A History of Philosophy, Vol. 2: Medieval and Renaissance by Frederick Copleston

By Frederick Copleston

Conceived initially as a major presentation of the advance of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A heritage Of Philosophy has journeyed a ways past the modest goal of its writer to common acclaim because the top heritage of philosophy in English.Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of vast erudition who as soon as tangled with A.J. Ayer in a fabled debate in regards to the lifestyles of God and the opportunity 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 used to be decreased to simplistic caricatures.  Copleston got down to redress the inaccurate via writing an entire heritage of Western Philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure - and one who supplies complete position to every philosopher, proposing his concept in a superbly rounded demeanour and exhibiting his hyperlinks to those that went sooner than and to people who got here after him.

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Extra resources for A History of Philosophy, Vol. 2: Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy From Augustine to Duns Scotus

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In the preceding chapter he has proposed a dilemma: either material things proceed from God, in which case God, as their Source, would contain matter in Himself, would be material, or, if God is not material, then material things do not proceed from Him and matter is eternal. Gregory, however, rejects both the materiality of God and dualism, and the natural conclusion of this would be that the qualities of which bodily things are composed are not material. It is true that, while asserting creation ex nihilo, Gregory asserts that we cannot comprehend how God creates the qualities out of nothing; but it is reasonable to suppose that in his eyes the qualities which form body are not themselves bodies: in feet they could not be, since there is no concrete body at all except in and through their union.

G. Porphyry. In this first part, the Dialectica, he makes clear his opinion that philosophy and profane science are the instruments or handmaids of theology, adopting the view of Clement of Alexandria and the two Gregories, a view which goes back to Philo the Alexandrian Jew and was often repeated in the Middle Ages. 1 In the second part of his great work he gives a history of heresies, using material supplied by former writers, and in the third part, the De Fide Orthodoxa, he gives, in four books, an orderly treatment of orthodox Patristic theology.

3 However, he speaks ambiguously even on the nature of the soul, and in his Apology4 he gives as a reason for the resurrection of the bodies of the wicked that 'the soul is not capable of suffering without the solid substance, that is, the flesh'. It is probably best to say, then, that, while Tertullian's language often implies materialism of a rather crass sort, his meaning may not have been that which his language would often imply. When he teaches that the soul of the infant is derived from the father's seed like a kind of sprout (surculus, tradux),s he would seem to be teaching a clearly materialistic doctrine; but this 'traducianism' was adopted partly for a theological reason, to explain the transmission of original sin, and some later writers who inclined to the same view, did so for the same theological reason, without apparently realising the materialistic implications of the doctrine.

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