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Burley, Walter (c.1275–c.1345)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-B023-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 23, 2024, from

Article Summary

Active in the first half of the fourteenth century, Burley received his arts degree from Oxford before 1301 and his doctorate in theology from Paris before 1324. At one time a fellow of Merton College, he – along with Thomas Bradwardine, Richard Kilvington and others – became a member of the household of Richard de Bury, Bishop of Durham and served several times as envoy of the King of England to the papal court. Despite his extra-university activities, Burley continued to compose Aristotelian commentaries and to engage in disputations to the end of his life. A clear and prolific writer, Burley has been labelled an ‘Averroist’ and a ‘realist’ because of his arguments against Ockham, but it would perhaps be more accurate to see him as a middle-of-the-road Aristotelian whose intellectual activity coincided with the transition between the approaches of Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus on the one hand and those of William of Ockham and the Oxford Calculators on the other.

Citing this article:
Sylla, Edith Dudley. Burley, Walter (c.1275–c.1345), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-B023-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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