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KIRK ROBERTS REBOROSO

3-PHL

SEPTEMBER 21, 2011


SCHOLASTICISM

SYNTHESIS PAPER IN SCHOLASTICISM


INTRODUCTION:
According to the history of philosophy, ancient Greeks is having devoted of the extensive
attention to the development of philosophy. The very name medieval (literally, the in-between
time) philosophy suggests the tendency of modern thinkers to skip rather directly from Aristotle
to the Renaissance. What seemed to justify that attitude was the tendency of philosophers during
this period to seek orthodoxy as well as truth. Nearly all of the medieval thinkers- Jewish,
Christian, and Muslim- were pre-occupied with some version of the attempt to synthesize
philosophy with religion. Early on, the Neo-Platonism philosophy of Plotinus seemed to provide
the most convenient intellectual support for religious doctrine. But later in the medieval era, with
the work of Arabic-language thinkers, Aristotles metaphysics gained a better acceptance. In
every case, the goal was to provide respectable philosophical foundation for theological
positions, so that much of what we now regard as Christian doctrine has its origin in Greek
philosophy more than in biblical tradition.
Medieval philosophy has marked as theocentric. There was this shift from ancient which is
cosmocentic to medieval which is theocentric. In ancient times, the main issue is all about the
world, they raise the question Where am I, they just focuses on what the World has and its
boundaries. Suddenly, when it is already about medieval, there was this shift to theocentric,
which is all about God, Medieval thinkers raised the question Who is God. It means that the
main argument is all about God. He is the basic common premise which made the whole era
revolve. For he is the minor and major premise, and if that is the case, He is also the conclusion
as well. Another important to note is that Medieval thinkers did not know that they were
medieval. The expression middle ages was first used to designate the period between the
ancient and modern worlds in seventeenth century. Medieval philosophy has limited
concepts to have an understanding with its notion. Such concepts are existence, essence, being,
becomingness, and God in relation to the notion of each other concepts. And with the notion of
God, theology was given an accommodation in the discipline or science of philosophy as during

the medieval era, the search for the understanding on the notion of God is one of the passions of
many medieval scholars. And now, in modern days, anthropocentric is the main issue, thus, the
main focus is on about man which raised the question Who am I.
NEOPLATONISM
During the medieval times, there was this big issue concerning about the One which is originated
from Plotinus.Neo-Platonism resides on the concept of being caused by a singular cause that
cause its own existence which is the one according to Plotinus. Augustine, John Scotus of
Euriugena, and Bonaventure seeks to find the ultimate causes of all things in which they have
different notions of the One
In Bonaventure, he discussed the omnipotence of God and the Unicity of God with a Trinity of
persons. The omnipotence of God is only attributed to Him who entails the highest degree of
power, from which it follows God can produce something distinct from Himself that would be
as great as Himself. It is therefore consonant with omnipotence that there be multiplicity of gods
and it includes the sharing of such power among many gods. However, such sharing power
would be an affront to the dignity of God according to His omnipotence. That is to say, sharing
power would not be a worthy attribute of a being than which none greater can be conceived.
Hence, there must be only one God that is omnipotent. He then addresses the issues as to how
Gods unicity can exist together with a trinity of persons. A trinity however entails a plurality of
properties. Consequently, a trinity is incompatible with Gods unicity. The resolution of this
problem lies in understanding that property is two-fold: namely, absolute and relative. If property
is taken in absolute sense, there is indeed incompatibility between Gods unicity and the trinity.
However, if property is construed as relative, there is no problem since plurality in terms of a
relative property does not posit diversity in the thing or in the nature, neither with respect to the
essence nor with respect to existence. So, what Bonaventure deed is to apply the One to the
Omnipotence of God and the Unicity of God in three persons.In John Scotus of Eriugena, in the
trinity from Periphyseon, the trinity consists of three substances or three persons, yet they are
identical with regard to their essence. It is identity or essence whereby the Father, Son, and the
Holy Spirit are one and the same. And it is further explained through the operations of the soul
which is parallel to the personages of the Trinity. Human intellect corresponds to the Father,
reason to the Son, and senses to the Holy Spirit. It is the intellect, reason and senses which makes

