An Investigation Into Late-Medieval Epistemology With Special Reference to John Mair (ca., 1467-1550) and Members of His Circle

Wood, Robert Neil (1994) An Investigation Into Late-Medieval Epistemology With Special Reference to John Mair (ca., 1467-1550) and Members of His Circle. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[thumbnail of 10992267.pdf] PDF
Download (8MB)


The central theme of my thesis is the nature of assent as expounded in late-medieval epistemology and the way demonstrative assent relates to assents of probable reason, in particular, assents of faith and opinion. The historical context for my discussion is the sixteenth century and I make extensive use of the writings of John Mair (ca., 1467-1550), Principal of the University of Glasgow from 1518 to 1523 and members of his circle. 1 begin by exploring what it means to be a human being. The human being, as understood by Mair and his colleagues, is "mind informing body". There is only one specific form of human beings, the "mind" (anima intellectiva). The mind is primarily the powers of intellect and of will. It is in virtue of these powers that a human being is able to acquire knowledge. The remaining chapters are dedicated to an examination of the late-medieval use of "notion" (notitia) which is a technical term used to refer to a variety of cognitive acts. It is one of the building blocks of late-medieval epistemology; it was universally accepted that a notion is a quality which vitally changes the cognitive power. The term "notion" did not originate in late-medieval philosophy although it is clear from the attention it received in the opening years of the sixteenth century that the "notion" was a central feature of late- medieval epistemology. John Mair and the members of his circle distinguished in the first instance between sensory and intellectual notions, intuitive and abstractive notions, and, apprehensive and judicative notions. These divisions of notions were explored in order to reveal the structure of human cognition and to distinguish scientific or demonstrative knowledge from belief and opinion, and to distinguish between theoretical and practical knowledge. In the thesis close attention will be paid to these divisions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: Alexander Broadie
Keywords: Philosophy, Epistemology
Date of Award: 1994
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1994-74645
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2019 15:58
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2019 15:58

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year