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By Frederick Copleston

Conceived initially as a significant presentation of the advance of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A heritage Of Philosophy has journeyed some distance past the modest function of its writer to common acclaim because the top historical past of philosophy in English.Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of massive erudition who as soon as tangled with A.J. Ayer in a fabled debate in regards to the life of God and the opportunity of metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient nutrition of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with so much of history's nice thinkers was once diminished to simplistic caricatures.  Copleston got down to redress the incorrect via writing a whole background of Western Philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure - and person who provides complete position to every philosopher, providing his inspiration in a superbly rounded demeanour and displaying his hyperlinks to people who went prior to and to those that got here after him.

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Extra info for A History of Philosophy, Vol. 2: Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy From Augustine to Duns Scotus

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Owing to the fact that St. g. Descartes and Francis Bacon, fulminate against Scholastic Aristotelianism, it is sometimes taken for granted that Christian philosophy, or at least Catholic philosophy, means Aristotelianism and nothing else. Yet, leaving out of account for the present later centuries, a survey of Patristic thought is sufficient to show that Plato, and not Aristotle, was the Greek thinker who won the greatest esteem from the Fathers of the Church. This may have been due in great part to the fact that neo-Platonism was the dominant and vigorous contemporary philosophy and to the fact that the Fathers not only saw Plato more or less in the light of neo-Platonic interpretation and development but also knew comparatively little about Aristotle, in most cases at least; but it also remains true that, whatever may have been the cause or causes, the Fathers tended to see in Plato a forerunner of Christianity and that the philosophic elements they adopted were adopted, for'the most part, from the Platonic tradition.

The Gnostic systems were thus not dualistic in the full Manichaean sense, since the Demiurge, identified with the God of the Old Testament, was not made an independent and original principle of evil (the neo-Platonic element was too prominent to admit of absolute dualism), and their main common characteristic was not so much the tendency to dualism as the insistence on gnosis as the means of salvation. The adoption of Christian elements was largely due to the desire to absorb Christianity, to substitute gnosis for faith.

29. , 44. 4Ch. 24. THE PATRISTIC PERIOD 35 by Plato's doctrine of the qualities in the Timaeus. How, then, are they not spiritual? And, if they are spiritual, how does soul differ essentially from body? The reply would doubtless be that, though the qualities unite to form body and cannot, considered in abstraction, be called 'bodies', yet they have an essential relation to matter, since it is their function to form matter. An analogous difficulty recurs in regard to the Aristotelian-Thomistic doctrine of matter and form.

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