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A History of Western Philosophy: The Medieval Mind, Volume II (v. 2) 2nd Edition

9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0155383135
ISBN-10: 0155383132
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A History of Western Philosophy: The Medieval Mind, Volume II (v. 2) + The Classical Mind (A History of Western Philosophy) + A History of Western Philosophy: Kant and the Nineteenth Century, Revised, Volume IV
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About the Author

Robert J. Fogelin is Professor of Philosophy and Sherman Fairchild Professor in the Humanities at Dartmouth College.


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Product Details

  • Series: A History of Western Philosophy (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 355 pages
  • Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing; 2 edition (March 1, 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0155383132
  • ISBN-13: 978-0155383135
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #406,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By mjo763 on April 15, 2000
Recent knotty questions regarding knowledge and certainty prompted me to dust off my copy of Jones' book and revisit pages not looked at since university days in Hawaii. It was a pleasure to find again the important issues and questions seriously considered: is there a God? Does evil exist? What are the limits of free will? What is "salvation?" Who is supreme, the individual or the state? What constitutes a valid ethical system and from what authority might it be derived? What is the proper balance between faith and reason? What is the preferred political system? What is the nature and future of man?
Once again I was amazed at the Professor's ability to sift through a sea of historical and technical detail, identify core concepts, follow them as they thread their way through the interval under consideration and relate them to the present time. His objectivity is consistent and his writing is not intrusive--it's as if the reader is engaged in direct personal research. His language is concise and not pedantic--this layman had no difficulty following his presentation of the various controversies characterizing medieval philosophical discourse.
The book ranges from the first century A.D. through the end of the period sometime in the 14th century. It addresses, among other things, the interplay of Jewish tradition and classical thought during the formative years of Christianity. An overview of the development of society, culture and a coherent worldview prepares the reader for a bracing survey of Thomism, including his metaphysics, psychology, ethics and politics. In closing the book, Jones details the subsequent critiques of Thomism developed by Bacon, Duns Scotus, William of Occam, et al.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 29, 2003
This book, 'The Medieval Mind', is the second volume of a five-volume series on the history of Western Philosophy by W.T. Jones, professor of philosophy in California. This series is a very strong, thorough introduction to the course of Western Philosophy, beginning at the dawn of the philosophical enterprise with the pre-Socratics in ancient Greece to the modern thinkers such as Wittgenstein and Sartre. It has grown, over the three decades or so of its publication, from one to four then to five volumes. It has remained a popular text, and could serve as the basis of a one-year survey of philosophy for undergraduates or a one-semester survey for graduate students. Even advanced students in philosophy will find this valuable, all major topics and most minor topics in the course of philosophy are covered in these volumes.
Jones states that there are two possible ways for a writer to organise a history of philosophy -- either by addressing everyone who ever participated in philosophy (which could become rather cumbersome if one accepts the premise that anyone could be a philosopher), or to address the major topics and currents of thought, drawing in the key figures who address them, but leaving out the lesser thinkers for students to pursue on their own. Jones has chosen the latter tactic, making sure to provide bibliographic information for this task.
This volume, 'The Medieval Mind', starts where the last volume leaves off, as the classical world, in the form of the Greek and then Roman Empire, the organising principles for the Western world for nearly a thousand years, were beginning to crumble.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Cornelius Jackson on May 17, 2009
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This, I think, is the weakest book in the series.

Mostly this is due to Jones' poor understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Having studied historical Jesus/early church scholarship pretty assiduously, I think he badly misunderstands both ancient Judaism and early Christianity, Jesus, and Paul. For instance, he wonders why YHWH would be especially interested with the Jewish people, and comes up with: "The Jews seem not to have asked themselves this question. A supreme national egoism made it easy for them to believe..." (p. 22). Dead wrong. The Jews' understanding of Israel's special calling to be the light of the world and its place in YHWH's larger plan for the world is present in e.g. Gen. 12.3, Isa. 56, etc., and is the backbone of Christian thought.

Again, with Jesus, Jones is seriously confused. The cornerstone, as he himself notes (p. 28), for his understanding of Jesus' moral and theological thought is his belief that Jesus expected the imminent end of the world. Again, dead wrong. He seems to be relying on Schweitzer's thesis from "The Quest for the Historical Jesus," which while trailblazing when it was written a hundred years ago, is not accepted by anybody in the field nowadays.

I could go on about Paul as well, but I think the point is clear. Jones is much better with straight philosophy than he is with reconstructing ancient religious worldviews, and in the Middle Ages all the philosophy is also theology built on those ancient worldviews he badly misunderstands. So it gets better as it goes, as the theology of the church gets closer to the theology he knows about and has retrojected onto the early church. The sections on Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, the heart of the book, are quite good.
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A History of Western Philosophy: The Medieval Mind, Volume II (v. 2)
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