Six Science Questions – Answers from the Sixth Century

Even in the Early Middle Ages people were asking scientific questions about their world. Here are six of these questions, and the answers that were provided by a Byzantine philosopher in the year 531.

Science and Religion in the Middle Ages

Why did science and natural philosophy suffer such disparate fates in the two great civilizations of Christendom and Islam?

Anselm on Free Will

New book explores medieval philosopher’s contribution to current debate

To See with the Eyes of the Soul: Memory and Visual Culture in Medieval Europe

In this article I shall therefore take a closer look at how people thought about the subject of memory and why memory was considered so important in the Middle Ages.

The Importance of Being Good: Moral Philosophy in the Italian Universities, 1300–1600

This paper therefore explores how important moral philosophy was, during the Italian Renaissance, as an independent university subject, and whether its status had a direct relationship with that of rhetorical studies

Flee the loathsome shadow: Marsilio Ficino (1433-99) and the Medici in Florence

This article examines the changing political landscape of Medicean Florence, from Cosimo de’ Medici (1389-1464) to his grandson Lorenzo the Magnificent (1449-1492), through the letters of the celebrated neo-Platonist philosopher Marsilio Ficino (1433-99).

The Sophistication of The Consolation

‘In spite of the variety and difference of opinion, still all men agree in loving and pursuing the goal of good.’

Religious Education as the Basis of Medieval Literature

The medieval literature was written with a purpose to teach Christian dogmas to the masses. The prose and poetry of the time meant to show men the ugliness of sin and the beauty of goodness.

Emotions and Cognitions : Fourteenth-Century Discussions on the Passions of the Soul

Medieval philosophers clearly recognized that emotions are not simply “raw feelings” but complex mental states that include cognitive components. They analyzed these components both on the sensory and on the intellectual level, paying particular attention to the different types of cognition that are involved.

The Medieval Understandings of Participation

Richard Cross, Stephen Gersh and Douglas Hedley speaking at the University of Notre Dame

‘Protecting the non-combatant’: Chivalry, Codes and the Just War Theory

The concept of chivalry, a traditional code of conduct idealised by the knightly class relating to times of both peace and war, dominated the medieval period and many of the scholars who contributed to the principle of jus in bello were in fact writing about chivalry.

Boethius’s Misguided Theodicy: The Consolation of Philosophy

Anicius Boethius’s The Consolation of Philosophy (c. 524) is a bold attempt to reconcile the gravity of the author’s imprisonment and impending death with a world governed by a just God.

Hobbes, Augustine, and the Christian nature of man in Leviathan

Scholars of Thomas Hobbes can be loosely divided into two camps: those who believe Hobbes retained strong medieval elements in his philosophy and those who argued that Hobbes’ philosophy marks a clear break from both Ancient philosophy and Christianity.

Res et significatio : The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages

This essay serves as an introduction to Friedrich Ohly’s life and work and offers an analytic orientation to the methodological and historical questions taken up by this special issue of Gesta dedicated to medieval conceptions of significationes rerum (the signification of things).

Cecco D’Ascoli and Church Discipline of Natural Philosophers in the Middle Ages

Probably the only natural philosopher of the Middle Ages to be burnt at the stake at the behest of the Church was one Francisco degli Stabili (c. 1269 – 1327) in Florence in late 1327.

Do Animals Go to Heaven? Medieval Philosophers Contemplate Heavenly Human Exceptionalism

Beginning in about the second century C.E., Christian philosophers reflected upon the nature of human beings, our purpose on earth, and our path to the promised afterlife. In the course of these reflections, they considered our relationship to nature, and the non- human animals that share our world.

‘The Torrent of the Human Race:’ The Concept of Movement in the Works of Saint Augustine and Its Impact on the Medieval Imagination

For Augustine, movement was essential in four respects. First, it described the nature of the relationship between an eternal God and a finite, temporal, material world. Second, movement constituted the basic imperative of the Christian message: man’s soul is compelled to move toward God or perish eternally.

Marvels and Allies in the East. India as Heterotopia of Latin Europe in the 12th Century

It has long been said that Latin Europe lost its connection to the East, specifically to Asia, in the early Middle Ages. But this is only part of the truth. From late Antiquity on, there were Christians in many places between the Mediterranean Sea and China.

Reading the Ancients: Remnants of Byzantine Controversies in the Greek National Narrative

In the eyes of his contemporaries, as Anna Komnene suggests in her Alexiad, Italos was a pagan wolf in the clothing of a Christian sheep, anxious to overcome Christianity in favour of Hellenic (i.e. pagan) philosophy

The medieval principle of motion and the modern principle of inertia

Aquinas’s First Way of arguing for the existence of God famously rests on the Aristotelian premise that “whatever is in motion is moved by another.” Let us call this the “principle of motion.” Newton’s First Law states that “every body continues in its state of rest or of uniform motion in a straight line, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed upon it.” Call this the “principle of inertia.

Leonardo’s Literary Writings: History, Genre, Philosophy

This dissertation, conceiving Leonardo as a moral philosopher, provides interpretations that lead to the conclusion that his thought pervades both his major and minor works and that these literary writings must be viewed as an extension (and result) of Leonardo’s greater notions of the world and of how all parts relate to one another.

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