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John Buridan

John Buridan

Portrait of a Fourteenth-Century Arts Master

Jack Zupko

John Buridan: Portrait of a Fourteenth-Century Arts Master is a solid piece of work in the history of philosophy. It contains original and fruitful ideas and a synoptic overview that is both illuminating and enlightening. Zupko’s work is an admirable accomplishment.” —Peter King, Ohio State University

John Buridan (c. 1300–1361) was the most famous philosophy teacher of his time, and probably the most influential. In this important new book, Jack Zupko offers the first systematic exposition of Buridan’s thought to appear in any language. Zupko uses Buridan’s own conception of the order and practice of philosophy to depict the most salient features of his thought, beginning with his views on the nature of language and logic and then illustrating their application to a series of topics in metaphysics, natural philosophy, and ethics.

Part 1 of John Buridan considers the picture of language and logic developed in Buridan’s Summulae de dialectica. Buridan systematically overhauled the logic he first learned and later taught at the University of Paris, redeeming the older tradition of Aristotelian logic in terms, propositions, and arguments. This made possible newer and more powerful forms of philosophical discourse. The second part of this volume provides a reading of Buridan’s philosophy, showing how this discourse shaped his treatment of speculative questions such as the relation between soul and body, the nature of knowledge, the proper subject of psychology, the function of the virtues, and the freedom of the will.

This groundbreaking book is sure to become the standard work on John Buridan.

ISBN: 978-0-268-03255-5
468 pages
Publication Year: 2003

Jack Zupko is professor of philosophy at University of Alberta.

“[I]t is an excellent book, and will . . . do a great deal to make Buridan’s philosophical views more accessible to philosophers who are not medieval specialists. Zupko’s work [is] an excellent and informative addition to our knowledge of Buridan.” — Philosophy in Review

“Zupko’s John Buridan . . . is the first full-length synthetic work on Buridan to appear in English. This book is not only a thorough exposition of Buridan’s logic and a select number of related topics, but it also provides an excellent introduction to medieval philosophy as understood by one of its most accomplished late-medieval practitioners.” — Speculum

“This book is at once an accessible introduction to nominalist philosophy and an intellectual biography of one of the most important figures in the history of Scholasticism.” — First Things

“Jack Zupko’s excellent book offers the coherent overall picture of John Buridan’s thoughts that the subject has been waiting for. . . . I admire Jack Zupko’s achievement. This book is an excellent piece of work, which will help to rescue the legacy of John Buridan from neglect.” — The Philosophical Quarterly

“Zupko’s book is a work by one of the leading scholars on Buridan and a considerable contribution to Buridan studies.” — Ars Disputandi

“Zupko’s book combines breadth with detailed analysis of the sources.” — Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

“There is much to commend in this treatment of Buridan.” — ISIS

“In this outstanding book, Zupko provides the first critical study in any language of the philosophy of one of the most significant arts masters of the 14th century, John Buridan. This work of impeccable scholarship in the history of late medieval thought will interest all scholars of medieval philosophy.” — Choice

“. . . edifying for modern philosophers. For the historians, the book is a goldmine of information and a useful synopsis of what we know of this prominent 14th-century forerunner of the modern period.” — The Medieval Review

“Buridan’s thought as a whole deserves to be better known, and in this comprehensive examination of it Zupko has provided a model of historical and philosophical scholarship.” — Dialogue

“Jack Zupko’s John Buridan: Portrait of a Fourteenth-Century Arts Master argues that ‘virtually all of Buridan’s written work is based on the arts curriculum at Paris, and reflects his pedagogical concerns as a member of that faculty’ and that ‘Buridan made his most lasting contribution as a teacher.’ Besides emphasizing Buridan’s role as a teacher in the Arts Faculty at Paris, Zupko sees Buridan as an early leading figure in the secularization of philosophy, that is, in its separation from theology.” — History of Universities

