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John Duns Scotus is commonly recognized as one of the most original thinkers of medieval philosophy. His influence on subsequent philosophers and theologians is enormous and extends well beyond the limits of the Middle Ages. His thought, however, might be intimidating for the non-initiated, because of the sheer number of topics he touched on and the difficulty of his style. The eleven essays collected here, especially written for this volume by some of the leading scholars in the field, take the reader through various topics, including Duns Scotus's intellectual environment, his argument for the existence of God, and his conceptions of modality, order, causality, freedom, and human nature. This volume provides a reliable point of entrance to the thought of Duns Scotus while giving a snapshot of some of the best research that is now being done on this difficult but intellectually rewarding thinker.
This book offers a novel account of Aquinas's theory of the human act. It argues that Aquinas takes a human act to be a composite of two power-exercises, where one relates to the other as form to matter. The formal component is an act of the will, and the material component is a power-exercise caused by the will, which Aquinas refers to as the 'commanded act.' The book also argues that Aquinas conceptualizes the act of free choice as a hylomorphic composite: it is, materially, an act of the will, but it inherits a form from reason. As the book aims to show, the core idea of Aquinas's hylomorphic action theory is that the exercise of one power can structure the exercise of another power, and this provides a helpful way to think of the presence of cognition in conation and of intention in bodily movement.
Moses Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed (c. 1190) is the greatest and most influential text in the history of Jewish philosophy. Controversial in its day, the Guide directly influenced Aquinas, Spinoza, and Leibniz, and the history of Jewish philosophy took a decisive turn after its appearance. While there continues to be keen interest in Maimonides and his philosophy, this is the first scholarly collection in English devoted specifically to the Guide. It includes contributions from an international team of scholars addressing the most important philosophical themes that range over the three parts of this sprawling work - including topics in the philosophy of language, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of law, ethics, and political philosophy. There are also essays on the Guide's hermeneutic puzzles, and on its overall structure and philosophical trajectory. The volume will be of interest to philosophers, Judaists, theologians, and medievalists.
William of Ockham (d. 1347) was among the most influential and the most notorious thinkers of the late Middle Ages. In the twenty-seven questions translated in this volume, most never before published in English, he considers a host of theological and philosophical issues, including the nature of virtue and vice, the relationship between the intellect and the will, the scope of human freedom, the possibility of God's creating a better world, the role of love and hatred in practical reasoning, whether God could command someone to do wrong, and more. In answering these questions, Ockham critically engages with the ethical thought of such predecessors as Aristotle, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and John Duns Scotus. Students and scholars of both philosophy and historical theology will appreciate the accessible translations and ample explanatory notes on the text.
In this book Tobias Hoffmann studies the medieval free will debate during its liveliest period, from the 1220s to the 1320s, and clarifies its background in Aristotle, Augustine, and earlier medieval thinkers. Among the wide range of authors he examines are not only well-known thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham, but also a number of authors who were just as important in their time and deserve to be rediscovered today. To shed further light on their theories of free will, Hoffmann also explores their competing philosophical explanations of the fall of the angels, that is, the hypothesis of an evil choice made by rational beings under optimal psychological conditions. As he shows, this test case imposed limits on tracing free choices to cognition. His book provides a comprehensive account of a debate that was central to medieval philosophy and continues to occupy philosophers today.
Exploring what theologians at the University of Paris in the thirteenth century understood about the boundary between humans and animals, this book demonstrates the great variety of ways in which they held similarity and difference in productive tension. Analysing key theological works, Ian P. Wei presents extended close readings of William of Auvergne, the Summa Halensis, Bonaventure, Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas. These scholars found it useful to consider animals and humans together, especially with regard to animal knowledge and behaviour, when discussing issues including creation, the fall, divine providence, the heavens, angels and demons, virtues and passions. While they frequently stressed that animals had been created for use by humans, and sometimes treated them as tools employed by God to shape human behaviour, animals were also analytical tools for the theologians themselves. This study thus reveals how animals became a crucial resource for generating knowledge of God and the whole of creation.
Throughout his writings, Thomas Aquinas exhibited a remarkable stability of thought. However, in some areas such as his theology of grace, his thought underwent titanic developments. In this book, Justin M. Anderson traces both those developments in grace and their causes. After introducing the various meanings of virtue Aquinas utilized, including 'virtue in its fullest sense' and various forms of 'qualified virtue', he explores the historical context that conditioned that account. Through a close analysis of his writings, Anderson unearths Aquinas's own discoveries and analyses that would propel his understanding of human experience, divine action, and supernatural grace in new directions. In the end, we discover an account of virtue that is inextricably linked to his developed understanding of sin, grace and divine action in human life. As such, Anderson challenges the received understanding of Aquinas's account of virtue, as well as his relationship to contemporary virtue ethics.
