1. This period began with the African Christian Augustine of Hippo(A.D. 354 - 430) whose life and writings reflected the unsettled state of the declining Roman Empire.
2. Augustine's writings display the Platonic otherworldliness of his theories of knowledge and world history.
a. He maintains that true cosmic plan (order) unfolds in the history of the City of God, but the local accidents of the Earthly City are of little importance in comparison.
b. True wisdom and virtue are obtainable only in the light of the Christian Faith and divine grace.
c. Human nature which had been corrupted since the Fall is in the need of complete divine remaking (ie. grace).
3. For Plato and Aristotle the fulfillment of human capacities required the possession of a high degree of sophisticated intelligence,for Augustine such fulfillment depended on the rightness of the will and one's emotions.
4. Augustine's influence is matched by that of Boethius whose plan was to transmit to the Latin West the works of Plato and Aristotle.
a. This plan was cut short by his execution in A.D. 524.
b. He did accomplish the translation of Aristotle's logical works into Latin which had tremendous influence on the development of Medieval Thought.
5. Boethius was more technical and dialetical in method than any of his predecessors.
a. He used the human power of reasoning to penetrate and explain the dogmas of Christianity.
b. He used the effort of reason (ratio) to support and discuss authority (auctoritas) as the principal means to reveal the truth (ie. make it clear, understandable).
c. The early Scholastics' (1000 - 1150) concentration upon logic is chiefly due to Boethius as well as the later controversy on "Universals".
6. The intervention of the "Dark Ages" presented Western Scholars with a gigantic task of rethinking and reconstruction.
a. The logical, theological, and classical inheritance (writing)went unnoticed in their insecure homes (libraries of threatened Western Monasteries).
b. The 11th and 12th Centuries saw an attempt to present a logical and coherent presentation of Church Doctrine.
c. The Latin West was employing a predominantly logical Aristotelianism.
7. The more advanced Islamic Civilization spreading from the Middle East possessed the whole body of Aristotle's works.
a. From the middle of the 12th Century on, Latin translations of Islamic commentaries of those works began to become available.
b. Through these and translations of the Greek originals, Western thinkers became acquainted with all of Aristotle's works.
8. The intellectual life of the 13th Century also saw the emergence and establishment of Universities in the West.
a. Members of recently founded Dominican and Franciscan Orders competed with secular masters for professorships.
b. Dominicans followed the lead of Thomas Aquinas (ca. 1224 -1274) and attempted to assimilate Aristotle by adopting a framework within which divine grace was seen as completing and fulfilling human nature.
c. This was viewed as a departure or a break from the Augustinian View that human nature had to be re-made by divine grace.
9. The Thomistic Tradition represented a separation, at least in principle, of philosophy from theology.
a. It held a more optimistic view of human nature, society, and the civil state.
b. It was also opposed to certain Latin writers who claimed that on certain points philosophy demonstrated conclusions that were incompatible with personal Christianity.
10. Individuals who preferred to remain within the Augustinian stream-- increasingly absorbed elements of the new Aristotelianism.
1. It may be described as a complex of philosophical ideas which reflected to a greater or lesser degree the philosophy of Augustine.
2. Many of the philosophers who came after Augustine not only restated his fundamental ideas but also frequently modified them by their own interpretation.
a. Such interpretations were often the result of other schools of thought especially the Aristotelian School.
b. The Augustinian Tradition emerged during the Medieval Period whose development was closely identified with the Franciscan Order.
3. After Aquinas it gradually disappeared (disintegrated) due to the impact of Thomism and a resurgent Aristotelianism.
Faith and Understanding
1. The relationship between faith and understanding and its conception of Christian Wisdom is central to the structure of Augustinian Philosophy.
2. This relationship is characterized by the expression: Credo ut intelligam. (ie. I believe in order to know.)
3. Peter Abelard: expressed the same idea of the primacy of faith over understanding in his comments on the function of philosophy:
"I do not want to be a philosopher if it is necessary to deny Paul. I do not want to be Aristotle if it is necessary to be separated from Christ. For there is no other name under heaven given to man, whereby he must be saved."
4. Roger Bacon
a. He was a conservative theologian despite his enthusiasm for the scientific method and experimentation.
b. He was convinced that the highest wisdom is found in Scripture, and philosophy exists only to explain that reason.
5. Augustinianism held that all the sciences and philosophy should be subordinated to theology, which in turn must be subordinated to faith and the love of God -- for faith alone enables man to avoid error and attain union with God.
1. Augustinian psychology is characterized by the definition of man as a soul using a body (ie. relation of soul to body).
2. The soul is regarded as an image of the Trinity and is said to have direct knowledge of it.
3. This principle that the soul has a direct knowledge of itself is characteristic of both Augustinian Psychology and the Augustinian Theory of Knowledge.
a. It has been called the "Principle of Interiorization".
b. Augustine expressed it: "For what is so present to knowledge as that which is present to mind? Or what is so present to the mind as the mind itself?"
ie. the knowledge of the Trinity.
Epistemology (ie. the branch of philosophy which investigates the origin, structure, methods, and validity of knowledge.) - limits of knowledge.
1. The Augustinian theory of knowledge had an extensive influence upon medieval philosophers, but it was frequently compromised with Aristotelianism.
