The 30 Most Important and Famous Middle Age Philosophers

The Philosophers of the Middle Ages were Prominent men who thought of the world, of society, of the divine, or of the cosmos, and of which many of his teachings and reflections remain valid or served as precedents for many ethical and moral doctrines.

The world changed and medieval philosophers accompanied, anticipated, and generated these changes. The analysis of the deep problems of society always had a preponderant place in science, which makes of Philosophy one of the oldest disciplines of which it is had register.

From the fifth to the fifteenth century, between the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 and the discovery of America in 1492, the world lived in the Middle Ages, as that period of Western civilization.

This period also has a philosophical correlate: medieval philosophy, which focused its analysis on feudal economy, theocracies (Christian and Islamic), medieval estates, freedom of man and the limits of reason.

But these specific issues were not what differentiated it from what happened at other times, but it was the compatibility between faith and reason that defined it. "I believe to understand,"said the philosophical fashion slogan.

Maybe you might be interested too" 101 phrases from philosophers about life ".

Top 30 Major Philosophers of the Middle Ages

1- Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274, Italy)

The 30 Most Important and Famous Middle Age Philosophers

Theologian, metaphysician and principal representative of scholastic education, was the one who recovered the Aristotelian writings and the first that saw compatible the comments of the Greek philosopher with the Catholic faith.

Prolific and influential, Thomas Aquinas had a mystical experience a year before he died that ended his career as a public figure. Some divine revelations that upset him, according to the record of his closest confidants, prevented him from continuing to write.

"Faith is a divine grace that God gives to men who choose and reason also originates in God; All men are right, but not all have faith,"he said putting an end to the idea of ​​double reason.

2- San Agustín (354 - 430, Roman Empire)

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Born under the name of Augustine of Hippo, this philosopher had a life linked to Catholic faith. He was a saint, father and doctor of the Church, and one of the leading thinkers of Christianity in the first millennium.

He was known as the"Doctor of Grace"and is considered one of the most influential philosophers of the Middle Ages, not because he lived and analyzed their societies (his death predated the fall of the Roman Empire) but because he was a source of Inspiration of a whole generation later.

"God does not send impossible things, but in sending what he says, he invites you to do what you can, ask for what you can not do and help you so that you can,"was one of his most remembered sentences.

3- Anicio Manlio Torcuato Severino Boecio (480-524, Rome)

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Roman philosopher, belonging to a family of great importance, who gave three Popes to the Catholic Church, Boethius covered a wide range of topics such as fate, justice and faith, but also music, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy And theology.

In his most famous work, The consolation of philosophy , Who wrote in prison, maintains a fluid dialogue with philosophy, to which he attributes a feminine role.

In it he departs on the nature of human happiness, the problems of evil and good, providence and freedom of man, destiny and chance.

His thoughts rivaled St. Augustine and Aristotle and had a central importance in Christian theology. "If there is a God, where do the evils come from? And if it does not exist, where do goods originate?"Was one of his most remembered phrases.

4- San Anselmo of Canterbury (1033 - 1109, Italy)

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Considered the father of scholasticism, disciple of Lanfranco, based his teaching on meditation, which according to him justified the existence of God.

His main point of discussion was the relationship between faith and reason, which led to many of his questions remain unanswered. He thought that not putting faith, it was presumption; However, do not appeal then to reason was negligence.

"I do not seek, in effect, to understand to believe, but I believe to understand. For I believe this, because if I did not believe, I would not understand,"was one of his most remembered sentences.

5 - William of Ockham (1280 - 1349, England)

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He dedicated his life and his work to extreme poverty, and was accused of heresy for studying the relationship between the papacy and the doctrine of poverty, which earned him numerous enemies.

He accused John Paul XXII of being a heretic, one of the most important metaphysicians of his time, and was noted for his methodological theory in which he stated:"One must always opt for an explanation in terms of the least possible number of causes, factors or variables ".

It propelled a series of ideas that motivated Western constitutions and liberal democracies with their formulations on the limited responsibility of power.

Its passage to the posterity has it like protagonist of the detective Guillermo de Ockham in The name of the rose (1980) by Umberto Eco and in the Spanish videogame The abbey .

"Man and woman have been born to love each other; But not to live together. Someone has noted that the famous lovers of history have always lived apart,"was one of his most controversial sentences.

6- San Isidoro of Seville (560 - 636, Spain)

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He stood out as a writer, being one of the most prolific authors of his generation, with works that included from literary treatises, fictions, biographies and philosophical questions.

His most recognized work was Etymologies , An encyclopaedia on the course of the evolution of knowledge from pagan antiquity to the Christianity of its present.

Isidoro had a great influence during the Average Age and the Renaissance, mainly by his conceptions on the history and the philosophy. Orphaned since childhood, he understood that the conscience and the will of man can overcome the difficult difficulties of life.

