Global History of Philosophy: The Axial Age v. 1

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9780842608855: Global History of Philosophy: The Axial Age v. 1

The fourth and fifth volumes of the Global History of Philosophy are designated The Period of Scholasticism (part one: 800-1150, part two: 1150-1350) in order to stress that the scholastic method with its emphasis on thesis, antithesis, and attempts at synthesis became universal throughout Eurasia. Scholasticism should not be taken in the pejorative sense as the juggling of arguments by straw men, but in the sense of a challenge even in our own era to work for consistent and comprehensive systematic synthesis. All the ''older traditions'' need to be reinterpreted in terms of ''modern conditions''--which after all, is what the Eurasian scholastics of these centuries were doing for their own time.

The major developments of this period are ''Monism in Many Moods'' during the ninth century, through ''Exfoliation and Elaboration'' of those seminal systems in the tenth and eleventh centuries until the time of the ''Great Summas'' in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It was during this time that philosophy and theology developed a very highly sophisticated technique of balancing arguments and refutations and counter-arguments and counter-refutations. Most of these architectonic structuring were in the form of commentaries on basic handbook texts handed down as authoritative scripture.

In every culture of Eurasia systematic philosophy as well as intuitive wisdom had reached a high degree of sophistication from which it might be said that it has never quite completely recovered. In terms of method, seldom since has there been such thoroughness in treatment of every single topic, with arguments and counter-arguments architechtonically juxtaposed and counter-balanced into such a grand harmony. As is true of the whole series, these volumes are a new way of exploring the accumulative wisdom of mankind, and in the process explode many of the ethnocentric stereotypes which still hinder intercultural communications and world peace through intercultural understanding.

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