What are they teaching in the History and Philosophy of Science department these days?

HPSC student: So when are the Middle Ages?
Me: More or less from 500 to 1500… give or take a couple of centuries and depending on local political conditions.
huh? HPSC student: So when is the Medieval period then?
Me: same time. Medieval is an adjective, Middle Ages is a noun.
HPSC student: Oh. *HPSC Prof* told us we have to understand the difference.
Me: Perhaps she meant a grammatical difference?
HPSC student: No, she gave us different time periods and everything.


3 Responses to “What are they teaching in the History and Philosophy of Science department these days?”

  1. Dr. Virago Says:

    Well, in England some people only use “medieval” to refer to later periods – in particular, post-Conquest for England. In other words, there’s the Anglo-Saxon period and the Medieval period. Americans tend to use “medieval” for the broad range you suggest — though some older Americans follow the British usage.

    HPSC prof may have been trained in England. Or else by an older American.

  2. highlyeccentric Says:

    Oh, I see…
    Would these people use ‘Middle Ages’ to cover a broader period than ‘Medieval’?

  3. meli Says:

    hmmm… after five years studying medieval stuff in England I’ve never noticed a distinction in terms. At York, for example, The Centre for Medieval Studies includes Anglo Saxon stuff, as does the Institute for Medieval Studies at Leeds…

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