"Philosophy is the knowledge of human and divine things together with the desire for an honest life,"was one of his many famous phrases.

7- Pedro Lombardo (1100-1160, Italy)

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He Book of Judgments , Of Lobardo, is considered the most important literary work of Christianity after the Bible.

The author compiled in this book, four volumes, Biblical fragments, mixed with legends of Church characters and medieval thinkers, without leaving out any of the celebrities of the Middle Ages.

8- Averroes (1126 - 1198, Spain)

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Averroes was primarily a student of Islamist laws, in addition to commenting on the work of Aristotle and developing some concepts on medicine.

He focused his philosophical study mainly on determining how the human being thinks, more punctually in establishing how to arrive at the formulation of universal truths, following the concepts of Aristotle.

Known as"The Commentator,"by disaggregating all the phrases of the Greek genius, his distinction between human knowledge and the divine was his great contribution.

Averroes appears as the protagonist of the story The search for Averroes in El Aleph , By Jorge Luis Borges, and is one of the characters of the novel Two years, eight months and twenty-eight nights By Salman Rushdie.

9- San Buenaventura de Fidanza (1221 - 1274, Italy)

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Born under the name of John, he became known as the"Seraphic Doctor"for his texts on faith and love for Jesus, in which he maintained a fiery discursive tone.

Scholar and owner of a distinguished intelligence, he was criticized for his excess of judgment that prevented him from being deeper in his analyzes. With an ontological and mystical vision, he followed the works of St. Thomas and Lombardo.

10- Juan Escoto Erigena (810 - 877, Ireland)

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This philosopher stood out for his explanation of reality through a rational methodology that contradicted religious dualism based on the fact that God and the world are different issues

In addition, Erigena rejects the Christian belief that the universe was created out of nothing and established God as the highest point of all evolution.

11- Ramon Llull (1235-1315, Spain)

He was one of the main secular thinkers of the Middle Ages and it was he who began to use the Catalan language in writing. In addition, Llull is credited with being a visionary of gravity and memory theories.

But without doubt it was an appearance of Jesus that guided his work. He left his family and wandered to a mountain, where he stayed in the study. "Love is born of the memory, lives of the intelligence and dies by forgetting", was one of its most celebrated phrases.

Its name is used in schools, educational institutions and government, and even a meteorite was baptized in his honor.

12- Avicenna (980-1037, Persia)

Author of 300 books, is considered one of the most important doctors in history and is the inventor of tracheotomy.

Wrote The healing , Described as the largest work (in dimensions and importance) produced by a single man, and is the most studied and analyzed Islamic philosopher.

"Wine is the friend of the wise man and the enemy of the drunkard. It is bitter and useful as the advice of the philosopher, is allowed to people and banned imbeciles. He pushes the fool into the darkness and guides the wise to God,"he wrote.

Avicenna is also considered one of the Most famous alchemists in history .

13- Maimónides (1135 - 1204, Spain)

He pretended his conversion to Islam but he always professed Judaism. He sheltered his master Averroes until he finally emigrated to Egypt, where he achieved recognition.

His main work, Mishneh Torah , Earned him the nickname of Segundo Moisés, for his contribution to the evolution of Judaism. What also cost him many criticisms, he was even classified as a heretic by some traditional fanatics.

It is considered that his main philosophical contribution was to try to settle the Jewish theology on the principles of Aristotelian reason. "It is better and more satisfying to free a thousand guilty than to convict a single innocent to death,"he wrote.

14- Jean Buridan (1300-1358, France)

He is famous for being the one who developed the paradox:

  1. God exists
  2. Neither the previous proposition nor this is true.

The final conclusion is that, necessarily, God exists but...

He is celebrated for his contribution to syllogism, natural determination and money, and is the author of the theory of the"ass of Buridan"(name he never used), which details the death of an animal between two piles of food before the Lack of rationality.

15- Pedro Abelardo (1079 - 1142, France)

He dedicated his life to music, poetry, teaching and debate, and is considered one of the geniuses of logic, following the precepts of Boethius, Porphyry and Aristotle.

Its theoretical mission was to reconcile realism and nominalism. In addition, he exposed a controversial idea in which he claimed that faith was limited by rational principles. His critical philosophy was considered to be advanced in the Middle Ages.

16- John Duns Scotus (1266-1308, Scotland)

He based his work on trying to verify the existence of God and on building a solid and coherent philosophical system. He is the most recognized author of the Skeptic philosophy and the greatest rationalist of the Middle Ages.

He used a clever and complex method of analysis to defend the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception and to find rigorous proofs about the existence of God, which earned him the nickname"Subtle Doctor." His life came to the cinema with the film The Life of Duns Scotus By Fernando Muraca.

