine providence. Philosophy argues that there is one God who governs the universe and has power over all things, including human affairs. She also undertakes to show how human freedom and moral responsibility are possible, arguing that because God is eternal—that is, outside time altogether— he does not foreknow our actions (he simply knows them, timelessly) and our actions are therefore not necessary in any sense that threatens freedom or moral responsibility. For nearly 500 years after the death of Boethius, there was little noteworthy philosophical activity. In the 11th century, however, there was a revival of philosophical techniques and their application to theological discussion. The outstanding Christian philosopher of the 11th century was Anselm (1033−1109), who developed an explicit and systematic account of what he called “the reason of faith”: the intrinsically rational character of Christian doctrines in virtue of which they form a coherent and rationally defensible system. Anselm’s most famous contribution to Christian philosophy is his argument for the existence of God, but his account of the divine nature has also had an enduring influence. The leading 12th-century philosopher, Peter Abelard (1079−1142), is often thought of as a theological rebel, but in fact, he was firmly in Anselm’s tradition of elucidating and defending Christian doctrine in accordance with the standards of philosophical reasoning. His controversial treatments of the Trinity and the Atonement show a willingness to challenge received theological wisdom in the pursuit of philosophical rigor. The recovery of the full Aristotelian corpus by the end of the 12th century revolutionized Christian thought in the Latin West. Aristotle’s thinking offered a conceptual apparatus of obvious power and usefulness for philosophy and theology, but many of Aristotle’s ideas were at odds with Christian doctrine. Thirteenth-century thinkers had to figure out how to accommodate this new material. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225−1274), using the works of Aristotle as his primary philosophical inspiration, developed arguments for the existence of God, as well as an account of the powers and limits of human reason in knowing God. He also drew on Aristotle for his understanding of human nature and ethics. By contrast, Bonaventure (c. 1217−1274) was willing to borrow Aristotelian doctrines when he found them helpful, but he argued passionately against excessive enthusiasm in following Aristotle. Such excesses were 2

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attributed to the integral Aristotelians of the University of Paris, for whom Aristotelian philosophy was a complete, freestanding account of the natural world. This engagement with Aristotelian philosophy, in all its different forms, made the 13th century a particularly lively and inventive period in Christian philosophy. This energy continued through the work of John Duns Scotus (1265/66−1308) and William Ockham (c. 1288−1347). But Aristotelianism did not remain dominant for long. Such thinkers as Nicholas of Autrecourt (c. 1295−1369) and Nicholas of Cusa (1401−1464) marked a turn away from Aristotle and toward a kind of Platonism that would become dominant during the Renaissance.

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Lecture Thirteen The Rediscovery of Aristotle Scope: The recovery of the full Aristotelian corpus by the middle of the 13th century revolutionized Christian thought in the Latin West. Aristotle’s thinking offered a conceptual apparatus of obvious power and usefulness for philosophy and theology, but many of Aristotle’s ideas were at odds with Christian doctrine. Thirteenth-century thinkers had to figure out how to accommodate this new material as prohibitions against lecturing on Aristotle’s works proved ineffective. Albert the Great (1206–1280) did more than anyone else in making the study of Aristotle respectable by using Aristotelian principles to systematize theology, though Albert’s most enduring influence was as the teacher of Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225–1274). By contrast, Bonaventure (c. 1217–1274) was willing to borrow Aristotelian doctrines when he found them helpful, but the character of his thinking is not noticeably Aristotelian, and he argues passionately against excessive enthusiasm in following Aristotle. Such excesses were attributed to the integral Aristotelians of the University of Paris, for whom Aristotelian philosophy was a complete, freestanding account of the natural world.

Outline I.

Beginning late in Abelard’s lifetime, the full corpus of Aristotle’s works began to become available in Latin. A. Until this time, scholars had had access only to some of Aristotle’s logical works and a handful of other texts. 1. The Categories (containing Aristotle’s theory of terms) and De interpretatione (containing Aristotle’s theory of statements), as translated by Boethius, were the only Aristotelian texts in wide circulation in the early Middle Ages. 2. Early medieval scholars also had access to Porphyry’s Isagoge (an introduction to the Categories) and commentaries and original logical works by Boethius. B. The first new translations were of the remainder of Aristotle’s logical works (dubbed the new logic). 1. The Prior Analytics (containing Aristotle’s theory of the syllogism) did not make a great impact because its contents were known at second hand. 2. The Posterior Analytics (containing Aristotle’s theory of scientific knowledge) was too difficult to make a great impact immediately.

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The Sophistical Refutations (a handbook of fallacies) generated considerable interest, leading to a number of developments in logic.

C. These were followed by Aristotle’s scientific, metaphysical, ethical, and political writings, along with extensive commentary by Muslim thinkers. 1. The earliest translations were often unreliable because of the number of intermediaries between the Greek original and the Latin translation. 2. Robert Grosseteste made the first complete translation of Aristotle’s Ethics some time around 1250. 3. By the middle of the 13th century, William of Moerbecke had revised or replaced earlier translations, working directly from the Greek. His translations were used by Thomas Aquinas. II. The recovery of the full Aristotelian corpus coincided with the rise of the universities, establishing a determinate institutional context in which the new accommodations between Aristotelian reason and Christian faith would have to be worked out. A. The universities grew out of the famous cathedral schools that had an international draw. B. The premier European university in the 13th century was the University of Paris, which was officially founded in 1215, though the statutes of the university were in existence for some years before that. C. Universities were divided into faculties. The arts faculty provided the basic training for students, who would then proceed to the “higher” faculties, such as medicine, law, or theology. 1. Students would begin their arts training at around 14 or 15 and study for about six years. Because the arts faculty provided a preparatory education, arts masters would typically teach in arts only two years, then “move up” to a higher faculty. 2. After a stint as a master of arts, a student who went into the theology faculty would have a further eight years (or more) of training before becoming a master or doctor of theology. D. The newly translated works of Aristotle made their first appearance at the University of Paris in the arts faculty. 1. Beginning in 1210, there were repeated prohibitions of “reading” Aristotle’s works (that is, lecturing on them publicly), which were regarded as theologically dangerous. 2. The very fact that the prohibitions had to be repeated is evidence that they were not altogether successful. Certainly by the 1250s,

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people were unabashedly lecturing on whatever Aristotle was available. III. Aristotle’s work seemed attractive because it was wide-ranging, systematic, and rigorously argued; it seemed dangerous because Aristotle explicitly taught views that contradicted Christian doctrine. A. Many features of Aristotle’s work made it deeply attractive to thinkers of this period. 1. The wide range of Aristotle’s thought (logic, science, metaphysics, ethics, politics) appealed to the medieval longing for encyclopedic knowledge. 2. Its systematic character—a small stock of principles, concepts, and distinctions employed across disparate contexts—and hierarchical organization of different fields of inquiry appealed to the medieval passion for unity and order. 3. Its primarily argumentative (rather than mystical) character fit with the increasing emphasis on rigorous argumentation. 4. The systematic, hierarchical, and argumentative character of Aristotle’s thought is encapsulated in his understanding of “science.” A science is a body of knowledge expressed as arguments that proceed from first principles to conclusions. The conclusions of a “higher” science serve as first principles for “subordinate” sciences. B. Yet some of Aristotle’s teaching was clearly at odds with Christian doctrine. 1. He taught that the world had always existed—indeed, that the notion of a beginning of time was incoherent. 2. He claimed that God had no concern for the world. 3. It was hard to find any clear acknowledgment of personal immortality in Aristotle, and in places, he seems to deny it outright. 4. His ethical theory seemed to emphasize self-love and selffulfillment. 5. In general, Aristotle’s philosophy was naturalistic; it left little room for appeals to such supernatural activities as grace (in ethics) or divine illumination (in the theory of knowledge). IV. We can see three kinds of reaction to the “new” Aristotelian philosophy. A. The integral Aristotelians of the arts faculty treated Aristotelian philosophy as a complete, freestanding account of the natural world. 1. Those who were inclined to think this way typically interpreted Aristotle under the influence of the Arabic commentator Averroes; thus, they are also known as Latin Averroists. 6

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A key figure was Siger of Brabant, who is said to have held a twotruths theory, according to which a statement could be true in philosophy but false in theology.

B. Conservative reaction in the theology faculty, exemplified by Bonaventure, largely rejected Aristotelian thought. Bonaventure was willing to borrow Aristotelian doctrine or techniques when he found them useful, but his thinking was not noticeably Aristotelian, and he argued passionately against what he took to be excessive enthusiasm in following Aristotle. C. Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas staked out a moderate position. 1. Albert the Great did more than anyone else to make the study of Aristotle respectable by using Aristotelian principles to systematize theology. 2. Albert’s most enduring influence, however, was as a teacher of Thomas Aquinas, who not only wrote extensive commentaries on Aristotle but did theology in a thoroughly Aristotelian way. Essential Reading: C. H. Lohr, “The Medieval Interpretation of Aristotle,” in Norman Kretzmann, Anthony Kenny, and Jan Pinborg, eds., The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy. Supplementary Reading: Bernard G. Dod, “Aristoteles latinus,” in Norman Kretzmann, Anthony Kenny, and Jan Pinborg, eds., The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy. Questions to Consider: 1. Why did the reintroduction of the full Aristotelian corpus have such wideranging effects on medieval philosophical thought? 2.

What role did the nature of the 13th-century university play in the disputes over Aristotle?

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Lecture Fourteen Bonaventure on the Mind’s Journey into God Scope: Bonaventure identifies six ways of approaching the knowledge of God. The first two involve discerning the traces that God has left in his creative activity within the sub-rational world: first, as a basis for reaching conclusions about God and, second, as evidence of God’s presence in sensible things. The next two involve discerning the image of God borne by the human intellect: first, in our natural powers and, second, in our powers as reformed by grace. The two highest ways involve discerning God in himself: first, in reason’s grasp of the unity of nature in God and, second, in faith’s grasp of the trinity of persons in God. Bonaventure’s account of the mind’s journey to God reveals an independent and critical approach to the newly ascendant Aristotelian philosophy. In his account of creation, Bonaventure rejects the Aristotelian doctrine that the material world has always existed, but in his account of theoretical knowledge, he tries to synthesize the Aristotelian account of knowledge through sensation with the Augustinian account of knowledge through illumination. Bonaventure’s approach is not to carve off distinctive spheres of competence for faith and reason or theology and philosophy but to use philosophy as one available technique within theology, which encompasses all knowledge about God.

Outline I.

In his most influential work, The Mind’s Journey into God (Itinerarium mentis in Deum; also translated as The Journey of the Mind to God), Bonaventure identifies six ways of approaching the knowledge of God. A. Bonaventure takes the image of the six-winged seraph as standing for six “progressive illuminations” by which human beings can come to know God. B. Each pair of wings corresponds to a different level in the hierarchy of being. 1. The first pair represents the traces of God’s activity that can be discerned in the sub-rational world. Here, we contemplate God “outside us” or “below us.” 2. The second pair represents the image of God borne by the human intellect. Here, we contemplate God “within us.” 3. The third pair represents God himself. Here, we contemplate God “above us.”

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II. The first steps in attaining knowledge of God begin with knowledge of the sensible world. A. Bonaventure first considers the “vestiges” (literally, footprints) of God in the visible world as a basis for reaching conclusions about God as their source. 1. Part of Bonaventure’s goal is to insist that the visible universe is not self-explaining. Creatures require explanation in terms of the power, wisdom, and goodness of their creator. 2. The ancient philosophers were correct in drawing the conclusion that God ordered the world, but they failed to draw the conclusion that God originated the world—though that conclusion ought to have been evident to them, as well. B. Bonaventure then considers the vestiges of God as providing evidence for God’s presence in sensible things. 1. Through sensation, human beings are a microcosm. Everything existing in the sensible world enters the human being through the “portals” of the senses. 2. What enters the human soul is not, of course, the thing itself but its likeness. In this way, sensation detaches the sensible thing from its particular place and time, thus preparing it to be understood universally by the intellect. 3. The generation of the sensible likeness mirrors the eternal generation of the Word in the Trinity. III. The next steps in attaining knowledge of God arise from considering the image of God borne by the human intellect. A. Bonaventure first considers the image of God imprinted on our natural powers. 1. In this step, he offers an account of theoretical knowledge that seeks to integrate Augustine with Aristotle. 2. He first describes the activity of intellect in Aristotelian terms. It consists of knowing first terms, then propositions, and then inferences. 3. Yet he appeals to Augustine to argue that the intellect can have no certainty unless it is taught and illumined by truth itself. 4. Like Augustine, Bonaventure sees in the soul’s memory, understanding, and love an image of the Trinity. 5. He even finds Augustinian images of the Trinity in Aristotelian divisions of the sciences (for example, the division of natural philosophy into metaphysics, mathematics, and physics). B. He then considers the image of God as reformed by grace.

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1. 2. 3.

