PART ONE: THE ORIGINS OF MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY
CHAPTER I. AUGUSTINE: THE LOVER OF TRUTH
CHAPTER II. UNIVERSALS ACCORDING TO BOETHIUS, PETER ABELARD,
PART TWO: THE MATURITY OF MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY CHRONOLOGY
CHAPTER IV. BONAVENTURE: PHILOSOPHER OF THE EXEMPLAR
CHAPTER V. THOMAS AQUINAS: PHILOSOPHER OF THE EXISTENTIAL
PART THREE: CRITICAL REFLECTION AND RECONSTRUCTION
CHAPTER VI. JOHN DUNS SCOTUS: METAPHYSICIAN OF ESSENCE
CHAPTER VII. WILLIAM OF OCKHAM: PHILOSOPHY OF NOMINALISM
"We are like dwarfs," wrote Bernard of Chartres, "seated on the shoulders of giants;
we see more things than the ancients and things more distant, but this is due neither
to the sharpness of our own sight, nor to the greatness of our stature, but because we
are raised and borne aloft on that giant mass."1 In the search for truth, modern
Western philosophers stand on the shoulders of the "giant mass" of ancient and
medieval thinkers whose ideas they have inherited.
Western civilization lives by the ideas that animate it." This book is written for
students making their first acquaintance with these ideas in the history of philosophy.
The author\u2019s chief purpose is to introduce students to the origin, development, and
interconnection of philosophical ideas. To achieve this goal, emphasis has been placed
upon making the major ideas of the medieval philosophers accessible to the reader in a
direct, clear, and informative manner. This history of philosophy is intended, not as
an end, but as a means of introducing the reader to a more extensive and intensive
study of the philosophers\u2019 writings and of their interpretations by specialists in
When the student is first acquainted with the myriad ideas of medieval thought, they
may appear to him widely elusive, hopelessly incoherent, and even self-contradictory.
It is the taunting, tantalizing challenge of the history of philosophy to discover the
overall pattern of interrelated meaning. With this insight one can savor the
distinctive contribution of each man or movement.
In understanding the meaning of philosophical ideas, one has not only factual
information but an appreciation of what philosophizing meant for Augustine, Thomas
Aquinas and William of Ockham. What better way is there to learn to philosophize
than to observe the great philosophers of the past? This history of philosophy is
intended as an introduction to the process of philosophizing itself. With adequate
knowledge of the history of philosophy, one can share in the collective enterprise of
philosophizing which has occupied the mind of Western man for twenty-five
To disclose effectively the pattern of meaning in the history of medieval philosophy, the historian of philosophy must keep in mind two aims. First, he must discover the spirit of an age by fathoming
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