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If you can conceive of a God, does it prove one must exist? If we cannot see a moral truth does that mean it can't be? Are we one universal humanity or are we differentiated individuals? These are some of the questions that caused the development of Scholasticism, the intellectual discipline which sought to bridge the gap between religion and reason.
Scholastic Philosophy is the love, desire and pursuit of wisdom. Taken in its broadest sense it includes the knowledge of all things in as far as they can be known, by the light of reason. This science has six parts: Logic, which teaches reasoning; Metaphysics, the philosophy concerned with the study of the nature of beings; Cosmology, which explains the visible world; Anthropology, which explains man; Natural Theology, which explains God; and Moral Theology, the religious study of right and wrong. [Scholasticism]
Early universities were the first representation of the spread of Scholasticism and philosophy. They brought together the great minds of the age and allowed scholars to be educated. They lay the foundation for our school systems today, combining many teachers in different areas of study to teach students, rather than expecting one teacher to know everything.
The first period influencing Scholasticism, the classical period, was the time before Christ. This was a period of effort and struggle, where many teachings were false. Leo XIII once said, "Even those who are considered the wisest of ancient philosophers, but who had not the gift of faith, erred most grievously in many things. They often taught, along with many truths, things false and absurd." [Rise of Scholasticism] However, these philosophers laid the groundwork for future philosophers to express their ideas.
Plato and Aristotle were the first philosophers to start organized universities and had great impact on the development of scholasticism. "Intellectual life needs not only teachers and students, not only a stock of knowledge to be handed down, there is needed a certain guaranteed free area within human society as well, within concern for nothing but truth can exist." [Brumbaugh 17] Plato once said. Starting the university gave them a place to learn and converse with other great minds of their time as well as teaching them knowledge you were not able to acquire anywhere else. [Brumbaugh 18]
Plato was the first to do this. He was born in 427 BC and was a devoted disciple of Socrates. When Socrates was executed he dedicated himself to philosophy. He left Athens and traveled to Egypt, Sicily and Italy. In Italy he learned of the work of Pythagoras and came to appreciate the value of mathematics. This was when he formed his idea of mathematics being the most precise and definite thinking we are capable of [Field]. On his return Plato founded The Academy, possibly the first university ever established. He remained at The Academy for the rest of his life. His reasons for setting it up were connected with the young men who would become statesmen. He believed these men would be able to improve the political leadership of the cities in Greece if they were able to attend a university that taught them values that Plato believed in.
Plato also spent time in Syracuse to tutor Dionysius II, the new ruler. Dion, Dionysius's brother, had persuaded him to come so he could train Dionysius in science and philosophy so he would be able to prevent Carthage from invading Sicily. This plan however did not work; Dion was forced out of Syracuse.
Plato's main contributions were to philosophy, mathematics and science, although his contributions to the theories of education were shown by how he ran The Academy. His belief that mathematics provides the finest training for the mind was extremely important in developing the subject. Over the door of The Academy it was written, "Let no one unversed in geometry enter here." [Fowler 2] Plato's works were perhaps the most consistently popular and influential philosophic writings ever published. They consisted of a series of dialogues in which his discussions with Socrates are presented. Like Socrates, Plato was chiefly interested in moral philosophy and despised natural philosophy or scientific philosophy.
Plato's influence extended long past his own life and, indeed, never died. The Academy remained a going institution until 529 AD. Plato's philosophy even after the school was closed maintained a strong influence of the thinking of the Christian Church. It was not until the thirteenth century when Aristotle gained dominance.
Aristotle was born after Plato in 384 B.C and is universally considered one of the great thinkers of the ancient world. He became a student at Plato's Academy at the age of seventeen. After being a student Aristotle became a teacher at the Academy and he remained there for twenty years. He left the Academy after Plato died and Speusippus assumed the leadership. He began to travel i
Terminology mentioned in this term paper
Iron Age, Catholicism,
Names mentioned in this term paper
a student, an advocate, Thomas Aquinas, Vaughan, Scholasticism".[Vaughan, Drane, Speusippus, Albertus Magnus, Francisco Suarez, Dion, Abelard, Dionysius, Francisco de Vitoria, Allan, Alexander, Cajetan, Augustine, Martin Luther, Brumbaugh, William, Cardinal Thomas de Vio, Fowler, Porphry, Newman, the new ruler,
Organizations mentioned in this paper
Plato's Academy, Bible, Christian Church,
Locations mentioned in this term paper
Athens, Sicily, Italy, Syracuse, Greece, Egypt, France, Rome, Paris, Latin West,
Keywords included in this term paper
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