Lecture 1: Medieval Synthesis

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This is a summary of major thinkers of the high middle ages with an emphasis on Thomas Aquinas.

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  • Lecture 1: Medieval Synthesis

    1. 1. The Medieval Synthesis Scientific Revolutions, 1450-1750
    2. 2. THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH (1050-1200)Albigensians, a.k.a. Cathars Waldensians Francis of Assisi Gregory VII Urban II (1181-1226) (r. 1073-1085) (r. 1088-1099) Dominic (1170-1221)•College of Cardinals Pope excommunicates Clement III•Church asserts authority Henry IV (r. 1187-1091)over Milan Concordat of Worms (1076) (1122) Innocent III(1059) Henry IV absolved 2nd Lateran (1139) (r. 1198-1216) (1077) 1st Lateran (1123) 3rd Lateran (1179) Eastern Schism Dictatus Papae Urban II calls for (1054) (1075) crusade (1095) First Crusade Second Henry IV appoints Crusade Third (1095-1099) archbishop of Milan (1095-1099) Crusade (1072) (1189-1192) Gregory VII driven from Rome (1084) Henry IV excommunicated again (1080) Reconquista
    3. 3. I. The Problem of Orthodoxy A. Ideology: ideals that people in a society don’t necessarily follow, but feel guilty when they don’t
    4. 4. I. The Problem of Orthodoxy A. Ideology: ideals that people in a society don’t necessarily follow, but feel guilty when they don’t B. An ideology is a systematic set of ideas and/or beliefs 1. used to explain how the world should be and 2. used to justify actions to make or keep it that way.
    5. 5. Ideologies . . . map the political and social worlds for us. Wesimply cannot do without them because we cannot actwithout making sense of the worlds we inhabit. Makingsense, let it be said, does not always mean making good orright sense. But ideologies will often contain a lot of commonsense. At any rate, political facts never speak forthemselves. Through our diverse ideologies, we providecompeting interpretations of what the facts might mean.Every interpretation, each ideology, is one such instance ofimposing a pattern -- some form of structure or organization-- on how we read (and misread) political facts, events,occurrences, actions, on how we see images and hearvoices. Ideological maps do not represent an objective,external reality. The patterns we impose, or adopt fromothers, do not have to be sophisticated, but without patterwe remain clueless and uncomprehending, on the receivingend of ostensibly random bits of information without rhymeor reason. [Ideology: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford:5Oxford University Press, 2003), 2-3.
    6. 6. We might also add that because ideologies are humanfabrications in an attempt to impose order on the world, theyare also the product of historical change. Thus, they are notstable or unchanging. To understand them, we have toexamine them in their historical context.Likewise, there is a difference between an ideology thatguides thought and an ideology that acts as an infallibledogmatism. 6
    7. 7. I. The Problem of Orthodoxy A. Ideology: ideals that people in a society don’t necessarily follow, but feel guilty when they don’t B. An ideology is a systematic set of ideas and/or beliefs C. Modern vs. Medieval Ideology
    8. 8. Modern Medieval1. Man OK2. Life can be beautiful3. Looks, physical pleasure, success, security, youth4. PROGRESS
    9. 9. Modern Medieval1. Man OK 1. Man sinful2. Life can be beautiful 2. Life miserable3. Looks, physical pleasure, 3. Looks, physical pleasure, success, security, youth security, youth don’t last4. PROGRESS 4. Only true happiness in next world
    10. 10. I. The Problem of Orthodoxy A. Ideology: ideals that people in a society don’t necessarily follow, but feel guilty when they don’t B. An ideology is a systematic set of ideas and/or beliefs C. Modern vs. Medieval Ideology D. Sources of Truth 1. Revelation: OT, NT, Koran 2. Tradition: Prophets, Church Fathers, Church Councils 3. Reason: Classical philosophy a. Plato + Aristotle = Platistotle b. Religion faces with problem: “What is the relationship between revelation (faith) and reason?”
    11. 11. Ideas are real and matter is an illusion.1st c. BCE mosaic from Pompeii, 124.545. MuseoArcheologico Nazionale, Napoli
    12. 12. Ideas are real and matter is an illusion. What about matter though, Plato?1st c. BCE mosaic from Pompeii, 124.545. MuseoArcheologico Nazionale, Napoli
    13. 13. Plato Aristotle What makes a horse a horse?There is an ideal world offorms, and an ideal horse.But, no material horse canapproach this ideal.
    14. 14. Plato Aristotle What makes a horse a horse?To know what the ideal horseis, we need to study allhorses. From that we canextract the nature of“horsiness.”
