ND   JMC : History of Medieval Philosophy / by Maurice De Wulf

Chapter III.

Scholastic Philosophy.


238. General Features. -- The thirteenth century marks the culmination of scholasticism. Facing all the problems that confront a complete philosophy, scholasticism gave them characteristic solutions, all harmonized into one grand and imposing synthesis. Its great, leading principles were accepted by all scholastics. "No one has ever seriously denied that there was an agreement on fundamentals which authorizes us to regard scholasticism as a system, a school of philosophy."{1}

At the same time, the individuality of the scholastics is very striking. Like all the fertile periods in human thought, the thirteenth century was rich in men of genius. The forms assumed by scholasticism were numerous and noteworthy: each of the great scholastics realizing in the concrete, according to the bent of his own peculiar genius, the one dominant abstract synthesis (118-120). The thirteenth century was likewise the golden age of speculative theology.

Philosophy now addressed itself by preference to questions in psychology and metaphysics, the metaphysical point of view predominating. And here too a progressive development is noticeable. The contemporaries of William of Auvergne (in the second and third decades of the thirteenth century) attend mainly to problems about knowledge, the origin and duration of the world, the nature of immaterial substances and of the human soul.{2} With Albert the Great, all the great doctrines of psychology make their appearance; while the exhaustive study of the great problems of metaphysics (as, essence and existence, principle of individuation, matter and form, causes) lead to the gradual exploration of the whole philosophical domain.

{1} EHRLE, Stimmen aus Maria-Laach, 1880, p. 28.

{2} Cf. BAUMGARTNER, Die Erkenntnislehre d. Wilhelm v. Auvergne, p. 10 (see 246).

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