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1. ThePilgrim City : Social and Political
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2. The Cambridge Companion to Anselm
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3. Utopia (Dover Thrift Editions)
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4. Anselm of Canterbury: The Major
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5. Decisive Treatise and Epistle
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6. A History of Western Philosophy
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7. Medieval Islamic Philosophical
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8. An Introduction to the Metaphysics
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9. Aristotle's Children : How Christians,
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10. The Cambridge Companion to Aquinas
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11. The Encyclopedia of Philosophy
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12. An Introduction to Classical Islamic
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13. The Cambridge Companion to Abelard
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14. Four-Dimensionalism: An Ontology
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15. Employment With a Human Face:
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16. The Christian Philosophy of St.
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17. The Metaphysical Thought of Thomas
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18. Paulus Venetus Logica Parva: First
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19. The Lost Love Letters of Heloise
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20. Selected Philosophical Writings

1. ThePilgrim City : Social and Political Ideas in the Writings of St Augustine of Hippo
by R.W. Dyson
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Asin: 0851158196
Catlog: Book (2001-03-01)
Publisher: Boydell Press
Sales Rank: 2073409
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Book Description

The political and social ideas of St Augustine of Hippo are of central importance to the historian of late classical and medieval political thought: Augustine offers a penetrating critique of the moral and political claims of imperial Rome, and he is one of the founders of the Christian political thought of the middle ages. But the student's task is made difficult by the fact that Augustine did not write a single, systematic political treatise. His political remarks are always incidental to his theological and pastoral concerns; they occur in many different contexts; they have to be dissected out from a great variety of works. In this volume, Dr Dyson brings together an extensive selection of primary sources and provides a detailed commentary on them. The result is a full and wide-ranging narrative account of St Augustine's thinking on the human condition, justice, the State, slavery, private property and war. This comprehensive sourcebook will be of value to students of St Augustine at all levels. Dr R W DYSON lectures in the department of politics, University of Durham. ... Read more


2. The Cambridge Companion to Anselm (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy)
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Asin: 0521002052
Catlog: Book (2005-01-17)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 149540
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Book Description

Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109), Benedictine monk and the second Norman archbishop of Canterbury, is regarded as one of the most important philosophers and theologians of the Middle Ages. The essays in this volume explore all of his major ideas both philosophical and theological, including his teachings on faith and reason, God's existence and nature, logic, freedom, truth, ethics, and key Christian doctrines. There is also discussion of his life, the sources of his thought, and his influence on other thinkers. New readers will find this the most convenient, accessible guide to Anselm currently available. Advanced students and specialists will find a conspectus of recent developments in the interpretation of Anselm. ... Read more


3. Utopia (Dover Thrift Editions)
by Sir Thomas More
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Asin: 0486295834
Catlog: Book (1997-09-05)
Publisher: Dover Publications
Sales Rank: 12882
Average Customer Review: 4.23 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Sixteenth-century classic by brilliant humanist, churchman and scholar envisioned a patriarchal island kingdom that practiced religious tolerance, in which everybody worked, all goods were community-owned, and violence, bloodshed and vice were nonexistent. Forerunner of many later attempts at establishing "Utopias" both in theory and in practice.
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Reviews (39)

4-0 out of 5 stars "In no place"
As a social critique of Enlgish and European society, this book is very effective. It is also beautifully written. But it should not be read as the depiction of what society should be like. Thomas More, a wise and brave man executed by orders of Henry VIII, knew that Utopia shouldn't be taken very seriously, and that is exactly why he used the word Utopia to name his famous island. Utopia, in latin, means "in no place", that what can not exist. The problem is that this simple fact was not understood by many. And so, "utopianism" was born. The preposterous belief that there is a universal and definitive form of organization for human societies led to disasters like Nazism and Communism. By organizing everything perfectly (according to who?), these systems become the negation of the very essence of the human being: its innate imperfection and its need to be constantly changing, always on the move. It is simply impossible that some political, economic and social system resolves once and for all the troubles of humanity. Problems are exactly what make humans progress and reform constantly. Besides, the State has proven indispensable for survival, but also limited in what it can accomplish (in Utopia, the State provides everything for everybody). Stagnant societies degenerate and disappear, or remain to live from the charity of dynamic societies. Closed, perennial social systems, simply don't work: there is abundant proof in history, ancient or recent. "Utopia" is an excellent account of human shortcomings and a good tale, but it is not, nor was intended to be, a recipe with solutions for the world. Aldous Huxley and George Orwell have shown us what might happen in a supposed Utopia. The Communist world was worse. And Anthony Burgess clearly shows us in "A Clockwork Orange", that in "perfect" societies, the only way to practice freedom is violence. Let's not be perfect.

5-0 out of 5 stars Utopia, a new way to mobilize energies ...
"Utopia", written in 1516 by Thomas More, is probably one of the most important books ever written. Why?. Simply because it influenced many people, and motivated many events: it made a difference...

"Utopia" means, literally, "no place". The word didn't exist until More coined it in this book. He wanted to make a critic regarding the English society of his time, but needed to cloak it under a "fictional" mantle due to censure. Displeasing the king was very dangerous in More's time...

What is this short novel about?. Well, More introduces us to an imaginary character, Raphael Hythloday, a traveler that has visited a distant country: Utopia. After meeting More, Raphael tells him about the country he visited, and afterwards More writes a book about what he was told.

To begin with, in that country community is more important that private aims, and that fact permeates all social and political life. There is no private propriety of the means of production, and everything belongs to everybody. Work is obligatory to all healthy men and women, and those who want to do nothing are punished with forced labor. There is no money, but everybody has what is needed to live well, although frugally. Thanks to the fact labor is well distributed, leisure time is available to all. As a result, men and women (equals in this society) can dedicate time to cultivate their minds...

Other important points that should be highlighted regarding Utopia, especially because they contrast strongly with the situation of More's England, are that in this country all religions are allowed, and that there isn't an autocratic rule (a democratically elected assembly and different local governments are elected). All in all, equality prevails, and thanks to the above mentioned arrangements harmony is achieved.

"Utopia" was written a few years later that Machiavelli's "The Prince", but the differences between the two books are incredible. In "Utopia" instead of praising the power of princes More wanted to show clearly all that was wrong in English society because it was governed by a bad ruler. He didn't tell others to face reality: he asked them to criticize it, in order to improve it later. Thus, Moro established the essential traits of what was later known as the "utopian method": to describe in other situation, with a prejudice of optimism, all that that we don't like in our society.

With "Utopia" Moro created a new way to mobilize energies, and showed options that had remained hidden from the eyes of those who weren't happy with their societies. Behind the name of "fiction", he gave politics new intruments of discussion, and opened to it novel ways of considering reality, in the light of what could/should be.

There is no politics without the idea that something better can be achieved, without the kind of imagination that allows us to think that something better is possible. Moro made that evident... I think that that is more than enough to strongly recommend this book to you :)

Belen Alcat

5-0 out of 5 stars A More Perfect Plan...
Thomas More, executed by Henry VIII (one of his best friends) for treason, led an illustrious career of politics and letters. Under his friend the King, he served in many capacities - Speaker of the House of Commons, Master of Requests, Privy Councillor, etc. - culminating with the trust of the position of Lord Chancellor, a position in those days matching the prominence (if not the definition) of Prime Minister in these days. More's strong integrity and resolute mind caught the attention of scholars, political and church leaders internationally; it was this same integrity that most likely was his undoing, refusing to assent to the King's divorce and severance of ties binding the English Church with the Roman overlordship of the Pope. Indeed, More was, if not the actual ghostwriter, then certainly an inspiration and editorial aide to the document produced by King Henry VIII against the continental protestants, earning for Henry (and his heirs ever after) the title of Defender of the Faith (historical irony is that this title, most likely not intended to be hereditary, now declares the defense of a faith separated from the one for which the title was bestowed).