Our natural powers must be restored by the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity. The study of Scripture is indispensable for the work of this step. Note that Bonaventure’s description gives Scripture a certain preeminence over the philosophical reasoning described by the previous step.

IV. In the two final steps, Bonaventure turns from created things to God himself. A. He first considers the essential attributes of God by investigating the notion of being. This consideration relies especially on the Old Testament, which proclaims the unity of the divine essence and names God as “I am Who am” (Exodus 3:14). 1. In a way reminiscent of Anselm, Bonaventure argues that being itself is so certain that it cannot be thought not to be. 2. The most pure being must exist from itself and be eternal and supremely one. B. Finally, Bonaventure considers the proper attributes of the three persons in God by investigating the notion of goodness. This consideration relies especially on the New Testament, which proclaims the plurality of divine persons and says, “No one is good but God alone” (Luke 18:19). 1. Goodness is, by its very nature, self-communicating. The divine goodness must therefore be “supremely self-diffusive.” 2. The self-communication of divine goodness is realized in the multiplicity of persons in the Godhead. V. Bonaventure’s approach cannot be easily characterized as either philosophical or theological because he does not recognize a clear division of labor between the two. A. Philosophical reasoning transforms an object of faith into something intelligible. B. Theology is free to draw on both revelation and reason for its premises. C. Rather than seeing philosophy and theology as involving two different subject matters or as having two different spheres of competence, Bonaventure prefers to see theology as encompassing all knowledge about God. Philosophy is one available technique within theology. Essential Reading: Bonaventure, The Journey of the Mind to God. Timothy B. Noone and R. E. Houser, “Saint Bonaventure.”

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Supplementary Reading: Timothy B. Noone, “The Franciscans and Epistemology: Reflections on the Roles of Bonaventure and Scotus,” in R. E. Houser, ed., Medieval Masters: Essays in Memory of E. A. Synan. Questions to Consider: 1. Why is it difficult to talk about Bonaventure’s approach to faith and reason in the same terms we use for talking about other authors? 2.

How does Bonaventure’s use of both sensible and intelligible creation as stepping stones to knowledge of God illustrate his blending of philosophical and theological arguments?

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Lecture Fifteen Aquinas on What Reason Can and Cannot Do Scope: Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle, held that all human knowledge ultimately derives from sense experience. Consequently, by the exercise of their natural intellectual powers, human beings can know only those facts about God that are somehow evident from reflection upon sense experience, for example, that God exists, that there is only one God, and so forth. Other things that Christians believe about God, such as his being a Trinity, are not evident from sensible things; such facts must be revealed if human beings are to have any awareness of them at all. Yet (Aquinas believes) God also reveals truths that can be known apart from revelation, because otherwise, too few people would know them.

Outline I.

Aquinas follows Aristotle in affirming that all natural human knowledge originates in sensation. One consequence of this view is a clear distinction between truths about God that we can know by the exercise of natural reason, unaided by supernatural revelation, and truths about God that we must take on faith. A. In this present life, the human intellect can grasp only what can be inferred from the objects of the senses. Because sensible objects are effects that fall short of the power of their cause, we can know some things about God, but we cannot achieve knowledge of his essence. 1. Aquinas calls these naturally knowable truths “preambles to faith.” 2. Among the preambles to faith are that God exists, that there is only one God, that he is omnipotent and immutable, and so forth. We can (in principle) come to know these on the basis of reasoning about sensible things. B. There are also truths about God that exceed the ability of human reason because they cannot be discerned by examining sensible things. 1. Aquinas calls such truths “mysteries of faith.” 2. Among the mysteries of faith are the Trinity and the Incarnation.

II. Although the mysteries of faith exceed the powers of natural reason, it is reasonable to believe in them. A. Aquinas argues that it is reasonable to think that not everything is accessible to human reason. Even in mundane affairs, we find that we have a tenuous grasp even on what we apprehend by means of the senses.

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B. Given that there are such truths, it is important for several reasons that God reveal them to us. 1. God has higher things in mind for us than what our reason can figure out. But if we did not know about this higher good, we would not strive wholeheartedly for it. 2. God’s revealing these truths to us allows us to have a truer knowledge of God, and it strengthens our view that God exceeds our reason. 3. We are, thus, freed from presumption, which is the mother of error. 4. Such knowledge of the noblest realities brings the greatest perfection and joy to the soul. C. God confirms the truth of this teaching by “works that surpass the ability of all nature.” III. It is also reasonable for God to reveal the preambles to faith, even though in principle we can discover them on our own. A. If God did not reveal them, few people would know them, because most people are too stupid, busy, or lazy to do the intellectual work necessary to discover them. B. Even those who would come to know God would take a long time to do it, because these truths are profound, presuppose much other knowledge, and cannot fittingly be pursued by the young. C. Many people who would not be able to see the force of the arguments would hold their conclusions in doubt. IV. Although faith surpasses reason, it cannot conflict with reason. A. Aquinas offers several arguments for the claim that faith and reason cannot conflict. 1. All truths are given to us by God—either by nature or by grace— and God cannot contradict God. 2. All truths are contained within the divine wisdom, and perfect wisdom cannot include contradictions. 3. All truths are taught to us by God, and God would be a bad teacher if he taught us contradictory things. 4. Only the false can be opposed to the true. B. Aquinas admits that sometimes there appears to be a conflict between the two. 1. The situation he envisions is one in which someone produces an argument against a doctrine of the faith. 2. In such a case, we know that there’s something wrong with the argument. We just have to find the mistake. ©2007 The Teaching Company.

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3.

Aquinas’s approach offers a program for incorporating Aristotle’s philosophy within Christian theology while resisting Aristotle’s errors. It therefore steers a middle course between conservative resistance to Aristotle and the two-truths theory of the integral Aristotelians.

C. We can understand what is distinctive in Aquinas’s view by comparing it to Augustine’s. 1. In one sense, the Augustinian view is more pessimistic about reason than Aquinas’s, because it claims that there can be no genuine understanding of God apart from faith. Reason can be properly directed only if the will is right, but the will is not right unless it is submitted to God in faith. 2. In another sense, though, Augustinianism is more optimistic about reason than Thomism. Once you believe, you can try to use reason about practically all of the faith. There is no need to distinguish between mysteries and preambles. 3. According to Augustine, faith is necessary because of the perversity of the will. According to Aquinas, faith is necessary because of the weakness of our intellect. Essential Reading: Ralph McInerny and John O’Callaghan, “Saint Thomas Aquinas.” Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra Gentiles, Book One: God, chapters 1–9. Supplementary Reading: Norman Kretzmann, “Theology from the Bottom Up” (chapter 1), in The Metaphysics of Theism: Aquinas’s Natural Theology in Summa Contra Gentiles I. Questions to Consider: 1. What philosophical considerations make it necessary for Aquinas to distinguish between preambles to faith and mysteries of faith? 2.

How does Aquinas’s understanding of the relationship between faith and reason make him a “centrist” figure in the 13th-century debate?

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Lecture Sixteen Aquinas’s Proof of an Unmoved Mover Scope: Before arguing that God exists, Aquinas deals with two objections to the project of proving God’s existence: first, that it is unnecessary to prove God’s existence because it is self-evident that God exists and, second, that it is impossible to prove God’s existence because the existence of God is exclusively a matter for faith and revelation. In response, Aquinas argues that the existence of God is not self-evident in the way a mathematical or logical truth is, but it can be proved by reasoning backwards from effects—the objects of our sense experience—to God as their ultimate cause. There are five ways to prove that God exists. The first and “most evident” of these is an argument from motion. Everything that is in motion must be put in motion by some other thing. Because an infinite series of movers is impossible, there must be a first mover that is not itself in motion. This first unmoved mover, Aquinas says, is God.

Outline I.

Before Aquinas offers his five proofs for the existence of God, he deals with the objection that the existence of God cannot be proved: either because it is self-evident or because it just has to be taken on faith. A. Aquinas’s approach to this objection illustrates his use of the Scholastic method, which framed philosophical inquiry as a debate between opposing points of view. 1. The Scholastic method begins with a quaestio: a question that can be given a yes-or-no answer. 2. Then, one marshals the best arguments from authorities (the “big names in the field”) for the view that one rejects. 3. Then, one sets forth one’s own view and gives arguments for it. 4. Finally, one considers the opposing arguments and explains why they fail. Perhaps one finds a mistaken premise or logical fallacy in the original argument, or perhaps one shows that the authority is wrong if interpreted in one way but right if interpreted in another way. B. Aquinas interprets Anselm as holding that the existence of God is selfevident. In reply, he denies that the existence of God is self-evident in a way that would make a proof of God’s existence otiose. 1. A proposition is self-evident when one can tell, just by thinking about the concepts involved, that it is true.

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2. 3.

According to Anselm, once we understand the concept of God, we can see that God exists. Aquinas argues that we cannot, in this life, have the kind of understanding of God that would enable us just to “see” that God exists.

C. The objection that the existence of God must simply be taken on faith takes off from Aquinas’s response to Anselm. If we cannot have any direct insight into the nature of God, how are we supposed to prove that God exists? 1. Aquinas replies by distinguishing between two different kinds of arguments. In an argument propter quid, we argue from the nature of a thing to its features; in an argument quia, we argue backwards from effects to cause. 2. Because we have no direct insight into the nature of God, we cannot have any propter quid arguments about God. But we can have quia arguments about God by reasoning backwards from God’s effects—sensible things—to their cause. II. Each of the “five ways” begins from some fact that can be observed by the senses and argues on that basis for the existence of God. A. The first way argues on the basis of motion that there must be a first unmoved mover. B. The second way argues on the basis of causality that there must be a first uncaused cause. C. The third way argues on the basis of contingency (the fact that things are capable of existing and of not existing) that there must be a necessary being. D. The fourth way argues on the basis of the degrees of perfection that there must be a maximally perfect being. E. The fifth way argues on the basis of apparently purposive behavior that there must be an intelligent being that directs all things to attain their ends. III. A detailed look at the first way to prove that God exists, which Aquinas calls “the clearest way,” offers a glimpse into Aquinas’s argumentative method and his use of Aristotelian principles. A. It is “evident to the senses” that some things are in motion. 1. In Aristotelian jargon, three kinds of changes count as “motion”: change in quality, change in size, and change in place. 2. Each of these changes involves going from potentiality (potentially being a certain way) to actuality (actually being a certain way).

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B. Whenever something goes from potentiality to actuality, there must be something that causes it go from potentiality to actuality. 1. Something that causes motion is in actuality, whereas something that undergoes motion is in potentiality. For example, something that is actually hot is needed to heat what is only potentially hot. 2. Because nothing can be both in actuality and in potentiality in the same respect at the same time, nothing can move itself. 3. Thus, everything that is moved is moved by some other thing. C. Because there cannot be an infinite regress of movers and things moved, we must come to a first unmoved mover. 1. In an infinite series of movers, there is no first mover. 2. If there is no first mover, there is no motion. 3. Therefore, there is no infinite series of movers. Essential Reading: Brian Davies, “Getting to God” (chapter 2), in The Thought of Thomas Aquinas. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra Gentiles, Book One: God, chapters 10–13. Supplementary Reading: Norman Kretzmann, “The God of the Self-Movers” (chapter 2), in The Metaphysics of Theism: Aquinas’s Natural Theology in Summa Contra Gentiles I. Questions to Consider: 1. Why can Aquinas not take it for granted that it makes sense to argue for the existence of God? 2.

How does Aquinas employ Aristotelian principles in making his argument from motion?

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Lecture Seventeen Aquinas on How to Talk About God Scope: Aquinas’s Aristotelian strategy of arguing from effects to cause allows us to establish a wide range of conclusions about God, but it also threatens to undermine the meaningfulness of our language about God. Our language reflects our concepts, and our concepts are all ultimately derived from our experience of the objects of the senses. But the objects of the senses fall far short of God. How, then, can the words that we use for ordinary objects be meaningful when applied to God? Aquinas’s answer is that created things resemble or imitate their creator. We can, therefore, use the language that derives from experience of creatures to speak meaningfully about God, although our words cannot have exactly the same meaning in theological language that they have in ordinary language.

Outline I.

Given the fact that God far exceeds our understanding, how can we say anything true about God? In medieval terminology, how can we have “names” for God? A. Some of Aquinas’s sources concerning this issue particularly emphasized the via remotionis or via negativa: that is, the approach to speaking of God that insists that we can say only what God is not. 1. According to these authors, God is so much beyond the sensible things that we must use in order to understand him that the best we can do is to say of him what he is not. 2. Some would even go so far as to say that even the affirmative names are really disguised negatives. 3. Maimonides had held that affirmative names for God actually express (a) what God is not and (b) God’s relation to creatures. B. Aquinas allows a role to the via remotionis, but he insists that it can and must be supplemented by the via affirmationis: the practice of using affirmative names to speak of God. 1. If no positive predications are possible, there is no reason to call God one thing in preference to another. 2. Although God transcends sensible things, such things do provide enough clues to his nature that we can derive positive conclusions about God and express them in affirmative names.

