Category Archives: 13th Century

Dante, Sin, Vice

In Dante’s Hell, people are punished for vices, not sins. In Limbo, the virtuous pagans are punished for their virtues (that is, not for what they did, but for what they didn’t do). Could this reflect Jesus’ saying that with … Continue reading

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Ockham and the “Egocentric Predicament”

The following is a quote from a review handout authored by my Medieval Philosophy professor, William Frank, at the University of Dallas. This is quite possibly the most intriguing thing I’ve ever read about William of Ockham. I’ve bold faced … Continue reading

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Marsilius of Padua (VIII): “The Weightier Part”

In the last part of this series we saw that Marsilius of Padua identifies the legislator of his Aristotelian Christian community as “the whole body of the citizens, or the weightier part thereof, which represents that whole body.”:”(The Defender of … Continue reading

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Marsilius of Padua (VII): The Legislator

Aristotle’s political theory had left room for the rise to power of one man of superior virtue, who, for that reason would have to be given an absolute kingship so that injustice would not be done against him. His words … Continue reading

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Marsilius of Padua (VI): The Origin and Meaning of “Law”

Since we have said that election is the more perfect and better method of establishing governments, we shall do well to inquire as to its efficient cause, wherefrom it has to emerge in its full value; for from this it … Continue reading

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Marsilius of Padua (V): The Best Mode of Establishing Government

In previous chapters of his Defender of the Peace,:”(Trans., Alan Gewirth.)”: as we have seen, Marsilius of Padua laid out some basic Aristotelian principles about the goals of human life and means for achieving them. In Discourse I, Chapter VIII, … Continue reading

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Marsilius of Padua (IV): The Dual Ends of Man

In his Politics Book VII, Chapter 9, Aristotle delineated six parts, or offices, of the city: (1) the agricultural, (2) the artisans, (3) the military, (4) the financial, (5) the priestly, and (6) the judicial or deliberative. As Aristotle has … Continue reading

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Marsilius of Padua (III): On the Origin and Purpose of the Civil Order

In Discourse I, Chapter III of his Defender of the Peace,:”(Trans., Alan Gewirth, pp. 448-450.)”: Marsilius of Padua closely follows Aristotle’s account of the origin of the civil order (or, in Aristotelian terms, “the city”).:”(Aristotle, Politics I.i-ii.)”: Since “from the … Continue reading

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Marsilius of Padua (II): On “Tranquillity”

In the previous post we saw that Marsilius of Padua identified himself as interested in the cause of peace, or tranquillity, in the Christian commonwealth. Following Aristotle,:”(Politics I.ii; V.iii)”: Marsilius uses a biological analogy to define “tranquillity”: For just as … Continue reading

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Marsilius of Padua (I): “This Singular Cause of Strife”

It can be rightly said that to understand the development of resistance to the excessive form of papal claims that characterized the later Middle Ages one needs first to have a basic familiarity with Aristotle’s Politics. Everyone, regardless of whether … Continue reading

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