Is original sin compatible with evolution? Many today believe the answer is 'No'. Engaging Aquinas's revolutionary account of the doctrine, Daniel W. Houck argues that there is not necessarily a conflict between this Christian teaching and mainstream biology. He draws on neglected texts outside the Summa Theologiae to show that Aquinas focused on humanity's loss of friendship with God - not the corruption of nature (or personal guilt). Aquinas's account is theologically attractive in its own right. Houck proposes, moreover, a new Thomist view of original sin that is consonant with evolution. This account is developed in dialogue with biblical scholarship on Jewish hamartiology and salient modern thinkers (including Kant, Schleiermacher, Barth, and Schoonenberg), and it is systematically connected to debates over nature, grace, the desire for God, and justification. In addition, the book canvasses a number of neglected premodern approaches to original sin, including those of Anselm, Abelard, and Lombard.
This monumental, line-by-line commentary makes Thomas Aquinas's classic Treatise on Happiness and Ultimate Purpose accessible to all readers. Budziszewski illuminates arguments that even specialists find challenging: What is happiness? Is it something that we have, feel, or do? Does it lie in such things as wealth, power, fame, having friends, or knowing God? Can it actually be attained? This book's luminous prose makes Aquinas's treatise transparent, bringing to light profound underlying issues concerning knowledge, meaning, human psychology, and even the nature of reality.
Moses Maimonides (1138–1204) was arguably the single most important Jewish thinker of the Middle Ages, with an impact on the later Jewish tradition that was unparalleled by any of his contemporaries. In this volume of new essays, world-leading scholars address themes relevant to his philosophical outlook, including his relationship with his Islamicate surroundings and the impact of his work on subsequent Jewish and Christian writings, as well as his reception in twentieth-century scholarship. The essays also address the nature and aim of Maimonides' philosophical writing, including its connection with biblical exegesis, and the philosophical and theological arguments that are central to his work, such as revelation, ritual, divine providence, and teleology. Wide-ranging and fully up-to-date, the volume will be highly valuable for those interested in Jewish history and thought, medieval philosophy, and religious studies.
Ethics was a central preoccupation of medieval philosophers, and medieval ethical thought is rich, diverse, and inventive. Yet standard histories of ethics often skip quickly over the medievals, and histories of medieval philosophy often fail to do justice to the centrality of ethical concerns in medieval thought. This volume presents the full range of medieval ethics in Christian, Islamic, and Jewish philosophy in a way that is accessible to a non-specialist and reveals the liveliness and sophistication of medieval ethical thought. In Part I there is a series of historical chapters presenting developmental and contextual accounts of Christian, Islamic, and Jewish ethics. Part II offers topical chapters on such central themes as happiness, virtue, law, and freedom, as well as on less-studied aspects of medieval ethics such as economic ethics, the ethical dimensions of mysticism, and sin and grace. This will be an important volume for students of ethics and medieval philosophy.
This volume brings together world-leading scholars on the thought of Averroes, the greatest medieval commentator on Aristotle but also a major scholar of Islam. The collection situates him in his historical context by emphasizing the way that he responded to the political situation of twelfth-century Islamic Spain and the provocations of Islamic theology. It also sheds light on the interconnections between aspects of his work that are usually studied separately, such as his treatises on logic and his legal writings. Advanced students and scholars will find authoritative and insightful treatments of Averroes' philosophy, tackled from multiple perspectives and written in a clear and accessible way that will appeal to those encountering his work for the first time as well as to anyone looking for new critical approaches to Averroes and his thinking.
Alone among Thomas Aquinas' works, the Summa Theologiae contains well-developed and integrated discussions of metaphysics, ethics, law, human action, and the divine nature. The essays in this volume, by scholars representing varied approaches to the study of Aquinas, offer thorough, cutting-edge expositions and analyses of these topics and show how they relate to Aquinas' larger system of thought. The volume also examines the reception of the Summa Theologiae from the thirteenth century to the present day, showing how scholars have understood and misunderstood this key text - and how, even after seven centuries of interpretation, we still have much to learn from it. Detailed and accessible, this book will be highly important for scholars and students of medieval philosophy and theology.
