PHIL 305
 TOPICS IN THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY:
 MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY
 FALL 2004

Richard Nunan
Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies
14 Glebe (201);  953-6522 (nunanr@ashley.cofc.edu)
Office Hours: Tuesday 10:00-12:00; Thursday 1:00-3:00; and by appointment.
 

Required Texts:
Augustine, On Free Choice of the Will (Hackett, 1993)
Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy (Hackett, 2001)
Anselm, Proslogion (Hackett, 2001)
Peter Abelard, Ethical Writings (Hackett, 1995)
In addition to the above texts, you will have a number of web-based reading assignments, denoted by ‘<___>’.  You need only go to your WebCT page (link on the College's homepage). There you'll find a link to this course in the list of Fall 04 courses for which you are registered.  Click on the PHIL 305 link, and then click on the syllabus link.  There you will find live links on the relevant dates to all the web-based readings for this course.
 
 

Course Description:

We will undertake a thematic examination of some of the main issues addressed by major philosophical figures in the period ranging from Augustine to Galileo & Descartes, following some preliminary material on the Aristotelian/Ptolemaic two-sphere universe, and on what was familiar to medieval philosophers about Plato, Aristotle, the  Epicureans and the Stoics (concerning especially the nature of matter, the structure and origin of the universe, the status of universals, and the question of free will versus determinism).  These themes will be revisited, as appropriate, in our coverage of subsequent figures.  We must begin with some preliminary background in Ancient Philosophy, especially the work of Aristotle, because much of the philosophy of the Medieval period was conducted in response to ancient authorities.  (For those of you who have had PHIL 220, there won’t be much duplication of material.)

The thematic focus will be on the following topics:
(1) Free will & determinism (and the connection between these issues and theological concerns about the concept of divine foreknowledge);
(2) The nature of sin & the concept of moral responsibility
(3) Classical medieval attempts to prove the existence of God (from Anselm & Aquinas);
(4) The extended medieval debate about realism versus nominalism (i.e., whether universals exist);
(5) The emergence, development, and gradual evolution away from Aristotelian conceptions of the laws of physics, the nature of the universe,  and our place in it.

As evident in this selection of topics, the focus of this course will rely heavily on the interplay between theology, science, & philosophy in this period.  For medieval philosophy was not conducted independently  of concerns and convictions in these areas.
 
 

Course Requirements:

Exams: There will be three exams, mostly non-cumulative, except for comparative questions.  Dates are noted in the reading assignment calendar on pp. 3-5 of the syllabus. Each exam will consist of a combination of multiple choice questions, quotation ID discussion Qs, and mid-length essay Qs (i.e., four or five paragraphs), with most of the weight on the quotation and essay questions.  For each exam, the focus will be primarily on material covered since the previous exam, but there may be some comparative questions which will depend on your familiarity with earlier topics.  I do hand out test-preparation study questions about a week in advance of each exam.

Commentary Papers: You will be required to submit two commentary papers of three to five pages each (typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman 12 or equivalent, with 1" margins), offering a critical analysis of some aspect of one of our readings.  These are not to be conceived as research term papers involving external secondary sources.  The point of this exercise is to use your own skills of critical analysis to develop some comparative analysis of some aspect of the primary source material.  Your paper should not merely be expository, but evaluative in some way.  I.e., you need to develop a thesis and an argument in defense of that thesis, by way of analysis or anticipation of possible objections
 The first commentary paper is a specific assignment: it will focus on Lucian, "Some Awkward Questions for Zeus", one of your reading assignments for 9/6.  That reading won't be discussed in class, but is relevant to themes raised in the reading material assigned on the Epicureans and Stoics for that day, and also to readings from Books V and VIII in Augustine's City of God that are assigned for the following day.  You may discuss any aspect of Lucian's satirical commentary you wish in comparison with some aspect of one of these other reading assignments.  For example, do Lucian's criticisms apply to the Epicurean views that we've read?  To the Stoic views? If so, how in either case?  Are they fair criticisms?  Are Lucian's concerns different from Augustine's?  If so, how?  If not, what is it that they share in common, and do they respond to the problems in the same way?  These are just sample questions.  The idea is to pick one, or an entirely different one on your own, and deal with that issue.  Don't attempt to do everything in a three to five page paper!  The paper is due on 9/13 (a week after the first of these assigned readings). The second commentary paper is due 10/11. The topic is up to you, but need to focus on material covered between the first and second due date, in some fashion.  In each case, you need to do something novel with the material, rather than simply regurgitating what we discussed in class.  Comparative topics, like the first one, are fine, but so is novel analysis of a single text.  If you hit upon a topic you like, my advice is to work on that paper straight away, and turn it in early.  Your life will be easier if you don't delay until the due date is looming.

Term Research Paper: You will be required to submit a final research paper (10 pp., due last day of class), on a topic of your choice.  It could focus on some of the material we have read in class, or on something we have not read.  For this paper I will expect some (modest) outside research in secondary source material, and I expect some of that research to come from print sources (i.e., no bibliographies filled with internet references).  Be mindful of the College’s honor code, and be sure to adequately cite all your sources.  Draft papers may be submitted for comments anytime prior to the Thanksgiving break.