2. The Augustinian Theory of Sensation maintains that sensation is necessary to know material substances.
a. Sensation takes place only when the observing soul is attentive to the changes suffered by the body. (ie. sensation is essentially an act of the soul.)
b. The knowledge of intellectual truth cannot be found in sensation alone.
3. Theory of Divine Illumination
a. In order to know that a body is multiple, the idea of unity must be present, otherwise the idea of multiplicity could not be recognized.
b. The mind of man is mutable and cannot give what it does not possess.
c. As ideas are not innate, nor remembered from a previous existence of the soul, they can only be explained by an immutable source higher than the soul.
d. Conclusion: Man's intellectual capacity is directly related to the degree by which he is illuminated by God.
4. Hylomorphism and Plurality of Forms:
a. A theory that all physical things are made up of two principles: one which remains the same throughout all change is identified with the physical world. The other of which is displaced, or removed from actuation of its matter, in every substantial change.
b. Rationes Seminales (physical power of seeds) -- used by Augustine to explain the origin of creatures after the six days of creation.
c. Rationes Aeternae (divine mind) it is able to provide unity out of plurality.
d. All creatures are composed of matter and form.
1. Angelic beings and human souls were said to be composed of a form and a spiritual matter.
2. This doctrine allowed philosophers to maintain their conception of the completeness of the substantial character of the human soul apart from the body.
The Meaning of History
1. Augustine rejected the cyclical conception of history as reflected in Christian revelation and the doctrines of the Incarnation and salvation.
2. History is part of the divine plan and providence, and reflects the presence of the a divine reason.
3. The divine dispensation of grace gives hope to make it possible for him to attain eternal happiness in the City of God.
Ethics of Charity and Superiority of the Will
1. This concept formulated by Augustine was important in the development of religious thought.
2. The Ethics of Charity was related to doctrines of grace, election, and predestination and it is essentially a religious ethic.
a. It found universal acceptance among the Franciscan School and exerted considerable influence on all medieval theology and ethics.
b. It also affected such later thinkers as Luther and Calvin.
3. The principle of the Primacy of the Will was reflected in the insistence upon the need for moral as well intellectual illumination.
a. It was also held that the will is a faculty that determines itself without being determined by any other faculty.
b. It was also maintained that the will is free, where as the intellect is determined by that which is unknown.
ie. The will commands (governs) the intellect.
1. It is not the philosophy of Aristotle, but of those who used his doctrines, concepts,and methods for their own thinking and for their own purposes.
2. Doctrines may be preserved while their fundamental concepts are altered by reinterpretations.
3. The intellectual renaissance of the 13th Century in Western Europe was stimulated by the new availability of Aristotle's works in Latin.
4. But to the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th Centuries Aristotelianism was looked upon as a straight-jacket that had kept learning in confinement for two thousand years.
1. Philosophers of the Middle Ages fashioned an "Aristotelian" view of the world and of philosophy within a cosmological framework.
2. It was the intellectual support for a generally shared conception of a finite, hierarchically and purposefully ordered universe.
ie. Everything had its proper place between the center of the earth and the outermost heaven of fixed stars.
3. The logic that developed favored the treatment of all kinds of problems by a common method in which the dialectical reconciliation and refutation of opinions took precedence, and which reached its fruition in the method of Scholasticism.
Scholasticism (it is both a method and a system of thought.)
1. In its widest sense Scholasticism embraces all the intellectual activities, artistic, philosophical and theological carried on in the Medieval Schools.
2. Characteristics of Scholasticism
a. Scholasticism was the philosophy of Christian Society which transcended the characteristics of individuals, nations, and people.
b. It was the corporate product of social thought, and as such its reasoning respected authority in the forms of tradition and revealed religion.
c. Tradition consisted primarily in the systems of Plato and Aristotle as they had been adapted and absorbed over the centuries.
d. It was natural that religion (which played a paramount role in the culture of the Middle Ages) should bring influence to bear on the medieval, rational view of life.
1. Revelation was held to be at once a norm and an aid to reason (revealed truth).
2. Since philosophers of the period were primarily scientific theologians, their rational interests were dominated by religious preoccupations.
ie. The choice of problems and the resources of science were controlled by theology.
e. The most constant characteristic of Scholasticism was its method.
1. The need of a medium of communication, used to convey the revealed meaning of religion, God, man and the material universe led the early Christian Thinkers to adopt Greek scientific terminology for their own purposes.
2. Because of this subordinate position of philosophy, Christian Thinkers focused much more on the forms of Greek thought than on its content.
3. The third element of Scholastic Method is its most original and characteristic -- the method is dialectical or disputational in character.
Saint Thomas Aquinas (ca. 1224-1274)
1. He was born at Roccasecca, Italy and at the age of five he began his elementary education under Benedictine Monks (at nearby Monte Cassino).
2. He went to study liberal arts at the University of Naples -- it is probable that Aquinas became a master in arts at Naples before entering the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) in 1244.
3. He studied the Dominican course in philosophy and theology, first at Paris, and from 1248 on at Cologne.
4. In 1252 he was sent to the University of Paris for advanced study in theology.
a. He lectured there as a bachelor in theology until 1256, when he was awarded the magistrate (doctorate) in theology.
b. Accepted after some opposition from the professors as a fully accredited member of the theology faculty in 1257 -- Aquinas continued to teach at Paris until 1259.
