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Disputatio (DISPUT 8)
D. Bloch
John of Salisbury on Aristotelian Science

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XVI+246 p., 156 x 234 mm, 2012
ISBN: 978-2-503-54099-3
Languages: English, Latin
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The book examines John of Salisbury’s Aristotelianism. In particular, it examines his views on Aristotelian science as a result of the 12th-century revolution in Aristotelian studies. It is argued that John of Salisbury was not quite as Aristotelian as he would have us believe, and that he apparently did not even study the entire Organon.


This is the first substantial treatment of John of Salisbury’s views on Aristotelian science. In his great work on logic and education, John of Salisbury proposes an Aristotelian foundation for education, research, and science. Theories and methods of science and scholarship were central topics in twelfth-century discourse, and John is apparently the first to propose use of the entire Organon, the texts of which were to become very influential and important in the thirteenth century. However, his precise knowledge and understanding of Aristotle has never been thoroughly examined. The present book challenges the view that John read, understood, and used the entire Organon. It pays particular attention to the Metalogicon, but it draws upon a variety of other sources as well in arguing that John did not in fact study the Ars nova with any care, and that he probably never read the most important text, the Posterior Analytics, in its entirety. The conclusions of the book have important consequences not only for our conception of John of Salisbury, but also for our views and understanding of twelfth-century Aristotelianism and science in general.


Table of Contents




Chapter 1. John of Salisbury’s Studies

Chapter 2. John of Salisbury’s Sources

Chapter 3. Twelfth-Century Logic and Science

Chapter 4. John of Salisbury on Science


Appendix 1. Adam of Balsham and the Cornifician Problem

Appendix 2. Thierry of Chartres’s Heptateuchon


Index nominum et locorum

"The merit of Bloch's study is to show how John of Salisbury's thinking was shaped by a fusion of intellectual influences, not just by the ideas of Aristotle." (Constant J. Mews, in: Vivarium, 53, 2015, p. 117-119)
Interest Classification:
Branches of Philosophy
Early Medieval Philosophy (c. 650-1200)
Sciences & Technology
History of Science
Medieval & Renaissance History (c.400-1500)
Medieval European history (400-1500) : main subdisciplines
Cultural & intellectual history

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