II. Aquinas develops a general theory about how names work, then applies it to the case of names for God.

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A. The general theory of names, derived from Aristotle, holds that we can name something insofar as we can understand it. 1. Words are signs of ideas, and ideas are resemblances (“similitudes”) of things. 2. Thus, words do serve as signs of things but indirectly: They signify things by means of our intellect’s conception of the things. B. We can, therefore, name God insofar as we can understand God. 1. Given that we cannot understand God as he is in himself, we also cannot name God as he is in himself. (In that sense, the proponents of the via remotionis were right.) 2. But because we can understand God as he is known from creatures, we can name him on the basis of our knowledge of creatures. III. Because God possesses all the perfections of creatures, though in a more excellent way, we can apply the names for those perfections to God—in the technical jargon of the day, we can predicate those names of God. A. If a name implies a perfection without limitation, we can apply it literally to God. 1. For example, good does not imply any limitation; thus, we can apply it literally to God, as we apply it literally to creatures. 2. We can also predicate it “in the mode of supereminence,” in which case, it applies only to God. For example, we can predicate highest good of God alone. B. If a name implies some limitation or defect, we can apply it metaphorically to God. For example, we can predicate rock metaphorically of God. IV. Aquinas’s main interest is in names that can be predicated literally of both God and creatures. A. Even these names are inadequate in a way. As all our names do, they get their meaning through our intellect’s conception, and our intellect’s conception falls short of the reality of God. 1. Our names for God suggest multiplicity within God, even though God has no parts of any kind. 2. We have to use a plurality of names, all of which are signs of the same thing—the divine essence—which we conceive in a variety of ways. B. For these reasons, such names are predicated analogically of God. 1. Analogical predication is contrasted with equivocal predication (in which the same word is used with entirely different meanings) and

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2. 3. 4.

with univocal predication (in which the same word is used with exactly the same meaning). In analogical predication, the same word is used with different but related meanings. For example, the expression my niece is predicated analogically of my niece and a photograph of my niece. On Aquinas’s theory, God is the original of which all creatures are images. Our knowledge of God is somewhat like our knowledge of someone we know only from a photograph.

Essential Reading: Brian Davies, “Talking About God” (chapter 4), in The Thought of Thomas Aquinas. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra Gentiles, Book One: God, chapters 30–36. Supplementary Reading: Ralph McInerny, “Analogy of Names Is a Logical Doctrine.” Questions to Consider: 1. What philosophical and theological considerations push Aquinas to find the middle ground of analogy between purely univocal predication, on the one hand, and purely equivocal predication, on the other? 2.

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How is the doctrine of analogy related both to Aquinas’s metaphysics of God (his account of what God is) and his epistemology of God (his theory of how we know God)?

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Lecture Eighteen Aquinas on Human Nature Scope: Aquinas adopts a generally Aristotelian picture of human nature. For Aquinas, the human soul is the form of the body; that is, it organizes or structures matter in such a way as to make it a living human organism. Aristotle’s view that the soul is the form of the body might be taken to imply that when a human organism ceases to live, the soul simply ceases to exist, but Aquinas argues that we can prove philosophically that the soul survives the death of the body. The Christian doctrine of the resurrection of the body adds that the soul will not exist permanently in its separated state but will be reunited with matter. Unlike the survival of the soul, however, the resurrection of the body cannot be proved philosophically. Belief in resurrection is a matter of faith.

Outline I.

Aquinas’s understanding of the human soul derives from Aristotle’s account of change in the Physics and Metaphysics and his account of soul in De anima (On the Soul). A. Rejecting the arguments of Parmenides, Aristotle held that what comes to be arises both from what is and from what is not. 1. In every change, there must be three “principles.” There is privation (what is not), form (what comes to be), and the subject (the thing that exists both before and after the change). 2. When the subject of the change is a substance, what comes to be is an accidental form. 3. When a new substance comes into being, such a substance can’t be the subject that exists before the change and endures throughout the change; instead, the subject of the change is matter, and what comes to be is a substantial form. 4. A soul is a substantial form: It is what makes a given parcel of matter to be the living thing that it is. B. Aquinas’s starting definition of soul, derived from Aristotle, is “the first principle of life in those things in our world which live.” 1. This definition means, in effect, that the presence of some sort of soul is what makes the difference between something that is alive and something that is not. 2. On this understanding of soul, every living thing has a soul, even plants.

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3.

Aquinas argues that a soul—what makes a given physical thing alive—cannot itself be a physical thing.

C. The human soul, unlike other souls, is a substance: a thing in its own right. 1. Only substances carry on activities of their own, and the human soul carries on an activity of its own, namely, intellectual understanding. 2. Because it is a substance in its own right, independent of the body that it ensouls, it must be produced directly by God and cannot be destroyed except by God. II. The human intellect, which is the defining power of human beings, is both an active power and a passive power. A. The intellect is passive in the sense that it moves from potentiality to actuality. The intellect starts off as a blank slate with nothing written on it, but gradually, we acquire understanding and the mind fills with thoughts. B. If the passive intellect is the blank slate on which thoughts are written, the function of the active or agent intellect is to write those thoughts. To explain the function of the agent intellect, Aquinas offers a quick lesson in ancient Greek philosophy. 1. Plato thought that the forms of material objects existed on their own, apart from matter, and were, therefore, intelligible. Thus, there is a Form of Horse, and all knowledge of horses is really knowledge of the Form of Horse. 2. Aristotle maintained that there were no such things as immaterial ideas. He was prepared to go along with Plato to this extent: What makes a given horse a horse is a form. But he denies that this form exists apart from matter. 3. On Aristotle’s account, to understand horses is to think about the universal horse, not about any particular horse. (Particular horses are sensible, not intelligible.) 4. The agent intellect must, therefore, create the intelligible object by abstracting universal horse-ness from the particularizing conditions in which we always encounter it. III. Aquinas struggles to make his understanding of human nature consistent with Christian belief in the resurrection of the body. A. The immortality of the soul is a preamble to faith. That is, we can know on purely philosophical grounds that the soul does not cease to exist just because the body ceases to exist. 1. As we have seen, the soul is a substance, because it has an activity of its own, independent of the body. 22

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2.

Things acquire actuality to the extent that they acquire form, and they are corrupted to the extent that they are separated from form. But the soul is itself a form. Thus, the soul cannot be corrupted, because it cannot be separated from itself.

B. The resurrection of the body, however, is a mystery of faith. It cannot be proved by natural reason. 1. The soul maintains an “aptitude” to inform a body. 2. Souls separated from their bodies are identifiable individuals. This claim seems inconsistent with other things Aquinas says, but he needs it in order to make sense of the practice of prayers to saints. Essential Reading: Brian Davies, “Being Human” (chapter 11), in The Thought of Thomas Aquinas. Robert C. Pasnau, Thomas Aquinas on Human Nature. Supplementary Reading: Eleonore Stump, “The Nature of Human Beings” (Part II), in Aquinas. Questions to Consider: 1. What does Aquinas mean by calling the soul both a substantial form and a substance in its own right? 2.

What difficulties related to the problem of faith and reason are posed by Aquinas’s Aristotelian account of human nature?

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Lecture Nineteen Aquinas on Natural and Supernatural Virtues Scope: Aquinas’s account of the virtues shows how he resisted both the extreme naturalism of the integral Aristotelians and the conservative hostility to Aristotle. Even as he adopted much of Aristotle’s philosophy, he did not agree with the integral Aristotelians that philosophy by itself offers a comprehensive, autonomous account of everything there is. Aquinas insisted that in addition to the natural order, which philosophy investigates, there is a supernatural order, which is beyond the competence of philosophy. The supernatural order does not supersede the natural but brings it to a higher fulfillment. Within ethics, this understanding of the relationship between natural and supernatural allowed Aquinas to affirm that there is indeed such a thing as natural happiness and that it does not lose its importance simply because, as Christians affirm, there is also a supernatural happiness, of which Aristotle was unaware. For Aquinas, natural happiness is what sets the standards of natural law, and natural virtues—preeminently temperance, fortitude, justice, and practical wisdom—dispose us to attain such happiness. But in addition, there must be supernatural virtues that dispose us to attain supernatural happiness. Natural virtues are attained by a natural process of moral development; supernatural virtues are acquired by divine gift.

Outline I.

Aquinas develops his account of natural law by appeal to an analogy between the functioning of theoretical reason (the sort of thinking that aims simply at knowing the truth) and the functioning of practical reason (the sort of thinking that aims at making or doing something). A. Theoretical reason starts from first principles and proceeds by way of theoretical argument or syllogism until it reaches a conclusion. 1. First principles are known without proof. 2. They play a role in speculative reasoning, although an individual reasoner may not explicitly formulate them. B. Practical reason also starts from first principles. It proceeds by way of practical argument or syllogism until it issues in a particular action. 1. The first principles of practical reason are called natural law. 2. The principles of natural law play a role in practical reasoning, although an individual reasoner may not explicitly formulate them. C. The very first principle of natural law is that “good is to be done and pursued, and evil is to be avoided.” The most general precepts of the

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natural law are more substantive principles that point out specific goods that are to be pursued. The human good involves three broad types of good. 1. As it is for every creature, it is good for us to maintain ourselves in existence. 2. As it is for every animal, it is good for us to reproduce ourselves and to care for our offspring. 3. For us alone among all animals, it is also a good to exercise the powers of rational thought and (consequently) to live in society and to know God. D. These three goods are arranged hierarchically (so that the unique human good is the best of these three goods) and inclusively (so that our unique good subsumes the other two without superseding them). II. In order to attain the human good through rational choice, we need virtues. A. We need virtues to moderate or rectify the “sensitive appetite” (that is, our capacity for sub-rational desires). 1. Our sensitive appetite is aimed only at the part of our good that we share with the lower animals. Because the sensitive appetite can come into conflict with reason, we need virtues that bring the sensitive appetite into conformity with reason. 2. The virtue of temperance ensures that we desire what reason recognizes as good and reject what reason recognizes as evil. 3. The virtue of fortitude ensures that we overcome obstacles to our attainment of what reason recognizes as good. B. We also need a virtue to moderate or rectify the “intellectual appetite” or will (that is, our capacity for rational desire). 1. The will needs no virtue in order to be aimed at our individual good; that is the natural orientation of the will. 2. But because the human good involves life in society, the will does need a virtue that disposes it properly toward the common good. This is the virtue of justice. C. Finally, we need a virtue in reason itself that enables us to discern readily, in particular circumstances, how to attain our good. This is the virtue of practical wisdom or prudence. III. The human good is twofold: In addition to the natural happiness of which Aristotle spoke, there is a supernatural happiness. Aquinas’s account of the twofold human good reveals his distinctive way of accommodating Aristotelian philosophy within Christian theology. A. The natural human good is the life of practical reason: a life in which our natural powers are developed to their ultimate perfection. The life of theoretical reason is, in an important sense, superhuman. But as a ©2007 The Teaching Company.

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Christian, Aquinas believes that God intends human beings for a life that surpasses their nature. B. Aquinas’s account of natural and supernatural happiness shows a distinctive approach to the relationship between Aristotle and Christian faith. 1. Against those masters in the faculty of arts who asserted the autonomy and integrity of the natural order (as understood by Aristotle), Aquinas insists on a supernatural fulfillment for human beings. 2. Unlike conservatives in the faculty of theology, however, Aquinas insists that the supernatural builds on, rather than obliterates, the natural. This approach allows Aquinas to affirm that there is such a thing as natural happiness and that it does not lose its importance for moral theory simply because there is also such a thing as supernatural happiness. C. Just as there are natural virtues that dispose us to attaining our natural good, there are also supernatural virtues that dispose us to attaining our supernatural good. 1. Whereas natural virtues are acquired, supernatural virtues are infused (literally, “poured in”) by God. 2. There are infused counterparts to each of the cardinal virtues: infused temperance, fortitude, justice, and practical wisdom. The infused cardinal virtues perfect our natural capacities so that we will deal with the concerns of our natural life in a way that is informed by our supernatural destiny. 3. There are also infused virtues that perfect our natural capacities so that we can deal directly with concerns that transcend our natural life altogether. These are the three “theological” virtues of faith, hope, and charity. Essential Reading: Thomas Aquinas, Disputed Questions on the Virtues. Supplementary Reading: Eleonore Stump, “The Nature of Human Excellence” (Part III), in Aquinas. Questions to Consider: 1. How do the virtues function in Aquinas’s ethics? What is their role, and how are they related to the various powers that belong to human nature? 2.

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How does Aquinas’s twofold understanding of happiness reflect his general approach to the relationship between faith and reason?

