1st Edition

Debates in Medieval Philosophy
Essential Readings and Contemporary Responses

Edited By

Jeffrey Hause

ISBN 9780415505420
Published March 12, 2014 by Routledge
452 Pages

USD $62.95

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Book Description

Debates in Medieval Philosophy: Essential Readings and Contemporary Responses aims to de-mystify medieval works by offering an illuminating, engaging introduction to the problems that medieval philosophers from Augustine through Ockham wrestled with. Each of the volume’s 11 units presents a debate that will enable students to return to the primary texts prepared to think critically and imaginatively about them. Debates include:

  • Does Anselm have a hierarchical or a flat conception of free will?
  • Is Abelard’s ethics conceptually impoverished?
  • Does Avicenna teach that we acquire concepts through abstraction or emanation?
  • What is Aquinas’s purpose in writing the Summa contra gentiles?
  • How sound are Ockham’s criticisms of Scotus’s theory of universals and individuation?

The 10 essays newly commissioned for this volume will advance scholarship in medieval metaphysics, ethics, epistemology, logic, and philosophical theology, and in particular they will showcase what is philosophically distinctive and original in medieval philosophy. Students without experience in the history of philosophy will benefit from each unit’s clear, sharply written introductions that supply the necessary background to approach the debates intelligently.  In addition, the volume’s general introduction elucidates the value of studying the history of philosophy through debate, in particular the history of medieval philosophy.

Students will find in these debates models that will train them to formulate their own critical evaluations of a wide range of philosophical texts by thinkers with diverse philosophical commitments.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Augustine: The Theft of the Pears Scott Macdonald and Gareth Matthews  Chapter 2. Boethius on Determinism and Free Choice  Christophe Erismann and Norman Kretzmann  Chapter 3. Anselm's Ontological Argument  William Rowe and Cora Diamond  Chapter 4. Anselm on Free Choice and Moral Responsibility  Thomas Williams and Katherine Rogers  Chapter 5. Abelard's Internalist Ethics Ian Wilks and Robert Sokolowski  Chapter 6. Abstraction and Emanation in Avicenna  Deborah Black and Dag Hasse  Chapter 7. Creation and Cosmology in Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed T. M. Rudavsky and W. Harvey  Chapter 8. Bonaventure's Epistemology Timothy Noone  Chapter 10. Aquinas and Aristotelian Naturalism Bonnie Kent and Terrence Irwin  Chapter 11. Aquinas on Analogy  E. Jennifer Ashworth and Ralph McInerny  Chapter 12. Scotus and Ockham on Intuitive and Abstractive Cognition  Giorgio Pini and Douglas C. Langston  Chapter 13. Scotus and Ockham on Universals and Individuation  JT Paasch

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Jeffrey Hause is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Creighton University.


A well-chosen collection of outstanding papers on a wide range of issues that figure prominently in medieval philosophy. This, together with the complementary primary sources, would provide a superb introduction to the field.

Sydney Penner, Ohio State University