Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

Protagoras and the Fourteenth-Century Invention of Epistemological Relativism

Buy Article:

$54.00 + tax (Refund Policy)

When contemporary writers consider the history of relativism, more often than not, they simply gloss over the entire medieval period, suggesting that the absolute (and absolutely accepted) claims of the Catholic Church during this period blocked the development of any consideration of relativized notions of truth, morals, and ethics. This is an astounding oversight considering the attention that medieval writers themselves paid to the problem in everything from economic treatises to pastoral manuals. Indeed, a comparison between thirteenth- and fourteenth-century commentaries on book IV of Aristotle's Metaphysics (where the Philosopher discusses the opinions of the pre-Socratic thinker Protagoras) reveals the development of proto-relativized epistemologies. The turn towards relativized conceptions of knowledge had everything to do with the possibility of visual error and the recognition that visual evidence is often susceptible to multiple incompatible explanations. This article charts the development of this discovery in the commentaries of Siger of Brabant (ca. 1240-1280s), Thomas Aquinas (ca. 1225-1274), and Nicholas of Autrecourt (ca. 1299-ca. 1369), as well as in the writings of Nicole Oresme (ca. 1323-1382).
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
No Metrics

Keywords: Nicholas of Autrecourt (ca. 1299-ca. 1369); Oresme, Nicole (ca. 1323-1382); Protagoras (ca. 490-420 BCE); Relativism; Siger of Brabant (ca. 1240-1280s); Vision

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2009

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more