How Many Angels Can Dance on the Head of a Pin?

I'm listening to some lectures by Professor Thomas Williams of The University of South Florida, on medieval philosophy. In regards to the question in this posts' title, he notes:

1) No one has ever discovered this actual question in any medieval text; and
2) When angels were discussed in medieval philosophy, they were used in the same way as modern philosophers employ zombies and brains-in-vats. (That is not to say medieval philosophers did not believe in angels!)


  1. Even supposing that people did discuss the question, I'm not sure why that would be such a bad thing. People today will spend countless hours arguing over whether Chewbacca or Spock would win in a fight, etc. Idle conversation can be entertaining, and is going to come in any civilization where people have more than a minimal amount of leisure. And the angels question is at least more elevated than many of the idle questions were argue about today.

  2. What is there to discuss? The correct answer is π. Obviously.


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