7: Jewish, Christian & Islamic Philosophy


Saint Augustine

Key Terms

Ontological argument
Cosmological argument
First-Cause Argument
Theory of Natural Law

  • Read and analyze a description of philosophical thought
  • Articulate key conceptual distinctions between medieval philosophy
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how Augustine reconciles Christianity with Platonism.

Link to Christian Philosophers

I. Augustine

  • A. Reconciling Platonism and Christianity
    • Platonism and Christianity are natural partners
    • Augustine added Christianity to Plato’s ideas
    • Plato’s ideal world = heaven
    • Plato’s immortal souls striving for union through enlightenment = immortal souls striving for union with God through reason and faith
  • B. Augustine’s View of the Soul
    • Physical body is inferior to the soul
    • Early work: the body is a cage for the soul
    • Later work: the body is the spouse of the soul
    • What remained the same: the soul is separate from the body, and the body is inferior to the soul
  • C. How the Fall of Man Affects the Soul
    • The Fall of Man from God’s grace in the Garden of Eden affects both body and soul
    • When the soul is removed from perfection, it causes a yearning to return
    • When the body is removed from perfection, it becomes depraved
  • D. Contextualizing Augustine’s City of God
    • Augustine wrote in the fourth century, the end of the ancient era
    • Transition from first century Christians preoccupied with the end of time to coexisting
    • Augustine sees Rome as a force for good in the world
  • E. Reconciling God and the Government
    • Goal of City of God
      • Reconciles the Kingdom of God with the Roman Empire
      • Focus on the individual’s pursuit of a relationship with God
      • Through personal devotion and love, the kingdom of God would be actualized on earth

II. Anselm and Aquinas

  • A. Anselm
    • Ontological argument for God’s existence
    • Critics: Gaunilo and Kant
  • B. Aquinas
    • Reconciling Aristotle and Christianity
    • Five Ways to prove God’s existence, including the First-Cause argument
    • i. Understanding Natural Law Theory
      • Combine reason and religious theory
      • Purpose of human life is to follow the law
      • Eternal law, Divine law, Natural law, Human law
      • Universal moral values can be discovered in nature through reason
      • These laws fit with divine law
      • They are universal, apply to everyone
    • ii. Objections to Theory of Natural Law
      • Determining the law
      • Applying the law
      • Disagreeing with the law

III. Avicenna and Maimonides

  • A. Avicenna
    • Persian scholar and philosopher
    • Reconciling Aristotle, Plato, and Islam
    • Cosmological argument for God’s existence
  • B. Maimonides
    • Jewish scholar and philosopher
    • Rabbinic jurist and prolific author
    • Applied rational thought to religion, not just science

IV. Hildegard of Bingen

  • A. Biography, in brief
    • Born 1098
    • Given to the church to be raised
    • Became an accomplished speaker and composer
  • B. Hildegard, the Mystic
    • Experienced visions from a young age
    • Encouraged to share them by a mentor
    • Wrote the Scivias and Book of Divine Works
    • Visions connect the microcosm of humanity to the macrocosm of the cosmos
  • C. A Woman Unique to Her Time
    • Preaching tours
    • Public recognition from teh Holy Roman Emperor, Pope, and Eleanor of Aquitaine

Hildegard of Bingen

V. William of Ockham

  • English philosopher and theologian
  • Wrote about Logic, Aristotle, the Church
  • Principle of Parsimony, a.k.a. Ockham’s Razor

Logic Week 7: Texas Sharpshooter and Tautology