17- St. Albert the Great (1206 - 1280, Germany)

Saint Albert the Great is the patron of the students of Natural Sciences and is one of the initiators of the scholastic system. It was a meeting with the Virgin Mary when she tried to escape from the school where she studied what made her one of the most important theorists of her time.

Highlighted by his great memory, in that mystical turn he heard that he would lose all his wisdom before he died. A failure in his memory in one of his classes, gave indications that the end was near, so he retired, ordered to build his tombstone and shortly after passed away.

18- Roger Bacon (1220 - 1292, England)

The"Admirable Doctor"is considered the father of empiricism, a philosophical theory focused on experience, sensory perception and knowledge.

He began as a diffuser of the work of Aristotle but then was one of his greatest critics, developed theories in different fields and sowed the Middle Ages of new knowledge about the world.

The lunar crater Bacchus, bears that name in his honor. In addition, Bacon appears in the novel The name of the rose of Eco.

19- Robert de Grosseteste (1175 - 1253, United Kingdom)

One of the precursors of modern philosophy, he was a scholar and managed to reach the university thanks to the help of his friends as he came from a very poor family.

Prolific and owner of an analytical capacity that surprised his peers, he was noted for his contributions on natural history, heat, movement, sound, colors, light, atmospheric pressure, rainbow, astrolabe, Comets, necromancy, witchcraft and agriculture

He was one of the first to expose a theory about the multiuniverse and the Big Bang (not in the present expression), which remains valid until today.

20- Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1091 - 1153, France)

Its importance for both the Catholic Church and architecture was remarkable. Within religion he was one of the great diffusers of his dogmas, while in architecture he is known for being the impeller of the Gothic style.

He was also one of the earliest philosophers to account for the basic principles of mysticism, which he regarded as the"spiritual body of the Catholic Church."

21- Thierry de Chartres (no data of his birth - 1155, France)

A follower of Plato and Aristotle, he relied on his thoughts to defend the existence of God. He was noted for his writings on the beginning of the world and the four elements (air, water, fire and earth).

22- John of Salisbury (1120 - 1180, England)

One of the most influential personalities of the twelfth century and one of the main representatives of medieval humanism, stood out for its organicist view of society.

He compared social functions to those of the human body, where the feet were the workers, the army was incarnated in the hands, the belly was the administration, the heart was related to the congress and the head was the prince.

23- Hugo de San Victor (1096 -1141, Germany)

"I adopted science and philosophy as the way to approach God,"he said. Owner of a vast legacy of writings, his works on knowledge stand out.

For him there were different types of knowledge: theoretical (such as theology, mathematics, physics or music), practical (ethics), mechanical and discursive (rhetoric and dialectics).

24- Al-Ghazali (1058-1111, Persia)

The history of this philosopher is as particular as his work. He left everything after a crisis of faith, left home to meditate and live as a beggar and returned with The revival of the religious sciences , Considered the most important work of Islamic spirituality and most read after the Koran.

"It is not wise who, acquiring his knowledge of a certain book, becomes ignorant in forgetting the text he learned one day. The true sage is one who, by his own will and without study or teaching, receives from God his knowledge", is one of his most famous phrases.

25- Chang Tsai (1020-1077, China)

He is the only Chinese philosopher on this list, but its importance was central in the Middle Ages and influenced many later thinkers for being one of the founders of Neo-Confucianism.

"Everything that exists in the universe is composed of first matter, tsi, which possesses the property of motion and rest. Nature is the root and gives rise to reason,"said Tsai.

26- Shannara (788-820, India)

He was the main impeller of the Advaita doctrine, a non-dualistic branch of Hinduism. This philosopher, very influential in Eastern thought, believed in the unity of souls and divinity.

27- Walafrido Strabo (808 - 849, Germany)

He is adjudged to be the author of The ordinary Glossa , Which was published anonymously but was one of the central books in all monastic and episcopal schools.

There, Strabo collected the medieval allegorical explanations that were given to the texts of the Bible. His real name was Walahfrid von der Reichenau, but he was nicknamed Strabo because of his strabismus.

28- Marsilio of Padua (1275 - 1342, Italy)

Its philosophical importance is central for its role in the fight between the Pope and the Emperor, but also for its political ideas.

Convinced that the state order was to ensure peace and tranquility for citizens, it was his concepts about the legislative power (which for him belonged to the people) that highlighted him.

29- Joaquín de Fiore (1135-1202, Italy)

Initiator of the heterodox movement, which proposed a reinterpretation of history and the gospel, it was his interpretation of the Church as a progressive process of perfection that highlighted him in his time.

30- Nicolás Oresme (1323-1382, France)

Considered a genius of the fourteenth century, it is also one of the main drivers of medieval renewal, with an advanced, modern and extensive thinking. "The truth may sometimes not be plausible,"he said.

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