Medieval philosophy


The medieval philosophy is a kind of philosophy that is interpreted so conventional as the philosophy of Europe Western that occurred between the decline of classical and pagan culture Renaissance , in the medieval period or was called Middle Ages , whose nation it was introduced during the 15th century . An extremely broad topic cannot be covered in detail quickly, and takes a lot of time and reading to fully understand.


What is medieval philosophy?

Medieval philosophy was a type of philosophy that was born when Greek and Roman culture began to decline and new cultures began to emerge whose philosophies were inspired by ancient times to provide cultural and religious answers .

  • What does it consist of
  • Characteristics of medieval philosophy
  • Background
  • History
  • Main themes of medieval philosophy
  • Schools
  • Representatives
  • Difference from Greek philosophy
  • Importance of medieval philosophy

What does it consist of

Medieval philosophy consisted of a philosophy that developed throughout Europe and the Middle East that was responsible for integrating the knowledge that had been relieved through religion , as a way to reflect and deepen on the existence of God as the cause of the universe and of the human being who had been created in the likeness of God. It was a philosophy that spanned from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance .


Characteristics of medieval philosophy

Some of the most outstanding characteristics of medieval philosophy are the following:

  • During this time theology was born .
  • Different tendencies began to emerge that tried to unite reason with
  • Saint Augustine contributed different foundations of Christian theology and anthropology .
  • It was religious in character and most philosophers were considered theologians .
  • During this time, Aristotelianism prevailed in the 13th century as a philosophical and scientific paradigm, lasting until the 17th century.
  • Aristotelianism also gave the image of a finite universe .
  • Greek philosophical approaches are left behind to open the mind and reason .
  • God became the center of everything that surrounded man and for this reason philosophical problems began to arise that were related to his existence and his essence.
  • Jewish , Christian, and Muslim thinkers were primarily concerned with combining different Greek and Roman philosophies with religious orthodoxy .
  • There was no freedom of thought and in addition there was significant control by religious institutions.


The main antecedents of medieval philosophy were three, the Greek Stoic school , Roman philosophy and Christianity . The Stoicism founded by Zeno had an important diffusion throughout the Greco-Roman world, mainly among the Roman elites. The Roman philosophy that began with Christianity and that extended until the 15th century reaching the Renaissance and finally Christianity , which involved important aspects such as the creation of man and the morality of love.


The history of medieval philosophy focused all its interest on God . Before it developed, Hellenistic philosophy had acquired an orientation towards knowledge , directing it mainly towards the happiness that man could achieve. The Stoic and Epicurean focused on the knowledge and the expansion of the Christianity and other of religions led to the emergence of some models in search of happiness and individual salvation competing with philosophical models. To face the hostility of the time aNeoplatonism to combat religions and philosophical systems and to try to understand the mysteries that had not been revealed, from this idea arose an association between philosophy and Christianity , between philosophy and religion, founding the foundations of the future medieval philosophy that occurred between Christians , Muslims and Jews .

The first period in the history of medieval philosophy was mainly influenced by Plato , had a pleasant and unsystematic style , and did not enjoy a clear distinction between the concept of theology and philosophy . Some of the most important authors during this stage were Agustín de Hipona, Boecio, Juan Escoto Erígena, Anselmo de Canterbury and Pedro Abelardo. The second period was guided by Aristotle and was based on the creation of universities , greater professionalization and systematizationphilosophy, as well as new ways of teaching. Scholasticism , a dominant theological and philosophical movement, emerged in this period , with authors such as Ramon Llull, Tomás de Aquino, Juan Duns Scoto, Guillermo de Ockham and Buenaventura de Fidanza.

Main themes of medieval philosophy

The main themes of medieval philosophy are the following:

  • The relationship that exists between faith and reason whose objective was to reveal the truth .
  • To be able to demonstrate the existence of God because Christian thinkers believed that the existence of God could be demonstrated through the way of internalization that was found in the soul that captured within itself the eternal truths whose foundation is God, the argument San Anselmo’s oncology that said that there was no being superior to God and the evidence from the world.
  • Cosmic order and moral order , because for them God was the creator and provident . They also studied the natural laws that came from the eternal and divine laws .
  • The limits of reason , human understanding , and the contents of reason and faith .


Some of the schools that were part of medieval philosophy were:

  • School of Miletus
  • Eleatic School
  • The Pythagoreans
  • Epicureanism
  • Stoicism
  • Franciscan School of Paris
  • Averroism
  • Neoplatonism
  • Humanism
  • Empiricism
  • Contractualism
  • Neopositivism
  • Irrationalism
  • Marxism


Among the main representatives of medieval philosophy are:

  • Saint Augustine of Hippo who made the first synthesis between Christianity and Plato’s philosophy.
  • St. Anselm of Canterbury
  • Saint Thomas Aquinas who was the result of the synthesis of Aristotelian philosophy and the philosophical and theological tradition of Christianity.
  • William of Ockham
  • Thomas More

Difference from Greek philosophy

The main difference between the two philosophies is based on the fact that Greek philosophy gives greater importance to man and sees him as an important object because it discovers that it is formed by the body and the soul what they expressed through the perfection of the nude . On the other hand, in medieval philosophy, they had an ethnocentric theory in which God was at the center of the universe and life on earth was not important, education was only given in religious cloisters and man was always represented in clothing and aexpressionless face .

Importance of medieval philosophy

Medieval philosophy is important because despite being so old, it managed to survive until our time, where we can find scholasticism , through which reason or philosophy and faith or theology can be reconciled . Through this philosophy, it has been possible to strengthen and enrich the doctrine through important thinkers such as Saint Thomas and Saint Augustine.  He managed to clarify many of the issues that were in doubt within the church, such as the existence of God . It was a fundamental period in the life of Christianity as Christian philosophers and theologians developed and both sciences were ordered.

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