The Medieval Mind

The Middle Ages, also referred to as the medieval period, extended from around the end of the 5th century C.E. with the fall of the Western Roman Empire through to the 14th century Renaissance. In this lecture, we will take a whistle-stop tour of early medieval Christian and Islamic philosophy through to the scholasticism of the high middle ages in the 13th and early 14th centuries. We will encount the metaphysics, natural philosophy and philosophy of mind that characterised medieval philosophy, also taking in medieval bestiaries and wonderful works of literature such as Beowulf and Piers Plowman. We will also consider demise of science in the early middle ages through to its magnificent resurgence in the high middle ages, following the rediscovery and translation of important writings by Aristotle, Euclid and Galen (amongst others) and many of the key medieval Arabic and Jewish texts, such as those by Avicenna and Maimonides. Though the plague caused a dramatic end to scientific change, the fall of the Byzantine Empire and the subsequent influx of Byzantine scholars to the west, together with the advent of printing, helped pave the way for the revival of Renaissance science by the likes of Copernicus, Bacon and Descartes. This exciting story will be brought to life in this talk.