Being a Philosopher: The History of a Practice by David W. Hamlyn

By David W. Hamlyn

First released in 2004. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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Aristotelian works became available in Latin translations from Arabic translations, and, more or less at the same time, in Latin translations from the Greek. Translation of Aristotelian works became something of an industry in the thirteenth century, and Aquinas, for one, relied extensively on the translations by his friend William of Moerbeke, having little knowledge of Greek himself. It is perhaps worth noting that last fact and the general unwillingness or inability of THE MIDDLE AGES AND RENAISSANCE 35 philosophers to equip themselves with knowledge of Greek before the Renaissance.

The Stoics also made considerable contributions to logic, following in this respect the Megarians. In a way, however, what marks off the immediate post-Aristotelian schools is their debate on epistemological issues—the search for, or rejection of, what was termed the criterion of truth. This may have been dependent on a certain reaction to scepticism. Pyrrho preached scepticism—described as a determination to persist in inquiry and a refusal to be dogmatic on anything, even on what the senses tell us—at about the same time as Epicurus and Zeno.

The power given to the university to grant the licence to teach came via a charter and statutes, which laid down the rights and privileges of the constituent members of the university, and were confirmed by either the Pope or the Emperor, or later by other kings. Thus the standing of the university as a studium generate was given to that at Paris by a Papal Bull in 1215, which confirmed the standing which it already had by custom. Oxford followed suit in 1254; Cambridge in 1318. While such rights and privileges could be withdrawn, and occasionally were so for certain periods, the charter and statutes allowed the university to conduct its own affairs without external interference, and, by the licence to teach, gave standing to its degrees.

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