Scholasticism comes from the latin word scholasticus which means "that [which] belongs to the school", and is the school of philosophy taught by the academics (or schoolmen) of medieval universities circa 1100 - 1500. Scholasticism attempted to reconcile the philosophy of the ancient classical philosophers with medieval Christian theology.
In each discipline, the scholastics used a book by a renowned scholar, called auctor, as basic course literature. By reading this book thoroughly and critically, the disciples learned to appreciate the theories of the auctor, and thus of the problems studied in the whole discipline, in a critical and self-confident way. Scholastic works therefore have a tendency to take the form of a long list of "footnotes" to the works studied, not being able to take a stand as theories on their own.
Scholastic philosophy usually combined logic, metaphysics and semantics into one discipline, and is generally recognized to have developed our understanding of logic significantly when compared to the older sources. In the high scholastic period of 1250 - 1350 the philosophy of nature, psychology, epistemology and philosophy of science were also important areas of inquiry.
During the humanism of the 1400s and 1500s, scholastics were put to the background and somewhat forgotten. This has been the source of the view of scholastics as a rigid, formalistic, aged and unproper way of doing philosophy. During the catholic scholastic revival in the late 1800s and early 1900s the scholastics were repopularized, but with a kind of narrow focus on certain scholastics and their respective schools of thought, notably Thomas Aquinas. In this context, scholasticism is often used in theology or metaphysics, but not many other areas of inquiry.
The following authors were commonly used as auctors:
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2 Key Anti-Scholastics
3 See Also