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Medieval Philosophy

A history of philosophy without any gaps, Volume 4

Peter Adamson

27 January 2022

ISBN: 9780192856739

672 pages

In Stock

A History of Philosophy

Price: £10.99

Adamsom offers a lively and accessible tour through 600 years of intellectual history, offering a feast of new ideas in every area of philosophy. He introduces us to some of the greatest thinkers of the Western tradition including Abelard, Anselm, Aquinas, Hildegard of Bingen, and Julian of Norwich.



Adamsom offers a lively and accessible tour through 600 years of intellectual history, offering a feast of new ideas in every area of philosophy. He introduces us to some of the greatest thinkers of the Western tradition including Abelard, Anselm, Aquinas, Hildegard of Bingen, and Julian of Norwich.

  • A fascinating guide to 600 years of philosophy
  • This will be the most readable and entertaining history of philosophy
  • Short, lively conversational chapters with vivid and humorous examples
  • Assumes no prior knowledge — ideal for beginners and anyone who wants to read philosophy for pleasure
  • A self-standing volume — may be read independently of others in the series

About the Author(s)

Peter Adamson, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Peter Adamson took his doctorate from the University of Notre Dame and first worked at King's College London. In 2012 he moved to the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, where he is Professor of Late Ancient and Arabic Philosophy. He has published widely in ancient and medieval philosophy, especially on Neoplatonism and on philosophy in the Islamic world.

Table of Contents

    Early Medieval Philosophy
    1:Arts of Darkness: Introduction to Medieval Philosophy
    2:Charles in Charge: Alcuin and the Carolingian Period
    3:Grace Notes: Eriugena and the Predestination Controversy
    4:Much Ado About Nothing: Eriugena's Periphyseon
    5:Philosophers Anonymous: The Roots of Scholasticism
    6:Virgin Territory: Peter Damian on Changing the Past
    7:A Canterbury Tale: Anselm's Life and Works
    8:Somebody's Perfect: Anselm's Ontological Argument
    9:All or Nothing: The Problem of Universals
    10:Get Thee to a Nunnery: Heloise and Abelard
    11:It's the Thought that Counts: Abelard's Ethics
    12:Learn Everything: The Victorines
    13:Like Father, Like Son: Debates over the Trinity
    14:On the Shoulders of Giants: Philosophy at Chartres
    15:The Good Book: Philosophy of Nature
    16:One of a Kind: Gilbert of Poitiers on Individuation
    17:Two Swords: Early Medieval Political Philosophy
    18:Law and Order: Peter Lombard and Gratian
    19:Leading Light: Hildegard of Bingen
    20:Rediscovery Channel: Translations into Latin
    21:Straw Men: The Rise of the Universities
    The Thirteenth Century
    22:No Uncertain Terms: Thirteenth Century Logic
    23:Full of Potential: Thirteenth Century Physics
    24:Stayin' Alive: Thirteenth Century Psychology
    25:It's All Good: The Transcendentals
    26:Do the Right Thing: Thirteenth Century Ethics
    27:A Light That Never Goes Out: Robert Grosseteste
    28: Origin of Species: Roger Bacon
    29:Stairway to Heaven: Bonaventure
    30:Your Attention Please: Peter Olivi
    31:None for Me, Thanks: Franciscan Poverty
    32:Begin the Beguine: Hadewijch and Mechtild
    33:Binding Arbitration: Robert Kilwardby
    34:Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Albert the Great's Natural Philosophy
    35:The Shadow Knows: Albert the Great's Metaphysics
    36:The Ox Heard Round the World: Thomas Aquinas
    37:Everybody Needs Some Body: Aquinas on Soul and Knowledge
    38:What Comes Naturally: Ethics in Albert and Aquinas
    39:What Pleases the Prince: The Rule of Law
    40:Onward Christian Soldiers: Just War Theory
    41:Paris When it Sizzles: The Condemnations
    42:Masters of the University: "Latin Averroism"
    43:The Neverending Story: The Eternity of the World
    44: Let Me Count the Ways: Speculative Grammar
    45:Love, Reign Over Me: the Romance of the Rose
    46:Frequently Asked Questions: Henry of Ghent
    47:Here Comes the Son: The Trinity and the Eucharist
    48:Once and for All: Scotus on Being
    49:To Will or Not to Will: Scotus on Freedom
    50: On Command: Scotus' Ethics
    51:One in a Million: Scotus on Universals and Individuals
    The Fourteenth Century
    52:Time of the Signs: the Fourteenth Century
    53:After Virtue: Marguerite Porete
    54:To Hell and Back: Dante Alighieri
    55:Church and State: Theories of Political Authority
    56:Keeping the Peace: Marsilius of Padua
    57: Do As You're Told: Ockham on Ethics and Political Philosophy
    58:A Close Shave: Ockham's Nominalism
    59:What Do You Think? Ockham on Mental Language
    60:Keeping it Real: Responses to Ockham
    61:Back to the Future: Divine Foreknowledge
    62:Trivial Pursuits: Fourteenth Century Logic
    63:Quadrivial Pursuits: the Oxford Calculators
    64:Get to the Point: Fourteenth Century Physics
    65:Portrait of the Artist: John Buridan
    66:Seeing is Believing: Nicholas of Autrecourt's Skepticism
    67:On the Money: Medieval Economic Theory
    68:Down to the Ground: Meister Eckhart
    69:Men in Black: The German Dominicans
    70:A Wing and a Prayer: Angels in Medieval Philosophy
    71:Alle Maner of Thyng Shall be Welle: English Mysticism
    72:Say it With Poetry: Chaucer and Langland
    73:The Good Wife: Gender and Sexuality in the Middle Ages
    74:The Most Christian Doctor: Jean Gerson
    75:Morning Star of the Reformation: John Wyclif
    76:The Prague Spring: Scholasticism Across Europe
    77:Renaissance Men: Ramon Llull and Petrarch