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Lecture Twenty Scotus on God’s Freedom and Ours Scope: John Duns Scotus (1265/66–1308) was a Franciscan, and it was characteristic of the Franciscans to regard the will as a power higher than, and to some extent, independent from, the intellect. Scotus followed this emphasis in his account of both divine and human freedom. The human will does not simply ratify the intellect’s judgment about how it would be best to act; it can reject the intellect’s judgment and choose otherwise. Without this sort of freedom, the will would be merely a passive instrument of the human intellect, and human acts would not be free. God’s freedom is like ours, but the scope of his will is much greater. God cannot change necessary truths—he cannot make 2 plus 2 equal 5, for example—and he cannot act unjustly. Scotus understands these restrictions to be quite minimal, so that in a sense, God’s activity, both in creating and in establishing the moral law, is arbitrary.

Outline I.

Just four years after the death of Thomas Aquinas, Stephen Tempier, bishop of Paris, published a list of 219 philosophical and theological theses. Anyone teaching or listening to these theses would be excommunicated. This event is known as the Condemnation of 1277. A. The Condemnation did not identify the people suspected of teaching heresy. 1. Tempier simply wrote of “some scholars of arts at Paris,” suggesting that the rivalry between the faculties of theology and arts had something to do with the Condemnation. 2. Scholars have sought—with mixed results—to identify the authors or disseminators of the condemned theses. It is widely thought that Thomas Aquinas was a target of part of the Condemnation. 3. At any rate, it seems clear that the Condemnation was, in some way, a reaction to the reintroduction of Greek philosophy and its overenthusiastic reception by some in the faculty of arts and even in the faculty of theology. B. The Condemnation can be seen as an attempt to reassert the prerogatives of revealed theology. 1. Many of the condemned theses assert the dignity and autonomy of philosophy and of the natural world. 2. The Condemnation gives particular emphasis to the notion of divine omnipotence. The notion of God’s “absolute power”—his ability to act beyond the limits of nature as discerned by reason— ©2007 The Teaching Company.

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3.

is central to the project of reining in the pretensions of natural human reason. Though it is not clear how much the Condemnation really changed what was being taught at Paris, a renewed emphasis on divine omnipotence is certainly noticeable after 1277. We see this clearly in John Duns Scotus’s account of divine freedom.

II. Scotus (1265/66–1308) holds that God’s “absolute power” extends to everything that does not involve a contradiction. This view has implications both for God’s act of creation and for his establishment of the moral law. A. God’s act of creation is, to a certain extent, arbitrary. 1. Scotus claims that God must act justly in whatever he does, but he also claims that God’s justice does not affect how he treats creatures. God is under no obligation to anything outside himself. 2. God must also act rationally in whatever he does. This means that God will take the appropriate means to whatever end he wishes to attain—God cannot thwart himself—but he is absolutely free with respect to his choice of ends. B. God’s act of moral legislation is also, to a certain extent, arbitrary. 1. The natural law in the strict sense includes only those moral truths that are self-evident and true by definition. God cannot change these. 2. Most moral truths, however, do not belong to the natural law in this strict sense. These other moral truths are all completely subject to the divine will. 3. Scotus’s account of the Ten Commandments illustrates this distinction. III. Scotus defends a theory of human freedom that parallels his theory of divine freedom in many ways, though the scope of human freedom is, of course, more limited. A. In Scotus’s theory of human freedom, as in his theory of divine freedom, it is the will, rather than the intellect, that has the final say. 1. This fits with the Franciscan emphasis on the will. 2. It also fits with Tempier’s condemnation of several theses that tended to make the will a mere executive power for the intellect. Such theses seemed to make sin a matter of ignorance or faulty reasoning rather than a matter of deliberate choice. B. The central element of Scotus’s theory of human freedom is his denial that the will is “intellectual appetite” (a capacity for rational desire). 1. Scotus argues that if the will were merely intellectual appetite, as Aquinas had held, we would not be free. The will would have to choose whatever the intellect judges to be good. 28

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2.

3.

Furthermore, intellectual appetite is aimed at happiness. But in order to choose morally, we must choose what is right, not what we think will make us happy. Thus, although the inclination to pursue our own good is certainly part of our psychology, it cannot be the whole of our ability to choose.

Essential Reading: John Duns Scotus, Duns Scotus on the Will and Morality. Hans Thijssen, “Condemnation of 1277.” Supplementary Reading: Thomas Williams, “The Libertarian Foundations of Scotus’s Moral Philosophy” and “A Most Methodical Lover? On Scotus’s Arbitrary Creator.” Questions to Consider: 1. How does the emphasis on divine omnipotence in the Condemnation of 1277 provide a background for Scotus’s view of God’s will in its relation to both creation and the moral law? 2.

In what ways does Scotus’s account of the will reflect a more Augustinian than Aristotelian understanding of human nature?

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Lecture Twenty-One Scotus on Saying Exactly What God Is Scope: Like Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus accepts Aristotle’s view that natural knowledge of God must be obtained by reasoning from effects to cause. He denies, however, that this view implies any slippage of meaning in the words we use in talking about God. Unless theological language has the same meaning as ordinary language, we will not be able to know anything about God at all, and it will be impossible for theology to be an argumentative discipline. In defending this view, Scotus must find a way to preserve a radical discontinuity between God and creatures without sacrificing the continuity of language that he claims is necessary.

Outline I.

The differences between Aquinas and Scotus are illustrative of the difference between Dominicans and Franciscans more generally. A. Though it is often said that the Franciscans were hostile to Aristotle and the Dominicans embraced Aristotle, the reality was more complicated. 1. Granted, it was two Dominicans—Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas—who did the most to make Aristotle respectable in 13thcentury Christian philosophy, and a Franciscan—Bonaventure— who resisted the new Aristotelianism most emphatically. 2. But even Bonaventure used Aristotelian terminology when it suited him, and Scotus (also a Franciscan) is unabashedly Aristotelian. B. A better way to explain the difference is to say that the Franciscans were much more in the spirit of Augustine than the Dominicans were. 1. Like Augustine, the Franciscans tended to emphasize the role of the will and of love more than the role of the intellect and knowledge. 2. In particular, they tended to have a more radical view of the freedom of the will than the Dominicans did. 3. It is important to note, however, that these are merely general tendencies or characteristic temperaments of the two orders. They suggest only a broad uniformity of outlook, which was compatible with quite marked divergences in teaching. Franciscans and Dominicans argued among themselves as much as they argued against each other.

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A. More emphatically than Aquinas, Scotus argues that any negation presupposes an affirmation. B. In a characteristically Franciscan way, Scotus also argues, “Negations are not the object of our greatest love.” This argument points to Scotus’s claim that theology is primarily a practical rather than a theoretical discipline. III. Scotus argues that it is possible by natural means (that is, without supernatural help) for the human intellect in this present life to acquire a concept in which God, and God alone, is grasped. A. Scotus agrees with Aquinas that all our knowledge begins from creatures. 1. Consequently, by our natural powers, we can know God only by an argument quia, not by an argument propter quid. 2. We cannot know the essence of God in this life. B. Scotus disagrees with Aquinas, however, in holding that we can apply certain predicates univocally—with exactly the same meaning—to God and creatures. His three best arguments for univocal predication are the following: 1. One can doubt whether God is a finite being or an infinite being while being quite certain that he is a being. Consequently, the concept of being that is affirmed of God is univocal in the two concepts of finite being and infinite being. 2. If all our concepts come from our experience with creatures, the concepts we apply to God will also come from creatures. They won’t just be like the concepts that come from creatures, as in analogous predication; they will be the very same concepts that come from creatures. 3. The test (derived from Anselm) by which we determine what to predicate of God depends on univocity. C. Scotus’s doctrine of univocal predication is no mere technical point but a matter of deep importance throughout his theological and philosophical work. Scotus argues compellingly that univocity is necessary for three reasons. 1. Without univocity, it will turn out that we do not quite know what we are saying when we say of God that he is good, just, powerful, and so on. a. We will be using our ordinary language to speak about God, but that language will have a different meaning—and we will not be able to specify just what that meaning is. b. Thus, univocity is necessary to secure the intelligibility of theological language.

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2.

3.

An argument in which the key words change meaning is a bad argument. a. Without univocity, the key words in many theological arguments will change meaning: They will mean one thing as applied to creatures but something else as applied to God. b. Thus, univocity is necessary to secure the status of theology as an argumentative discipline. According to the Aristotelian view of knowledge, we know God— as we know anything else—on the basis of creatures. The points made in III.C.1 and III.C.2 above show that without univocity, such knowledge will be impossible because the language we use in speaking of creatures will be inapplicable to God, and there will be no legitimate way to argue from what we know about creatures to any facts about God.

D. Not only can we acquire concepts that apply univocally to God, but we can acquire a “proper” concept of God (that is, that applies only to God). 1. In one sense, we cannot possess a proper concept of God in this life because we cannot know God’s essence as a particular thing. We know God in the way that we know someone we have heard about but have never met. 2. But by taking any of those predicates to the highest degree (for example, highest good, first cause), we can construct a concept that applies only to God. 3. Despite appearances, the concept of infinite being is a noncomplex concept that applies to God alone. To know God as infinite being is to have the most adequate knowledge of God of which we are capable in this life: it is the simplest concept, and it is the most fruitful concept. Essential Reading: John Duns Scotus, “Man’s Natural Knowledge of God” (II), in Philosophical Writings: A Selection. Thomas Williams, “John Duns Scotus.” Supplementary Reading: James F. Ross and Todd Bates, “Natural Theology,” in Thomas Williams, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Duns Scotus. Questions to Consider: 1. In what ways does Scotus’s account of our knowledge of God reflect his Franciscan leanings?

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2.

How does Scotus begin from roughly the same theory of knowledge as Thomas Aquinas but end up with a radically different account of religious language?

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Lecture Twenty-Two What Ockham’s Razor Leaves Behind Scope: William Ockham (c. 1288–1347) is best known for what has come to be called Ockham’s razor, the methodological principle that one should refrain from positing entities unless there is compelling reason to do so. Ockham employed this principle to reduce drastically the basic categories in the Aristotelian inventory of the world. Where Scotus had recognized 10 irreducible categories of beings, Ockham acknowledged only 3: substance, quality, and relation. And the entities in the category of relation are needed only for theological reasons pertaining to the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Eucharist. If it were not for revelation, Ockham argued, we would see no reason at all for this third category. Ockham’s nominalism, his denial that there are universal entities, is not a consequence of the razor. Ockham does not argue merely that we have no good reason to posit universal entities but that theories of universal entities are outright incoherent.

Outline I.

William Ockham (c. 1288–1347) is best known for the principle of ontological parsimony, or Ockham’s razor: the principle that one should not needlessly multiply entities. A. Ockham was not the first to appeal to this principle, but he made unusually extensive use of it. B. Strictly speaking, the razor does not allow one to deny entities; it simply cautions against positing them unless there are compelling theoretical reasons to do so. C. The relevance of Ockham’s razor to issues of faith and reason may not seem immediately evident, and the connection is not often discussed. But in fact, Ockham’s extensive use of the razor represents a destabilizing force in the medieval synthesis of faith and reason. 1. We will examine in some detail Ockham’s use of the razor within his metaphysics. This use is an exercise of reason: The razor is a principle of reason, and Ockham applies it through arguments and logical analysis. 2. Yet Ockham will note that this exercise of reason leaves him with a metaphysical theory that is too sparse to support the requirements of Christian faith. 3. He will, therefore, add back into his metaphysical theory certain features whose only purpose is to allow a coherent statement of Christian doctrine. Thus, for Ockham, the elucidation of Christian doctrine is not simply a matter of the best philosophy pressed into

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the service of Christian revelation; it requires admitting principles or entities that the best philosophy, left to itself, would reject. II. Ockham uses the razor to eliminate entities in all but 3 of the 10 traditional Aristotelian categories. A. Aristotle had recognized 10 irreducibly different categories. 1. There was always debate about whether the categories were a classification of words or a classification of entities. 2. Scotus had held that the categories were a classification of entities. There are 10 irreducible categories of being. B. Ockham argues that as far as reason alone is concerned, only 2 categories are needed: substance and quality. 1. Substances are beings capable of independent existence. 2. Qualities are the characteristics or features of substances. 3. Ockham argues against the need to posit entities in other categories by analyzing statements that appear to refer to such entities. For example, the truth of “Socrates is similar to Plato” does not require us to believe that, in addition to Socrates, Plato, and their qualities, there is a special “relational entity” of similarity that belongs to Socrates. C. Nevertheless, Ockham believes that for theological reasons, we have to admit entities in a third category: relation. 1. For example, the doctrine of the Trinity cannot be stated without recourse to relations. 2. Although Ockham is motivated by the desire to maintain Christian orthodoxy, the ideal of accommodating both faith and reason seems to be destabilized by his retention, for exclusively theological purposes, of ideas that do not otherwise pass rational muster. III. Ockham is also notorious for his nominalism: his denial that there are any universal entities. A. The usual reason for positing universals is that they help with epistemology; that is, they are useful for grounding knowledge (and the language that expresses such knowledge). 1. We need universals to provide objects for the intellect. I have sensation of a particular dog, but I have intellectual knowledge of the universal dog. 2. We need universals to provide a subject matter for the sciences. Science deals with what is universal; if there were no universal entities, then science would deal only with concepts.

