Medieval Nominalism Cause and Effect Essay by Shaad

Medieval Nominalism
A description of how medieval nominalism paved the way for the rise of science.
# 129167 | 1,106 words | 0 sources | MLA | 2009 | BD
Published by on Sep 06, 2010 in Philosophy (Science) , Philosophy (Epistemology)

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This paper charts the rise of nominalism in the high middle ages. Its object is to show how nominalism served as the crucial link between Aristotelianism and inductive logic. In other words, how it paved the way for the rise of the scientific method. The paper first explains Aristotelianism as a critique of Platonism. The early nominalism of Roscelin and Abelard is explained to be a particular clarification of medieval Aristotelianism. The paper then describes the development through Buridan to the "terminist logic" of Ockham. The latter is explained in further detail in order to show how it serves as the precursor to inductive logic and the scientific method.

From the Paper:

"It is generally thought that the philosophies of classical antiquity were responsible for the stagnation of learning in the Middle Ages. It will be more accurate to say that, not the philosophies themselves, rather the inordinate respect paid to the likes of Plato and Aristotle, was responsible. In a sense, nominalism represents a clarification of Aristotle's opposition to Plato's theory of universal forms. In this latter theory Plato insists that true reality is contained in universal forms that exist over and above the particular forms. The particular forms are only instances of the universal forms, and therefore are only partially real. Plato's theory is now known under the rubric of realism. Aristotle's opposition to it begins by pointing out that if the universal forms are indeed real they must be existing in some place. They cannot be existing in space and time, for this will reduce them to the level of particulars."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Glick, Thomas F., Steven John Livesey, Faith Wallis. Medieval science, technology, and medicine: an encyclopedia. London: Routledge, 2005.
  • Hyman, Arthur, James Jerome Walsh. Philosophy in the Middle Ages: the Christian, Islamic, and Jewish traditions. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing, 1983.
  • Leff, Gordon. William of Ockham: the metamorphosis of scholastic discourse. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1975.
  • William of Ockham. Philosophical writings: a selection. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing, 1990.

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