5. Aquinas then spent ten years at various Dominican Monasteries in the vicinity of Rome lecturing on theology and philosophy (including an extensive study of the works of Aristotle).
6. In the Fall of 1268 Aquinas returned for his second professorate in theology at the University of Paris.
a. He was engaged in three distinct controversies:
1. A group of conservative theologians who were critical of his philosophical innovations.
2. Certain radical advocates of Aristotelianism or Latin Averroism.
a. Aquinas argued that there is no philosophical proof, either for the coeternity or against it.
b. Unity of intellect was rejected as incompatible with the true notion of person and with personal immortality.
3. Some Critics of the Dominicans and Franciscans and their right to teach at the University.
b. Many of Aquinas' literary works were in the process or completed at this time.
7. Called back to Italy in 1272, Aquinas taught for little more than year at the University of Naples.
a. Illness forced him to stop both teaching and writing toward the end of 1273.
b. Early in 1274 he set out for Lyons, France to attend a Church Council -- an illness interrupted the trip and he died in March of that year.
8. The writings of Thomas Aquinas were produced during his twenty years of active teaching (1252-1273).
General Philosophical Position
1. It is a rethinking of Aristotelianism, with significant influences from Stoicism, Neo-platonism, Augustinianism, and Boethianism.
2. One of the broad characteristics of Aquinas' work in philosophy is his tendency to seek a middle way on questions that have been given a wide range of answers.
3. This attitude can be seen in his view of "Universals".
a. Most thinkers in the Middle Ages felt that if something is to be explained, it must be treated in universal terms.
b. Aquinas' position on this problem is now called "Moderate Realism".
c. He denied that universals are existing realities (he often criticized Plato for suggesting that there is a world of intelligible forms).
d. Aquinas insisted that man's universal concepts and judgments have some sort of foundation in extramental things.
e. This basis of universality would say that humanity would consist in the real similarity found among all individual men.
f. Aquinas did not attribute an active existent universal nature to all individual men (that would be extreme realism).
g. Only individuals exist -- the individuals of a given species or class resemble each other to the extent that they are representative of a common nature.
4. Thomas Aquinas' spirit of compromise was balanced by a tendency toward innovation -- introducing new ways of reasoning about problems and new sources of information, and handling his teaching in a new way.
Faith and Rational Knowledge
1. Faith (fides) falls midway between opinion and scientific knowledge (scientia).
a. It is more than opinion because it involves a firm assent (agreement) to its object, and it is less than knowledge be-cause it lacks vision.
b. Both are intellectual acts and habits of assent (agreement).
1. In the case faith a person is not sufficiently moved by the object to accept it as true -- it is by an act of will that one believes it to be true.
2. Knowledge implies agreement motivated by a personal seeing of the object without any direct influence of the will.
3. When objects of knowledge deal with divine matters that go beyond one's natural cognitive ability, belief is viewed as a gift from God.
2. Reason (ratio) is another type of intellectual activity: simple understanding and reasoning differ only in the manner in which the intellect works.
a. Through understanding one simply knows by seeing what something means.
b.Through reason one is able to move from one item of knowledge to another.
3. Aquinas thought that philosophy entailed reasoning from prior knowledge, or present experience, to new knowledge (way of discovery) -- and the verification of judgments by tracing them back to more simply known principles.
a. When the basic principles are grasped by man's sensory experiences, he is using the reasoning process of natural science and philosophy.
b. When one starts to reason from judgments accepted on religious faith, then one is thinking as a theologian.
4. He distinguishes speculative or theoretical reasoning from the practical.
ie. The purpose of speculation is simply to know, and practical reasoning is to know how to act.
5. Aquinas also describe two kinds of Theology:
a. Philosophical Theology (metaphysics) that uses divine matters as principles for the explanation of all things.
b. The Theology taught in Scriptures which "studies divine things for their own sake."
6. Philosophy, for Thomas Aquinas, was a natural type of knowledge open to all men who wanted to understand the meaning of ordinary experiences.
a. The word "theology" was rarely used by Aquinas -- in the first question of his Summa Theologiae he calls his subject sacra doctrina (sacred doctrines).
b. Its principles, unlike those of philosophy, are various items of religious faith.
c. Thomism can be called "Christian Philosophy" in the sense that he used pagan and non-Christian philosophies but his understanding of them was based on his personal faith.
7. Aquinas did not base his philosophical thinking on religious beliefs.
a. This would have destroyed his distinction between philosophy and sacred doctrine.
b. De Aeternitate Mundi: Aquinas states that as far as philosophical considerations go, the universe might be eternal but as a Christian he believed that it was not eternal.
Theory of Knowledge (The Thomistic theory of knowledge is realistic.)
1. Man obtains his knowledge of reality from the initial data of sense experience.
a. Aquinas limited human cognition to sense perception and the intellectual understanding of it.
b. Internal sensation (imaginative, memorative, and contemplative functions) works to perceive, retain, associate, and judge various impressions (phantasms) through which things are directly known.
2. Man's higher cognitive functions, those of understanding, judging, and reasoning have as their objects the universal meanings that arise from sense experience.
a. One sees and remembers an apple on the level of sensation -he judges it to be healthful on the level of intellectual knowledge.
b. Universals (health & humanity) are not taken as realities but are viewed as intelligibilites (rationes).