While an Ambassador to Flanders, More spent spare time writing this book, 'Utopia'. The very title is a still a by-word in the English language (as well as others) of a state of bliss and peace; it is often used with the context of being unrealistic. 'Utopia' is More's response to and development from Plato's 'Republic', in that it is a framework for a perfect society, or at least perfect according to More's ideas of the time. Penned originally in Latin, 'Utopia' has been translated widely; one of the better translations is by H.V.S. Ogden, in 1949, still reprinted in various editions to this day. Originally published in Latin in 1516, the first English version appeared in 1551, some 16 years after More's death.

-----------
Utopia
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Thomas More writes this as if he were traveling, and meets his friend Peter Giles, who introduces him to Raphael Hythloday, a scholar/traveler with tales to tell.

Hythloday made friends with a prince who outfitted him for a journey. He traveled through deserts and fertile lands. He proceeds to give an account to Giles and More. In an ironic twist, given More's own attachment to Henry VIII, Hythloday states that he doesn't give his information in advice of kings or princes, for to be beholden to them is not a wise thing. He quotes Plato, in saying that unless kings were themselves philosophers, they should never appreciate philosophers.

More argues for public service, which Hythloday rejects as something that other place-seekers will use to bolster their own positions. Then Hythloday makes the startling pronouncement with regard to how a society should be constituted: 'As long as there is property, and while money is the standard of all things, I cannot think that a nation can be governed either justly or happily; not justly, because the best things will fall to the share of the worst men; nor happily, because all things will be divided among a few (and even these are not in all respects happy), the rest being left to the absolutely miserable.'

Hythloday proceeds to give an account of the life of Utopia, where, he says, there are so few laws and so much liberty and equality that virtue is always rewarded, and each person has what he or she needs. He talks about this under the following headings:

Of Their Towns, Particularly of Amaurot
Of Their Magistrates
Of Their Trades, and Manner of Life
Of Their Traffic
Of the Travelling of the Utopians
Of Their Slaves, and of Their Marriages
Of Their Military Discipline
Of the Religions of the Utopians

'Utopia' is a radical document. It anticipates the modern idea of communism, with private property at a minimum; it is generations ahead in the idea of equality of the sexes and freedom of religion. This may seem a remarkable statement from someone who will go to his death supporting the Roman hierarchy, but in historical irony, had religious freedom been respected in England at the time, More would have had nothing to fear.

'Utopia' was a place of education and free inquiry. Again, More's own life models this - travelers from as far away as Constantinople and Venice, visiting More's home in Chelsea, remarked on the incredible sense of knowledge and respect for reason and learning, not just for the men, but also for the women of the household (More's own daughter once impressed Henry VIII with her Latin training so much he was at pains to find something at which he excelled that he could best her at).

At different points throughout the text, More (speaking through Hythloday) jabs in witty and insightful manner the habits of the day - that kings are often more concerned to fill their own coffers than increasing the general wealth of the nation; that courts are designed to be self-serving and self-perpetuating; that liberties are curtailed not for just and reasonable causes, but often for petty personal reasons.

Some of the ideas, however, are not as modern or enlightened as they might seem at first glance. Utopians' freedom of religion exists only in very narrow bounds of reason - they are all monotheists, and while they might identify this deity with the sun or moon or a good person who died long ago, they are not permitted to speak or attempt to convert others to this idea, without risking bondage or death. Not too Utopian after all...

-------

More was beatified by Leo XIII in 1886 and canonised by Pius XI in 1935 (it is significant to note that Anglican-Roman relations were at a strained point during these times, and the raising of an English saint who rejected the Anglican construct served at least minor political points, something More would have been able to appreciate, if not approve). The official feast day is July 9.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just another Classic you need to read
There is a lot of discussion about this book, as there should be. What did More intend when he wrote it, is it a satire or a vision of the perfect society, all are questions people try to ask in their reviews of this volume. Having read this book twice, both times for college courses, I can tell you that the Dover Thrift edition is wonderful, the book is wonderful, the price it right, and you need to read this book. Afterwards, I encourage you to join the debate, something all books strive to do, and greats ones excel at.

5-0 out of 5 stars Utopia is satire
Please, please understand: Utopia is not Thomas Moore's philosophy or dream of perfect world, or something unbearably cruel that he believed was right in real time. Utopia is SATIRE. Entirely satire. Political lampooning.
It is unsettling to read reviews by people who have completely missed this, which is precisely the kind of thing Moore was satirizing.
Read it for the brilliant piece that it is - do not take it literally for heaven's sake!
This is akin to taking Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" seriously, and failing to see the social and political satire - Swift proposes eating Irish children to stop the overpopulation. Satire! ... Read more


4. Anselm of Canterbury: The Major Works (Oxford World's Classics)
by Saint Anselm, Brian Davies, G. R. Evans
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Asin: 0192825259
Catlog: Book (1998-10-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 90344
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Important for understanding how we got where we are
Anselm of Canterbury is one of the most important theologians in the history of the Western Church. That means that his ideas most likely have influenced the way you think about the world, whether you realize it or not. It also means that the ideas he taught have reached us in a very garbled form. Take his doctrine of the "atonement," for instance (you can read it in "Why God Became Man" in this volume). Anselm taught that by sinning humans have failed to give God the "honor" due him as our creator and as a supremely great and good and beautiful being. This creates a "debt" that must be paid back. We can't pay it, because even if we were perfectly good (which we can't be), that would only be our due anyway. It wouldn't pay back the original "debt" incurred by Adam and Eve. That debt is so great that only God himself could pay it. Yet the debt had to be paid by a human being. So God became human and paid the debt on our behalf.

This notion lies behind hundreds of evangelical and fundamentalist sermons which you can hear in churches throughout this country every Sunday. It also is partly responsible for the notion of God a lot of nonreligious people reject--a cosmic tyrant who demands perfect obedience and threatens us with punishment if we don't comply.

Yet Anselm actually _never_ taught that Jesus was "punished" on our behalf. On the contrary, the debt was paid precisely so that no punishment would be necessary. Jesus' death on the cross was not a sadistic punishment exacted by an angry God, but was the culmination of his absolute obedience to God's will. It was that obedience, completed in his sacrificial death, that paid "the debt we could not owe."

For Anselm, and for Christians generally, honoring God is the highest and most joyful thing we can do. It is the most truly human and humanizing activity imaginable. This is tied to Anselm's notion of God (expressed in his "Proslogion," also in this volume). For Anselm, God is the being than which nothing greater can be imagined. This isn't primarily about an omnipotent being who can make us do things. It's about a being so unimaginably glorious that the greatest happiness anyone can know is just to be in his presence. To turn away from a being like that (knowing what we're doing, which most of us don't) is to be something less than we could be. Obviously this is a bit of a modern interpretation of Anselm, but I don't think it contradicts him.

