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Book Reviews

Book Reviews Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/pq/article/34/135/170/1590276 by guest on 26 August 2020 170 BOOK REVIEWS The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy. Edited By N. KRETZMANN, A. KENNY AND J . PINBORG. (Cambridge: C.U.P., 1982. Pp. xiv + 1036.) Medieval studies have experienced a welcome renaissance in philosophy in the last few years. The reason is simple. Philosophy of language has established itself at the heart of contemporary philosophy. A movement which goes back at least to Russell, and arguably to Frege, has displaced epistemology from the central position in which it was placed by Descartes and his immediate predecessors. The analytical conception of philosophy as consisting in the minute and careful examination of concepts, prior even to die inspection of arguments or the search for foundations, has accorded to die theory of meaning, in die sense not of syndietic and speculative dieory-building, but of sensitive examination of die use of language, a place which it has not held since the Middle Ages. The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy develops mis theme. Th e editorial introduction asks whether an apology is needed for die fact diat four of the ten main sections (following an introduction to die genre of medieval philosophical literature) are concerned widi what was called "logic", and whedier diis constitutes a bias in me editors' conception of medieval philosophy not justified by the view of their own times which diose medievals diemselves held. Moreover, what is called logic here, and in me Middle Ages, covered all that we would now refer to as philosophy of language and dieory of meaning. But die editors are right to answer that no apology is needed, and no warping has occurred in dieir history of die period. In this wide sense, logic was at me heart and root of all philosophy in die period 1100-1600 which diis splendid volume covers. Perhaps diis was influenced by die fact that die twelfth century opened with an already central place given to Aristode's Categories and De Interpretatione as two of the very small number of classical texts generally available to die Christian West, and continued widi die rediscovery of the rest of die Organon. Whatever die reason, the twelfdi century saw die beginnings of the development of the doctrine of the properties of terms, as De Rijk illuminatingly shows us in his contribution. His piece is typical of die very high standard of die contributors' entries, summarising in less than fifteen pages die landmarks on die road to die full dieory as we have seen it handed down in die writings of, for example, Peter of Spain and, a century later, William of Ockham. Only in recent years have scholars, De Rijk being me leader, penetrated behind diese major figures in whose work several generations of development culminate and are sum­ marised, to discover the details of diat development recorded in manuscripts fortunately preserved, but never receiving a printed edition at die close of die medieval period. Th e whole volume is presented topically, radier dian by audior. Its aim is to continue die familiar Cambridge Series whose earlier volume had ended at the time of Anselm, to connect widi die start of modern philosophy in the seventeenth century, and die eclipse of die medieval philosophical perspective which then occurred. However, rightly in view of die sheer wealth of material, it restricts itself to the Christian West, leaving Eastern and Islamic philosophy for separate volumes, at a later time when more of die fundamental research necessary has been completed. Besides die core issues of logical and semantical dieories, it deals widi die closely related issues of universals and their epistemology, natural philosophy, and the philosophies of mind, ediics and politics. It ends widi an examination of die demise of the scholastic approach. Th e scholarship is rounded off widi die provision of brief biographies of some 160 of the more famous medieval writers, an 83-page bibliography, and very full Indices Nominum et Rerum. University of St. Andrews STEPHE N READ http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophical Quarterly Oxford University Press

Book Reviews

Philosophical Quarterly , Volume 34 (135) – Apr 1, 1984

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Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© The Editors of The Philosophical Quarterly
ISSN
0031-8094
eISSN
1467-9213
DOI
10.2307/2219514
Publisher site
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Abstract

Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/pq/article/34/135/170/1590276 by guest on 26 August 2020 170 BOOK REVIEWS The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy. Edited By N. KRETZMANN, A. KENNY AND J . PINBORG. (Cambridge: C.U.P., 1982. Pp. xiv + 1036.) Medieval studies have experienced a welcome renaissance in philosophy in the last few years. The reason is simple. Philosophy of language has established itself at the heart of contemporary philosophy. A movement which goes back at least to Russell, and arguably to Frege, has displaced epistemology from the central position in which it was placed by Descartes and his immediate predecessors. The analytical conception of philosophy as consisting in the minute and careful examination of concepts, prior even to die inspection of arguments or the search for foundations, has accorded to die theory of meaning, in die sense not of syndietic and speculative dieory-building, but of sensitive examination of die use of language, a place which it has not held since the Middle Ages. The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy develops mis theme. Th e editorial introduction asks whether an apology is needed for die fact diat four of the ten main sections (following an introduction to die genre of medieval philosophical literature) are concerned widi what was called "logic", and whedier diis constitutes a bias in me editors' conception of medieval philosophy not justified by the view of their own times which diose medievals diemselves held. Moreover, what is called logic here, and in me Middle Ages, covered all that we would now refer to as philosophy of language and dieory of meaning. But die editors are right to answer that no apology is needed, and no warping has occurred in dieir history of die period. In this wide sense, logic was at me heart and root of all philosophy in die period 1100-1600 which diis splendid volume covers. Perhaps diis was influenced by die fact that die twelfth century opened with an already central place given to Aristode's Categories and De Interpretatione as two of the very small number of classical texts generally available to die Christian West, and continued widi die rediscovery of the rest of die Organon. Whatever die reason, the twelfdi century saw die beginnings of the development of the doctrine of the properties of terms, as De Rijk illuminatingly shows us in his contribution. His piece is typical of die very high standard of die contributors' entries, summarising in less than fifteen pages die landmarks on die road to die full dieory as we have seen it handed down in die writings of, for example, Peter of Spain and, a century later, William of Ockham. Only in recent years have scholars, De Rijk being me leader, penetrated behind diese major figures in whose work several generations of development culminate and are sum­ marised, to discover the details of diat development recorded in manuscripts fortunately preserved, but never receiving a printed edition at die close of die medieval period. Th e whole volume is presented topically, radier dian by audior. Its aim is to continue die familiar Cambridge Series whose earlier volume had ended at the time of Anselm, to connect widi die start of modern philosophy in the seventeenth century, and die eclipse of die medieval philosophical perspective which then occurred. However, rightly in view of die sheer wealth of material, it restricts itself to the Christian West, leaving Eastern and Islamic philosophy for separate volumes, at a later time when more of die fundamental research necessary has been completed. Besides die core issues of logical and semantical dieories, it deals widi die closely related issues of universals and their epistemology, natural philosophy, and the philosophies of mind, ediics and politics. It ends widi an examination of die demise of the scholastic approach. Th e scholarship is rounded off widi die provision of brief biographies of some 160 of the more famous medieval writers, an 83-page bibliography, and very full Indices Nominum et Rerum. University of St. Andrews STEPHE N READ

Journal

Philosophical QuarterlyOxford University Press

Published: Apr 1, 1984

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