3. Aquinas also believes that man can form some intellectual notions and judgments about immaterial beings:
Human Functions and Man's Nature
1. Aquinas described the biological activities of man as growth, assimilation of food, and sexual reproduction.
2. A higher set of activities included sensory perception, responses to those perceptions and locomotion. (ie. these man shares with brute animals.)
3. A third group includes the cognitive functions of understanding; judging and reasoning.
4. Re-examining these functional powers, Aquinas identifies five special sense powers for understanding.
a. Sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.
b. These functions and powers are called external because their objects are outside of the mental awareness of the perceiver.
5. There are also four kinds of internal sensory activities:
a. The perceptual grasping of a whole object.
b. The simple retention of sensed images (imagination).
c. The association of retained images with past experiences (sense memory).
d. Concrete discrimination or judgment concerning individual things (thinking, particular reason).
6. On the level of sensory experience, Aquinas describes two kinds of emotions (appetites).
a. A simple tendency toward or away from what is sensed as good or evil.
ie. An affective power he called a concupiscible appetite (based on senses, emotions, and desires - capere, to desire, take.
b. A more complicated sensory tendency to meet bodily threats, obstacles, and dangers by attacking or avoiding them or putting up with them.
ie. An affective power he called irascible appetite (provoked or caused by anger - ie. ira, anger.
c. Eleven distinct kinds of sensory passions (emotions) are attributed to these two sensory appetites.
1. Concupiscible: love, desire, delight, hate, aversion, and sorrow.
2. Irascible: fear, daring, hope, despair, and anger.
7. On the higher level of distinctively human experience, Aquinas found other activities and powers.
a. The general capacity to understand (intellectus) covers simple apprehension, judging, and reasoning.
b. Since universal objects do not exist in nature, Aquinas described this intellectual action as an abstraction of universal meaning from that of sense experience. (ie. a quality or idea of the concrete.)
c. A second cognitive function on this level is the grasping (comprehensio) of these abstracted meanings in the very act of understanding.
d. In Thomistic Psychology -- there are two different "intellects" (one abstracts, the other knows).
ie. to conceive of a quality apart from the particular known thing.
e. No special power is required for intellectual memory -- it is explained by habit formation in the possible intellect.
8. The Will
a. Affective responses to the universal objects of understanding are functions of intellectual appetition.
b. This is the area of volition, and the special power involved is the "will" (voluntas).
c. Aquinas distinguished two kinds of volitional functions:
ie. natural movement of the will, it is not free.
1. There are those basic and natural tendencies of approval to an object that is judged good or desirable without qualification.
2. The other is "deliberated" volition -- it is the movement of will directed by intellectualjudgments evaluating the objects.
9. The Soul
a. These various "powers" were referred to as agents -- Aquinas stressed the view that the whole man is the human agent.
b. Anima (the psychic principle) is distinctive of the species and determines that the material is human.
1. Man's soul to Aquinas is his substantial form.
2. The intellectual and volitional functions of Man transcends his material form by virtue of their universal and abstracted character.
c. The soul is a real part of man (being both immaterial and real) -- it is spiritual.
d. The should is not divisible into parts -- the soul thus is incapable of corruption (disintegration into parts) and thus is immortal.
Philosophy and God
1. De Potentia Dei: Aquinas puts forth three reasons for the existence of God.
a. Since the act of being is common to many creatures, there must be one universal cause of all.
b. All beings (creatures) are imperfect, not self-motivated and thus not the actual source of their being -- there must be a "mover completely immobile and most perfect".
ie. Aristotle's Prime Mover Unmoved.
c. Aquinas reasons that from the composite nature of finite beings there is a necessary existence of a primary being (in which essence and the act of being are identical).
2. The Five Ways
a. The First Way: Things in the world are always changing or moving which is the basis for the existence of one, first, moving Cause.
b. The Second Way: Argues from the observation of efficient production of things in the universe to the need of an existing, first efficient cause.
c. The Third Way: Reasons from the contingent (dependent) character of things in the world (none of them has to be) to the existence of a totally different kind of being, a necessary one (which has to be).
d. The Fourth Way: Argues from the gradations of goodness, truth, and nobility in the things of man's experience to the existence of a being that is most true, most good, and most noble.
e. The Fifth Way: Argues that all things are directed toward one end (the principle of finality), and concludes that this universal order points to the existence of an intelligent Order of all things.
ie. Conception of God as a divine craftsman.
Ethics and Political Philosophy
1. Aquinas' practical philosophy was aimed at the intelligent performance of actions -- his thinking was teleological.
ie. a purpose or a design.
2. Rationally controlled activities must be directed to some goal --they are judged good or bad in terms of their attainment of that goal and in terms of the means by which they attain (or fail to attain) that end.
3. Aquinas' Ethics consists of a study of good and evil in human conduct -- from the point of view of achieving ultimate happiness.
a. Human conduct are those actions that are under the control of man's intellect and will.
b. The primary characteristic of human conduct is not so much freedom as voluntariness.
4. Several factors are required for a voluntary action.
a. There must be sufficient knowledge that a given action is within one's power.
b. A person cannot be entirely ignorant of the kind of action that he is performing.
c. One must know the means, circumstances, and end of his actions.