I do think, though, that there are better ways to think about the Atonement than Anselm's. Earlier Christians had spoken of Jesus' death and resurrection primarily as a victory over death and the devil--what the baptismal vows in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer call the "forces that corrupt and destroy the creatures of God." Anselm didn't like this notion, because he thought it limited God's power and gave the devil some sort of independent existence (and in some versions even legal "rights"). But I think that that understanding of Jesus' saving work is probably truer to the Bible and Christian tradition than Anselm's.

But even if--indeed especially if--you disagree with Anselm, he's worth reading. He and the "scholastic" theologians who followed him helped shape Christian thinking in the West for the past thousand years. They are partly responsible for the fact that Western Christians--Catholics and Protestants--think so differently from the Orthodox.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Classic Christian Reading
Anselm was a very important author for Medieval Christianity. He contributed the Ontological argument for the existence (or should I say subsitence) of God, as well as formulating verbally the substitutionary atonement of Christ. This book provides these as well as a host of other rich classical Christian thoughts. It is difficult reading, but excellent in that it makes one think, believer or non-believer, in the metaphysical realities of life. I would have to say a must for anyone interested in the development of Christian thinking, as well as Philosophical development. ... Read more


5. Decisive Treatise and Epistle Dedicatory (Islamic Translation Series)
by Averroes, Charles E. Butterworth
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Asin: 0842524797
Catlog: Book (2002)
Publisher: Brigham Young University
Sales Rank: 410664
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Averroës (Ibn Rushd, 1126-1198) emerged from an eminent family in Muslim Spain to become the first and last great Aristotelian of the classical Islamic world; his meticulous commentaries influenced Christian thinkers and earned him favorable mention (and a relatively pleasant fate) in Dante's Divina Commedia. The Book of the Decisive Treatise was and remains one his most important works and one of history's best defenses of the legitimate role of reason in a community of faith. The text presents itself as a plea before a tribunal in which the divinely revealed Law of Islam is the sole authority; Averroës, critical of the anti-philosophical tone of the Islamic establishment, argues that the Law not only permits but also mandates the study of philosophy and syllogistic or logical reasoning, defending earlier Muslim philosophers and dismissing criticisms of them as more harmful to the Islamic community than the philosophers' own views had been. As he details the three fundamental methods the Law uses to aid people of varied capacities and temperaments, Averroës reveals a carefully formed and remarkably argued conception of the boundaries and uses of faith and reason.

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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Worthwhile
Ibn Rushd or Averroes is one of the most important philosophers in the Islamic tradition, and also one of the most important of all commentators on Aristotle. And Charles Butterworth is one of the premiere translators of Averroes.

This particular text is a very important defense of philosophy against those (in Averroes's specific case, Muslims) who argued that philosophical reasoning is a violation of religious law. Such issues are still alive, more or less (for example, in the struggle between science and religion), so this book has more than merely antiquarian interest.

The translation is very clear, and, for those who read Arabic, it's helpful to have the original text on the facing page. Given the quality of the work, too, the book is surprisingly inexpensive.

Highly recommended. ... Read more


6. A History of Western Philosophy : The Medieval Mind, Volume II (A History of Western Philosophy)
by W. T. Jones, Robert J. Fogelin
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Asin: 0155383132
Catlog: Book (1969-03-01)
Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing
Sales Rank: 142213
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A HISTORY OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY examines the nature of philosophical enterprise and philosophy's role in Western culture. Jones and Fogelin weave key passages from classic philosophy works into their comments and criticisms, giving A HISTORY OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY the combined advantages of a source book and textbook. The text concentrates on major figures in each historical period, combining exposition with direct quotations from the philosophers themselves. The text places philosophers in appropriate cultural context and shows how their theories reflect the concerns of their times. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought and faith interwined or intangled...
This book, 'The Medieval Mind', is the second volume of a five-volume series on the history of Western Philosophy by W.T. Jones, professor of philosophy in California. This series is a very strong, thorough introduction to the course of Western Philosophy, beginning at the dawn of the philosophical enterprise with the pre-Socratics in ancient Greece to the modern thinkers such as Wittgenstein and Sartre. It has grown, over the three decades or so of its publication, from one to four then to five volumes. It has remained a popular text, and could serve as the basis of a one-year survey of philosophy for undergraduates or a one-semester survey for graduate students. Even advanced students in philosophy will find this valuable, all major topics and most minor topics in the course of philosophy are covered in these volumes.

Jones states that there are two possible ways for a writer to organise a history of philosophy -- either by addressing everyone who ever participated in philosophy (which could become rather cumbersome if one accepts the premise that anyone could be a philosopher), or to address the major topics and currents of thought, drawing in the key figures who address them, but leaving out the lesser thinkers for students to pursue on their own. Jones has chosen the latter tactic, making sure to provide bibliographic information for this task.

This volume, 'The Medieval Mind', starts where the last volume leaves off, as the classical world, in the form of the Greek and then Roman Empire, the organising principles for the Western world for nearly a thousand years, were beginning to crumble. Into the strenth of the Roman Empire the originating events of the Christian faith came about, but it wasn't for a few centuries that Roman rule was waning and the rise of Christendom, politically and intellectually, was taking its place.

Much of medieval philosophy is directly the result of people in the church (at that time adminstratively and ideally an undivided church, despite the fact that the already-sown-seeds of the East/West split and the many heretical factions argue against that interpretation). If the two primary figures in classical philosophical thought were Plato and Aristotle, the two primary figures in medieval philosophy parallel them in Augustine and Aquinas, and in an interesting historical progression, Augustine grew largely out of Plato, and Aquinas developed his thought through the reintroduction of Aristotle into Western thought centuries later.

Between these two major figures, philosophy and intellectual development was not dead, but there was a seeming hibernation in what tends to be termed the Dark Ages. However, it was during this period that the beginnings of the university as a scholarly place took place, and such intellects as John Scotus Erigena appeared occasionally.

This was a world in which the division between philosophy and theology was unthinkable. Our more modern sense of division of academic disciplines did not apply, so there is a great deal of theological thought here, which is many ways sets up conflicts and paradoxes that carry down to the current church and the current academic philosophical enterprise.

Each volume ends with a glossary of terms, and a worthwhile index. The glossary warns against short, dictionary-style definitions and answers to broad terms and questions, and thus indicates the pages index-style to the discussion within the text for further context. The one wish I would have would be a comprehesive glossary and index that covers the several volumes; as it is, each volume has only its own referents.

This is minor criticism in a generally exceptional series. It is not easy text, but it is not needlessly difficult. The print size on the direct quotes, which are sometimes lengthy, can be a strain at times, but the reading is worthwhile.

3-0 out of 5 stars One thumb up, one thumb down
It is always good to have plenty of different sources on the history of medieval philosophy when doing research or writing a paper. W.T. Jones' Volume II of his History of Western Philosophy, "The Medieval Mind," is a good addition to the philosopher's bookshelf though by no means the first book you should grab if interested in medieval philosophy.

