History of Western Ethics: Early Medieval


''Medieval" and its cognates arose as terms of opprobrium, used by the Italian humanists to characterize more a style than an age. Hence it is difficult at best to distinguish late antiquity from the early middle ages. It is equally difficult to determine the proper scope of "ethics," the philosophical schools of late antiquity having become purveyors of ways of life in the broadest sense, not clearly to be distinguished from the more intellectually oriented versions of their religious rivals. This article will begin with the emergence of philosophically informed reflection on the nature of life, its ends, and responsibilities in the writings of the Latin Fathers and close with the twelfth century, prior to the systematic reintroduction and study of the Aristotelian corpus.

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