5. Aquinas' Ethics have been classified as a natural law theory.
a. All men have sufficient knowledge of what is morally right to regulate their own actions.
b. The first principle of practical reasoning is: "Good should be done and sought after, and Evil should be avoided."
6. Aquinas described three kinds of inclinations that are natural to man.
a. Man's substantial nature toward the conservation of his own existence and physical well being.
b. Man's animal nature to seek such biological goods as sexual reproduction and the care of offsprings.
c. Man's reason by which he tends toward universal goods, such as consideration of the interests other persons and the avoidance of ignorance.
7. All three kinds of inclinations are presented as natural and good -- provided they are reasonably pursued.
8. Aquinas defines law in general as: "Any ordinance of reason that is set forth for the common good by one who has charge of a community."
a."Reason" is the key word in the definition -- Right Reason (recta ratio) is the justification of ethical judgment in Aquinas' thought.
b. In the case of volitional activities, the nearest standard is human reason, but the supreme standard is eternal law.
c. When a man's actions are in accord with the order of reason and of eternal law -- then the act is right.
Reason, Goodness, and Justice
1. Thomistic Ethics requires a person to govern his actions as reason ably as he can.
a. Man's own good is achieved by governing his actions and feelings under rational reflection.
b. Aquinas: "For we do not offend God, except by doing something contrary to our own good."
c. Part of being reasonable is to respect the good of others -the moral good is not so much obeying an all-powerful legislature, than living in accord with the reasonable perfecting of man.
2. In becoming a better agent within himself, man is making himself more fit for ultimate happiness and for the vision of God.
3. Book V of the Nicomachean Ethics: "Aquinas based much of his Ethics on the Theory of Natural Justice found here.
a. All things have specific natures which do not change; dogs are dogs and stones are stones.
b. Certain functions are taken as natural and appropriate to given natures: eating is an act expected of a dog not a stone.
c. Human Nature is distinguished by the performance of rational activities.
1. There are immutable ethical rules of justice such as: "Theft is unjust."
2. Other ethical rules are essential to justice and thus are not immutable or absolute.
ie. Laws concerned with taxation or the buying and selling of property.
3. Moral law is composed of both types of rules and is neither absolute nor immutable in all its requirements.
Conscience: De Veritate
1. Aquinas referred to moral conscience as a concrete intellectual judgment by which an agent decides that a given action is good or bad; right or wrong.
2. Conscience was considered a special power or moral sense -- nor was it viewed as the source of universal moral convictions.
a. For Aquinas it was simply a man's best practical judgment concerning a concrete moral problem.
b. Conscience is a person's internal guide to good action -- it is his best judgment on a matter.
3. Reasonable consideration of a proposed action includes:
a. Thinking of the kind of action that it is (the formal object).
b. The purpose to which it is directed (the end).
c. The pertinent circumstances under which it is to be performed.
1. Aquinas' family had been closely allied with the imperial government.
a. His father and at least two of his brothers were in the service of Emperor Frederick II.
b. Thus, Aquinas grew up in an atmosphere of monarchist loyalties.
2. Early in his life Aquinas joined the Dominicans, a religious order that was remarkable for its democratic and liberal practices.
3. Aquinas' political philosophy stressed the ideal of the limited monarchy, or that kind of state which Aristotle had called the Politeia.
a. The purpose of the state is to provide for temporal peace and welfare.
b. Political society is quite different from ecclesiastical society (The Church) whose end is otherworldly.
4. Aquinas again stressed the importance of reason:
a. "Divine Justice" (ius divium) which stems from grace does not cancel human justice which comes from natural reason.
b. There is no detailed theory of government in Aquinas' writings.
1. It was a cultural movement that began in Italy in the middle of the 14th Century and spread throughout the rest of Europe.
2. It literally means rebirth and is associated with the rebirth of learning and art based on the classical model of Antiquity.
3. The relationship between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment has not received as much attention as the period that had preceded it.
ie. the Middle Ages.
a. The idea has been put forth: "Can we modern men hope to equal or even excel the achievement of antiquity?"
b. In literary history this question is known as the "quarrel of the ancients and moderns."
c. 17th Century Comparison: "We have science and truth on our side, as against those writers, with their inflexible rules, who favored the ancients."
d. However, the Renaissance had championed the modern even before the rise of modern science.
1. Renaissance confidence in man's powers was based on art and literature rather than on science.
2. Man could respect classical excellence and yet strive to out do the ancients in every field (ie. Especially vernacular literature).
4. The New Learning
a. The Renaissance is characterized as rebirth of classical knowledge.
b. The discovery of old manuscripts and the invention of printing made the heritage of Ancient Greece and Rome available to a far wider audience.
c. Humanists of the 14th and 15th Centuries discovered and preserved many ancient texts that have gone neglected for centuries.
5. Social Context: Values of the Renaissance
a. The ideals of feudal nobility, medieval in origin, persisted through the Renaissance among the ruling class.
1. Baldassare Castiglione's book, The Courtier (1528) is a reflection of this ideal.
2. It may be the ancestor of our "gentleman" or the source of our concept of the "universal man" associated directly with the Renaissance.