a man, thus, man is parallel to God in personages of the Trinity. He then also focuses on the
Periphyseon or On the Division of Nature, he divides nature into four species, namely (1) Nature
which creates and is not created, (2) Nature which is created and creates, (3) Nature which is
created and also does not create, and (4) Nature which neither creates nor is created. From this it
is apparent he means Nature the sum total of reality. The reality includes God and the
metaphysical world as well as the natural world. God belongs to the first and fourth nature. In the
first which is the nature which creates and is not created. He states that God is the first principle,
that He is the beginning, the uncaused cause from whom all things made. He is the divine
transcendence whereby His essence and existence and His act of creation are one and the same.
In the fourth nature, he states that God is the final cause, the end and goal of creative process. In
Augustine, he then stated that the mind is the One, that the journey of the mind is the journey of
the One. In his discussion on the Immortality of the Soul, he identifies the soul with the mind.
Consistent with his theory of knowledge, there is dichotomy between body and mind. The
activity of the body is sensation; the activity of the mind is reason. He also argues that the mind
qua soul is a substance in its own right. It is an immaterial substance versus the body which is
material and mutable in nature. The soul participates in life, and it is that which gives life to the
body. And it survives the demise of the body which is mutable. In other words, the soul is
immortal. He also said that without the mind, there would be no science, vice versa, without
science there would be no mind.
St. Anselm is also connected on this argument, for there is an issue according to the existence of
God. One best approaches of his argument is not much about proof but rather as a demonstration
of Gods existence. After all, if God is a necessary being, one is, strictly speaking, not in any
position whatsoever of proving the existence of such a being. He demonstrated God exemplified
existence into four steps, and the subsequent three steps establish His necessary existence. (1)
The first premise states that God is something nothing greater than which can be nonceived. This
is a claim as to the nature of the Judeo-Christian concept of God. In other words, God is the most
perfect of possible conceptions. (2) The second premise states that that which exists in an
exemplified way ig greater, more perfect than that which exists merely in an unexemplified way.
The truth of this premise is based on the medieval analysis of the concept of dependency. That
which is dependent is in some sense or other lacking, that is, it relies on something other than
itself to be complete or whole. (3) The third premise is a conditional statement the antecedent

being a conjunction of the first two premises and the consequent being that God exists. (4) God
exists in an exemplified manner. A contemporary Gaunilon, objected by observing that the mere
conception of a perfect island does not entail its existence. Anselm response to Gaunilons
criticism are: (5) That which cannot be conceived not to exist is greater than which can be
conceived not to exist. This means that that which exists is necessarily more perfect than that
which exists in a contingent manner. (6) The sixth premise is the conditional statement the
antecedent being a conjunction of premise 1 and 5 and the consequent being that God necessarily
exists. And once again it results the conclusion of which is (7) God exists and necessarily so.
THE PROBLEM OF UNIVERSALS
One of the issues that most plagued scholastic philosophers during this period was the problem
of universals. What is the ontological status of the species to which many things commonly
belong? Realists, following in the tradition of Plato, maintained that each universal is an entity in
its own right, existing independently of the individual things that happen to participate in it.
Nominalists, on the other hand, pursuing a view nearer that of Aristotle, held that only particular
things exist, since the universal is nothing more than a name that applies to certain individual
substances. The difficulties with each position are clear. Nominalism seems to suggest that
whether or not two things share a feature depends solely upon our accidental decision whether or
not to call them by the same name. Realism, on the other hand, introduces a whole range of
special abstract entities for the simple purpose of accounting for similarities that particular things
exhibit. In the medieval spirit of disputation, each side found it easier to attack its opponents'
views than to defend its own. But the most brilliant disputant of the twelfth century invented a
third alternative that avoided the difficulties of both extremes. French logician Peter Abelard
proposed that we ground the genuine similarities among individual things without reifying their
universal features, by predicating general terms in conformity with concepts abstracted from
experience. This view, which came to be known as conceptualism, denies the reality of
universals as separate entities yet secures the objectivity of our application of general terms.
Although only individual things and their particular features truly exist, we effectively employ
our shared concepts as universals. This resolution of the traditional problem of universals gained
wide acceptance for several centuries, until doubts about the objectivity and reality of such
mental entities as concepts came under serious question.