"Accessible and comprehensive." - Alban McCoy, The Tablet, Books of the Year 2019

"Peter Adamson's Medieval Philosophy gives fantastically compendious account of medieval philosophy. Adamson manages to be accessible, lucid, witty, incisive; luminously conveying the rambunctious ambivalences of the logic-chopping, devout, doubting, bawdy, bloodthirsty, mystical medievals." - Jane O'Grady, The Tablet

"a volume that— despite its weight and heft—one could easily give to a non-philosopher as a first introduction to the field. For even the most obscure authors (such as that most prolific of medieval philosophers, Anon) and the most arcane of topics comes to life under Adamson's magic touch. But what is most impressive about the book is its sheer scope of knowledge. . . . If you want a good, light-touch, yet still not glossing over the difficulties, introduction to medieval philosophy, this is the book for you." - Sara L. Uckelman, Philosophical Quarterly

"Adamson's history of medieval philosophy has, among its many merits, two great ones. First, is very clearly written and philosophically acute. . . .A second merit is that it proposes an updated interpretation of medieval philosophy, obtained by taking into account the most dominant trends present in literature. This makes Peter Adamson's volume a fine piece of work and a recommended volume. The history of medieval philosophy is investigated in its depth and full development, no significant gap can be found indeed in the proposed reconstruction." - Fabrizio Amerini, Philosophical Inquiries

"Let me say at once on the evidence of this volume, [Adamson] succeeds brilliantly. Over some 78 sections he covers a huge range of figures ... Special attention is given - and rightly so - to female philosophers, such as Catherine of Siena ... This book (and the others in the series), which are a delight to read, will be of great interest to general readers, aside from students of culture." - Peter Costello, The Irish Catholic

"Adamson writes with a light style, beginning each short chapter with an anecdote, which rewards both sticking with the long narrative and dipping in and out." - Nick Mattiske, Journey, Isolation Reading Recommendations

"A staggering philosophical achievement ... the clarity of the animated text is further enhanced by the authors humour, bringing a light touch to complex matters ... This volume will surely attain classic status, and can be read either sequentially or consulted as a detailed encyclopaedia of mediaeval philosophy and its variegated personalities." - Paradigm Explorer