Medieval philosophy is commonly assumed to be authority-bound and uncreative. In this talk Peter Adamson, Professor Late Ancient and Arabic Philosophy at LMU in Munich, shows how medieval philosophers in Latin Christendom, the Islamic World, and Byzantium debated the question of how, and whether, elite scholars and ordinary people should “think for themselves” as opposed to taking authoritative beliefs on trust. The answers they gave remain relevant for us today as we confront our own questions about the role of authority and expertise in society.
Peter Adamson is Professor of Late Ancient and Arabic Philosophy at the LMU in Munich, and retains an appointment at King's College London, where he was Professor of Philosophy until 2012. He is the author of the podcast and book series A History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps.