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The academic and intellectual worlds of Ockham

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Chapter Summary

William of Ockham has long been considered one of the foremost figures in the history of medieval philosophy and theology. Ockham was born around 1288 at the rural village of Ockham in Surrey, a day's ride southwest of London. Ockham's earliest education before entering the Franciscan order was more likely obtained through the local parish priest or perhaps at the house of Austin Canons at Newark. In the autumn term of 1317, Ockham began his lectures on the Sentences at Oxford, which occupied his attention across the biennium 1317- 1319. The normal route from London to Avignon would have taken Ockham through Paris, which was probably his first direct contact with that university city and convent. The traditional picture of Ockham's influence claimed him to be the initiator, the "venerable inceptor of a new school of thought in late medieval Europe: nominalism.

Keywords: Avignon; English Franciscan; nominalism; William of Ockham



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