Medieval philosophy is the philosophy of Europe and the Middle East in the era now known as medieval or the Middle Ages, the period roughly extending from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance.
Definition and Problems Discussed
It is defined partly by the process of rediscovering the ancient culture developed in Greece and Rome in the classical period, and partly by the need to address theological problems and to integrate sacred doctrine and secular learning.
The problems discussed throughout this period are the relation of faith to reason, the existence and unity of God, the object of theology and metaphysics, and the problems of knowledge, of universals, and of individuation.
Character of medieval philosophy
The medieval era was disparagingly treated by the Renaissance humanists, who saw it as a barbaric 'middle' period between the classical age of Greek and Roman culture, and the 'rebirth' or renaissance of classical culture.
Yet this period of nearly
years was the longest period of philosophical development in Europe and
the Middle East, and possibly the richest.
Jorge Gracia has argued that 'in intensity, sophistication, and achievement, the philosophical flowering in the thirteenth century could be rightly said to rival the golden age of Greek philosophy in the fourth century B.C.' (Gracia, p. 1).
Early Medieval Christian Philosophy
The boundaries of the early medieval period are a matter of controversy. It is generally agreed that it begins with Augustine (354 – 430) who strictly belongs to the classical period, and ends with the lasting revival of learning in the late eleventh century, when the High Medieval period begins.
The period includes the Dark Ages, when there was little intellectual activity. It includes the first renewal of learning in the West when Charlemagne attracted the scholars of England and Ireland, and by imperial decree in 787 A.D. established schools in every abbey in his empire, advised by Peter of Pisa and Alcuin of York.
These schools, from which the name Scholasticism is derived, became centres of medieval learning. The Carolingian period was followed by a small dark age that was followed by a lasting revival of learning in the late eleventh century.