The problem of Universals was significantly reduced during the time of Peter Abelard, John
Duns Scotus, and William Ockham respectively because universals were reduced as well in
terms of its existence During the time of Peter Abelard, he regarded Universals as only existing
as an idea or concept and thus never sensed in reality and only resides in the mind. They are that
which is predicable to many. There is a real basis justifying predication. In other words, objects
as a matter of fact possess characteristics. For example, even though there is already no rose that
exists in this world, we still have the concept of the rose which is existing as an idea in the mind.
He also develops the theory of abstraction. The mind is capable of distinguishing between matter
and form although, the two never, in fact, exist in isolation. The process of abstraction is such
that it allows one to concentrate to one or another aspect of a particular. So, universals then are
products of abstraction. In john Duns Scotus on the other hand, there is no need to categoriza a
thing whether it is universal or particular because what matters from him is Haeccity or thisness of a thing; let us say that both Plato and Aristotle share humanness but even though, Plato
and Aristotle are still very different from each other. This was his example on the problem of
individuation and indirectly answering the problem of universals as well. And at last, William
Ockham proclaimed that there are no Universals but only particulars. For him, universal is the
single intention of the soul, it may appear to many things but in reality, it is only one. For
example, a rose may appear to others as a symbolism of love, peace, mourn, sadness, etc. , but in
reality, there is only one reality which it possess.
Another person connected to the topic was St. Thomas Aquinas. For him, essences are
universals. Essences are what determine a particular to be the type of a thing that it is. Here, it is
crucial not to confuse essence with form. Form and matter are inextricably tied to one another,
for one cannot exist without the other, although humans can make an intellectual distinction
between by way of abstraction. However, the essence of man is not simply identical to form man
because essential to man is matter. Part of what it is to be a man is to possess the substance
characteristic of a man as opposed to, say, a rock which has its essence a different sort of matter.
Consequently, essence entails both matter and form. Essences are real and grounded in sensible
world. We identify essences via sense experience. It is our power of abstraction that makes it
possible for essences to become the subject of ideas resulting, for example, in the universal idea
of man. We have, however, the power by way of abstraction to conjure ideas of things whose

essences are not exemplified. For example, one can conceive of a mermaid without that
conception entailing exemplification. Therefore, the exemplified existence of a sensible object
cannot be caused by the essence of that thing; otherwise such a thing would bring itself into
existence. That it is the case requires the existence of a first cause which would needs be such
that its essence and existence are identical. There is only one such being, namely God.
KNOWLEDGE OF GOD ON BOETHIUS AND AVERROES
I can say that Boethius and Averroes both used the element of time as an applicable element
within the boundaries of Gods knowledge because Boethius made use of the term
foreknowledge while Averroes mentioned about change which is also associated with time.
For Boethius, he used one of Gods attributes specifically His omnipresence. He said that Gods
omnipresence makes him always present, thus, being in a state of eternal now. Therefore there
is no past nor future when talking about Gods knowledge for also it does not intervene on
human free will because only humans have the notion of time thus, their decisions for the future,
when they occur, then God knows it because He is eternally present. Basically for God it is not
called foreknowledge because the term implies future tendencies but it does not apply to God
because of His omnipresence. Averroes on the other hand, differentiated Gods knowledge from
Human knowledge. Averroes states that the understanding of both knowledges on the same
object differs because originated knowledge only knows the object as it exist in reality while
eternal knowledge knows the object through its essence. Change was mentioned in Averroes
arguments, the question was raised that if the sensible object changes then originated knowledge
changes as well but in the case of eternal knowledge, it is not subject to change, it caused
everything to happen so it doesnt matter if the effect changes because a cause can be subjected
to many effects. In conclusion. Both Boethius and Averroes made use the element of time and
they differ on the arguments used in defending Gods knowledge. Boethius used Gods
omnipresence while Averroes used the distinction of Gods knowledge and Human knowledge
and how they understand things differently.
ARGUMENT FOR THE DIVINE ORIGIN OF REALITY
How did Avicenna radicalize the argument for the divine origin of reality? For Avicenna,
something must function as the cause of its existence. Furthermore, this cause must be the

