History And Philosophy Of Science | Philosophy of Science From Antiquity to the Middle Ages
X556 | 2788 | Michael Dickson


This course is an introduction to some aspects of ancient and medieval
philosophy that might plausibly be called, in today's terms
'philosophy of science'.  We will begin with the Pre-Socratic
philosophers, including Parmenides, Heraclitus, Pythagoras, and
Empedocles.  We will then consider Plato, focusing on the Timaeus.
When we come to Aristotle, we will read the Physics, the Posterior
Analytics, and parts of the Metaphysics, concerning ourselves not only
with Aristotle's scientific epistemology, but also with his conception
of the natural world.  Indeed, these two aspects of Aristotle's
thought can hardly be discussed independently of one another.  We will
also consider some authors outside of the physical sciences.  In
particular, we will read three works by Galen, and perhaps (time
permitting) some excerpts from later commentaries on Galen.  Next we
will consider Hellenistic schools of philosophy, especially the
Stoics, Epicureans, and Skeptics.  We will again be interested in
scientific epistemology, but also in the role that science played in
the larger philosophical systems of these schools.  From the medieval
period, we will discuss topics such as; the transmission of Aristotle
to the medieval period, the problem of universals, medieval
hylomorphism, theories of knowledge of created being, and the relation
of God to nature.  We will discuss figures such as:  Augustine,
Boethius, Abelard, Hugh of St. Victor, Anselm, William of Auvergne,
Albert the Great, Aquinas, Scotus, Ockham, and others.  This course
assumes no prior knowledge of ancient or medieval philosophy, nor of
Latin or Greek.  However, students will be expected to become familiar
with some key terms in Latin and Greek.