    15. 15. Plato AristotleWhat we are asking is: “What is the nature of Truth, and how can we understand it?”
    16. 16. Plato AristotleWhat we are asking is: “What is the nature of reality, and how can we understand it?” Don’t forget about scripture!
    17. 17. I. The Problem of Orthodoxy A. Ideology: ideals that people in a society don’t necessarily follow, but feel guilty when they don’t B. An ideology is a systematic set of ideas and/or beliefs C. Modern vs. Medieval Ideology D. Sources of Truth 1. Revelation: OT, NT, Koran 2. Tradition: Prophets, Church Fathers, Church Councils 3. Reason: Classical philosophy a. Plato + Aristotle = Platistotle b. Religion faces with problem: “What is the relationship between revelation (faith) and reason?”
    18. 18. I. The Problem of Orthodoxy A. Ideology: ideals that people in a society don’t necessarily follow, but feel guilty when they don’t B. An ideology is a systematic set of ideas and/or beliefs C. Modern vs. Medieval Ideology D. Sources of Truth E. Can’t we just ignore classical philosophy and rely on scripture? After all, consider the problems it causes? 1. Ibn Sina, a.k.a. Avicenna (979-1073) a. Platisotler b. Early thinker concerned with the nature of reality c. Realists vs. nominalists
    19. 19. I. The Problem of Orthodoxy A. Ideology: ideals that people in a society don’t necessarily follow, but feel guilty when they don’t B. An ideology is a systematic set of ideas and/or beliefs Modern vs. Medieval Ideology C. Sources of Truth D. Can’t we just ignore classical philosophy and rely on scripture? After all, consider the problems it causes? 1. Ibn Sina, a.k.a. Avicenna (979-1073) 2. Anselm (d. 1109) a. Application of reason to matters of faith b. Ontological Proof of God (1077-8)
    20. 20. I. The Problem of Orthodoxy A. Ideology: ideals that people in a society don’t necessarily follow, but feel guilty when they don’t B. An ideology is a systematic set of ideas and/or beliefs C. Modern vs. Medieval Ideology D. Sources of Truth E. Can’t we just ignore classical philosophy and rely on scripture? After all, consider the problems it causes? 1. Ibn Sina, a.k.a. Avicenna (979-1073) 2. Anselm (d. 1109) 3. Peter Abelard (1079-1141) a. Attempt to reconcile faith and reason through dialectic b. Sic et Non (e12th century)
    21. 21. I. The Problem of Orthodoxy A. Ideology: ideals that people in a society don’t necessarily follow, but feel guilty when they don’t B. An ideology is a systematic set of ideas and/or beliefs C. Modern vs. Medieval Ideology D. Sources of Truth E. Can’t we just ignore classical philosophy and rely on scripture? After all, consider the problems it causes? 1. Ibn Sina, a.k.a. Avicenna (979-1073) 2. Anselm (d. 1109) 3. Peter Abelard (1079-1141) 4. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) a. Attack on Abelard b. Faith is not an opinion
    22. 22. I. The Problem of Orthodoxy A. Ideology B. An ideology is a systematic set of ideas and/or beliefs C. Modern vs. Medieval Ideology D. Sources of Truth E. Can’t we just ignore classical philosophy and rely on scripture? After all, consider the problems it causes? 1. Ibn Sina, a.k.a. Avicenna (979-1073) 2. Anselm (d. 1109) 3. Peter Abelard (1079-1141) 4. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) 5. What about: a. What about Greco-Roman tradition? b. Does scripture explain all natural phenomena?