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John Buridan

Portrait of a Fourteenth-Century Arts Master

Jack Zupko

 John Buridan: Portrait of a Fourteenth-Century Arts Master
Cloth Edition
Paper Edition

John Buridan: Portrait of a Fourteenth-Century Arts Master is a solid piece of work in the history of philosophy. It contains original and fruitful ideas and a synoptic overview that is both illuminating and enlightening. Zupko’s work is an admirable accomplishment.” —Peter King, Ohio State University

John Buridan (c. 1300–1361) was the most famous philosophy teacher of his time, and probably the most influential. In this important new book, Jack Zupko offers the first systematic exposition of Buridan’s thought to appear in any language. Zupko uses Buridan’s own conception of the order and practice of philosophy to depict the most salient features of his thought, beginning with his views on the nature of language and logic and then illustrating their application to a series of topics in metaphysics, natural philosophy, and ethics.

Part 1 of John Buridan considers the picture of language and logic developed in Buridan’s Summulae de dialectica. Buridan systematically overhauled the logic he first learned and later taught at the University of Paris, redeeming the older tradition of Aristotelian logic in terms, propositions, and arguments. This made possible newer and more powerful forms of philosophical discourse. The second part of this volume provides a reading of Buridan’s philosophy, showing how this discourse shaped his treatment of speculative questions such as the relation between soul and body, the nature of knowledge, the proper subject of psychology, the function of the virtues, and the freedom of the will.

This groundbreaking book is sure to become the standard work on John Buridan.

ISBN: 978-0-268-03255-5

468 pages

“[I]t is an excellent book, and will . . . do a great deal to make Buridan’s philosophical views more accessible to philosophers who are not medieval specialists. Zupko’s work [is] an excellent and informative addition to our knowledge of Buridan.” — Philosophy in Review

“Zupko’s John Buridan . . . is the first full-length synthetic work on Buridan to appear in English. This book is not only a thorough exposition of Buridan’s logic and a select number of related topics, but it also provides an excellent introduction to medieval philosophy as understood by one of its most accomplished late-medieval practitioners.” — Speculum

“This book is at once an accessible introduction to nominalist philosophy and an intellectual biography of one of the most important figures in the history of Scholasticism.” — First Things

“Jack Zupko’s excellent book offers the coherent overall picture of John Buridan’s thoughts that the subject has been waiting for. . . . I admire Jack Zupko’s achievement. This book is an excellent piece of work, which will help to rescue the legacy of John Buridan from neglect.” — The Philosophical Quarterly

“Zupko’s book is a work by one of the leading scholars on Buridan and a considerable contribution to Buridan studies.” — Ars Disputandi

“Zupko’s book combines breadth with detailed analysis of the sources.” — Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

“There is much to commend in this treatment of Buridan.” — ISIS

“In this outstanding book, Zupko provides the first critical study in any language of the philosophy of one of the most significant arts masters of the 14th century, John Buridan. This work of impeccable scholarship in the history of late medieval thought will interest all scholars of medieval philosophy.” — Choice

“. . . edifying for modern philosophers. For the historians, the book is a goldmine of information and a useful synopsis of what we know of this prominent 14th-century forerunner of the modern period.” — The Medieval Review

“Buridan’s thought as a whole deserves to be better known, and in this comprehensive examination of it Zupko has provided a model of historical and philosophical scholarship.” — Dialogue

“Jack Zupko’s John Buridan: Portrait of a Fourteenth-Century Arts Master argues that ‘virtually all of Buridan’s written work is based on the arts curriculum at Paris, and reflects his pedagogical concerns as a member of that faculty’ and that ‘Buridan made his most lasting contribution as a teacher.’ Besides emphasizing Buridan’s role as a teacher in the Arts Faculty at Paris, Zupko sees Buridan as an early leading figure in the secularization of philosophy, that is, in its separation from theology.” — History of Universities

Publications in Medieval Studies

Winner of a 2003 Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award