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3.

We need universals to ground predication. If I say, “This rose is red,” I predicate the general concept red of this rose. The universal entity redness is what gives objectivity to this predication.

B. The difficulty with positing universals is that they behave in metaphysically odd ways. 1. They are one and yet many: The universal red is one entity, yet it exists in every red thing. 2. They are both in things and separate from them: The universal man exists apart from any given man, yet it must exist in every man (because otherwise, we could not predicate man of every man). C. On the basis of such metaphysical difficulties, Ockham argues that the very idea of universal entities is incoherent. D. He then undercuts the motivation for positing universal entities by arguing that they are not needed for epistemological purposes. 1. The objects of the intellect are individuals. 2. The universality of science is not a matter of its dealing with universal entities. Rather, science deals with statements that have universal terms in them; those universal terms stand for individuals, not universal entities. 3. The qualities of things are all we need to ground our predication. A rose and its quality of redness are sufficient to give an objective basis for my statement “This rose is red.” The concept is general, not because it is a concept of a universal entity, but simply because it can be applied to many distinct things. E. Ockham’s nominalism was widely influential. Some historians of medieval thought, especially those sympathetic to Thomas Aquinas, have regarded it as the beginning of all the philosophical and theological ills of modernity. 1. Some have argued that nominalism leads to skepticism. The nominalist denies that there are real, objective natures that we can come to know. 2. Opponents of nominalism also argue that it means no one way of conceptualizing the world is superior to any other. This leads to a loss of confidence that the world is intelligible. 3. Yet Ockham was convinced that the world is intelligible, and he was not inclined to skepticism—except for his skepticism about the prospects of natural theology. Essential Reading: Paul Vincent Spade, “William of Ockham.”

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Supplementary Reading: David Knowles, The Evolution of Medieval Thought, chapters 27–28. Paul Vincent Spade, “Ockham’s Nominalist Metaphysics: Some Main Themes,” in Paul Vincent Spade, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Ockham. Questions to Consider: 1. How does Ockham represent a radical departure from the prevailing metaphysical and epistemological theories of medieval Aristotelianism? 2.

What is the relation between Ockham’s razor and his nominalism?

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Lecture Twenty-Three Ockham on the Prospects for Knowing God Scope: In light of the serious deficiencies he found in the arguments of his predecessors, Ockham held a noticeably dimmer view of the prospects for natural knowledge of God. He held that it is impossible to prove, by natural reason alone, that there is a first cause. Natural reason cannot rule out the possibility of an infinite regress, in which each effect is fully explained by its cause, which in turn, is fully explained by its cause, and so on. Moreover, it cannot be proved that there is a being than which no greater can be conceived. Such claims must rest on supernatural revelation and are the objects of faith, not of philosophical proof. It is even possible that the best philosophical theory will be at odds with the demands of Christian doctrine; in such a case, Ockham thinks there will be no neutral grounds by which the conflict between faith and reason can be resolved.

Outline I.

Although Ockham is noticeably (and notoriously) less sanguine than his predecessors about the possibility of attaining knowledge of God by the exercise of natural reason alone, apart from revelation, the contrast between Ockham and Aquinas or Scotus should not be exaggerated. A. All three are situated within the mainstream of Christian thought on these matters, which has rejected both fideism (exclusive reliance on faith) and rationalism (exclusive reliance on reason). B. All three accept that it is legitimate to use the achievements of pagan philosophy in Christian thought. C. All three affirm that the powers of human reason are not only limited in themselves but also damaged by the fall, so that reason requires both supplementation and repair by the deliverances of faith.

II. Nevertheless, Ockham differs from both Aquinas and Scotus in important ways. A. Ockham rejects the claim that theology counts as an Aristotelian science, that is, as an organized body of knowledge that proceeds from self-evident principles to conclusions that are seen to follow deductively from those principles. 1. Both Aquinas and Scotus had regarded theology as a science, even though the principles of theology are not self-evident to us. They are self-evident to God and to the blessed; thus, they can serve as the basis for a science.

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2.

Ockham replies that it makes no sense to say that I have scientific knowledge of a conclusion that follows from something that is self-evident only to someone else.

B. Ockham rejects the claim that Christian theology builds on and perfects Classical philosophy in a way that meets the intellectual standards and aims of the Classical philosophers themselves. 1. Both Aquinas and Scotus argued that many of the truths affirmed by Christian doctrine can be shown to be true by the methods of Classical philosophy and that Christian doctrines that cannot be shown to be true in this way can at least be shown not to contradict reason. 2. Ockham rejects both claims. He is skeptical both about natural theology (the enterprise of proving truths about God by philosophical reasoning) and about the prospects of showing that the mysteries of the faith are consonant with reason. III. Ockham is deeply skeptical about natural theology. A. At most, he thinks, we can prove that there is a being such that no other being is more perfect than it. 1. Such a being could be finite for all we can know. 2. Nor can we prove that there is only one such being. B. In rejecting the arguments given by his predecessors, Ockham shows little interest in rehabilitating their arguments. His interest in natural theology seems purely destructive. IV. Ockham is also deeply skeptical about the prospects of showing that the mysteries of faith are consonant with reason. We can see this skepticism at work in his treatment of the doctrine of the Trinity. A. The impasse comes about because Ockham rejects the category of relations on philosophical grounds (as discussed in Lecture TwentyTwo), yet it appears that the doctrine of the Trinity requires relations. 1. Ockham defends what he takes to be Aristotle’s theory that there are no “relative entities” (see Lecture Twenty-Two). 2. Yet he also concedes that the doctrine of the Trinity seems to suggest that the three divine persons are constituted by the relations they bear to one another. B. Ockham rejects the approach of Aquinas and Scotus to such apparent conflicts. 1. Both Aquinas and Scotus insist that if a philosophical theory is incompatible with a doctrine of the faith, there is a mistake in the arguments for that theory. The mistake can be exposed by purely rational means.

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2.

3.

Ockham, in contrast, insists that the Aristotelian theory that there are no relative entities is, on purely rational grounds, the only defensible theory. There is no mistake in it for reason to expose. It is only by faith that we know the theory is false. Thus, we have to hold a restricted version of the Aristotelian view—basically, we hold the Aristotelian view but carve out an exception as needed for theological purposes. There would be no neutral grounds on which to defend this exception against objections from a non-Christian philosopher.

V. Ockham has been described as an “irenic separatist” on the question of faith and reason. A. He does not reject natural reason altogether or rely purely on faith. B. Yet he does reject the view of Christian theology as the culmination of Classical philosophy—a view common to Augustine, Anselm, Abelard, Aquinas, and Scotus. Essential Reading: Alfred J. Freddoso, “Ockham on Faith and Reason,” in Paul Vincent Spade, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Ockham. Supplementary Reading: David Knowles, The Evolution of Medieval Thought, chapters 27–28. Questions to Consider: 1. In what ways does Ockham represent a continuation of the main line of medieval thinking on issues of faith and reason and in what ways does he represent a departure? 2.

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How does Ockham differ from Aquinas and Scotus in his account of apparent conflicts between faith and reason?

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Lecture Twenty-Four The 14th Century and Beyond Scope: Aristotelianism did not remain dominant for long. By 1350, it was losing ground rapidly, and by 1400, a new Renaissance version of Platonism was widespread and thriving. Nicholas of Autrecourt (c. 1295–1369) challenged some of the main tenets of medieval Aristotelianism, including the principle that we can infer causes from effects without experiencing both. Consequently, he denied that it was possible to infer anything at all about God on the basis of creatures. Nicholas of Cusa (1401–1464) adopted a mystical brand of Platonism that emphasized the infinite distance between God and creatures. Given that God is beyond all comparison, human reason, which proceeds by means of comparison, is utterly incapable of grasping God. We must, therefore, go beyond reason and use what Cusa called “intelligence,” a power of knowing that does not involve a process of argument but a direct vision of reality.

Outline I.

The best account of later medieval philosophy does not see it simply as a decline from a glorious summit but as involving a loss of confidence in one project and a shift of focus to other projects.

II. Both philosophical and theological developments led to the waning of Aristotelianism in the 14th century. A. The Condemnation of 1277 and its aftermath led to a more cautious approach to Aristotelianism. One of the targets of the Condemnation had been Aristotelian “natures” as a limit on divine omnipotence. B. The Aristotelian tradition itself ran into intractable problems in accounting for human knowledge. 1. For Aristotle, the individual substance is the most basic thing and the primary object of knowledge, yet only what is universal is fully intelligible. 2. If all our knowledge comes from the senses, how can we know the essences of things? Medieval Aristotelians had developed an elaborate psychological machinery to explain how we come to know essences, when in fact, it appears that we cannot know essences at all. III. Nicholas of Autrecourt (c. 1295–1369) is representative of 14th-century anti-Aristotelianism.

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A. Nicholas derides Aristotle as “like the God of our age” and insists that none of Aristotle’s views rests on secure argument. B. There are only two sources of certainty. 1. The law of non-contradiction, combined with experience, is the only source of natural certainty. 2. Faith is the source of supernatural certainty. C. Causal arguments are not sources of certainty. 1. Nicholas argued that we cannot logically infer the existence of a cause from an effect or vice versa. We can experience causal connections, but we cannot infer them in the absence of experience. 2. Consequently, we cannot infer the existence of God on the basis of a causal proof. IV. Nicholas of Cusa (1401–1464) is representative of Renaissance Platonism. A. All rational inquiry involves a movement from what is unknown to what is known. 1. We advance in knowledge by using what is already familiar as a pattern by which to investigate what is unfamiliar. 2. The greater the distance between the familiar thing we know and the unfamiliar thing we are inquiring into, the harder it is to draw our conclusions. 3. Given that the distance between God and creatures is infinite, the truth of God is always beyond our reach. We can approach it, but we never attain it. B. We must, therefore, get beyond the process of rational inquiry (which is characteristic of Aristotelian thought) and rely instead on direct intuition of the truth, which Nicholas calls “intelligence.” 1. God is a “coincidence of opposites.” God includes all conceivable perfections, even incompatible ones. 2. Reason, relying on the law of non-contradiction, rejects the coincidence of opposites. But intelligence sees unity where reason sees contradiction. V. Further developments within Aristotelianism offer more illustrations of the breakup of the medieval conversation on issues of faith and reason. A. After Ockham, the Aristotelian tradition in the universities seems to have lost its energy for the systematic exploration of issues of faith and reason. 1. Some later Aristotelians came to concentrate more and more on narrow technical questions that could be resolved by purely logical means. 42

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Logic itself was a major preoccupation of the universities in the 14th and 15th centuries. Questions of faith and reason that lent themselves to logical analysis, such as the problem of foreknowledge and free will, were given particularly close attention.

B. Political philosophy began to take center stage in the 14th century in light of the pressing debates about the nature of authority and law in both church and state. There is a clearer path to the modern world from late medieval political philosophy, along with medieval science, than there is from the medieval discussions of faith and reason. C. Those today who are interested in recovering the medieval project would have to work to restore confidence in the presuppositions that allowed the project to flourish in the first place, perhaps thereby inaugurating, not a return to, but a true heir of, that project. Essential Reading: Nicholas of Autrecourt, Letters to Bernard of Arezzo, in Arthur Hyman and James J. Walsh, eds., Philosophy in the Middle Ages. Nicholas of Cusa, On Learned Ignorance, in Nicholas of Cusa: Selected Spiritual Writings. Supplementary Reading: David Luscombe, Medieval Thought, chapters 7–8. For contemporary work that carries on the tradition of faith seeking understanding, see the following: Michael J. Murray, ed., Reason for the Hope Within. Eleonore Stump, ed., Reasoned Faith. Peter van Inwagen, The Problem of Evil. Questions to Consider: 1.

How do both Nicholas of Cusa and Nicholas of Autrecourt react against the Aristotelian theory of knowledge?

2.

In what ways did developments in the church and in the universities contribute to the fragmentation of intellectual life in the late Middle Ages?

