289. A Wing and a Prayer: Angels in Medieval Philosophy

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Be surprised by how many philosophical problems arise in connection with angels (how many can dance on the head of a pin is not one of them).



Further Reading

• M.L. Colish, “Early Scholastic Angelology,” Recherches de théologie ancienne et médiévale 67 (1995), 80-109.

• T. Hoffmann (ed.), A Companion to Angels in Medieval Philosophy (Leiden: 2012).

• I. Iribarren and M. Lenz, Angels in Medieval Philosophical Inquiry: their Function and Significance (Aldershot: 2008).

• D. Keck, Angels and Angelology in the Middle Ages (New York: 1998).

• T. Suarez-Nani, Connaissance et langage des anges selon Thomas d’Aquin et Gilles de Rome (Paris: 2002).

• T. Suarez-Nani, Les anges et la philosophie (Paris: 2002).


mehmet on 28 November 2017

dear peter,

dear peter,

I am sure you have already recorded all the remaining medieval episodes, but I cannot stop thinking that a final issue listing and summarizing all the major controversies of medieval philosopy would be very nice. Right now only two pops into my mind:

1. realism vs. nominalism

2. intellectualism vs. voluntarism.

3. ????????

I remember I have seen such a list of debates of medieval philosophy years before but I cannot remember where..

In reply to by mehmet

Peter Adamson on 28 November 2017


There is actually a book called Debates in Medieval Philosophy though if I remember rightly that is more like debates over how to interpret the historical texts. In any case I guess that one could add e.g. unicity vs pluralism regarding the soul, secular vs hierocratic political theories, this-worldly-happiness ethical theories vs afterlife-happiness theories, empiricism vs illuminationism in epistemology, deterministic vs non deterministic accounts of grace, and probably lots of others.

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