9 Questions

What is medieval philosophy?

What is the high medieval Scholastic period?

What is the difference between the early and high medieval periods?

Who were the two main orders founded during the medieval period?

What were the main branches of philosophy discussed during the medieval period?

Who were some of the writers in the philosophy of mind during the medieval period?

Who is well-known for his distinct approach to writing in medieval Islamic philosophy and ethics?

What is the Attainment of Happiness?

Who were some of the writers on political theory during the medieval period?


Philosophy during the medieval period:

  • Medieval philosophy began in Baghdad and France and lasted from the 5th century until the 13th and 14th centuries.
  • The era is defined by rediscovering ancient Greek and Roman culture and integrating sacred doctrine with secular learning.
  • The medieval era is traditionally divided into two periods: Early Middle Ages until the 12th century, and the "golden age" of the 12th, 13th, and 14th centuries.
  • The high medieval Scholastic period was heavily influenced by Christian theology and addressed the relation of faith to reason, the existence and simplicity of God, and the problems of knowledge, universals, and individuation.
  • Medieval philosophy places heavy emphasis on the theological and used the methods and logical techniques of ancient philosophers to address difficult theological questions.
  • The early medieval period is generally agreed to begin with Augustine (354–430) and ends with the lasting revival of learning in the late eleventh century.
  • The first significant renewal of learning in the West came when Charlemagne established schools in every abbey in his empire.
  • The High Middle Ages (the scholastic period) began with Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033–1109) and saw the culmination of the recovery of Greek philosophy.
  • The universities developed in the large cities of Europe during this period, and rival clerical orders within the Church began to battle for political and intellectual control over these centers of educational life.
  • The two main orders founded in this period were the Franciscans and the Dominicans.
  • Medieval philosophy included most of the areas originally established by the pagan philosophers of antiquity, in particular Aristotle.
  • Theology, metaphysics, natural philosophy, and logic were among the main branches of philosophy discussed during this period.Medieval Philosophy: Mind and Ethics

Philosophy of Mind:

  • Based on Aristotle's De Anima, and regarded as a branch of the philosophy of nature.
  • Topics discussed include the nature of the soul, the faculties of the soul, and the relationship between the soul and the body.
  • Writers in this area include Saint Augustine, Duns Scotus, Nicholas of Autrecourt, Thomas Aquinas, and William of Ockham.


  • Abu Nasr al-Farabi is well-known for his distinct approach to writing in medieval Islamic philosophy and ethics.
  • He wrote in a simplistic, narrative style, discussing ethical and philosophical theories with reference to politics, leadership, morals, faith, and civics.
  • Notable works of his include The Attainment of Happiness, in which he argues that conceptions of political science and religion must be built on a foundational understanding of the universe.
  • Writers in this area include Anselm, Augustine, Peter Abelard, Scotus, Peter of Spain, Aquinas, and Ockham.
  • Writers on political theory include Dante, John Wyclif, and William of Ockham.


Do you consider yourself a history buff? Are you interested in the philosophical movements of the medieval period? Test your knowledge with our quiz on medieval philosophy! From the rediscovery of ancient Greek and Roman culture to the integration of sacred doctrine with secular learning, this era was defined by its unique approach to philosophical inquiry. Discover the influential figures, main branches of philosophy, and distinct approaches to topics such as the nature of the soul and ethics. Take our quiz to see how well you know medieval philosophy!

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