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1. Duns, Scotland: John Duns Scotus was born in Duns in 1265 or 1266. 2. Oxford: Oxford was the leading English university in the 13th and 14th centuries.Both John Duns Scotus and William Ockham were educated there. Robert Grosseteste was chancellor of the university from 1215 to 1221. 3. London: William Ockham taught philosophy in London from 1321 until he was summoned to Avignon in 1324. 4. Canterbury: Lanfranc of Bec was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1070 to 1089.Anselm was Archbishop from 1093 to 1109. 5. Moerbeke, Flanders: William of Moerbeke was born here around 1215. 6. Brabant, Flanders: Siger of Brabant was born here in 1240. 7. Cologne: Albert the Great taught at Cologne from 1248 to 1254; Thomas Aquinas was his student there and then began teaching in his own right. Scotus began teaching at Cologne in 1307 and died there the next year. 8. Laon: John Scottus Eriugena resided at the court of the Charles the Bald from 845. 9. Soissons: The Council of Soissons condemned Abelard’s teaching in 1121. 10. Bec, Normandy: Anselm studied in Bec (under Lanfranc) from 1059, became prior of Bec in 1063, and became abbot of Bec in 1078—a post he held until becoming Archbishop of Canterbury in 1093. 11. Paris: Abelard tutored and married Héloïse here in the 1110’s and was castrated by her relatives. The University of Paris, which received its official charter in 1215, was the leading European university in the 13th and early 14th centuries. Albert the Great taught at Paris from 1245 to 1248; Thomas Aquinas was among his students. Bonaventure was Franciscan master of theology at Paris (1254–1257) while Aquinas was Dominican master of theology (1256–1259, 1268–1272). The Condemnation of 1277 was issued by the Bishop of Paris, Stephen Tempier. Scotus was Franciscan master of theology from 1305 to 1307. 12. Chartres: A ground of Platonically-inclined theologians and philosophers flourished at Chartres in the 12th century. 13. Sens: Condemnation by the Council of Sens (1141) ended Abelard’s teaching career. 14. Munich: Ockham was in Munich under the protection of Ludwig of Bavaria from 1329 until his death in 1347. 15. Nantes: Abelard was born here in 1079. 16. Brixen: Nicholas of Cusa was Bishop of Brixen from 1450 to 1464. 17. Cluny: The Abbey of Cluny was the center of monastic reform in the 12th century. Its abbot, Peter the Venerable, welcomed Peter Abelard and mediated with Bernard of Clairvaux after Abelard’s condemnation by the Council of Sens in 1141. 18. Aosta: Anselm was born in Aosta in 1033. 19. Pavia: Boethius was exiled to Pavia, where he wrote The Consolation of Philosophy and was executed around 526. 20. Ravenna: King Theodoric employed Boethius as head of government c. 520 21. Avignon: The papal court was at Avignon from 1309 to 1377. Ockham was summoned to Avignon to answer charges of heresy in 1324, and he fled in 1328. 22. Bagnoregio: Bonaventure (Giovanni di Fidanza) was born in Bagnoregio in 1217. 23. Rome: Boethius was born in Rome around 476. 24. Aquino: Thomas Aquinas was born in Aquino in 1225. 25. Hippo: Augustine was ordained a priest in 391, served as bishop from 395 until his death in 430, and wrote his major works (including the Confessions and City ofGod), in Hippo. 26. Tagaste: Augustine was born in Tagaste in 354. ©2007 The Teaching Company.

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Timeline 354 .................................................. Birth of Augustine 387 .................................................. Augustine baptized by Ambrose of Milan 397 .................................................. Augustine writes the Confessions 411 .................................................. Augustine becomes aware of the influence of Pelagius 430 .................................................. Death of Augustine c. 476 .............................................. Birth of Boethius 526 .................................................. Execution of Boethius c. 540 .............................................. Benedict writes his Rule 711 .................................................. Moors control Spain 768–814 .......................................... Reign of Charlemagne 800 .................................................. Birth of John Scottus Eriugena 877 .................................................. Death of John Scottus Eriugena 910 .................................................. Beginning of Benedictine monastic reform at Cluny 1033 ................................................ Birth of Anselm 1054 ................................................ Schism between Western and Eastern Churches 1073–1085 ...................................... Papacy of Gregory VII, a period of extensive church reform 1076–1078 ...................................... Anselm writes the Monologion and Proslogion 1079 ................................................ Birth of Peter Abelard 1085–1090 ...................................... Anselm writes On the Fall of the Devil 1090 ................................................ Birth of Bernard of Clairvaux 1093 ................................................ Anselm becomes archbishop of Canterbury 1095 ................................................ First Crusade begins 1099 ................................................ Crusaders take Jerusalem 1109 ................................................ Death of Anselm 1115 ................................................ Bernard founds monastery at Clairvaux

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1121 ................................................ Abelard’s theology condemned by the Council of Soissons c. 1128 ............................................ Latin translations of Aristotle’s “new logic” made by James of Venice in Constantinople 1141 ................................................ Abelard’s theology condemned by the Council of Sens 1142 ................................................ Death of Abelard 1153 ................................................ Death of Bernard of Clairvaux 1206 ................................................ Birth of Albert the Great 1208 ................................................ Beginning of the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) 1215 ................................................ Statutes of the University of Paris approved by the papal legate 1216 ................................................ Beginning of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) 1217 ................................................ Birth of Bonaventure 1225 ................................................ Birth of Thomas Aquinas 1243 ................................................ Bonaventure joins the Franciscans 1253 ................................................ Death of Robert Grosseteste, translator of Aristotle’s Ethics 1256–1259 ...................................... Aquinas is Dominican regent master of theology at Paris; begins Summa contra Gentiles 1259 ................................................ Bonaventure writes The Journey of the Mind to God 1265/66 ........................................... Birth of John Duns Scotus 1266 ................................................ Aquinas begins Summa theologiae 1269–1272 ...................................... Aquinas is Dominican regent master of theology at Paris for the second time 1274 ................................................ Death of Bonaventure; death of Thomas Aquinas 1277 ................................................ The bishop of Paris condemns 219 propositions 1280 ................................................ Death of Albert the Great c. 1288 ............................................ Birth of William Ockham ©2007 The Teaching Company.

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1295 ................................................ Birth of Nicholas of Autrecourt 1305–1307 ...................................... John Duns Scotus is Franciscan regent master of theology at Paris 1308 ................................................ Death of John Duns Scotus 1309 ................................................ The papal court moves to Avignon 1324 ................................................ Ockham is called to Avignon to answer charges of heresy 1328 ................................................ Ockham flees Avignon under cover of darkness 1337 ................................................ The Hundred Years’ War begins 1347 ................................................ Death of William Ockham; the Black Death 1369 ................................................ Death of Nicholas of Autrecourt 1377 ................................................ The papal court returns to Rome 1378 ................................................ Rival claimants to the papacy create the Great Schism 1401 ................................................ Birth of Nicholas of Cusa 1417 ................................................ The Council of Constance ends the Great Schism 1453 ................................................ Fall of Constantinople 1464 ................................................ Death of Nicholas of Cusa

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Glossary absolute power: God’s ability to act beyond the limits of nature as discerned by reason (as contrasted with ordained power). accidental form: In Aristotelianism, a form that can begin or cease to characterize a thing without affecting the thing’s identity (for example, color, size). active (agent) intellect (nous poietikos in Greek; intellectus agens in Latin): In Aristotelianism, the power that creates intelligible objects out of the objects of sensation. actuality (energeia in Greek; actus in Latin): In Aristotelianism, the state of actually being a certain way (as opposed to potentiality). analogy: A use of language in which a single term has different but related meanings. aseity: From the Latin a se, “from himself”; God’s aseity is his complete independence from anything other than himself, not merely with respect to his existence but with respect to every feature or quality that he possesses. concupiscence (concupiscentia in Latin): Excessive or disordered desire. dialectic: In medieval educational theory, techniques of philosophical reasoning that involve distinguishing the meanings of ambiguous terms and developing rigorous arguments; see also trivium. Dominican: A member of the Order of Preachers, founded in the early 13th century to teach, preach, and defend the Christian faith. emanation: In neo-Platonism, the necessary “flowing forth” of all things from the One. epistemology: The part of philosophy that asks questions about the nature and acquisition of knowledge. equivocity (aequivocitas in Latin): A use of language in which a single term has two or more unrelated meanings. eternity (aeternitas in Latin): According to Boethius, “the complete and perfect possession of illimitable life all at once”; a mode of existence in which there is no before and after. everlasting (sempiternus in Latin): Existing at all times or having endless temporal duration (as contrasted with eternity). exemplarism: A theory of the Atonement according to which the effectiveness of the death of Christ is limited to its serving as an inspiring example of divine love. ©2007 The Teaching Company.

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fideism: Exclusive reliance on faith, at least in theological matters (as opposed to rationalism). form: (1) In Platonism (idea or eidos in Greek; idea in Latin), the perfect paradigm of a quality or nature; for example, the Form of the Good or the Form of Beauty. (2) In Aristotelianism (morphe in Greek; forma in Latin), a constituent of a thing that gives it actuality (see substantial form and accidental form). fortitude (fortitudo in Latin): The virtue in the sensitive appetite by which we are disposed to overcome obstacles that stand in the way of our attaining what reason recognizes as good. Franciscan: A member of the Order of Friars Minor (Order of Lesser Brothers), founded in the early 13th century to carry out the ideals of Saint Francis of Assisi. illumination: The divine enlightening of the human intellect so as to enable it to grasp intelligible things (variously interpreted by different medieval thinkers). immutable: Incapable of undergoing change. impassible: Incapable of experiencing emotion. infused virtues (virtutes infusae in Latin): Virtues “poured in” by God (as contrasted with natural virtues). integral Aristotelians: Medieval philosophers who treated Aristotelian philosophy as a complete, freestanding account of the natural world. Also called Latin Averroists. intellectual appetite: The capacity for rational desire (as contrasted with sensitive appetite). Thomas Aquinas identifies the will with intellectual appetite. intelligible: Knowable by, or accessible to, the mind or intellect (as opposed to sensible). irenic separatism: An expression used to describe Ockham’s approach to the relation between faith and reason that avoids both fideism and rationalism. justice (iustitia in Latin): The virtue in the will by which we are disposed properly toward the common good. Latin Averroists: See integral Aristotelians. Manicheism: A sect that taught that evil is independent of, and co-eternal with, good. metaphysics: The part of philosophy that asks questions about the fundamental structure of reality.

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motion (kinesis in Greek; motus in Latin): In Aristotelianism, change in quality or size or place. mysteries of faith (mysteria fidei in Latin): In Thomas Aquinas, Christian doctrines that cannot be proved philosophically and, therefore, must be taken on faith (as contrasted with preambles to faith). natural law: In Thomas Aquinas, the self-evident principles on which all practical reasoning is based; in John Duns Scotus, the necessary and self-evident moral truths that even God cannot change. natural theology: The project of trying to prove the existence and nature of God by reason alone, without relying on supernatural revelation. natural virtues (virtutes naturales in Latin): Virtues acquired by practice or teaching (as contrasted with infused virtues). nominalism: The denial that there are universal entities. Ockham’s razor (Occam’s razor): Also known as the principle of ontological parsimony; the methodological principle that one should not posit more entities or kinds of entities than are necessary to explain something. ordained power: God’s ability to act within the limits of the natures he has created (as contrasted with absolute power). participation: In Platonism, the way in which particular finite things resemble or imitate the perfect paradigms (Forms). passive intellect (nous pathetikos in Greek; intellectus passivus in Latin): In Aristotelianism, the storehouse of intelligible objects; the initially blank slate on which the active intellect writes ideas. Pelagianism: The denial of the need for divine grace for right action. The heresy gets its name from the British monk Pelagius (c. 354–c. 420), whom Augustine accused of magnifying human freedom at the expense of divine grace. penal substitution theory: The theory of the Atonement according to which Christ undergoes the punishment for sin on behalf of human beings potentiality (dynamis in Greek; potentia in Latin): In Aristotelianism, the state of being possibly but not actually a certain way (as opposed to actuality). practical reason: The kind of thinking that aims at making or doing something (as opposed to theoretical reason). practical wisdom/prudence (prudentia in Latin): The virtue of practical reason that enables someone to ascertain readily, in particular circumstances, how to attain the human good.