3. In the context of feudal tradition, love of glory and concern for one's reputation were strong social motives.
b. Religion provided the second set of ideals -- it centered upon moral salvation and one's willingness to give up the world.
1. The fear of imminent death and being deprived of salvation continued throughout the Renaissance.
2. There also developed a gratefulness for the morally harmless pleasure that life could provide.
3. A genuine tension developed between religious values and secular attitudes of worldliness.
c. A third set of ideals came from Ancient Platonic and Stoic Thinking.
d. Finally, there was an ideal of a return to nature -- a flight from urban life to pastoral pleasures.
Humanism: played a major role in the culture of the Renaissance.
1. The term "humanist" had clear occupational meaning in the Early Renaissance.
a. During the 14th and 15th Centuries, the traditional subjects of grammar, rhetoric, and poetry had begun to called "studia humanitatis".
b. Renaissance teachers of the "humanities" placed a greater emphasis on ancient models than earlier teachers had.
c. Many of these students found employment in both government and the Church (letter-writers and speech writers for princes and popes).
2. Renaissance humanists did not develop a distinct philosophy of their own, but took over from such men as Cicero the ancient ideal:
a. A civilized and urbane way of life could be formed through acquaintance with Greek Literature.
b. Humanists began to concern themselves with moral and political philosophy - this brought them into conflict with philosophers who taught ethics and politics in universities.
c. The humanists regarded Aristotelian Scholasticists as derelict in their duties, since their teaching made no difference in the lives of their students.
d. This period saw a genuine rebirth of traditional Greek Philosophy even of Aristotle.
a. The mainstream of philosophical inquiry during the Renaissance continued to be Aristotelian.
b. It is suggested that Aristotelianism remains the least known of Renaissance schools because of its association with Scholasticism.
a. Platonism had been known for centuries chiefly through Aristotle's attacks on it.
b. Marsilio Ficino's translation of Plato into Latin (1484) was the main reason for the spread of Plato's doctrines.
c. Ficino founded a famous academy in Florence in direct immitation of Plato's School.
1. This school was primarily aimed at moral improvement and resembled many lay religious societies common in Italy.
2. It tended to stress the otherworldly aspect of Plato and thus be religious in tone.
3. The whole movement of natural religion was set in motion by Florentine Platonism (out of which Deism developed).
d. There were also attempts to show how Aristotle and Plato were similar.
5. Stoicism: only a few Renaissance writers devoted themselves entirely to Stoicism (Late Renaissance).
a. Rejected without honor by medieval thinkers -- anyone who believed the soul perished with the body was called Epicurean.
b. Epicurus began to be more sympathetically known as a result of humanistic activity of the Fifteenth Century.
c. Lucretius' De Rerum Natura was widely accepted -- however, this was chiefly due to its poetic qualities.
a. The direct influence of philosophical skepticism (in a technical sense) began with the publication of Sextus Enpiricus in 1562 -- skepticism then exercised an important influence upon European thought and literature.
b. The religious factionalism or warfare of the 16th Century resulted in a widespread distrust of religious dogmaticism and fanaticism.
c. Writing of this period contributed to the growth of a spirit of toleration that is usually associated with the Enlightenment.
8. The Occult Tradition
a. The Renaissance was immensely receptive (perhaps more than the Middle Ages) to occult and secret lore of all kind.
b. This was especially true when it claimed to come from the most ancient of times and to incorporate the wisdom of the Ancient Egyptians, Chaldeans (Babylonians), and Hebrews.
9. Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576) was an example of an individual in whom various philosophical traditions converged.
a. An Italian who lived in the late, mature stage of the Renaissance -- when the dialogues of Plato and the works of Aristotle were known (as were the works of Galen and Hippocrates).
b. Cardano wrote works on medicine, astrology, and mathematics-- his philosophical reputation rests on two works of natural philosophy:
De Subtilitate Libri ("On Subtelty" - 1550)
De Rerum Varietate ("On the Variety of Things" - 1557)
1. Cardano attempted a total reconstruction of Natural Philosophy -- it is clear that there was widespread dissatisfaction with Aristotle.
2. Aristotle's physical system was to be dramatically threatened by Copernicus' Heliocentric Theory.
3. Cardano in developing his system took as his central category something called: "Subtlety"
a. He described it as "a certain reason by which sensibilia are with difficulty comprehended by the senses, and intelligibilia by the intellect.
b. Cardano abandoned this concept in favor of a revised Aristotelian Terminology. (matter, form, soul, principle, and element)
c. Cardano retains the notion of elements but reduces their number from four to three.
d. Matter and Motion (central concept of mechanism) are regarded by Cardano as principles -- but they must share their states with form, place, and soul.
e. Cardano believed that matter was some how animated (which was a typical Renaissance doctrine).
4. His writings were full of medical and factual information as well as misinformation.
5. Writers of the Enlightenment had a hard time understanding the amount of supersitious nonsense incorporated into Cardano's writings.
Thomas More (1478-1535)
1. Sir Thomas More was a lawyer and statesman rather than a philosopher -- he was educated at both Oxford and London.
2. He became a member of Parliament in 1504 which began a public career which led to his Chancellorship and martyrdom.
3. By the time of the publication of Utopia (1516), he had long since mastered Greek and enjoyed the friendship of such humanists as Erasmus.
