Anthony Kenny's A New History of Western Philosophy: Volume 2: Medieval PDF

By Anthony Kenny

Sir Anthony Kenny the following keeps his interesting account of the background of philosophy, concentrating on the thousand-year-long medieval interval. this is often the second one quantity of a four-book set during which Kenny will spread a magisterial new historical past of Western philosophy, the 1st significant single-author background of philosophy to seem in decades.

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The second book, too, develops a Stoic theme: matters within the province of fortune are insigniWcant by comparison with values within oneself. The gifts of fortune that we enjoy do not really belong to us: riches may be lost, and are most valuable when we are giving them away. A splendid household is a blessing to me only if my servants are honest, and their virtue belongs to them not me. Political power may end in murder or slavery; and even while it is possessed it is trivial. The inhabited world is only a quarter of our globe; our globe is minute in comparison with the 20 PHILOSOPHY AND FAITH celestial sphere; for a man to boast of his power is like a mouse crowing over other mice.

I, p. 224). 19 Avicenna’s metaphysics is discussed in detail in Ch. 6 below. 39 PHILOSOPHY AND FAITH matter and form. There is spiritual matter as well as corporeal matter: the universe is a pyramid with the immaterial godhead at the summit and formless prime matter at the base. Since one can no longer equate ‘material’ with ‘bodily’ in his system, Ibn Gabirol has to introduce, like Avicenna, a form of corporeality to make bodies bodies. Ibn Gabirol’s universal hylomorphism was to have a considerable inXuence on thirteenth-century Latin Aristotelianism (PMA 359–67).

Free choice, however, even if not random, is diYcult to reconcile with the existence of a God who foresees everything that is to happen. ’ The reply oVered is that God is outside time, and so it is a mistake to speak of providence as involving foreknowledge at all. 5 It is to be hoped that Boethius found consolation in his philosophical writing, because he was brutally tortured, a cord being fastened round his head and tightened until his eyes started from their sockets. He was Wnally executed by being beaten with clubs.

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