Philosophy | Medieval Philosophy
P301 | 3283 | O'Connor
While medieval philosophy spans the late fourth to the early
fourteenth centuries, in this course we will focus on just a few
major themes in the writings of just three philosopher-theologians:
Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas.
It has recently been remarked that the philosopher's goal is to
understand how things (in the widest sense of that term) hang
together (in the widest sense of the term). Our authors pursue that
end from the starting and controlling conviction that the
central 'thing' is God. Along the way, they are led to examine (i)
the nature of human freedom and responsibility; (ii) the nature of
human intellect and our ability to know truths about our world; (iii)
the nature of God -- His power, knowledge, goodness, and unity; (iv)
how all of reality other than God might exist and function in total
dependency on God.
In reading these texts, we will seek to identify key arguments which
we will consider with great care. One of our goals will be to
understand sympathetically the authors' guiding framework of
assumptions and views, some of which may be quite alien to our own.
Another goal will be to decide whether there is reason to think they
are after all right at various points, or whether some of the
arguments and ideas can be refashioned and defended.