Ancient and medieval philosophy

I have recently listened to lectures by Maarten Hoenen

Antike und mittelalterliche Philosophie

He has considered in his lectures

Augustine of Hippo
Anselm of Canterbury
Albertus Magnus
Thomas Aquinas
Meister Eckhart
Duns Scotus
William of Ockham
Nicolaus Cusanus

I have found lectures pretty interesting. They show how Christian philosophers in a search for rational explanation of God have made strong foundation of modern science. A good companion for the lectures would be the book The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World by Edward Dolnick. The book shows nicely that for scientists in the 17-th century, the God was the proof that the Laws of Nature exist and that a scientist can find them. The lectures of Maarten Hoenen on the other hand show how the European society came to such a conclusion.

Radical Proof for the Existence of Free Will

A person denying free will is put into some inquisition tool, say Spanish boot. He is asked: “Do I have free will to stop the torture?”. The answer “Yes” finishes the proof. After “No” the Spanish boot is tightened a bit and the question is repeated.

Source: Maarten Hoenen’s lecture on Duns Scotus.

Descartes’s Philosophy: “Made in Bavaria”

Maarten Hoenen at the end of his lecture about Descartes has mentioned that according to Schelling the modern philosophy has started its way in Bavaria. I have found Schelling’s quote from the lecture in Internet

Descartes’s Philosophy: “Made in Bavaria”

“A special peculiarity lies for us in the fact that this beginning of completely free philosophy was, to all appearances, made in Bavaria, that, therefore, the foundation of modern philosophy was laid here.”

However the reason was

“In 1619, when he returned to the camp from Frankfurt, from the coronation of Ferdinand II, he had his winter quarters in a place on the Bavarian border, where he, as he says, found no one with whom he would have liked to converse, and there he conceived (aged twenty-three) the first ideas of his philosophy, which he, however, published much later.”

Maarten Hoenen has stressed this with pleasure as he is working in Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg.

Christianity Doctrine and Modern Scientific Research Program

Right now I listen to lectures by Maarten Hoenen on Ancient Greek and Middle Ages European philosophy. I have listened today to the lecture about Saint Anselm of Canterbury.

The research program of that time was as follows. The Lord is rational and He has created a rational world. He has also created a human being in such a way that he/she can comprehend the created world. In other words, the world is intelligible.

Hence take the Bible. It cannot be false. Hence you need to develop your reason to understand it. Maarten Hoenen compares it with the process of learning math. You have exercises with the answers and you need to learn math in such a way to get the right answers. If your answers do not match the answers in the textbook, it is your fault, you have forgotten something when doing your exercise. As a result, if you train you mind good enough, you will see that you can rationally explain everything what is written in the Bible.

If you change the Lord to the Laws of Nature and the Bible to modern science textbooks (say Grand Design by Hawking), then you get the modern research program. Well, it is not completely clear nowadays why the Laws of Nature that have created a human being have allowed him/her to comprehend the Laws of Nature. I guess, the intelligibility of the Laws of Nature it taken a priori just by inertia from the Christianity doctrine.

Anyway I believe that this explains how such a sentence comes to life and what kind of a logic is behind it.

Aristotle on the Souls of Animals

Prof Hoenen has mentioned that according to Aristotle even an animal has an ability to make a judgment (Urteil) based on perception.

“And this evidently belongs to all animals; for they have a connate judgemental capacity, which is called perception. And if perception is present in them, in some animals retention of the percept comes about, but in others it does not come about.”
Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics, Chapter 19, 35, (slide 340).

Theorien der Wahrheit

I have finished listening the course of Prof Hoenen Theorien der Wahrheit.

The course is made by discussing the next texts:

Aristoteles, Metaphysik

Bertrand Russell, Wahrheit und Falschheit

Anselm von Canterbury, Über die Wahrheit

Gottlob Frege, Logische Untersuchungen

G. W. Leibnitz, Fünf Schriften zur Logik und Metaphysik

A. J. Ayer, Language, Truth and Logic

Paul Feyerabend, Erkenntnis für freie Menschen (Science in a Free Society)

Ernst Mach, Die Mechanik

Kurt Flasch, Philosophie hat Geschichte