Philosophy in the Middle Ages: An Introduction

Philosophy in the Middle Ages: An Introduction

Philosophy in the Middle Ages: An Introduction

Philosophy in the Middle Ages: An Introduction

Excerpt

A few words of explanation would seem to be necessary at the beginning of this book in order to define its specific intention and to distinguish it from other works dealing with the same material.

Concerned only with the Latin West, the first and second editions of this book presented a brief history of medieval thought rather than of medieval philosophy; this last word was purposely avoided in earlier editions so as not to prejudge the philosophical character of medieval speculation. It is, in fact, precisely this characteristic that is often questioned along with the inclusion of the medieval period in the elaboration of a history of philosophy. It is merely to draw attention to this problem, and not to suppose that it has been resolved, that in the title of this, the third revised edition, the word "philosophy" appears.

Ideally the historian of philosophic doctrines attempts to recover the viewpoint of their authors; he tries to see their intellectual task as they saw it themselves; if possible, he seeks in their works a definition of what they hoped to achieve by formulating them. This exigency leads to treating medieval thought as theological when seen as a whole, since its speculation has reference to a "Revelation"--the source, both in the eyes of the believer and in itself, of concepts that are more than human. But it must also be pointed . . .

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