Grading:
Commentary Papers     10% each
Class Presentation        10%
Exams                          15% each
Research Paper            20%
Class Participation        05%


Ancient Antecedents of the Medieval Worldview

8/25 Introduction: The Ancient Two-Sphere Universe
         <Ancient Astronomy Chronology>

8/30 <Plato on Knowledge, Observation, and Nature>
         <Plato, Timaeus -- excerpts>

9/1 <Aristotle on Nature and Science>
        <Aristotle on Universals>

9/6 <Epicureanism and Stoicism>
         <Lucian, "Some Awkward Questions for Zeus">
 

The Reevaluation of  Classical Philosophy I:
Augustine on Plato, Fate, Free Will, Moral Responsibility, & Sin

9/8 <Augustine, City of God, Bk VIII, excerpts>
 <Augustine, City of God, Bk V -- excerpts>

9/13 Augustine, On Free Choice of the Will, Bk I (1-28)
         [First commentary paper due date]

9/15 Augustine, On Free Choice of the Will, Bk II (29-69)

9/20 <Augustine, Confessions, "The Psychology of Infancy" & "The Stolen Fruit">
         <Augustine, City of God, Bk XIV -- excerpts>

9/22 <Augustine & Pelagius>
         Augustine, On Free Choice of the Will, "Reconsiderations" (124-129)

9/27 <Hebrew Bible, Paul, & Peter Damian on Human Sexuality>
         <Peter de Rosa, Pope Patrick -- excerpt>
         <Karol Wojtyla, Love and Responsibility -- excerpt>

9/29 EXAM #1: Augustine & the Ancient World [10/5 = last day to withdraw with 'W']
 

The Reevaluation of  Classical Philosophy II:
Boethius on Stoicism & Christianity, Divine Foreknowledge, & Universals

10/4 Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy, Book I: Meter 1, Prose 1, 3, & 4 (1-3, 6-8, 8-14);
 Book II: Prose 1, Prose/Meter 6, Prose/Meter 7, Prose 8  (22-24, 39-46);
 Book III: Prose 2, Prose/Meter 9 (50-53, 67-72)

10/6 Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy, Book IV: Prose 5, 6 (110-11, 112-120);
 Book V: Prose 3-6 (130-150, but skip Meter sections)

10/11 <Boethius, "2nd Commentary on Porphyry's Isagoge">
         <Gregory the Great on Biblical Exegesis>
         [Second commentary paper due date]
 

Twelfth Century Renaissance: Anselm of Canterbury & Peter Abelard

10/13 Williams Introduction (Anselm, vii-xi)
         Anselm, Proslogion, Prologue & Chapters 2-7 (Anselm, 2-3, 7-11)
         Anselm, "Gaunilo's Reply on Behalf of the Fool" (Anselm, 28-33)
         Anselm, "Reply to Gaunilo" (Anselm, 36-46)

10/18 Fall Break

10/20 Marilyn McCord Adams, "Introduction: Abelard's Life and Works" (Abelard, vii-ix)
         Abelard, Dialogue Between a Philosopher & a Jew, s 1-8, 11-58, 71-79, 90-91, 126-34
         (Abelard, 59-60, 63-71, 76-77, 79, 87-89)
         Abelard, Dialogue Between Philosopher & a Christian, s 137, 145-50, 177-226, 246-54
         (Abelard, 91, 92-93, 99-105, 110-111)

10/25 Abelard, Ethics, s 1-131 (Abelard, 1-29)

10/27 Abelard, Ethics, s 150-60, 167-69, 182-85 (Abelard, 33-36, 39, 43-44)

11/1 EXAM #2: Boethius, Anselm, & Abelard
 

High Middle Ages: Averroes, Maimonides, Aquinas, & Ockham

11/3 <Usamah Ibn Munqidh>
         <Islamic Intellectual Renaissance>
         <Medieval Critics of the Aristotelian Universe>
         <Maimonides, "Five Theories Concerning Providence">

11/8 <Averroes, The Harmony of Religion and Philosophy>
         <Condemnations of 1277>

11/10 <Aquinas, Summa Theologia, Existence of God>
         <Aquinas, Summa Theologia, Divine Knowledge & Universals>

11/15 <Aquinas, Summa Theologia, Free Will, Divine Foreknowledge, & Predestination>

11/17 <Noone, "William of Ockham," excerpt on Universals, 697-701>
        <Ockham, Ordinatio: Question 3, & Quodlibet V: Question 10, excerpts>

11/22 <Noone, "William of Ockham," excerpt on Universals, 702-706>
        <Ockham, Ordinatio: Question 8, excerpts>
        [Research paper due date]

11/24 Thanksgiving Break
 

From a Closed World to an Infinite Universe

11/29 <Copernicus, De Revolutionibus>
        <Kepler, Harmonies of the World>
         <Fate of the Two-Sphere Universe>

12/1 <Galileo, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, excerpts>
         <Galileo & the Church>

12/6 <Descartes, Principles of Philosophy, excerpts>

 Exam #3: High Middle Ages & Transition to Modernism
 (Scheduled time period during finals week)