The hypostatic union of Christ, namely his being simultaneously human and divine, is one of the founding doctrines of Christian theology. In this book Michael Gorman presents the first full-length treatment of Aquinas's metaphysics of the hypostatic union. After setting out the historical and theological background, he examines Aquinas's metaphysical presuppositions, explains the basic elements of his account of the hypostatic union, and then enters into detailed discussions of four areas where it is more difficult to get a clear understanding of Aquinas's views, arguing that in some cases we must be content with speculative reconstructions that are true to the spirit of Aquinas's thought. His study pays close attention to the Latin texts and their chronology, and engages with a wide range of secondary literature. It will be of great interest to theologians as well as to scholars of metaphysics and medieval thought.
Medieval thinkers were both puzzled and fascinated by the capacity of human beings to do what is morally wrong. In this book, Colleen McCluskey offers the first comprehensive examination of Thomas Aquinas' explanation for moral wrongdoing. Her discussion takes in Aquinas' theory of human nature and action, and his explanation of wrong action in terms of defects in human capacities including the intellect, the will, and the passions of the sensory appetite. She also looks at the notion of privation, which underlies Aquinas' account of wrongdoing, as well as his theory of the vices, which intersects with his basic account. The result is a thorough exploration of Aquinas' psychology which is both accessible and illuminating, and will be of interest to a wide range of readers in Aquinas studies, medieval philosophy, the history of theology, and the history of ideas.
This volume, the first dedicated and comprehensive companion to medieval logic, covers both the Latin and the Arabic traditions, and shows that they were in fact sister traditions, which both arose against the background of a Hellenistic heritage and which influenced one another over the centuries. A series of chapters by both established and younger scholars covers the whole period including early and late developments, and offers new insights into this extremely rich period in the history of logic. The volume is divided into two parts, 'Periods and Traditions' and 'Themes', allowing readers to engage with the subject from both historical and more systematic perspectives. It will be a must-read for students and scholars of medieval philosophy, the history of logic, and the history of ideas.
Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics had a profound influence on generations of later philosophers, not only in the ancient era but also in the medieval period and beyond. In this book, Anthony Celano explores how medieval authors recast Aristotle's Ethics according to their own moral ideals. He argues that the moral standard for the Ethics is a human one, which is based upon the ethical tradition and the best practices of a given society. In the Middle Ages, this human standard was replaced by one that is universally applicable, since its foundation is eternal immutable divine law. Celano resolves the conflicting accounts of happiness in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, demonstrates the importance of the virtue of phronesis (practical wisdom), and shows how the medieval view of moral reasoning alters Aristotle's concept of moral wisdom.
Thomas Aquinas's Disputed Questions on Evil is a careful and detailed analysis of the general topic of evil, including discussions on evil as privation, human free choice, the cause of moral evil, moral failure, and the so-called seven deadly sins. This collection of ten, specially commissioned new essays, the first book-length English-language study of Disputed Questions on Evil, examines the most interesting and philosophically relevant aspects of Aquinas's work, highlighting what is distinctive about it and situating it in relation not only to Aquinas's other works but also to contemporary philosophical debates in metaphysics, ethics, and philosophy of action. The essays also explore the history of the work's interpretation. The volume will be of interest to researchers in a broad range of philosophical disciplines including medieval philosophy and history of philosophy, as well as to theologians.
This volume of essays by scholars in ancient Greek, medieval, and Arabic philosophy examines the full range of Aristotle's influence upon the Arabic tradition. It explores central themes from Aristotle's corpus, including logic, rhetoric and poetics, physics and meteorology, psychology, metaphysics, ethics and politics, and examines how these themes are investigated and developed by Arabic philosophers including al-Kindî, al-Fârâbî, Avicenna, al-Ghazâlî, Ibn Bâjja and Averroes. The volume also includes essays which explicitly focus upon the historical reception of Aristotle, from the time of the Greek and Syriac transmission of his texts into the Islamic world to the period of their integration and assimilation into Arabic philosophy. This rich and wide-ranging collection will appeal to all those who are interested in the themes, development and context of Aristotle's enduring legacy within the Arabic tradition.
This important book investigates the emergence and development of a distinct concept of self-awareness in post-classical, pre-modern Islamic philosophy. Jari Kaukua presents the first extended analysis of Avicenna's arguments on self-awareness - including the flying man, the argument from the unity of experience, the argument against reflection models of self-awareness and the argument from personal identity - arguing that all these arguments hinge on a clearly definable concept of self-awareness as pure first-personality. He substantiates his interpretation with an analysis of Suhrawardī's use of Avicenna's concept and Mullā Sadrā's revision of the underlying concept of selfhood. The study explores evidence for a sustained, pre-modern and non-Western discussion of selfhood and self-awareness, challenging the idea that these concepts are distinctly modern, European concerns. The book will be of interest to a range of readers in history of philosophy, history of ideas, Islamic studies and philosophy of mind.