Part VI. The Rational Mind
“By a true philosopher we understand a man who, by the means above treated of [experience, geometry, and reason], is enabled to arrive at the real causes, and the knowledge of those things in the mechanical world which are invisible and remote from the senses; and who is afterward capable of reasoning a priori, or from first principles or causes, concerning the world and its phenomena. . . .”
This full scale survey of the rise and decline of medieval thought, in its primary concern with the relationship of faith and reason, of theology and philosophy, unfolds like a classical tragic drama, reaching, in the course of more than a thousand years, its climax in the work of the hero Thomas Aquinas. The dominant Platonism of the early years slowly gives way as Aristotle’s works are rediscovered and digested.