Since Western medieval philosophy is 90% about Christianity, a lot of today's philosophers, not being Christians, don't care much for its study and therefore neglect to get educated about medieval philosophy properly--but then they shouldn't write a book on the topic. There is at least one instance of this manifested in Jones' book, at the top of page 220. After describing and discussing Thomas Aquinas' argument from causality for the existence of God, he alleges that the argument fails because, so he believes, "Thomas began by arguing that every event must have a cause" (p.220). But this is NOT TRUE. Thomas began, rather, by saying that every THING (not event) THAT CANNOT ITSELF ACCOUNT FOR ITS EXISTENCE must have a cause. While Thomas may not explicitly state that in his description of the Second Way, anyone who studies the thought of Thomas and looks at his other proofs for the existence of God knows that this is what he means. Therefore, Jones is wrong in suggesting that "[Thomas'] conclusion contradicts his original contention that every event has a cause" (ibid.), for Thomas' original contention is not that every event has a cause, but that every CONTINGENT THING has a cause. Like Bertrand Russell, Jones gets this important premise wrong and therefore misconstrues the argument.

I believe this is an instance of a philosopher who is not all that much into medieval philosophy (probably because he's not a theist) writing a book on the topic--and the results are less than great.

For a medieval philosophy book, I suggest books that are written by believers, for the very reason that most of medieval philosophy is to some extent about THEOLOGY (mostly Christian but also some Muslim and Jewish), and someone who's on the "inside" can better teach and explain the medieval period. There is less of a chance of making a blunder like the one Jones made.

So, for medieval philosophy books, I suggest Frederick Copleston's universally-acclaimed "History of Philosophy," Volumes 2 and 3, the same author's "Medieval Philosophy: An Introduction," Teodoro de la Torre's "Popular History of Philosophy," and Etienne Gilson's "The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy." I am sure there are also other good works out there.

So, again, Jones' book is a nice supplement on medieval philosophy, but that's as far as it goes.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Clue Into How We Got Into This Mess
Recent knotty questions regarding knowledge and certainty prompted me to dust off my copy of Jones' book and revisit pages not looked at since university days in Hawaii. It was a pleasure to find again the important issues and questions seriously considered: is there a God? Does evil exist? What are the limits of free will? What is "salvation?" Who is supreme, the individual or the state? What constitutes a valid ethical system and from what authority might it be derived? What is the proper balance between faith and reason? What is the preferred political system? What is the nature and future of man?

Once again I was amazed at the Professor's ability to sift through a sea of historical and technical detail, identify core concepts, follow them as they thread their way through the interval under consideration and relate them to the present time. His objectivity is consistent and his writing is not intrusive--it's as if the reader is engaged in direct personal research. His language is concise and not pedantic--this layman had no difficulty following his presentation of the various controversies characterizing medieval philosophical discourse.

The book ranges from the first century A.D. through the end of the period sometime in the 14th century. It addresses, among other things, the interplay of Jewish tradition and classical thought during the formative years of Christianity. An overview of the development of society, culture and a coherent worldview prepares the reader for a bracing survey of Thomism, including his metaphysics, psychology, ethics and politics. In closing the book, Jones details the subsequent critiques of Thomism developed by Bacon, Duns Scotus, William of Occam, et al.

For those desiring greater detail the author presents numerous footnotes to each chapter and a wide-ranging "Suggestions for Further Reading" section. Not a professional philosopher? No problem: an excellent glossary is also included. In short, anyone interested in more than a superficial, pop-culture view of the ideas that underly our "post-modern" age must consider this book. It fits neatly in the bookshelf of the academic as well as the layman--an excellent book, most excellent. ... Read more


7. Medieval Islamic Philosophical Writings (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy)
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Asin: 0521529638
Catlog: Book (2005-01-31)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 406166
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Book Description

Although strongly influenced by Greek thought, Islamic philosophers also developed an original philosophical culture of their own which flourished from the ninth through the fourteenth century. This volume offers new translations of philosophical writings by Farabi, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Ghazali, Ibn Tufayl, and Ibn Rushd (Averroes). A historical and philosophical introduction sets the writings in context and traces their preoccupations and their achievements. ... Read more


8. An Introduction to the Metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas
by Thomas, James F. Anderson, Aquinas, Saint Thomas, W. Norris Clarke
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Asin: 089526420X
Catlog: Book (1997-06-01)
Publisher: Gateway Editions
Sales Rank: 552089
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An accessible and solid entry into the metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars The One and the many, and the analogicity of Being:
Essence and existence. Aquinas develops Aristotelian metaphysics, the "transcendental" science of being (note that the term 'transcendental' as used by Thomas is quite different than the same term as used by Kant). Thomas' thought is among the densest of all philosophers', and is, for the modern student, perhaps more difficult to grasp than is the work of Kant. A reader unfamiliar with philosophy should not initiate his study with Thomas. For the student [at least] somewhat grounded in existentialist reasoning, this compilation serves as a concise introduction to Thomist metaphysics/ natural theology/ first philosophy. Translated and compiled by professor of philosophy, James F. Anderson, this volume is especially valuable in that Thomas Aquinas' work is so capacious and intimidating that one doesn't otherwise know how to approach it.
Thomas [and Averroes] reintroduced Aristotle to Western thought and Thomist scholasticism has illuminated the path from the 13th century to the 20th, he was perhaps the greatest intellect of the Middle Ages. Anderson's edition may be the best means of introducing oneself to St. Thomas Aquinas.

5-0 out of 5 stars A deep introduction to Aquinas's metaphysical synthesis
This book harvests Aquinas's finest, clearest and most relevant metaphysical texts--particularly those that better elucidate his original philosophical synthesis--with a focus on three problems: the subject of metaphysics, the analogicity of being, and the most universal determinations of this notion: the "transcendentals."

Do not expect a comprehensive exposition of Aquinas's metaphysical thought, for this was clearly not the intent of the late James F. Anderson. In fact, the book does not introduce us to certain basic metaphysical notions such as substance, accident, prime matter and substantial form. For this reason, some knowledge of classical metaphysics is highly desirable, while not absolutely necessary, to benefit more fully from this outstanding compilation.

The selection is of tremendous educational value, especially if we consider that some of the incorporated texts are difficult to find in translation. Excellent for teachers and students alike.

In brief (in just 116 pages), this book reveals some of Aquinas's greatest contributions to classical, perennial "first philosophy." The result is a well-organized, fluent introduction to Aquinas's own thoughts in Aquinas's own words.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction to the metaphysics of St. Thomas
First, I will simply reiterate what the previous reviewer stated: "The author introduces the reader to the metaphysics of St. Thomas by compiling sources from disparate primary texts." Apparently, no single primary source for Thomas' metaphysics exists. The author has done us a tremendous service in bringing Aquinas' metaphysical teachings together in one volume.

This book also represents a great introduction to metaphysics in general, at least for a person who is trying to teach himself philosophy, such as myself.

I have found other compilations of Thomas' writings to be difficult to understand because they assume an understanding of the transcendentals: being, one, true, good and beautiful and their relationships to each other; and other philosophical terms such as act, potency, form and matter, substance and essence, etc.

In around 100 pages the author is able to convey the central concepts of Thomas' metaphysics very clearly, thus opening the way for further study in Thomas' writings.

