Philosophy 314  				Prof. Michael Kagan 

Philosophic Thought of the			Office Hours in RH-422 

Middle Ages					 MW 8:30-9:20 

Spring 1996					  and by appointment.

Course Objectives: To better appreciate and understand some different philosophical approaches of the Middle ages.

Required Texts

Arthur Hyman and James J. Walsh (eds.), Philosophy in the Middle Ages: The Christian, Islamic, and Jewish Traditions, Second Edition, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1983.

Leo Strauss, Persecution and the Art of Writing (University of Chicago Press, 1988)

Julius R. Weinberg, A Short History of Medieval Philosophy (Princeton University Press, 1964). (Referred to as "W" in assignments.

There will also be readings on reserve in the library, as indicated in the syllabus.

Reserve Reading

The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Paul Edwards, ed. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., and The Free Press; London: Collier Macmillan Publishers, 1967. (Referred to as "E" in assignments. E can be found in the open reserve stacks.)

Frederick Copleston, S.J., A History of Philosophy Volume 2: Medieval Philosophy, New York: Image Books, 1993.

Mary Briody Mahowald (editor), Philosophy of Woman, An Anthology of Classic and Current Concepts, second edition, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1983.

Mary Ellen Waithe, ed., A History of Women Philosophers, Vol. II: Medieval, Renaissance and Enlightenment Women Philosophers AD 500-1600, Dordrecht, Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1989.

Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns, eds. The Complete Dialogues of Plato Including the Letters, Princeton: Princeton University Press, Bollingen Series LXXI, 1963, 1973.

Course requirements and grading:

Students will be expected to make at least two presentations on two medieval philosophers (each presentation worth 20% of the course grade; if you do more than two presentations the highest two scores will count for your presentation grade, and your participation grade will be increased), to participate in class discussions (20% of course grade), to complete and present a final project (20%), and to pass the final take home exam (worth 20%).


All students are expected to do all readings and to share their understanding with one another in class discussions and by leading their own and participating in other students' presentations on the various readings. Student presentations on readings begin the second week of class, and will be scheduled during the first week. The subtopics will be divided up into student groups whose size will be determined by the class size.

Remember: You have less than an hour to present. Focus on the aspects your group finds most interesting and important. Do not try to cover everything. Your presentation will be improved if you make it easier for others to participate. (Please try to help others' presentations by participating!) Please feel free to meet with me to discuss your presentations. If you don't find me on campus, feel free to call me at home before 8:00 PM. YOU CAN ALWAYS LEAVE A VOICE MAIL MESSAGE AT 445-4489.


Day 1 (1/17) A view of the nature of the medieval project. Lecture: "Two Metaphors of Medieval Philosophy: the handmaiden and the negotiator."

Day 2-3.(1/19-1-22) Review of basic outline of Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus. Assignment: Read Plato's Meno in The Complete Dialogues of Plato (on reserve). Read W, preface, and ch. I.

*Day 4 (1/24) Student presentation on the life and work of Augustine. Read W, ch. II."


Day 5 (1/26) Medieval philosophy as synthesis and critique and struggle. Read Augustine selection from "The Teacher" in Hyman and Walsh.

Day 6 (1/29) Augustine continued: Read selection from the Confessions. Discussion of time.

*Day 7 (1/31) Augustine continued. Students present on selection from The City of God in Hyman and Walsh. ______________________________

Day 8 (2/2) City of God, continued.

*Day 9 (2/5) Students present on the life and work of Boethius. Read Consolations of Philosophy and "How Substances Can Be Good in Virtue of their Existence Without Being Absolute Goods" selections from Hyman and Walsh. Read Boethius article in E, v. 1, pp. 328-330.

` ______________________________

Day 10 (2/7) Discussion of Boethius readings, continued.

*Day 11 (2/9) John Scotus Eriugena's "On the Division of Nature." Students present on Eriugena. Read W, ch. III. ______________________________

Day 12-13 (2/12, 2/14) Anselm's proof for the existence and nature of God (read "Anselm of Canterbury" section in Hyman and Walsh. Read W, ch. IV.

*Days 14-15 (2/16, 2/21) Heloise and Abelard. Student presentation on Heloise and Abelard. Read W, ch V. ______________________________

Some Islamic Philosophy

Day 16 (2/23). The issue of secret writing. Read Strauss's introduction and chapter one. Lecture on secret writing.

Day 17 (2/26) Alfarabi. Read Hyman and Walsh, pp. 203-233. Read W, ch VI. Read E article on Alfarabi, v. 3, pp. 179-180.

?*Day 18 (2/28) Algazali. Read Algazali selections from "Deliverance from Error" and "The Incoherence of the Philosophers" in Hyman and Walsh. Read Ghazali article in E, v. 3, pp. 326-328.

______________________________ (student may present on Sufis)

Day 19 (3/1) Averroes. Read introductory material and "The Decisive Treatise Determining the Nature of the Connection Between Religion and Philosophy" in Hyman and Walsh, pp. 293-316. Read Averroes article in E, v. 1, pp. 220-223.

Some Jewish Philosophy

Day 20 (3/4) Read W, ch VII. Saadia's epistemology (lecture) and his arguments for the existence and nature of God and God's revelation (read selection from "Book of Doctrines and Beliefs").

*Day 21 (3/6) Maimonides--Read selections from the Guide of the Perplexed in Hyman and Walsh. Students present on the life of Maimonides. ______________________________

Day 22 (3/8) The nature of law and its interpretation (close reading); Hyman and Walsh, 414- 419.

Day 23 (3/11) speaking of God (close reading); Hyman and Walsh, 373-401.

Day 24 (3/13) salvation and philosophy (close reading); Hyman and Walsh, 401-419.

Some Christian Philosophy

*Day 25 (3/15) Students present on Bonaventure's life and works. Read W, ch. VIII, and E, v. 1., pp. 339-343. ______________________________


Some Christian Philosophy (continued)

Day 26 (3/25) Bonaventure--Read selections from "Conferences on the Hexaemeron" and "Retracing the Arts to Theology or Scared Theology the Mistress Among the Sciences" in Hyman and Walsh, pp. 454-469. Close reading of Bonaventure selections from Hyman and Walsh.

*Day 27 (3/27) Aquinas, Students report on Aquinas' life and work. Read W, ch IX. ______________________________

Day 28 (3/29) Aquinas--Read selections from SUMMA THEOLOGICA in Hyman and Walsh. Read Aquinas on The Nature and Domain of Sacred Doctrine and the interpretation of Scripture. (Hyman and Walsh, pp. 516- 523)

Day 29 (4/1) The existence of God. (Hyman and Walsh, pp. 523-527); speaking of God (Hyman and Walsh, pp. 527-531).

Day 30 (4/3) Human nature, happiness, and God. Read Hyman and Walsh, pp 558- 569. Read selections from Aquinas in Mahowald anthology;

Day 31 (4/10) The nature of law and its interpretation (close reading), Hyman and Walsh, pp. 569-579.


Day 32. (4/12) William of Ockham--Read selections from "Summa totius logicae" in Hyman and Walsh, pp. 649-662. Read W, ch. XI. Close reading of text in Hyman and Walsh.

Day 33 (4/15) Galileo--explained as one of the last medievals; read E, v. 3, pp. 262-267.

*Day 34-39. Student presentations of final projects.

(4/17)_________, _________; (4/19) _________, _________; (4/22) _________, _________;
(4/24)_________, _________; (4/26) _________, _________; (4/29) _________, _________;

Take home final due in my office by May 3.

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