    23. 23. I. The Problem of Orthodoxy A. Ideology B. An ideology is a systematic set of ideas and/or beliefs C. Modern vs. Medieval Ideology D. Sources of Truth E. Can’t we just ignore classical philosophy and rely on scripture? After all, consider the problems it causes? 1. Ibn Sina, a.k.a. Avicenna (979-1073) 2. Anselm (d. 1109) 3. Peter Abelard (1079-1141) 4. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) 5. What about . . . ? 6. However, philosophy can be used to prop up faith, especially Plato (ideals, creator) and Aristotle (purpose, a.k.a. first cause and prime mover)
    24. 24. I. The Problem of OrthodoxyII. Medieval Synthesis: Faith and reason can work together A. Averroes (1126-1198) 1. Argued for a “double truth”  one could come to separate truths through reason and through faith 2. Became very popular in the medieval schools despite the Church’s desire to suppress its influence
    25. 25. I. The Problem of OrthodoxyII. Medieval Synthesis: Faith and reason can work together B. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1270) 1. Reason and revelation are part of a single truth (natural truth / revealed truth)  “double means” 2. Agreed with Moses-ben Maimon, a.k.a. Maimonides (1135-1204) that some things are beyond reason  therefore, philosophy has to leave some things to faith 3. Man should use reason, but sin is why men can’t always succeed 4. Can use philosophy (esp. Aristotle) to clarify some mysteries of the Church Benozzo Gozzoli, Triumph of St. Thomas Aquinas (1471), Musée du Louvre, Paris
    26. 26. Book I, Ch. 3, “The Double Means of Asserting Truth about God” in Truth of the CatholicFaith“Since not every means of expressing the truth is the same – ‘the expert is to aim for asmuch accuracy as the nature of the thing permits,’ as was said by the Philosopher(Ethics 1.2). Now there is a double means of asserting truths about God, for there aresome truths about God which are beyond the faculty of human reason, such as, thatGod is three and one, but there are others which philosophers guided by the light ofnatural reason can attain, such as that God exists and that God is one.”
    27. 27. Book I, Ch. 1, “The Duty of the Sage” in Truth of the Catholic Faith“According to common usage, which the Philosopher [Aristotle] believes should befollowed in the naming of things, those who impose order on things and govern themwell are called sage. However, in all that is governed or ordered for a purpose it isnecessary to derive the rules for this governing and order from that purpose. For eachand every thing is best arranged, when it is ordered in accordance with its purpose, andthat purpose is the good. ““The ultimate purpose of all things is that intended by their first creator or mover, and thefirst creator or mover of the universe is the Mind. It must therefore be that the ultimatepurpose of the universe is the Good of Mind; which is Truth, and that wisdom isconcerned above all with studying its purpose.”
    28. 28. Final Cause (or Purpose)
    29. 29. Final Cause (or Purpose)
    30. 30. Final Cause (or Purpose)
    31. 31. How do religion and philosophy work together?
    32. 32. What is sin?
    33. 33. Book III, Ch. 122, “How Simple Fornication is a Sin According to Divine Law and thatMarriage is Natural” in Truth of the Catholic Faith“Now God cares for everyone in accordance with his own good. Anyone’s good is whatfurthers his goal [final cause], whereas evil is what diverts him from it. But as with thewhole, so also with the parts, each and every action of man must serve his purpose.Semen, although superfluous for the preservation of the individual, is necessary for thepropagation of the species. It is true that other superfluities, such as excretion, urine,sweat, and the like, are not necessary for anything and good only for emission.However, this is not the only requirement for semen, but also that it be emitted forprocreation, which is the purpose of intercourse. Procreation is, however, in vain unlessit is followed by nutrition. Therefore the emission of semen should be regulated so thatboth procreation and rearing can follow.”
    34. 34. Book III, Ch. 122, “How Simple Fornication is a Sin According to Divine Law and thatMarriage is Natural” in Truth of the Catholic Faith“From which it is clear that all seminal emission in such a way that procreation cannotresult is contrary to man’s good, and if done deliberately must be a sin. I am referring,however, to the method whereby procreation cannot follow by itself: every seminalemission, for example without the natural union of male and female. This type of sin iscalled unnatural. If, however, procreation cannot follow the emission of semen byaccident, this is neither against nature or a sin, for example, if it happens that a womanis sterile.”
    35. 35. What about matters of belief?
    36. 36. The Nature of Reality EssenceEssence AccidentAccident
    37. 37. What about matters of belief?
    38. 38. Transubstantiation EssenceEssence AccidentAccident
    39. 39. Book IV, Ch. 63, “Solution to the Previous Difficulties and Particularly on the Changing ofBread into the Body of Christ” in Truth of the Catholic Faith“. . . It must be understood however that the above mentioned changing of bread into thebody of Christ is a different mode from all changes in nature. For in any natural change,there remains a substance in which different forms succeed each other, either accidentalones as when white changes into black, or substantial ones air into fire.Hence they are termed changes of form. But in the change mentioned above crossesover into a substance, and the accidents remain. Hence this is termed a change ofsubstance. In what way these accidental qualities persist and why must be scrutinizedlater. Now, however we must consider how a substance is changed into a substance,something which indeed nature cannot do, for all the operations of nature presupposematter, through which substances are individuated. Nature cannot make this finger thatfinger. But matter is subject to divine power, by which it is brought into being. Hence bydivine power it can come about that this individual substance is changed into thatpreexisting substance.”

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