4. The Philosophical Orientation of More
a. The Early Period of the English Renaissance -- toleration of eclecticism, search for simplicity, stress on ethics, return to Greek sources, and a desire for reform: social, political, educational, religious, and philosophical.
b. More's life can be divided into two philosophical periods -these are separated by the year 1521 (the publication of Henry VIII's Defense of the Seven Sacraments.
5. First Philosophic Period
a. More was involved in the study of Aristotle's works in Greek with their classical Greek Commentaries.
b. He also mastered the Greek New Testament and Greek Fathers as well as pagan classics in their original language.
c. He was very critical of contemporary Scholastics for their preoccupation with logic, universals, and a mere fragment of the Aristotelian corpus.
6. Second (controversial) Philosophical Period
a. More defended Thomas Aquinas and Scholastic Theologians whose doctrines he showed agreed with that of the Early Church.
b. He held the common scholastic view on the mutual relationship, harmony, and assistance between reason and revelation.
c. The idea that ethical norms are bolstered by religious truths, and true religion can prevail in an atmosphere of free and calm reasoning.
"Utopia" -- More's major and most influential writing especially in terms of its philosophical elements.
Background of the "Utopia"
1. Renaissance thinkers held that there were four major philosophical schools: Platonism, Aristotelianism, Stoicism, and Epicureanism.
2. The Christianization of Aristotle was accomplished in the 13th and 14th Centuries by the Scholasticists.
3. The same was done to Plato in the 15th Century by Marsilio Ficino and other humanists.
4. Stoicism found expression in humanistic admiration for the writings of Seneca and especially Cicero.
5. Attempts to Christianize Epicureanism were inevitable.
a. Ambrogio Traversari's Latin translation of the Life of Epicurus by Diogenes Laertius helped to accelerate the process in the early 15th Century.
b. Lorenzo Valla attempted to set forth the doctrines of Epicurus in favorable light in his work, (Pleasure and the True Good).
c. Erasmus in his The Contempt of the World (1490) and the Epicurean (1533) attempted to manipulate the concept of pleasure and the principles of selection to establish a Christian Epicureanism.
Epicureanism In "Utopia"
1. The preoccupation of Renaissance men with the problem of pleasure is evident from the many humanistic treatments of the subject (including one by Ficino).
2. Epicurus and Epicureanism have to be dealt with in how they appeared to Thomas More (and not their historical reality).
3. The most evident comparison is the exaltation of pleasure as the highest good -- to which all human activities including virtue are directed.
a. The term pleasure (voluptas) in the Utopia is manipulated to embrace everything from scratching an itch to enjoying eternal bliss with God.
b. Like Epicurus pleasure is both a state and a motion.
ie. Health is a pleasure just as granting a benefit or favor to someone is a pleasure.
4. There is a common emphasis with Epicurus on the simple life:
In Utopia this leads to the ridicule of false, unnatural delight in fine clothing, noble ancestry, jewelry, gold and silver, gambling and hunting.
5. The most important connection is probably the principles of selection (of pleasure).
ie. It must be natural; three negative norms: that no pain follows the chosen pleasure, that no greater pleasure is lost, and that no social harm results.
Divergence from Classical Epicureanism
1. Good Utopians must believe in the providence of God, the immortality of man's soul, and divine retribution in a future life.
2. The Platonic origin of Utopian Communism is also evident.
3. Minor points of divergence:
a. There is an emphasis upon marriage (in contrast with its disapproval by Epicurus).
b. There is an emphasis on euthanasia (in comparison to Epicurus' denial and opposition to suicide).
c. There is an emphasis on learning (Epicurus urged his disciples to fly from learning in the swiftest ship available).
1. The unconscious pull of Platonism and Stoicism, not to mention Christianity, is too great to allow a full-fledged Epicurean in Utopia.
2. He is a philosopher by nature and profession, but he interjects his (mild) disapproval of Utopian hedonism.
a. He is unattached: he is only commitment is to freedom, truth, and justice.
b. He has given up the worry of wealth by giving his inheritance to relatives -- he lives as he pleases speaking his mind openly.
c. He travels and searches for something quite practical: the good state and the good citizens.
d. In the emphasis on usefulness, and his return to sources (especially Greek), Hythodaeus is representative of the English and Northern Renaissance.
1. Communism (or the communal state) is broaden to embrace the whole nation -- not merely an elite class of the most intelligent.
2. He transforms the philosopher-king into a scholar-governor.
3. There is almost complete equality between men and women, and an emphasis on the connection between goodness and religion.
a. Utopia is a casteless democracy and not an aristocracy.
b. The family, not a ruling class with common wives and children, is the basic social and political unit.
Pleasure and the Best Society
1. The best society is one whose aim is the temporal well-being or happiness (ie. pleasure) of all of the society.
2. All are to share equally and equitably in all good things (pleasures) of the world: food, clothes, hours, work, play, sleep, and education.
3. More bridges the gap between Utopian Philosophy and Utopian Communism by using "the Aristotelian phrase" the matter of pleasure.
a. Pleasurable Matter are vital commodities (food, clothing, housing etc.).
b. The matter then is determined by a form (either private ownership or common possessions).