I am very grateful to have discovered this book. I am sure you will be too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Reliable introduction in Thomas's own words
The author introduces the reader to the metaphysics of St. Thomas by compiling sources from disparate primary texts. A wealth of citations in Thomas's own words results. The many works of Thomas are lengthy, often difficult to access and too expensive to own. The author has overcome this barrier, at least in terms of an adequate introduction. Citations are arranged in chapters such as "What is metaphysics, Modes of Being, The Analogy of Being," and the trandendentals, oneness, goodness, truth, and beauty. ... Read more


9. Aristotle's Children : How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Middle Ages
by Richard E. Rubenstein
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Asin: 0156030098
Catlog: Book (2004-09-20)
Publisher: Harvest Books
Sales Rank: 42044
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Europe was in the long slumber of the Middle Ages, the Roman Empire was in tatters, and the Greek language was all but forgotten, until a group of twelfth-century scholars rediscovered and translated the works of Aristotle. His ideas spread like wildfire across Europe, offering the scientific view that the natural world, including the soul of man, was a proper subject of study. The rediscovery of these ancient ideas sparked riots and heresy trials, caused major upheavals in the Catholic Church, and also set the stage for today's rift between reason and religion.

In Aristotle's Children, Richard Rubenstein transports us back in history, rendering the controversies of the Middle Ages lively and accessible-and allowing us to understand the philosophical ideas that are fundamental to modern thought.


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Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Science versus Religion
Once upon a time not so very many centuries ago, Europe was the "third world" and the Islamic world stood at the pinnacle of civilization.How did Western culture transform itself from uncivilized backwater to what it is today, while Islamic culture became the modern "third world"?Rubenstein doesn't set out to answer this question, but his work stands as authority for the proposition that ancient wisdom, specifically the works of Aristotle, changed the balance in favor of the West.

During the early Middle Ages, while Europeans were beating each other over the heads with poorly forged swords, Islamic civilization was at its zenith, and Arabic "falsafa" (philosophy) was the reason.Europe had completely forgotten Aristotle, but the Arabs knew his works and studied them earnestly.

During the 1200 to 1400's, the "Reconquista" recovered both Spain and Aristotle from the Arabs.Over the next few centuries, both cultures struggled to reconcile science with religion.Religion won an unconditional victory in the Moslem world and Islamic civilization went into decline.

Rubenstein records the initial enthusiastic acceptance of science by Europe, the uneasy truce that developed between science and religion, and the ultimate "victory" of science over religion.Ironically, the men whose work formed the foundation for that victory were almost uniformly men of religion.Rubenstein argues for a modern detente between science and religion similar to Stephen Jay Gould's concept NOMA (which is described in Gould's book "Rocks of Ages").Zealots from the camps of both science and religion would do well to read these two books.

4-0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended !
I recommend this book for its clarity and perspective. It shows us the light to understand in part the so called Dark Age.

4-0 out of 5 stars Readable and exciting biographical history
Richard Rubenstein manages to tell a little known story in history -- that of the rediscovery of Aristotle's ideas in the Middle Ages in the West and its influence on subsequent Western intellectual development. As Rubenstein points out, it is often assumed that the Dark Ages came to an end with the efforts Copernicus, Galileo and Newton. This is only part of the story. The other half -- a necessary prerequisite for the existence of scientists at all -- was the reintroduction of Aristotle's ideas into Western culture. Aristotle was an advocate of the importance of this world (he didn't recognize any other), unlike the previously Platonic-otherworldly emphasis that had been dominating Christianity since St. Augustine. It was this shift in ideas within what was then Christian Europe that set the stage for the later scientists.

*Aristotle's Children* focuses on the history and personalities of those who rediscovered, studied and reinterpreted Aristotle's ideas, as well as Christianity as a result. It more a historical biographical book than an intellectual history. Those looking for a detailed intellectual analysis of the period are advised to look at some of Rubenstein's sources such as W.T. Jones's "A History of Western Philosophy: The Medieval Mind". At the same time, Rubenstein does cover the essentials of the ideas of all the people involved.

Sadly the book concludes by emphasizing the importance of compromise between faith and reason for the world of today -- a compromise that would never have been endorsed by Aristotle, though that is exactly what medievals, who were trying to reinterpret the Christianity in the light of Aristotle tried, and ultimately failed to do.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting but much more on non-Christian influence.
Finally a book written for a general audience on the link between Aristotle and the monotheist tradition in the Middle Ages.Most could read this book,learn, and enjoy the story.However, I would have welcomed more on the link that the great Muslim thinker Averroes in Spain brought to the reexamination of the Greeks to the Enlightenment.Much has been written on the intellectual foundations to a Christian philosophical tradition but the book would have been "meatier" for me if the Islamic and Jewish line would have been explored by the author more deeply and it would have been interesting to see the historical reaction to the three monotheist traditions view of Aristotle coming together in the Middle Ages.Other than that, thought the book was a fun read during a cold, dark time.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good work..but nothing new
I was very excited with this book when i bought it.I wanted to know about how pagan philosophy got all tangled up with christianism and other religions.Altough Mr Rubenstein presents a good and well researched book,it's nothing new under the sun.Most of the information he writes about it's information well known.He doesnt break any new ground.One thing that i particularly found very good was that Mr Rubenstein explains the philosophical terms in a very simple manner.One thing i didnt like is that in the introduction Mr Rubenstein says that the Catholic Church accepted the contamination of philosophy with open arms and that also the catholic Church was a vehicle for knowledge and wisdom to spread thru Europe and the rest of the world.But when you read his book,he constantly says that the Catholic Church had to accept philosophy because it couldnt control it anymore.His arguments as to the Church's "good" intentions toward the spread and openess of science and other areas is not proven throught his book.But as an introduction to the subject is a very good book,but if you do more research you will find out that his conclusions are wrong. ... Read more


10. The Cambridge Companion to Aquinas (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy)
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Asin: 0521437695
Catlog: Book (1993-05-28)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 303870
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Among the great philosophers of the Middle Ages Aquinas is unique in pursuing two apparently disparate projects.On the one hand he developed a philosophical understanding of Christian doctrine in a fully integrated system encompassing all natural and supernatural reality.On the other hand, he was convinced that Aristotle's philosophy afforded the best available philosophical component of such a system.In a relatively brief career Aquinas developed these projects in great detail and with an astonishing degree of success. In this volume ten leading scholars introduce all the important aspects of Aquinas' thought, ranging from its historical background and dependence on Greek, Islamic, and Jewish philosophy and theology, through the metaphysics, epistemology and ethics, to the philosophical approach to Biblical commentary.New readers and nonspecialists will find this the most convenient, accessible guide to Aquinas currently in print.Advanced students and specialists will find a conspectus of recent developments in the interpretation of Aquinas. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent work
St. Thomas Aquinas was not a man short of words. The depth of his thinking, and the sheer volume of his texts, makes his thinking both profound and difficult. But most of all, the aspiring student of Thomas' work may be afraid to face the daunting task of diving into the vast ocean of Thomas' words.

For them, this volume is exactly what they need.

By gathering up some of the top Aquinas scholars in the field, this volume presents the major topics of Aquinas' work in a lucid, considered, and (most importantly) easily understood way. While certainly not comprehensive (that is not its aim, and after all, the book would be another 500 pages at least), any potential Thomist scholar would be greatly served by this volume. Not only do the various authors give the reader a general overview of Thomas' thought and development, they also introduce some of the disputes going on within academic Thomistic studies. As such, this volume is a good starting point for those interested in Aquinas, be it an academic interest or an desire to learn about the life and thought of a Doctor of the Church.

