What is Scholastic Philosophy?

What is Scholastic Philosophy?

June 28, 2021 Off By Felso

The scholastic philosophy comes from the term scholasticus, which is derived from the Latin word schola (school) and literally means the philosophy of the school. This meaning is important because scholastic philosophy shows an approach based on the idea that the truth already exists in medieval thought and the teaching of philosophy by being taught in schools.

The basis of this philosophy is theology, it is based on and tries to support it.

Scholastic philosophy consisted of efforts to maintain patristic philosophy and to philosophically ground and systematize the Christian faith, which was transformed into a doctrine there.

Since all philosophical activity has taken place on a scholastic basis since a certain period of the Middle Ages, scholastic philosophy is generally what comes to mind when it comes to medieval philosophy. It covers a very wide historical period. A second point is that there is both a Christian scholastic and an Islamic scholastic.

Within the history of philosophy, there are three separate periods of Scholasticism:

Early Scholastic (800-1200s)
Scholastic in the Ascension Period (1200-1300’s)
Late Scholastic (1300-1500’s)

In these periods, it can be said that scholastic philosophy tended to solve the problems raised from a certain angle with different qualities. However, there is a general quality understood when scholastic philosophy is mentioned. This general quality must first be noted as an Aristotelian one.

In patristic philosophy, Plato and Platonism were prominent, on the other hand, Aristotelism is seen as a source of inspiration in scholastic philosophy. Aristotle’s philosophy, more precisely than Plato’s, leads thinkers to wisdom, which means not only trying to know God, but also being related to the world of phenomena.

As a school philosophy, scholasticism encompasses both the teaching of systematized theology and the teaching of the Seven Free Arts (Septem artes liberales) taught in the schools of Antiquity, originally by theology teachers. Later, it has been expressed as to cover all the teachings and studies of this school.

The methodologically common characteristic of scholastics is to apply philosophy to the field of religion or belief, to make the issues in this field comprehensible. In particular, objections to faith and revelation, based on reason, were tried to be overcome in this way.

In this sense, scholastic philosophy does not seek to find new things or produce ideas, on the contrary, scholastic philosophy has tried to ground the appropriate ones among the already existing ones and to refute the inappropriate ones. He found the necessary logic for this effort in Aristotle and Euclides (Euclid) geometry.

The succinct word and thought of this period, Augustinus: “I believe to understand.” is the thought.

Saint Augustine

According to this idea, both the belief and its expression and language exist correctly. This idea, which is the basis of the idea of ​​realism, is the basic proposition of scholasticism. According to this, knowledge is nothing but revealing, reflecting and proving the divine truth with various propositions and inferences.

The scholastic therefore fights against relativism, subjectivity, and skepticism. The scholastic accepts the existence of only one truth and one system of truth attached to it. Nominalism will play an important role in the dissolution of scholasticism later on.

Two elements should be underlined about the general moral attitude of scholastic philosophy. It assumes the scholastic morality of order and morality of values. Accordingly, the important thing is to act in accordance with the good; for good is both God’s command and God himself is all goodness.

In its beginning and development, scholastic philosophy tried to reconcile belief and knowledge, and on this basis, it sought to find a philosophical basis for religious dogmas and to systematize them. However, in the last period, it became certain that this project would not be successful, and on the contrary, the separation of knowledge and belief gained certainty due to internal discussions.

Related topics:

Scholastic Philosophy and Thomas Aquinas
Late Scholastic and Nominalism

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook