Medieval Metaphysics II

Things, non-things, God and time

Authored by: John Marenbon

The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics

Print publication date:  April  2009
Online publication date:  April  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415396318
eBook ISBN: 9780203879306
Adobe ISBN: 9781134155866


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On a narrow conception, metaphysics in the Middle Ages was the subject called by that name and directly linked to Aristotle’s Metaphysics. On a wider conception, it includes both that subject and medieval treatments of whatever topics are now considered metaphysical. I shall follow the wider conception here, but very selectively. My aim is to give an impression of the range and complexity of medieval metaphysics, not by setting out themes or positions in the manner of an encyclopaedia, but by looking a little more closely at a few texts or passages. In the first section I shall discuss accounts of the basic constituents of things, before and then after Aristotle’s Metaphysics became current. It will also give the chance to look at the debate over the subject of metaphysics and the relationship between metaphysics and theology. In the second section, I discuss some accounts of non-things – items that seem to figure in an ontology, without being considered properly speaking as entities. In the third section, I look at a central issue in the medieval philosophy of time: how is the notion of eternity to be understood?

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