Admittedly, one should not try and delve into this book with no previous background into Thomas' thought. It does presume some level of familiarity with the terminology Aquinas gained from Aristotle, as well as from the Church Fathers and others. Given this, a general background in philosophy and/or patristic/scholastic theology should suffice for most of the work.

If you want to understand Aquinas, but are just starting out, you should have this book on your shelf. Highly Recommended.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not for "nonspecialists"
The cover states the book is for "students and nonspecialist", which I found to be not true. The best example was in the chapter Metaphysics, if you do not already understand the concepts and especially Aquinas` arguements before reading the book you will definitly not understand them after reading the book. I felt the book confuses much more than enlightens.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thorough, Precise, and Informative
As always, Norman Kretzmann and Eleonore Stump deliver another masterful work together. Each of these writers are experts in their philosophical field of Medieval Metaphysics and philosophy. For anyone interested in gaining a better grasp of one of the greatest philosophers in the history of philosophy, this volume will certainly help. Kretzmann and Stump have edited this volume and included some of the preeminent Thomistic philosophers of the last 40 years. Chapters cover Aquinas' thoughts on ethics, metaphysics, Aristotle and Aquinas, Aquinas' theory of knowledge, law and politics and theological issues. Thus, the essentials of Aquinas are here in one volume. Moreover,this is an excellent work for those who would like to dig deeper and gain a more throrough understanding of Aquinas, or for those who would like to simply be "peeping Thomists" and get a small glimpse of what Aquinas espoused. ... Read more


11. The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Set)
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Asin: 0028646517
Catlog: Book (1996-06)
Publisher: MacMillan Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 171301
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars The original set or the supplement?
Amazon.com has mistakenly filed both the supplement and the original 4 volume set of this excellent reference work under the same heading. The really expensive one is the original set!

5-0 out of 5 stars Completes the best reference work in the field
For anyone who has a treasured place in their library for the original 4-volume set, this supplement provides a cogent update that maintains the high standards, impeccable scholarship and sheer brilliance of the series. Some articles are like small books in themselves. A masterful study. ... Read more


12. An Introduction to Classical Islamic Philosophy
by Oliver Leaman
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Asin: 0521797578
Catlog: Book (2001-11-12)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 331145
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Book Description

Although Islamic philosophy represents one of the most important philosophical traditions in the world, it has only relatively recently begun to receive attention in the non-Islamic world. This is a new edition of a successful introductory book, expanded and updated to take account of recent scholarship. It focuses on what is regarded as Islamic philosophy's golden age, and will appeal to students and to any general reader interested in this philosophical tradition. ... Read more


13. The Cambridge Companion to Abelard (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy)
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Asin: 0521775965
Catlog: Book (2004-03-18)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 429052
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Book Description

Although best known for his views about universals and his dramatic love affair with Heloise, Peter Abelard (1079-1142) also made important contributions in metaphysics, logic, philosophy of language, mind and cognition, philosophical theology, ethics, and literature. The essays in this volume survey the complete range of Abelard's thought by examining his overall achievement in its intellectual and historical context. They also trace Abelard's influence on later thought and his relevance to contemporary philosophical debate. ... Read more


14. Four-Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time (Mind Association Occasional Series)
by Theodore Sider
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Asin: 0199263523
Catlog: Book (2003-07-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 459658
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best metaphysics book of the year!
Hud Hudson, in a review of Ted Sider's book, says, "This is simply a superb book in metaphysics - handsomely written, cleverly argued, and exceedingly clear." Of course, Hudson happens to agree with almost every thesis Sider defends in the book. But I don't. In fact, I happen to disagree with almost every position defended in Sider's book. So what do I think of the book? I think it is simply a superb book in metaphysics - handsomely written, cleverly argued, and exceedingly clear. And I think it is notable that both friends and foes of the views defended in the book will find it to be extremely valuable. That is a real mark of distinction in philosophy, and my hat is off to Sider for producing such an outstanding work.

What is the book about? Mainly the question of whether physical objects have temporal parts. A temporal part of x is, roughly, an object that exists for a shorter time than x but that exactly overlaps x throughout its existence. Sider believes, for example, that you have a temporal part that exists (only) from noon to 1pm today, and that perfectly overlaps you throughout that time. His view allows him to give neat and clean solutions to all manner of metaphysical problems (including the problem of how a time traveler who meets his former self could be both sitting and standing at the same time), and to do various other wonderful things.

Although this is primarily a work for academic philosophers, it is clear enough that non-philosophers will be able to follow it, and to benefit from a careful reading of it. I highly recommend Four-Dimensionalism to professional philosophers, philosophy students (both graduate and undergraduate), and anyone else who is interested in questions about time and space.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fabulous book! A pleasure to read!
This book should be required reading for anyone interested in analytic metaphysics. Not only is the book interesting in its own right, it also provides a model for what rigorous argumentation and clear presentation can be. I recommend it most highly! ... Read more


15. Employment With a Human Face: Balancing Efficiency, Equity, and Voice
by John W. Budd
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Asin: 0801442087
Catlog: Book (2004-02-01)
Publisher: ILR Press
Sales Rank: 771297
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

John W. Budd contends that the turbulence of the current workplace and the importance of work for individuals and society make it vitally important that employment be given "a human face." Contradicting the traditional view of the employment relationship as a purely economic transaction, with business wanting efficiency and workers wanting income, Budd argues that equity and voice are equally important objectives. The traditional narrow focus on efficiency must be balanced with employees' entitlement to fair treatment (equity) and the opportunity to have meaningful input into decisions (voice), he says. Only through a greater respect for these human concerns can broadly shared prosperity, respect for human dignity, and equal appreciation for the competing human rights of property and labor be achieved.

Budd proposes a fresh set of objectives for modern democracies—efficiency, equity, and voice—and supports this new triad with an intellectual framework for analyzing employment institutions and practices. In the process, he draws on scholarship from industrial relations, law, political science, moral philosophy, theology, psychology, sociology, and economics, and advances debates over free markets, globalization, human rights, and ethics. He applies his framework to important employment-related topics, such as workplace governance, the New Deal industrial relations system, comparative industrial relations, labor union strategies, and globalization. These analyses create a foundation for reforming employment practices, social norms, and public policies. In the book's final chapter, Budd advocates the creation of the field of human resources and industrial relations and explores the wider implications of this renewed conceptualization of industrial relations. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent look at the full scope of Employment Relationship
John Budd brings into focus something that is not always looked at in the employment relationship. He has brought ideas that helped me better understand why just $$$ is not sufficient in this ever changing world in order to retain good employees. New Human Resouces practices are starting to see this, but not able to explain why this trend is occuring. Budd gives an excellent overview of why employers need to do more than just 'show me the money' in finding and retaining good talent.

I think he develops a key point in talking about employee voice. Employee's need to know they are heard, even if the management can't necessarily do anything about it. If you want to know more, read Budd's book. ... Read more


16. The Christian Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas
by Etienne Gilson, I.T. Shook
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Asin: 0268008019
Catlog: Book (1994-03-01)
Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
Sales Rank: 132115
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Being and Somethingness
As the other reviewers have said, this book is truly a classic, and like most of Gilson's opus is well worth reading by anyone interested in philosophy. Particularly strong are the early chapters on being (ontology) and on Aquinas's famous proofs of the existence of God.