4. The Utopians have chosen communism, not private property to bring the greatest pleasure to the whole nation.
a. Only in this way will justice be introduced into an unjust society.
b. In this theoretical approval of communism, More was agreeing with a view held by many humanists.
1. The Reformation is a name given to the spiritual crisis of the 16th Century which resulted in the permanent division of the Western Church.
2. Historically it begins in 1517 with Luther posting his 95 Theses on the doors of the Cathedral in Wittenburg.
3. The end of the period is assigned to the 1550's, by which time an ecclesiastical stalemate between Protestants and Catholics appeared unavoidable.
a. The Reformation describes the aspirations of the age not its achievements.
b. Protestants did not succeed in reforming the Church but only splitting it into rival groups.
4. The Protestant Reformation was a part of other reform movements of the 16th Century, if we view it within Western Intellectual History.
1. The humanists were not merely (as Luther himself thought) forerunners who prepared the way for Protestants.
2. They developed a reform program of their own which did not lead to the formation of independent institutions.
3. The foremost humanistic reformer in Northern Europe was Erasmus.
a. He wanted to purify the Church by returning to its primitive sources: -- the New Testament and the writings of the Early Church Fathers.
b. His "philosophy of Christ" minimized the dogmatic and institutional nature of the Church.
c. He emphasized Christ mainly as a teacher of virtue, and Christianity as an ethical system not essentially different from pagan philosophies.
4. Erasmus was opposed to any action that would disrupt the unity and peace of Christendom -- this is the primary reason why he remained removed from the Protestant Reformation.
1. They were a variety of groups and individuals who felt the Protestant leaders had not gone far enough.
2. They believed that reform could not be brought about without abandoning the old idea of the state church (the corpus Christianum).
3. Of these radical reformers, the Anabaptists (Swiss Bretheren, Hutterites, and Mennonites were Biblical Literalists).
4. The Spiritualists appealed to the Spirit who caused the Scriptures to be written.
5. The Rationalists read the Bible in light of reason which at times led them to deny Christ's full divinity and his atoning sacrifice.
1. Roman Catholics sought renewal of the Church by two essential means:
2. Two of the greatest landmarks of the Catholic Reformation were:
3. The Council of Trent
a. It sought to repudiate Protestant errors on the basis of authority, justification and the sacraments.
b. Many Church Leaders opposed the abuses that had first provoked the Protestant movement.
c. The Problem: instead of a concentration on Church abuses and reformation, there was a preoccupation with Protestant errors and a campaign of suppression after the Council.
ie. This is why it is more appropriate to refer to it as a Counter-Reformation.
The Protestant Reformation
1. Protestantism took three distinctive, though fundamentally related,forms.
a. It was the revolt of Martin Luther against the papacy that won success in most of Germany and almost all of Scandanavia.
b. It was the Lutheran princes and cities represented at the Imperial Diet of Speyer in 1529 who by making their historic protest, gave the Lutheran Movement the nickname Protestantism.
c. The official belief of the Lutheran Church was formulated in the Augsburg Confession (1530).
a. The so-called Reformed Churches grew up first in Switzerland (under Zwingli and Calvin).
b. They became dominant in Scotland, Holland, and parts of Germany -- they also gained areas of influence in England and France.
ie. Puritans, Presbyterians, and Huguenots.
c. They were a less homogeneous group than the Lutherans and produced a variety of national confessions instead of single statement of belief like the Augsburg Confession.
a. The English Reformation began in the reign of Henry VIII largely for political reasons and proceeded slowly.
b. Henry VIII, though not intending to alter Catholic doctrine, had opened the door to Protestant reform in the reign of his son Edward VI.
c. Mary attempted a short-lived restoration of Catholicism which ended with her life.
d. The 39 Articles of Religion (Latin, 1563, English, 1571) adopted under Elizabeth I was adopted as the official doctrinal standard of the Reformed Church of England.
Essential Protestant Doctrines
1. In all three of its expression the Protestant Reformation was closely related to social and political conditions.
2. It was essentially a religious movement and its theological ideas influenced European Intellectual History.
3. Three beliefs are particularly associated with the Protestant Movement.
ie. The authority of the Word, justification by faith alone, and the priesthood of all believers.
4. These beliefs have frequently beem explained as the advent of individualism in the religious sphere. (each as a priest with access to God.)
a. They emphasized the concept of Christian Fellowship as the focal point of God's Word.
b. The Word of God was understood to be the effective proclamation of the Gospels based on the Scriptures (not on the basis of institutional means or tradition).
c. The central focus of the proclamation is the promise of free forgiveness (justification) through Christ.
5. There is a fourth idea of both religious and social consequence: "Vocation"
The Reformation and Western Thought
1. The Reformation can be better understood as a late phase of medieval history (rather than the awakening of the modern mind).
a. It has been argued that the Reformation postponed for a while the triumph of Renaissance secularism.
ie. because of a revitalizing religion.
b. In practice they refused to abandon the medieval concept of a Christian Society.
ie. an authoritarian, Church dominated Society.
2. It was the humanistic reformers, not the Protestants, who underminded the dogmatic conception of religion.
3. It was the radical reformers who broke from the conception of a secular arm of a Christian Society.
4. The chief contribution of the Reformation to Western Philosophy was helping Philosophy to become autonomous (independent) by weakening ecclesiastical domination.