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preambles to faith (praeambula fidei in Latin): In Thomas Aquinas, Christian doctrines that can be proved philosophically, without appeal to revelation (as contrasted with mysteries of faith). privation: A lack or absence. propter quid argument: An argument from the essence of a thing to some feature that it possesses. quadrivium: In medieval educational theory, the secondary or advanced disciplines of music, astronomy, arithmetic, and geometry; in practice, the quadrivium (a term coined by Boethius, though the underlying idea goes back to Pythagoras) was in eclipse for much of the period from the 6th through the 11th centuries, and the trivium was dominant. quia argument: An argument from effect to cause. ransom theory: The theory of the Atonement according to which the death of Christ was a ransom paid to release human beings from captivity. rationalism: Exclusive or excessive reliance on reason in theological matters; excessive optimism about the powers of human reason to arrive at the truth, particularly the truth about God (as opposed to fideism). self-evident: Knowable without proof, simply by reflection on the concepts involved. sensible: Knowable by, or accessible to, the senses (as opposed to intelligible). sensitive appetite: In human beings, the capacity for sub-rational desire (as contrasted with intellectual appetite). simple: Not composite. skepticism: Doubts about the power of human reason to come to a truthful account of the ways things are. soul (psyche in Greek; anima in Latin): In Aristotelianism, whatever it is that accounts for the fact that something is alive. spiration: Literally, “breathing out”: a word used to describe the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son. substance: A being capable of independent existence (not independent of God but independent of other things, as opposed to an accident, which can exist only in a substance). substantial form: In Aristotelianism, a form that makes a thing what it is (for example, the soul makes a human being human). temperance (temperantia in Latin): The virtue in the sensitive appetite by which we are disposed to desire what reason recognizes as good and reject what reason recognizes as evil. 52

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theoretical reason: The kind of thinking that aims simply at knowing (as opposed to practical reason). trivium: In medieval educational theory, the elementary or foundational disciplines of grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic (logic). However, in the period from the 6th through the 11th centuries, dialectic was either omitted or treated as mere memory work, and the resulting education focused on grammar and rhetoric and was, thus, largely literary. In the 11th century, dialectic was revived as a serious intellectual discipline. univocity (univocitas in Latin): A use of language in which a single term is used with one consistent meaning. via affirmationis/via affirmativa: Literally, “the way of affirming”; an approach to discourse about God that emphasizes what God is. Also called kataphatic theology. via remotionis/via negativa: Literally, “the way of negating”; an approach to discourse about God that emphasizes what God is not. Also called apophatic theology. virtue: A disposition in the emotions, will, or intellect that enables its possessor to act reliably, readily, and with pleasure in accordance with the demands of morality. voluntarism: A theory of freedom that gives particular emphasis to the will (voluntas) and accords it a high degree of independence from the intellect.

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Biographical Notes Note: In keeping with what has become the standard practice in histories of medieval philosophy, these biographical notes are alphabetized according to their subjects’ first names. Albert the Great (1206–1280). Albert was received into the Dominican Order in 1223 and educated by Dominicans in Padua and Cologne. In the 1240s, he rose through the ranks at the University of Paris, becoming a leading exponent of the “new” Aristotle and the teacher of Thomas Aquinas. From 1248 to 1252, he directed the Dominican house of studies in Cologne. In later years, he served in a variety of ecclesiastical roles, including three years as bishop of Ratisbon (now Regensburg). Albert was an encyclopedic thinker, writing on a remarkable range of scientific, philosophical, and theological topics. His work on natural science proved especially important to later thinkers, but his greatest influence was through his student, Thomas Aquinas. Anselm of Canterbury (1033–1109). Anselm was the most important philosopher-theologian in the 800 years between Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. Deeply influenced by Augustine, he was nevertheless a highly original thinker, with a fertile mind for the development of arguments. Originally attracted to the Abbey of Bec because of the reputation of its school, which was under the direction of the eminent theologian Lanfranc, Anselm was soon inspired to become a monk himself. He never lost his love of the monastic life, though his ever-increasing administrative responsibilities—first prior, then abbot of Bec and, ultimately, archbishop of Canterbury under two exceedingly vexatious kings of England—took him further and further away from the peace of the cloister. In such works as the Monologion and Proslogion (1076–1078) and Cur Deus Homo (1094–1098), Anselm seeks to offer “necessary reasons” in support of Christian doctrine. Augustine of Hippo (354–430). Both as a transmitter of Christian Platonism and as a theologian and biblical commentator, Augustine has been one the most influential figures in Western Christianity. When Augustine converted to Christianity in 386, he wanted to lead a life of philosophical retirement. His ordination to the priesthood in Hippo Regius in 391, then his elevation to bishop of Hippo in 395 made such a life impossible for him. As a bishop, Augustine was a public figure: a spell-binding preacher, ecclesiastical controversialist, pastor, polemicist, and theologian of wide reputation. His extensive writings include the semi-autobiographical Confessions, The City of God, and his influential work On the Trinity. Boethius (Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, c. 476–c. 526). Boethius was born into the Roman aristocracy and educated in the Classical tradition. He conceived the ambitious project of translating all of Plato and Aristotle into Latin, then showing how the two thinkers could be harmonized. Though he came nowhere near finishing this project, he did translate a good deal of 54

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Aristotle’s logic, as well as writing commentaries on Aristotle and Porphyry. These works were the primary philosophical textbooks in the Latin West for the next 600 years. Boethius also wrote several short theological works, but he is best known for his Consolation of Philosophy, written while he was in prison. Boethius had been a high-ranking official under Theodoric, but for reasons that are not altogether clear, he fell out of favor and was charged with treason and engaging in magic. He was executed on those charges, probably in 526. Bonaventure (1217–1274). Born Giovanni di Fidanza in Tuscany, he took the name Bonaventure (“good fortune”) when he became a Franciscan in 1243/44. From 1254 through 1257, Bonaventure served as Franciscan master of theology at the University of Paris, engaging in public disputation, lecturing, and writing on philosophical and theological topics. In 1257, he was appointed minister general of the Franciscans, a move that put an end to his university career, though not to his writing. Bonaventure’s most influential work, The Journey of the Mind to God, was written to provide a spiritual path to God that any Franciscan could follow, yet it was no less a philosophical and theological treatise than any of his academic writing had been. Bonaventure became an influential figure in the church and was appointed a cardinal in 1273. John Duns Scotus (1265/66–1308). We know little of Scotus’s early life, though it seems likely that he began his studies with the Franciscans at an early age. He studied at Oxford, then went to the University of Paris, where he lectured on the Sentences of Peter Lombard in 1302–1303 and served as Franciscan master of theology from 1305 through 1307. For reasons we do not know, he was transferred to the Franciscan house in Cologne in 1307; he died in Cologne the following year. Even during his life, the adjective subtle had come to be associated with Scotus’s thought, which is ingenious, difficult, and inventively defended; soon after his death, he came to be known as the “Subtle Doctor.” His surname, Duns, is the origin of our English word dunce—a slur on the inanities of some of his followers, who emulated the difficulties of Scotus’s thought without being able to approach his brilliance. John Scottus Eriugena (c. 800–c. 877). Although he worked at the court of Charles the Bald in France in the late Carolingian period, Eriugena was an Irish monk. (Eriugena, a name he apparently bestowed on himself, means “Irishborn”; other people called him Scottus, which means “Scottish,” but in those days, people thought of Ireland as part of Scotland.) At that time, Irish monks were almost the only people in the West who still knew Greek, and Eriugena’s greatest influence was as a translator, particularly of the works of pseudoDionysius the Areopagite. Eriugena’s own philosophical system, an ambitious neo-Platonic construction with decidedly pantheistic overtones, has occasionally drawn some interest from philosophers with an affinity for more exotic versions of Platonism than Augustine’s, but it has never been part of the mainstream of Christian thinking. Eriugena was condemned as a heretic at two regional councils in the 850s for his teaching on predestination, which was regarded as

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having Pelagian tendencies and as placing too much confidence in the power of dialectic to solve theological problems. Nicholas of Autrecourt (c. 1295–1369). Most of what we know about Nicholas’s life is limited to his trial in the 1340s. In 1340, Nicholas was charged with teaching 66 erroneous propositions. The trial dragged on, first in Paris, then at the papal court in Avignon, until 1346, when Nicholas was required to make a public recantation. In 1347, his treatise Exigit ordo (Order Demands) was ceremonially burned, though the work continued to be circulated, and at least one copy has survived to the present day. Nicholas of Cusa (1401–1464). Nicholas’s original academic interest was in canon law, in which he received a doctorate from the University of Padua in 1423. His interest in philosophy and theology came from a sort of revelation he had on his journey back from Constantinople, to which he had been sent in 1437 on a fruitless mission to negotiate the reunion of the Eastern and Western Churches. Nicholas described this revelation as an experience of “learned ignorance,” an insight that transcends the limits of reason, and he gave the title On Learned Ignorance (De docta ignorantia) to his most influential work. Despite suspicions that his views were ultimately pantheistic, Nicholas was never accused of heresy. He was made a cardinal in 1449 and a bishop in 1450. Peter Abelard (1079–1142). Born in Brittany into the minor nobility but determined from an early age to devote himself to learning, Abelard studied under many of the most eminent teachers of his day. He frequently quarreled with his teachers and was eager to defeat them in public debate. As a result, he acquired a reputation as an intellectual powerhouse, attracting students of his own. After his ill-fated affair with Heloise, which resulted in his castration, Abelard sought the peace of monastic life and devoted himself to teaching and writing theology. His Trinitarian speculations were condemned at two councils (Soissons, 1121; Sens, 1141). Though these condemnations, along with Bernard of Clairvaux’s energetic propaganda campaign against him, discouraged people from citing Abelard explicitly, it is clear that he had extensive influence on 12thcentury thought. Siger of Brabant (1240–c. 1284). Siger was a leader of the integral Aristotelians at the University of Paris and one of the prime targets of the Condemnation of 1277. In the face of charges of heresy, Siger fled from Paris to Italy, where he died under mysterious circumstances. Dante placed Siger in heaven in the Paradiso, where Thomas Aquinas—in life a bitter opponent of the integral Aristotelians—introduces Siger to the poet. Stephen Tempier (d. 1279). A Paris-trained theologian, Stephen (Étienne) Tempier became bishop of Paris in 1268. His chief legacy was the Condemnation of 1277, a list of 219 condemned theses taught by “some scholars of arts.” The Condemnation circulated widely, and bachelors of theology were required to swear that they would not teach any of the prohibited theses. 56

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Thomas Aquinas (Thomas of Aquino) (c. 1225–1274). After joining the Dominicans over the protests of his family, Thomas Aquinas was sent to study at Paris under Albert the Great. He followed Albert to Cologne but then returned to Paris in 1251 to complete his studies. From 1256 to 1259 and again from 1268 to 1272, he occupied one of the Dominican chairs of theology at the University of Paris. Aquinas was a tireless opponent of the integral Aristotelians in the arts faculty, but he was also an ardent defender of the propriety of using Aristotle in formulating Christian theology. His writings include extensive commentary on Aristotle, as well as his two great syntheses of theology, Summa theologiae and Summa contra Gentiles. Aquinas was regarded by some as rather too friendly to Aristotle to be quite safe, and some of his views were officially proscribed by the Condemnation of 1277. The condemnation of Aquinas was soon retracted, however, and Aquinas was canonized in 1323. William (of) Ockham (c. 1288–1347). Ockham (also spelled Occam) was educated by the Franciscans in London and Oxford. Around 1323, someone went to the papal court, then located in Avignon, and charged Ockham with teaching heresy. Ockham was summoned to Avignon to answer the charges. Ockham remained in Avignon for four years, being questioned occasionally by the investigators but otherwise left free to continue his writing. A dispute between Michael Cesana, the minister general of the Franciscans, and Pope John XXII led Ockham to accuse the pope of effectively abdicating his office by stubbornly teaching heresy. The fallout from this bold declaration led Cesana, Ockham, and two other Franciscans to flee Avignon under the cover of night. They eventually came under the protection of Ludwig of Bavaria, the Holy Roman Emperor, in Munich. Ockham was excommunicated in 1328 for leaving Avignon without permission. He remained under imperial protection for the rest of his life and wrote exclusively on political matters.

