Review by Choice Review
McGrade (emer., Univ. of Connecticut) writes in his introduction that this book "seeks to enhance fascination while diminishing incomprehension." Although the exposition is too bland and noncommittal to inspire, in the latter goal this survey of Western philosophy from Augustine to Wycliffe succeeds. Original essays by a roster of qualified scholars provide clear introductions to medieval treatments of major topics such as logic, ethics, political philosophy, and, of course, God. Chapters on the social backdrop of medieval philosophy and its influence on subsequent thought provide valuable historical context. The book is generally well organized, although there is occasional overlap between essays, and the discussion of epistemology is indexed under "cognition" instead of more typical keywords like "epistemology," "knowledge," "belief," or "rationality." Medieval aesthetics, to which such notables as Jacques Maritain and Umberto Eco have devoted entire books, is here completely disregarded. The book will be most helpful to the undergraduate student who has some familiarity with philosophical concepts, but graduate students and faculty might also consult it for brief discussions of lesser-known figures. Useful end matter includes a chronological chart of philosophers' lifetimes, capsule biographies, and an extensive bibliography. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through faculty. C. S. Seymour Wayland Baptist University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.