Early Period of Scholastic PhilosophyJune 28, 2021
It coincides with the period of the emergence of the cultural destruction brought about by the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. In a new phase of social regulation and cultural revival, scholasticism is seen in the field of philosophy.
Johannes Scottus (810-887) should be mentioned as the first scholastic thinker. He brought mysticism to medieval thought with his translations and lectures. He used a conceptual realism similar to Plato’s theory of the idea, a form of neo-Plantonism that developed. He argued that the actual existence of God is unknowable, God can only be known in part through symbols. Symbols are not God himself.
Although he took place in this first period, Anselmus, who is considered one of the most influential thinkers of all scholastic philosophy, is another name that should be mentioned (1033-1108). Anselmus especially advanced on the path opened by Augustine, gave a clear and definite content to his “I believe in order to understand” statement, and tried to justify the highest mystical assumptions of faith with reason. All existing things are grounded by an absolute being; Likewise, all good is based on absolute good. Here, it is clearly tried to prove the existence of God by an inference that counts universal concepts as real entities, as in conceptual realism. Anselmus achieved his real fame with ontological proof. Accordingly, if God is the most perfect good by definition, the non-existence of this most perfect good is a logical contradiction, so the existence of God is necessary in accordance with the principle of non-contradiction.
Roscelinus (1050-1125) is the founder of nominalism in medieval philosophy. As opposed to conceptual realism, nominalism does not accept that universals are entities in themselves, they are just names that people express from the common aspects of objects. Roscelinus states that things that actually exist are particular objects.
There will be an ongoing debate between these two tendencies throughout the scholastic; nominalism is the orientation that brings about the dissolution of scholasticism. This discussion will be referred to as the Discussion on Universals in the history of philosophy. [History of Philosophy, Macit Gökberk, Remzi Bookstore, page;163]
Petrus Abaelardus, another important figure of scholastic philosophy, was a student of Roscelinus, but he followed a more averageist path in the discussion of universals. He became one of the most influential philosophers of his time with the rich discussions he put forward in this direction.