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Bibliography All quotations from the works discussed in this course were translated from Latin by the instructor. Some of these translations, including all the quotations from Anselm, as well as those from Augustine’s On Free Choice of the Will, have appeared in print; the books in which they appear are listed in the bibliography. (In a few cases, the translation used in this course differs slightly from the published version in order to bring out a nuance that is particularly relevant to the material being discussed.) The other translations were made specifically for this course. The bibliography also lists the work of other translators. These translations were not used in the course itself, but they represent, in the instructor’s judgment, the best published English translations of the Latin works. Those especially in interested in issues arising in the translation of medieval philosophers from the Latin West may wish to consult Thomas Williams, “Transmission and Translation,” The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2003, pp. 328–346), also available at http:// shell.cas.usf.edu/~twilliam/trans.pdf. Essential Reading: Anselm. Anselm: Basic Writings. Translated by Thomas Williams. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2007. This volume contains all the major works of Anselm in a careful translation with notes and a glossary. Augustine. Confessions. Translated by Rex Warner. New York: Signet Classics, 1963. Much more than an autobiography, the Confessions is a wide-ranging meditation on God, creation, sin, and the human condition. Of the many translations of the Confessions, Warner’s offers the best combination of fidelity to the Latin text and a vivid, accessible style. ———. On Free Choice of the Will. Translated by Thomas Williams. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1993. This work represents Augustine’s earliest attempts to come to grips with the origin of evil. It introduces many of the themes that become prominent in Augustine’s mature works, and for that reason, it serves as the best short introduction to Augustine’s thought in his own words. ———. On True Religion. In Augustine: Earlier Writings, edited by John H. S. Burleigh. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1979. On True Religion is one of the key texts in which Augustine lays out his view of the relationship between faith and reason. Boethius. The Consolation of Philosophy. Translated by V. E. Watts, New York: Penguin, 1969, or translated by P. G. Walsh, New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. “To acquire a taste for” The Consolation of Philosophy, C. S. Lewis wrote, “is almost to become naturalised in the Middle Ages.” Bonaventure. The Journey of the Mind to God. Translated by Philotheus Boehner. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1993. This remarkable work unites philosophy, 58

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theology, and Franciscan spirituality in a dense but rewarding meditation on the possibility for knowledge of God. Brower, Jeffrey, and Kevin Guilfoy, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Abelard. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Abelard is most often studied today for his contributions to the more technical areas of philosophy. As a result, some of the essays in this volume are dense and difficult in spots. Nonetheless, the collection as a whole is an excellent guide to Abelard’s thought. Cross, Richard. John Duns Scotus. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. This book is an excellent short introduction to Scotus’s philosophy and theology. Davies, Brian. The Thought of Thomas Aquinas. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. Davies writes with exceptional clarity even about the most difficult material in Aquinas’s thought. Hyman, Arthur, and James J. Walsh, eds. Philosophy in the Middle Ages. 2nd ed. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1983. This exemplary collection of philosophical texts represents the Christian, Islamic, and Jewish traditions from the 4th through the 14th centuries. John Duns Scotus. Duns Scotus on the Will and Morality. Translated by Allan B. Wolter. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1998. This volume contains translations of Scotus’s most important writings on the nature of the will and its freedom, the natural law and its relation to the divine will, and other aspects of morality. ———. Philosophical Writings: A Selection. Translated by Allan B. Wolter. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1987. Scotus’s central writings on metaphysics, natural theology, the theory of knowledge, and human nature are collected in this indispensable volume. King, Peter. “Peter Abelard.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http:// plato.stanford.edu/entries/abelard. King offers the best short overview of Abelard’s thought, with more attention to Abelard’s views on faith and reason than that topic is usually given. Lohr, C. H. “The Medieval Interpretation of Aristotle.” In The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy, edited by Norman Kretzmann, Anthony Kenny, and Jan Pinborg, pp. 80–98. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992. Lohr discusses the varying fortunes of Aristotle in science, philosophy, and theology from Boethius through the Renaissance. He gives particular attention to the crucial debates of the 13th century. McGrade, A. S., ed. The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Philosophy. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. This collection of essays offers an excellent overview of the development of medieval philosophy in the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic traditions. The volume is organized topically, rather than according to individual authors, giving a sense of the sweep of medieval

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thinking on such issues as language and logic, metaphysics, ethics, human nature, and politics. McInerny, Ralph, and John O’Callaghan. “Saint Thomas Aquinas.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/aquinas. Two leading Thomists present the essentials of Aquinas’s thought in a form accessible to non-specialists. Nicholas of Cusa. Nicholas of Cusa: Selected Spiritual Writings. Edited by H. Lawrence Bond. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1997. This collection contains On Learned Ignorance and other works of Nicholas of Cusa, as well as an extensive introduction. Noone, Timothy B., and R. E. Houser. “Saint Bonaventure.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/bonaventure. The authors survey Bonaventure’s main philosophical and theological contributions and offer a good sense of the distinctive flavor of Bonaventure’s thought. Pasnau, Robert C. Thomas Aquinas on Human Nature. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Pasnau offers a detailed account of Aquinas’s views on the relationship between mind and body, the mechanisms of cognition, personal identity and immortality, and the will. Rist, J. M. Augustine: Ancient Thought Baptized. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Rist explores Augustine’s thought against the background of the Platonism that Augustine adopted and developed. Many readers find this the best single book on Augustine’s thought, and it is fully accessible to a non-specialist. Spade, Paul Vincent, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Ockham. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. The leading scholars of William of Ockham analyze his contributions to logic, metaphysics, the theory of knowledge, ethics, and politics. This is an indispensable guide to Ockham’s thought. ———. “Medieval Philosophy.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/medieval-philosophy. This article serves as a short orientation tour for medieval philosophy, with many links to more detailed discussions of particular authors and topics. ———. “William of Ockham.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ockham. Spade provides an excellent overview of the central areas of Ockham’s philosophical and political writings. Stump, Eleonore, and Norman Kretzmann, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Augustine. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001. The 18 essays in this volume cover the whole range of Augustine’s philosophical work, as well as much of his theology. Thijssen, Hans. “Condemnation of 1277.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/condemnation. Thijssen surveys the history of the Condemnation of 1277 and explains the unanswered questions about who exactly was being condemned and what significance the Condemnation had.

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Thomas Aquinas. Disputed Questions on the Virtues. Translated by E. M. Atkins, edited by Thomas Williams. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. These “disputed questions” are records of academic debates on the virtues held while Aquinas was teaching at the University of Paris. The introduction explains the role of virtue in Aquinas’s ethics as a whole and places the disputed questions in their intellectual context. ———. Summa contra Gentiles, Book One: God. Translated by Anton C. Pegis. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1997. This volume is the most accessible source for Aquinas’s account of faith and reason, his arguments for the existence of God, and his account of the divine nature. Visser, Sandra, and Thomas Williams. Anselm. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming (2008). Visser and Williams divide their discussion of Anselm’s work into two main areas: the divine nature and the economy of redemption. This book seeks to offer a comprehensive and systematic account of the whole of Anselm’s philosophy and theology. Williams, Thomas. “John Duns Scotus.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/duns-scotus. This article aims at giving a nontechnical explanation of the thought of this most technically sophisticated thinker. The presentation of Scotus’s celebrated argument for the existence of God is worth especially close attention. ———. “Saint Anselm.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/anselm. This article offers an overview of Anselm’s life and works, his proofs of the existence of God, his account of the divine nature, and his views on sin and freedom. Supplementary Reading: Aulen, Gustav. Christus Victor: An Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of the Atonement. Translated by A. G. Herbert. New York: Wipf & Stock, 2003. Aulen’s classic study of the history of the Christian doctrine of redemption helps situate Abelard’s contributions in their intellectual context. Brown, Peter. Augustine of Hippo: A Biography. Revised edition with a new epilogue. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. Brown’s 1967 biography of Augustine quickly became the standard work on Augustine’s life. This revised edition takes account of developments in scholarship since the publication of the original work. Davies, Brian, and Brian Leftow, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Anselm. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. This useful collection considers every major aspect of Anselm’s thought, as well as his intellectual background and his influence on later thinkers. Dod, Bernard G. “Aristoteles latinus.” In The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy, edited by Norman Kretzmann, Anthony Kenny, and Jan Pinborg, pp. 45–79. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992. Dod discusses the translations and translators that made possible the complete reintroduction of Aristotle into the Latin West in the 12th and 13th centuries. ©2007 The Teaching Company.

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Holopainen, Toivo. Dialectic and Theology in the Eleventh Century. New York: E.J. Brill, 1996. Holopainen argues persuasively for a reexamination of the four leading figures in the 11th-century revival of dialectic: Peter Damian, Lanfranc of Bec, Berengar of Tours, and Anselm of Canterbury. Hopkins, Jasper. A Companion to the Study of St. Anselm. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1972. Hopkins offers a useful roadmap through Anselm’s writings, as well as philosophical commentary. Knowles, David. The Evolution of Medieval Thought. New York: Vintage Books, 1962. This classic work is a highly readable survey of medieval thought from its roots in Classical Greek philosophy through the 14th century. It is, unfortunately, out of print and hard to find, but it is worth the search. Kretzmann, Norman. The Metaphysics of Theism: Aquinas’s Natural Theology in Summa Contra Gentiles I. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Kretzmann carefully expounds Aquinas’s account of our knowledge of God, his arguments for the existence of God, and his account of the divine attributes. A mix of historical scholarship and philosophical defense, this book is challenging but rewarding reading. Luscombe, David. Medieval Thought. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. Luscombe’s work is especially useful for its discussion of the 14th and 15th centuries. Marenbon, John. Boethius. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Marenbon discusses the full range of Boethius’s work and its intellectual context, devoting about a third of the book to The Consolation of Philosophy. ———. The Philosophy of Peter Abelard. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Marenbon’s treatment of Abelard’s philosophy is particularly noteworthy for its careful and extensive assessment of Abelard’s ethical theory. McInerny, Ralph. “Analogy of Names Is a Logical Doctrine.” In Being and Predication: Thomistic Interpretations, pp. 279–286. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1986. In this essay, the leading exponent of Aquinas’s doctrine of analogy gives his most succinct and accessible explanation of the doctrine. Murray, Michael J., ed. Reason for the Hope Within. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998. The rising generation of Christian philosophers considers the fundamental topics of faith seeking understanding. Nash, Ronald H. The Light of the Mind: St. Augustine’s Theory of Knowledge. Ann Arbor, MI: Academic Renewal Press, 2003. Nash’s treatment of Augustine’s theory of knowledge offers the most careful investigation available of the theory of illumination, along with a discussion of other topics, such as skepticism. Noone, Timothy B. “The Franciscan and Epistemology: Reflections on the Roles of Bonaventure and Scotus.” In Medieval Masters: Essays in Memory of E. A. Synan, edited by R. E. Houser, pp. 63–90. Minneapolis: Center for Thomistic Studies, 1999. A leading exponent of medieval Franciscan 62

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philosophy considers the theory of knowledge in Bonaventure and John Duns Scotus against the broader historical context of developments in epistemology. O’Donnell, James J. Augustine: A New Biography. New York: HarperCollins, 2005. This highly controversial (and hostile) reappraisal of Augustine’s life and work is written with extraordinary verve. Quinn, Philip. “Abelard on Atonement: Nothing Unintelligible, Arbitrary, Illogical, or Immoral About It.” In Reasoned Faith, edited by Eleonore Stump, pp. 281–300. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993. Quinn seeks to rescue Abelard from the misunderstandings of both his critics and his admirers in this excellent and admirably clear essay. Stump, Eleonore. Aquinas. New York: Routledge, 2005. Stump places Aquinas in dialogue with contemporary philosophy on such issues as metaphysics, the nature of God, human nature and cognition, ethics, incarnational theology, and the problem of evil. Many regard this as the best book available on Aquinas’s thought as a whole. ———, ed. Reasoned Faith. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993. This collection of essays by both theists and non-theists explores faith and reason, the nature of revelation, the nature of God, and the problem of evil. Van Inwagen, Peter. The Problem of Evil. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. A leading philosopher of religion examines the greatest difficulty for belief in God. Williams, Thomas, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Duns Scotus. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. This collection provides the most comprehensive account of Scotus’s philosophical writings, although (owing to the highly technical nature of Scotus’s philosophy) some of the essays in this volume make for difficult reading in spots. ———. “A Most Methodical Lover? On Scotus’s Arbitrary Creator.” Journal of the History of Philosophy 38 (2000): 169–202. This article makes the case for a controversial reading of Scotus as teaching that God’s creative act is, in an important sense, arbitrary. ———. “Some Reflections on Method in the History of Philosophy.” http://shell.cas.usf.edu/~twilliam/method.pdf. This brief essay considers a range of possible approaches to the history of philosophy, including an account of the approach exemplified by this course. ———. “The Libertarian Foundations of Scotus’s Moral Philosophy.” The Thomist 62 (1998): 193–215. This article examines the importance of Scotus’s account of freedom, as contrasted with that of Thomas Aquinas, in the larger context of his ethical theory. ———. “Transmission and Translation.” In The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Philosophy, edited by A. S. McGrade, pp. 328–346. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. This paper considers the channels of transmission by which medieval philosophical texts have come down to us, with special attention to three case studies: the works of Anselm, John Duns Scotus, ©2007 The Teaching Company.

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and the 14th-century Dominican Robert Holcot. It also discusses the difficulties, both interpretive and linguistic, involved in translating Latin texts into English. A preprint is available online at http://shell.cas.usf.edu/~twilliam/trans.pdf. Internet Resources: Christian Classics Ethereal Library. http://ccel.org. The library links to a variety of classics of Christian thought, including extensive translations of Augustine. EpistemeLinks. www.epistemelinks.com/Main/MainText.aspx. EpistemeLinks offers more than 2,000 e-texts, including works of Aristotle and all the major medieval philosophers. The Franciscan Archive. www.franciscan-archive.org. The archive offers both Latin editions and extensive translations of Bonaventure, John Duns Scotus, and other important Franciscan writers. The translations can be somewhat oldfashioned and stodgy, but they include a great deal of material not available elsewhere. Internet Medieval Sourcebook. www.fordham.edu/halsall/sbook.html. This site contains vast resources for the student of medieval history. Summa Theologica. www.newadvent.org/summa. Aquinas’s greatest work is presented in the standard translation by the fathers of the English Dominican Province.

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