Segments in this Video

Historical Overview of Philosophy (01:49)


Dr. Bryan Magee provides an overview of ancient, medieval, and modern philosophy.

Great Medieval Philosophers: Augustine and Aquinas (01:52)

Two figures stand out in medieval philosophy: St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. The former's greatest works are "Confessions" and "The City of God." St. Thomas Aquinas' greatest works include "On the Truth of the Catholic Faith," and "Summary of Theology."

Differences Between Augustine and Aquinas (02:23)

St. Augustine, a solitary writer, draws mostly from his interior life. Appearing much later, St. Aquinas writes in a religious and academic tradition. He lived his life within communities of friars and was a university teacher.

Middle Ages: Important Contributions to Philosophy (03:43)

One of the most important contributions of the Middle Ages to philosophy is the university. As a result, this period nurtured prolific philosophical output, rigorous method of presentation, and depth and breadth of the syllabus.

Middle Ages Philosophers: Mostly British? (02:34)

During the Middle Ages, many philosophers were either born in Britain or spent time there. Philosopher Anthony Kenny discusses reasons why and puts that concept in perspective with the continental university system on the whole.

Ancient Philosophy and Christian Religion (03:13)

A perennial issue of Middle Ages philosophers was the desire to reconcile ancient philosophy of classical Greece with the Christian religion. Yet, religion was not the only interest of these men of great philosophical inquiry.

History of Logic (02:40)

The works of Aristotle traced out the syllabus of the Middle Ages. His work began with logic, as did the universities of the Middle Ages. Logic was cut off at the Renaissance and emerged in full force at the beginning of the 20th century.

Similarities Between Medieval and Modern Philosophers (01:55)

Modern philosophers write about logic in much the same way Middle Age philosophers did. After the Middle Ages, people lost interested in the philosophical study of language. From Descartes onwards, philosophers put epistemology at the center of their discipline.

Theology and Philosophy (05:15)

Were Medieval philosophers looking for good answers to what they already believed? Professors Kenny and Magee discuss this topic relative to modern philosophers, and also with a focus on St. Thomas Aquinas.

Philosophical Argument: Existence of God (03:46)

The ontological argument is important in philosophy. It first appears in its classic formulation in the 11th century by St. Anselm. Unlike the cosmological argument, this argument begins with the "notion of God."

Parallels Between Modern and Medieval Philosophy (03:46)

A parallel between modern philosophy and medieval philosophy is what philosophers call "first order problems." Professor Kenny expounds upon this topic relative to ethics, "second order problems," and morality.

Philosophy and Theory of the Just War (02:50)

Philosopher Anthony Kenny discusses nuclear deterrence in terms of medieval philosophical principles. Is there a just war? Medieval philosophers pondered this just as contemporary philosophers do today.

St. Thomas Aquinas and the Catholic Church (01:24)

St. Thomas Aquinas is no longer perceived as just the spokesman for the Catholic Church. Many non-Catholics currently take an interest in the philosophical genius of Aquinas.

Philosophical Concept of Free Will (03:03)

For people who believe in an omniscient god, the philosophical problem was to reconcile divine foreknowledge and human freedom. An extra problem for Christians was the doctrine of predestination.

Recommended Reading of Medieval Philosophers (02:41)

Philosopher Anthony Kenny offers suggestions to viewers interested in reading medieval philosophers. He recommends two short books: St Augustine's "Confessions" and St. Anselm's "The Proslogium."

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Medieval Philosophy: Thomas Aquinas

Part of the Series : Great Philosophers
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This program examines the ideas of the medieval philosophic theologians, particularly St. Thomas Aquinas. World-renowned author and professor Bryan Magee and Oxford medieval philosopher Anthony Kenny discuss Aristotelian logic as the basis of Aquinas’ thought, and dispute charges that medieval philosophy merely reinforced extant Christian views. Logical methods employed by Aquinas are discussed as precursors of the scientific methodology of later philosophers, such as Descartes. A BBC Production. Part of the series Great Philosophers. (45 minutes)

Length: 46 minutes

Item#: BVL7281

ISBN: 978-1-4213-8707-9

Copyright date: ©1987

Closed Captioned

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