Gilson wants to convince as well as explain, so the tone can be a little tendentious at times, but generally his prose is lucid, even lyrical. Also, in my opinion the final chapter somewhat blurs the distinction between Thomism and saving faith.

Ultimately, however, this book fully succeeds in getting under the skin of Thomistic philosophy. After reading it, you may never see "things" in quite the same way.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best introduction to Aquinas available today.
Clear. Concise. Masterful. A true classic. If you want to understand Aquinas, read Gilson's book first. Then read it three more times.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction to the thought of Aquinas
Gilson has exceptional skill in explaining difficult philosophical concepts. He lays out the existential foundations of St. Thomas Aquinas' thought and makes a compelling case that "the metaphysical positions of Aquinas are still far ahead of what is considered most progressive in the philosophical thought of our own times." Gilson relates the thought of Aquinas to that of his predecessors, especially Aristotle and Augustine. Although this book can be difficult reading at times, the reader will be rewarded by the effort. ... Read more


17. The Metaphysical Thought of Thomas Aquinas: From Finite Being to Uncreated Being (Monographs of the Society for Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy, 1)
by John F. Wippel
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Asin: 0813209838
Catlog: Book (2000-09-01)
Publisher: Catholic University of America Press
Sales Rank: 240751
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Written by a highly respected scholar of Thomas Aquinas’s writings, this volume offers a comprehensive presentation of Aquinas’s metaphysical thought. It is based on a thorough examination of his texts organized according to the philosophical order as he himself describes it rather than according to the theological order.

In the introduction and opening chapter, John F. Wippel examines Aquinas’s view on the nature of metaphysics as a philosophical science and the relationship of its subject to divine being. Part One is devoted to his metaphysical analysis of finite being. It considers his views on the problem of the One and the Many in the order of being, and includes his debt to Parmenides in formulating this problem and his application of analogy to finite being. Subsequent chapters are devoted to participation in being, the composition of essence and "esse" in finite beings, and his appeal to a kind of relative nonbeing in resolving the problem of the One and the Many. Part Two concentrates on Aquinas’s views on the essential structure of finite being, and treats substance-accident composition and related issues, including, among others, the relationship between the soul and its powers and unicity of substantial form. It then considers his understanding of matter-form composition of corporeal beings and their individuation. Part Three explores Aquinas’s philosophical discussion of divine being, his denial that God’s existence is self-evident, and his presentation of arguments for the existence of God, first in earlier writings and then in the "Five Ways" of his "Summa theologiae." A separate chapter is devoted to his views on quidditative and analogical knowledge of God. The concluding chapter revisits certain issues concerning finite being under the assumption that God’s existence has now been established. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars A useful work, but upside-down in at least one way.
I enjoyed this work. In particular, Wippel's discussion of the three meanings of participation as found in Thomas' "Commentary on the Hebdomads of Boethius" is something which is not brought out often enough in discussions of metaphysics.

I was, however, somewhat perplexed by Wippel's insistence on delaying so long the question of God's existence. This would have made some sense if the demonstration of God's existence somehow depended upon the "logical" participation that all created beings have in "esse," namely the "esse commune" of creatures. But since that is not the case, and we could equally prove the existence of God from one creature rather than all creatures in common, why spend so much time avoiding the issue of God's existence? And since creatures have their "to be" (esse) only by analogy with God's, and this is most certainly an analogy of attribution, not the internal analogy of proper proportion between "esse" and "essentia" in creatures, does not the very "logical" community of creaturely "esse" depend upon the existence of God as the ground of that community? Perhaps I am risking misunderstanding by saying this, but it strikes me as a somewhat Heideggerian move, rather than a Thomistic one. It raises Heidegger's "Sein" to a philosophic preeminence rather than ground "Sein" by analogy in God's transcendance. There is the real risk that God will indeed simply become the Highest Being (ens), rather than "Ipsum Esse Subsistens." Surely, this is not Wippel's intention, but by putting this forward in such an order, he seems to adopt a doctrine of analogy at variance with Thomas'. Perhaps this order of exposition is one of the things the previous reviewer objected to. Gilson maintained a theological order of exposition beginning with God and descending to creatures, the very pattern of the Summa. Perhaps the order can be inverted in a purely philosophical mode, but not lightly so, nor without investigating and defending explicitly the repercussions for a doctrine of participation and analogy. Certainly, in any exposition real relations and communities must precede logical ones, and I do not see that one can posit a real community of beings when the Prime Analogate is missing.

To sum up then, this is a valuable book, but I have some reservations about the order of exposition.

4-0 out of 5 stars Could Become a Standard Text for Aquinas
Wippel has written a monster of a text on Aquinas. This text deals with anything and everything metaphysic in Thomistic thinking on the subject. The reason I gave it four stars and not five was for certain disagreements that I had with certain positions Wippel took as apposed to my Gilsonian influence of Thomism (i.e. the faith and reason issue and to what extent can philosophy be 'Christian' and the role philosophy plays alongside of or with theology).

Wippel's text is very well written. Certain parts are hard to follow and some of the content is quite dense, but not so dense that a little 'mental elbow' strength would not help.

As the title suggests, the text is a treatise on the metaphysics of Aquinas. Thus, the issues of existence, esse (being), a being (ens), substance, matter, form, etc. are all present an accounted for. Wippel discusses in great detail the one and many issue, substance/accidents composition, prime matter, finite being, uncreated being, God's existence, naturally the five ways of Aquinas, predication (analogy, quidditative knowledge, etc.), essence/esse, and so much more. This text is 630 pages of nothing but Thomistic metaphysics.

Those of you who have learned Aquinas metaphysics through Gilson (which is where I got my introduction to Thomistic metaphysics) then this book will cajole you to reexamine some of what you may have learned in the past. Wippel is in strong disagreement with some of Gilson's assertions and Wippel tells his reader when he disagrees, states his case of disagreement and then offers argumentation for a different view.

I was introduced to this book this semester at Marquette University in a class I am currently taking on Aquinas. The text has been quite helpful, difficult to read at times but a good solid reference tool which I know I will use for years to come in studies of Aquinas. If you are seriously interested in Thomistic metaphysics then you will not want to be without this text. ... Read more


18. Paulus Venetus Logica Parva: First Critical Edition from the Manuscripts With Introduction and Commentary
by Alan R. Perreiah
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Asin: 9004123652
Catlog: Book (2002-01-01)
Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers
Sales Rank: 782934
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19. The Lost Love Letters of Heloise and Abelard : Perceptions of Dialogue in Twelfth-Century France (The New Middle Ages)
by Constant J. Mews
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Asin: 0312239416
Catlog: Book (2001-04-07)
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Sales Rank: 85039
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This book examines a medieval text long neglected by most scholars. The Lost Love Letters of Heloise and Abelard looks at the earlier correspondence between these two famous individuals, revealing the emotions and intimate exchanges that occurred between them. The perspectives presented here are very different from the view related by Abelard in his "History of My Calamities," an account which provoked a much more famous exchange of letters between Heloise and Abelard after they had both entered religious life. Offering a full translation of the love letters along with a copy of the actual Latin text, Mews provides an in-depth analysis of the debate concerning the authenticity of the letters and look at the way in which the relationship between Heloise and Abelard has been perceived over the centuries. He also explores the political, literary, and religious contexts in which the two figures conducted their affair and offers new insights into Heloise as an astonishingly gifted writer, whose literary gifts were ultimately frustrated by the course of her relationship with her teacher.
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Academic detective work & translating at its best!
What a treat to read these early letters! Mews compelling argues, based upon impeccable scholarship, that what we have here is a bona fide glimpse into the developing relationship between two of the medieval world's most interesting philosophers. Heloise's letters compel me to reconsider the views expressed in A History of Women Philosophers Volume 2 regarding Heloise's sexual interest in Abelard, while clarifying the fact that she took the doctrine of the morality of intention much more seriously than did Abelard. The letters clearly show that while Abelard taught Ciceronian/Tullian moral philosophy to Heloise, she practiced it while he did not. And for those who have no interest in philosophy?? Read one of the greatest love stories never told, straight from the mouths of the lovers themselves.

