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The Middle Ages Early Christian Psychology & Science –St Augustine Islamic Psychology & Science –Ibn Sina Christian Psychology & Science –St Thomas Aquinas.

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Presentation on theme: "The Middle Ages Early Christian Psychology & Science –St Augustine Islamic Psychology & Science –Ibn Sina Christian Psychology & Science –St Thomas Aquinas."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Middle Ages Early Christian Psychology & Science –St Augustine Islamic Psychology & Science –Ibn Sina Christian Psychology & Science –St Thomas Aquinas –Roger Bacon –William of Occam

2 St Augustine ( AD) Augustine was born in Thagaste (Souk Ahras, Algeria) to a christian mother (St Monica) and pagan father (Patricius) He followed Manichaeism – a religion based on the writings of Mani, primarily known for its striking dualism between light (good) and dark (evil) Led a somewhat debauched early adulthood (a son by a concubine) Converted to Christianity in 386 AD under the influence of St Ambrose the bishop of Milan. St Monicas Patronage: abuse victims; alcoholics; alcoholism; difficult marriages; disappointing children; homemakers; housewives; married women; mothers; victims of adultery; victims of unfaithfulness; victims of verbal abuse; widows; wives

3 Original Sin –Saint Augustine taught that Adam, before the Fall, had had free will, and could have abstained from sin. But as he and Eve ate the apple, corruption entered into them, and descended to all their posterity, none of whom can, of their own power, abstain from sin. Only God's grace enables men to be virtuous. –…by God's free grace certain people, among those who have been baptized, are chosen to go to heaven; these are the elect. They do not go to heaven because they are good; we are all totally depraved, except in so far as God's grace, which is only bestowed on the elect, enables us to be otherwise. No reason can be given why some are saved and the rest damned; this is due to God's unmotivated choice. Damnation proves God's justice; salvation His mercy. Both equally display His goodness {Bertrand Russell (1946) – A History of Western Philosophy}

4 On Lust (Desire) Sexual intercourse in marriage is not sinful as long as the intention is to have children –This lawful act of nature is accompanied with penal shame Augustine, The City of God, XIV. –The cynics believed that one should be without shame Lust is shameful because of its independence from our will If not for original sin, then sex might have been divorced from pleasure, which Augustine believed to be a virtuous state. The reformation protestants, such as the Lutherans and Calvinists followed this line of reasoning.

5 On Plato Let Thales depart with his water, Anaximenes with the air, the Stoics with their fire, Epicurus with his atoms. St Augustine, The City of God VIII. For Augustine, Plato was correct in the following ways –God is not anything material –All things have their being through God –God is immutable –Perception is not the source of truth –The sensible world is inferior to the eternal –There are things than can be discovered by reason alone On the other hand, all other knowledge if it is to be true, should be based on religious scriptures, though not necessarily literally, subject to science and God given reason.

6 Ibn Sina (Avicenna, AD) Born Afshana near Bukhara, now in Uzbekistan (then Persia), and died in Hamadan, Persia (Iran). A child prodigy –Knew the Koran by heart at age 7 –Also vast tracts of Persian Poetry Ibn Sina's two most important works (out of 450) are The Book of Healing and The Canon of Medicine. –The first is a scientific encyclopaedia covering logic, natural sciences, psychology, geometry, astronomy, arithmetic and music. –The second is the most famous single book in the history of medicine

7 Ibn Sinas Psychology and Theory of Knowledge He discussed reason and reality, claiming that God is pure intellect and that knowledge consists of the mind grasping the intelligible. –To grasp the intelligible both reason and logic are required... it is important to gain knowledge. Grasp of the intelligibles determines the fate of the rational soul in the hereafter, and therefore is crucial to human activity. {Craig, E. (1998) – Routledge Encyclopaedia of Philosophy} The psychology was essentially a synopsis and extension of Aristotles facultative psychology.


9 St Thomas Aquinas ( AD) The son of Count Landulf of Aquino, in the kingdom of Naples He was educated at the Benedictine Abbey at Cassino (the Abbot was his uncle) and at the University of Naples. He became a Dominican monk in his 17 th year. He had a thorough knowledge and understanding of Aristotle and dislike for Plato. He used the Aristotlean argument for the existence of God. –There are things that are moved –There are things that move –Whatever is moved is moved by something. –Since an infinite regress is impossible we must arrive somewhere where the first move is made and something must have made that move. –The unmoved mover is God. Aristotle used this rationale for the existence of at least 47 gods.

10 Body and Soul In men, the soul is united to the body Unlike Aristotle and Ibn Sina there is only one soul The whole soul is present in the whole body The soul is immortal whereas the body is not. The soul is created new by God with each man –Birth out of wedlock presents a problem. Why would God involve Himself is such a sin? –Original Sin is also a problem. If the soul is created afresh how is original sin passed on?

11 Acquinas and Aristotle Aquinas adopted Aristotles philosophy and demonstrated that much of it was not in conflict with Catholicism A person ability to reason about the world of nature and God is limited by Aristotlean empiricism to the world of Nature. God can only be known through attempts to understand his creation. There are no innate ideas All thinking requires the imagination. Knowledge of God cannot be gained through introspection or by reason alone.

12 Roger Bacon ( ) The scientific method in its modern form arguably developed in early Islamic philosophy, e.g. the work of Ibn al-Haitham on optics –using experiments to distinguish between competing scientific theories, –citation, peer review and open inquiry, –a general belief that knowledge reveals nature honestly. The Franciscan monk Bacon, also an aristotlean, described a repeating cycle of observation, hypothesis, experimentation, and the need for independent verification. –Essentially a scientific empiricism was introduced into western thought. The purpose of this was to further our understanding of God and his creation.

13 William of Ockham (Occam, ~ ) A Franciscan monk, not a great deal is known about his life and what there is is not agreed upon. –He may have been brought before the Pope John XXII in Avignon to face charges of heresy –He may have been brought to Avignon as a teacher and only later accused of heresy He eventually fled Avignon to Bavaria after a dispute with Dominicans about Franciscan poverty He is often considered one of the great medieval philosophers in so far as his impact lasts until today. –First, Occams Razor –Second, Nominalism and/or Conceptualism

14 Occams Razor Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate or Plurality should not be posited without necessity Consider the two following explanations given to a child about Christmas presents (1) Your parents bought them (2) Father Christmas brought them If the child applied the logic of Occams Razor then they would have to believe statement (1) and reject (2) Similarly this argument applies to Intelligent Design or the existence of God However, the sound logic does not guarantee the truth of the outcome.

15 Nominalism Science considers only propositions, not things, since the object of science is what is known and not what is. No universal (e.g. a platonic ideal form) exists outside the mind. A universal is an intention of the mind, a symbol representing several objects of a kind Objects call forth sense-impressions which become mental images through the work of the active intellect. The human mind has a tendency to create universal concepts from even single instances of an entity or its properties Whilst these mental symbols represent objective reality they are in fact subjective

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