[SydPhil] HPS Research Seminar-Greg Dawes - "The Development of Medieval Empiricism"
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Mon Apr 24 11:39:34 AEST 2017
THE UNIT FOR HISTORY
Held in conjunction with the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science
RESEARCH SEMINAR SERIES
MONDAY 1st May 2017
Assoc. Professor Greg Dawes
Department of Philosophy
University of Otago
The Development of Medieval Empiricism
Was there such a thing as medieval empiricism? Distinguishing between three kinds of empiricism – genetic, explanatory, and justificatory – I argue that there was. The uptake of Aristotle's thought in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries encouraged a form of genetic empiricism, which held that the (potential) intellect begins the process of cognition as a "blank slate." But this was commonly offset by an emphasis on the role of the active (agent) intellect, which was sometimes coupled with a version of the doctrine of divine illumination. During the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, there emerged a more thoroughgoing empiricism. Factors favouring an empiricist attitude included the study of natural magic, the idea of intuitive cognition, and the growth of nominalism. By the mid-fourteenth century the foundations of early modern empiricism were already in place and the problems to which it would lead already evident.
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