Ockham and Paris Ockhamists: Towards a New Approach to the Study of Late Medieval Philosophy

Julita Slipkauskaitė (Vilnius University, Lithuania)
Thu, 30.05.2024, 16h (Finnish time)
Tellus Horizon and Zoom

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Over the past century, dating back to the announcement of Pierre Duhem’s continuity thesis in 1913, historians of Medieval philosophy have dedicated significant efforts to evaluating the relevance of Late Medieval philosophy for the development of contemporary philosophy. Scholars of Medieval philosophy have pursued two primary avenues: one positing the existence of perennial philosophically problematic phenomena to discern how ideas spanning seven centuries might offer solutions to present-day philosophical problems; the other asserting that the disparities between past and present philosophies preclude any adequate comparison. The task of conceptualizing past philosophical thought and bridging it with timeless, context-independent philosophical problems remains elusive. Despite extensive research into the interplay between the history of philosophy and analytic philosophy, the prevailing stance within the historiography of Late Medieval philosophy holds, that establishing the relevance of past philosophical thought for the contemporary one need not necessarily account for the original intentions, aims and stances of past philosophers. Rather, emphasis is placed on the novelty and relevance of the reconstructed arguments for the contemporary philosophical discourse. While this approach is popular, actively supported and clearly useful for the popularisation of Late Medieval philosophy, it rests on a rather vague methodological foundation. This thesis proposes a new perspective to the historiography of the Late Medieval philosophy, combining the two aforementioned approaches. The dissertation argues that integrating two historically distant thought systems is achievable, albeit through a successful reductionist framework. Contrarily, an anti-reductionist stance proves inadequate for such projects.

Last updated: 24.5.2024