species necessitating cause, for if it were not, an infinite regress is generated. That is, if the cause
of a species or type of thing was not necessitating, it would be such that it may or it may not
produce its effect, namely, the species or type of thing in question. Avicenna radicalizes the
argument for divine origin of reality through the Necessary Existent which is such that its
essence is identical to its existence and is the necessitating cause of all existents. This
necessitating Existent Avicenna understands to be God. Furthermore, this being, must be eternal,
unitary, and atomic, devoid of all multiplicity. He also stated that only necessitating cause can
specify something with its existence.
MATHEMATICS AND POLITICS
Roger Bacon on Mathematics
Roger Bacon argues for the fundamental importance of mathematics. For him, mathematics is
everything. Specifically, he was of the belief that knowledge of Astronomy would yield
knowledge of events on Earth and Mathematics is crucial in understanding of the functioning of
the heavenly bodies. He argued vigorously that the categories, such as quality, relation, space,
and time are reducible to that of quantity and the category of quantity cannot be known without
mathematics. Hence it is clear that it should be studied first, that through it we may advance to
all the later sciences. He attaches particular importance in geometry. It is via geometry that one
gains knowledge of physical causes, especially of efficient or generating causes.
And in Politics, Marsilius of Padua and the Defender of Peace has three main themes on the
theory of the state. First, is derived from the Politics of Aristotle, the main theme of which is that
man is a political animal and therefore it is his nature to form political groups. Here, it is
discussed the tranquillity and intranquility of the state. He said that a state is like an animate
nature of animal. For just as an animal well disposed in accordance with nature is composed of
certain\ proportioned parts ordered to one another and communicating their functions mutually
and for the whole, so the state is constituted of certain parts when it is well disposed and
established in accordance with reason. The relation, therefore, of the state and its parts to
tranquillity will be seen similar to the relation of the animal and its parts to health. The polis is
such a group, and its end is consistent with the telos of human life, which is happiness. The
second theme concerns the inevitability of conflicts among men and therefore the need for

coercive law and government for the purpose of controlling such conflicts. It i said that without
such regulation human society will destroy itself. This means that a society needs a leader which
can guide and lead them, and it is like from the idea of Aristotle in the concept of philosopherking, a person which he knows his limitations and has the ability and knowledge to govern a
society. And the last theme of Marsilius Political Theory is that the source of political authority
resides in the people. It is they who must make laws either directly or through elective
representatives. So, election is very important here, for it is election which brings about the most
worthy to rule in a society, as if, it is the selection of the best. Marsilius of Padua was
excommunicated by the pope for the reason that he regards the Church as not for the common
benefit of the people because they were not elected by the people. It undermines the authority of
the church since its source does not reside in the people.
CONCLUSION
From this synthesis paper, I realized that the medieval thinkers and philosophers wants to know
about God and pinpoints what are the characteristics He possess and trace whether He is for real
or not. And because of the notion of God, many philosophers made and built their own
philosophies regarding theory of knowledge, universals, being and essence, becomingness, and
so on. And with the five ways of proving the existence of Thomas Aquinas, it gives us the idea
that God is existing and for real. But there are lot of things in which the medieval philosophers
are not sure of, or shall we say that they dont know, things that are not applicable to man. And I
may conclude that everything starts from God, and because of that, everything will end up to
God. With His omnipotence, everything that are unexplained are only known by God.