A History of Philosophy, Volume 3: Late Medieval and by Frederick Copleston

By Frederick Copleston

Conceived initially as a major presentation of the improvement of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A background Of Philosophy has journeyed a ways past the modest goal of its writer to common acclaim because the top background of philosophy in English.
Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of giant erudition who as soon as tangled with A. J. Ayer in a fabled debate concerning the life of God and the potential of metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient nutrition of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with so much of history's nice thinkers was once diminished to simplistic caricatures. Copleston got down to redress the incorrect through writing an entire background of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure -- and one who offers complete position to every philosopher, offering his idea in a superbly rounded demeanour and exhibiting his hyperlinks to people who went earlier than and to those that got here after him.
The results of Copleston's prodigious labors is a heritage of philosophy that's not likely ever to be passed. idea journal summed up the overall contract between students and scholars alike while it reviewed Copleston's A heritage of Philosophy as "broad-minded and goal, entire and scholarly, unified and good proportioned... we can't suggest [it] too highly."

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Extra resources for A History of Philosophy, Volume 3: Late Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy: Ockham, Francis Bacon, and the Beginning of the Modern World

Example text

2, 90, R. • See vol. II, p. 154. • Summa loti us logiclU, • Quodlibet, 4, I, 12. 19. stracting species intelligibiles. ntelhg~tur and not id quod intelligitur. in. a posi~ion to consider briefly Ockham's theory of sCience. He diVides sCience into two main types, real science and rational science. The former (scientia realis) is concerned with real things, in a sense to be discussed presently, While the latter (scientia rationalis) is concerned with terms which do not stand immediately for real things.

He thought that these doctrines could not be safeguarded without eliminating the metaphysic of essences which had been introduced into Christian theology and philosophy from Greek sources. In the philosophy of St. Augustine and in the philosophies of the leading thirteenth-century thinkers the theory of divine ideas had played an important part. Plato had postulated eternal forms or 'ideas', which he most probably regarded as distinct from God but which served as models or patterns according to which God formed the world in its intelligible structure; and later Greek philosophers of the Platonic tradition located these exemplary forms in the divine mind.

True, all orthodox Christian thinkers of the Middle Ages held the same; but the point is that according to Ockham the metaphysic of essences was a non-Christian invention which had no place in Christian theology and philosophy. As to the other part of the metaphysic of essences Ockham resolutely attacked all forms of 'realism', especially that of Scotus, and he employed the terminist logic in his attack; but, as we shall see, his view of universals was not quite so revolutionary as is sometimes supposed.

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