By Frederick Copleston
Conceived initially as a significant presentation of the improvement of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A historical past Of Philosophy has journeyed a long way past the modest objective of its writer to common acclaim because the top background of philosophy in English.Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of sizeable erudition who as soon as tangled with A.J. Ayer in a fabled debate in regards to the life of God and the potential for metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient nutrition of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with such a lot of history's nice thinkers used to be lowered to simplistic caricatures. Copleston got down to redress the inaccurate via writing an entire heritage of Western Philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure - and person who offers complete position to every philosopher, providing his notion in a superbly rounded demeanour and exhibiting his hyperlinks to those that went ahead of and to those that got here after him.
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Additional resources for A History of Philosophy, Vol. 2: Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy From Augustine to Duns Scotus
I) It is uncertain whether Minucius Felix wrote before or after Tertullian, but in any case his attitude towards Greek philosophy, as shown in his Octavius, was more favourable than Tertullian's. Arguing that God's existence can be known with certainty from the order of nature and the design involved in the organism, particularly in the human body, and that the unity of God can be inferred from the unity of the cosmic order, he affirmed that Greek philosophers, too, recognised these truths. Thus Aristotle recognised one Godhead and the Stoics had a doctrine of divine providence, while Plato speaks in almost Christian terms when he talks in the Timaeus of the Maker and Father of the universe.
Basil, St. D. :, became Bishop of Nyssa, dying about the year 395. Gregory of Nyssa realised clearly that the data of revelation are accepted on faith and are not the result of a logical process of reasoning, that the mysteries of faith are not philosophical and scientific conclusions: if they were, then supernatural faith, as exercised by Christians, and Hellenic philosophising would be 32 PRE-MEDIAEVAL INFLUENCES indistinguishable. On the other hand, the Faith has a rational basis, in that, logically speaking, the acceptance of mysteries on authority presupposes the ascertainability by natural reasoning of certain preliminary truths, especially the existence of God, which are capable of philosophic demonstration.
Plato, one might reasonably suppose, would welcome these theories, were he alive to-day, and it is not improbable that St. Gregory of Nyssa would follow suit. From what has been said it is clear that Gregory of Nyssa was much influenced by Platonism, neo-Platonism, and the writings of Philo (he speaks, for example, of the VOUXJI; 0e$ as being the purpose of man, of the 'flight of the alone to the Alone', of justicein-itself, of eros and the ascent to the ideal Beauty); but it must be emphasised that, although Gregory undeniably employed Plotinian themes and expressions, as also to a less extent those of Philo, he did not by any means always understand them in a Plotinian or Philonic sense.