5-0 out of 5 stars Add me to this list of people who loved this book!
Seldom do I find a work of historical scholarship that I simply cannot put down -- this is it. Anyone familiar with the Abelard and Heloise story and the very basic outlines of 12th century history ought to enjoy this compelling and intriguing piece.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
What a fine piece of work this is from Constant Mews! I was dazzled by his erudition and the almost detective-like skill he used in authenticating this cache of letters as being those of the tragic Heloise and Abelard. Scholars have much to thank Mews and his collaborator, Chiavarolli, for upon the publication of this timely work. Those who believe Heloise to be the more important of the two figures also have much to rejoice about. They have elevated Heloise to the level of other well-known medieval woman such as Joan of Arc, Christine de Pizan, etc. Bravo. A long overdue piece of the Heloise and Abelard puzzle has finally been laid in place.

5-0 out of 5 stars Akin to discovering a hitherto unknown play by Shakespeare
Drawing upon the research presented in Ewald Konsgen's 'Epistolae duorun amantium: Briefe Abaelards und Heloises? (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1974), Mews offers a compelling thesis that letters discovered and transcribed in Clairvaux in the 15th century are the 'lost' love letters of Peter Abelard and Heloise. Mews asserts that the letters in question were written 'by two articulate individuals who lived in the Ile-de-France in first half of the 12th century [who] were fully conversant with the classical authors known at that time', a point made by Konsgen but further developed by Mews. Indeed, it is made clear that not only are the Clairvaux letters the work of two distinctly different authors, but that woman is the man's student, "the only disciple of philosophy among all the women of our age" as he calls her, the man a famous teacher, a master of philosophy and a poet. The author begins with the discovery of the letters in a monastery at Clairvaux and their transcription by the monk Johannes de Vespria. He then follows with a discussion of the 'known' (and still controversial) letters of Abelard and Heloise and how those letters shaped the subsequent perception of their relationship. Mews goes on to compare the vocabulary of the known letters with the Clairvaux letters, arguing that the parallels are so striking that it "stretches plausibility to argue that the letters were written by any one other than Abelard and Heloise." He finishes his analysis by showing the implications of this discovery to the present understanding of the evolution of their relationship. The final chapter is a transcription of the Clairvaux letters in Latin, with a parallel translation in English. Throughout the book, Mews throws light on the broader issues of communication between men and woman in 12th century France. He also places the 'story' of Abelard and Heloise into the broader context of their era, explaining how the political upheavals and cultural changes of the 12th century played a part in their relationship and in their lives in general. Mews' argument is reasoned, well researched, and entirely convincing. As for the letters themselves, erotic and sensual, they offers a tantilizing glimpse into the early relationship of Abelard and Heloise - but there are mysteries here too. What is the cause of the rift that seems to have happened between the writing of letters 57 and 58? What does the woman mean when she writes "If you are well and moving among wordly concerns without trouble, I am carried away by a great exultation of mind"? Is this truly Heloise writing to Abelard about the birth of their child? Both writers fill their letters with imagery about the stars, the sun and moon, and celestial light - is this what prompted Heloise and Abelard to name their child (Peter) Astrolabe? The real importance of these letters may be in their discussion of the true nature of friendship and love, which may shed light on and help us to better understand the 'known' letters of Abelard and Heloise. In the Clairvaux letters, the woman seems determined to define their relationship and convince the man of her true love for him; the man seems more preoccupied with the erotic nature of their friendship. These letters are also important in illustrating what a poetic and original writer Heloise was - an idea often overlooked by those more preoccupied by the romance and tragedy of her story. I look forward to reading more arguments concerning authorship of these lost letters, and I encourage not only scholars, but lay people like myself to read this book. ... Read more


20. Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford World's Classics)
by Thomas Aquinas, Timothy McDermott
list price: $14.95
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Asin: 0192835858
Catlog: Book (1998-08-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 91498
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) saw religion as part of the natural human propensity to worship.His ability to recognize the naturalness of this phenomenon and simultaneously to go beyond it--to explore, for example, spiritual revelation--makes his work as fresh and readable today as it was seven centuries ago.

This accessible new translation offers thirty-eight substantial passages not only from the indispensable Summa Theologicae, but from many other works, fully illustrating the breadth and progression of Aquinas's philosophy.It is an ideal introduction to this key figure in the philosophy of religion. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars great Aquinas starting point
This book packs a lot of material. As an anthology, as the other reviewer has ably mentioned, this is wonderful. This book would be extremely useful to the student of Christian theology (Roman Catholic or Protestant) or to the student of historical philosophy. If you are studying the works of Aquinas for history, a few words of caution. A lot of his philosophy is based on Aristotle. If you do not understand basic Aristotle, this can be painful at times. "Actualize" and "potential" and sufficient causes, etc. will appear a lot. If you are unfamiliar with what this terminology means, you will have slow going. This is just a problem with some philosophy. Kant, another member of the big-5 team of greatest philosophers, also suffers from a language barrier to modern readers. But like Kant, you can still get a lot out of it.

The editor of this book has put in a lot of useful and wonderful theology of Aquinas. This is good b/c not many people believe in his metaphysics anymore. So his theology may have more modern usefullness. Given his influence over Western Christianity and Roman Catholicism in particular, Aquinas is definitely worth the read. One of the small gems (and unexpected) was a part of Aquinas' commentary on I Cor. 15. Sections on the Problem of Evil are in here as well. I was surprised, but glad, to see that the editor left in a section on the problem of using language to describe God. This was a typical 20th century problem. It's good to see that there aren't many new philosophical problems.

If you are just getting into Aquinas (and you have some background in philosophy) this is a good place to start. If you are interested in theology, there is much in here for you as well. Given the structure of the book, you do not have to read straight through.

5-0 out of 5 stars A model anthology
McDermott has provided the general reader with an excellent introduction to the substance of Aquinas's thought. Selections are taken from several works, not just the Summa Theologiae, and are arranged in an orderly manner that contributes much to the usefulness of this book. The first section discusses the division of the sciences; the second, ontology; the third, titled "The Ladder of Being," covers such topics as life and the soul, the senses, the mind, and the will. Following this come three large sections on God, filling more than half of the book. Each of the many passages begins with brief headnotes giving the origin of the passage, the philosophical genre to which it belongs, and translation notes on principal Latin terms. McDermott includes very little commentary of his own--Aquinas speaks for himself. The text is laid out very clearly with the judicious use of italics, brackets, and boldface type, all serving to clarify how Aquinas structured his arguments.

Recommended to anyone interested in Aquinas, but do not expect a condensed version of the Summa. ... Read more


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