This course concerns the development of philosophy during the period known as the "Middle Ages" (between the "ancient" and "modern" periods). The focus is on three leading figures of this period:
- Augustine (354–450), who attempted to reconcile a broadly Platonic outlook with an emerging Christian orthodoxy
- Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), who attempted to reconcile an entrenched Christian theology with an Aristotelian philosophy that was just becoming available in the West
- William of Ockham (1287–1347), who was a prominent defender of a nominalist/conceptualist outlook that deviated from more traditional Platonic and Aristotelian views.
Topics for discussion include:
- the compatibility of pagan philosophy with religious revelation
- the problem of universals; the nature of time and eternity
- the possibility of knowledge of the nature and existence of God
- problems involving evil, human freedom and divine foreknowledge
- the nature and destiny of human beings.
There will be three (non-cumulative) exams and one term paper.
The class will meet for three hours per week.