Scholasticism

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Fourteenth century image of a school.

Scholasticism is a way of thinking and teaching knowledge. It was developed in the Middle Ages. It started when people wanted to bring together what is called classical philosophy with the teachings of Christian theology. Classical philosophy is the philosophy developed in Ancient Greece. Scholasticism is not a philosophy or a theology, but rather a way of teaching and learning. Scholasticism emphasises the use of dialectic. The main purpose of Scholasticism is to find an answer to a question, or to show that a contradiction can be resolved.

Scholasticism was started by people like Saint Ambrose and St. Augustine. They tried to use philosophy to help explain the doctrine and mysteries of the church. Ambrose and Augustine were among the first Church fathers who brought Christian ideas and Greek philosophy together.

The main figures of scholasticism were Peter Abelard, Albertus Magnus, Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, Bonaventure and, most importantly, Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica is an ambitious synthesis of Greek philosophy and Christian doctrine. In the 13th century, the teachings of Aristotle were considered more important than those of Plato. With this change, science as a whole started to change. Beforehand it used deductive and a priori reasoning. Science now uses inductive reasoning (a posterori), but see also the philosophy of science.