Loyola University Chicago

Department of Philosophy

Phil 407: Medieval Philosophy

This course deals with selected works from such authors as Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Bonaventure, Scotus, and Ockham. The course may be on a particular author, or on a theme or issue characteristic of medieval thought.


PHIL 407: Medieval Philosophy

Blake Dutton

This course is designed to introduce students to the central problems, figures, and texts of medieval scholasticism--a philosophical and theological movement that arose in conjunction with the medieval universities and which flourished in the 13th and 14th centuries. Though we will work to gain a broad understanding of scholasticism as a movement, our approach will be problem centered. This is to say that we will focus our efforts on identifying the main philosophical problems that animated the scholastics and on understanding how the scholastics set about resolving those problems. Such problems will fall into four broad categories: (1) problems concerning faith and reason; (2) problems concerning the existence and nature of God; (3) problems concerning human nature; and (4) problems concerning universals. Among the figures we will study, the most prominent are Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham. Some attention will also be given to lesser-known figures.


407: Medieval Philosophy: Skepticism

Peter Hartman

In this course we will study cognitive psychology and epistemology in late medieval Latin metaphysics, with a special focus on the metaphysical systems that underpin certain skeptical arguments.  Our focus will be on issues which nowadays would fall into the domain of philosophy of mind, e.g., mental causation, the nature of mental properties or events, and the nature of mental dispositions. Our investigation will start with Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century and wind its way up to the scholastic contemporaries of Descartes (such as Suarez). We will work on such fundamental concepts as causality (with a special attention given to the concept of a power), actuality and potentiality, action and passion, substance and accident, and relations. This is all meant to help us better focus on the epistemological and cognitive psychological questions and arguments associated with skepticism and anti-skepticism. While the course is designed to give graduate students a strong and in-depth introduction to medieval Latin philosophy, we will supplement our readings of medieval authors with parallel readings from the contemporary debate on the same subject, when appropriate.  All readings will be in English.


407: Medieval Philosophy: Buridan's Philosophy of Mind

Peter Hartman

In this course we will study core concepts in late medieval Latin metaphysics, with a special focus on certain issues which nowadays would fall into the domain of philosophy of mind, e.g.  mental causation, the nature of mental properties, and the nature of mental dispositions.  Our investigation will focus on Thomas Aquinas, often associated with the start of high scholastic philosophy, and John Buridan, who falls towards the end of the high scholastic period.  We will be working with a recent edition of John Buridan's Questions on Aristotle's De Anima.  While the course is designed to give graduate students a strong and in-depth introduction to medieval Latin philosophy, we will supplement our readings of medieval authors with parallel readings from the contemporary debate on the same subject, when appropriate.  All readings will be in English.


407: Medieval Philosophy: Mind & Metaphysics

Peter Hartman

In this course we will study core concepts in late medieval Latin metaphysics, with a special focus on certain issues which nowadays would fall into the domain of philosophy of mind, e.g.  mental causation, the nature of mental properties, and the nature of mental disposition.  Our investigation will start with Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century and wind its way up to the scholastic contemporaries of Descartes (such as Suarez). We will work on such fundamental concepts as causality (with a special attention given to the concept of a power), actuality and potentiality, action and passion, substance and accident, and relations.  While the course is designed to give graduate students a strong and in-depth introduction to medieval Latin philosophy, we will supplement our readings of medieval authors with parallel readings from the contemporary debate on the same subject, when appropriate.  All readings will be in English.


407/307: Suarez and Jesuit Scholasticism

Peter Hartman

The course investigates the Scholastic roots of Francisco Suárez, a Jesuit contemporary of Descartes, and his influence on early modern philosophy.  Suárez profoundly influenced the early modern philosophical landscape on a variety of topics, both in his own right and as a source for scholastic views against which early modern philosophers developed their own views.  We will trace both metaphysical and moral themes in Suárez's works to their medieval origins, and follow them through early modern responses.  Topics to be covered will include: substances and accidents, relations, causal powers, the soul and its faculties, the mind-body relationship, mental representation, the will and freedom, habits, and moral responsibility.

We will also read relevant selections from Suárez’s medieval predecessors and early modern successors, those whom he read and those who responded to him, to provide the complete context of the origin and reception of his thought.  Students will receive a firm foundation not only in medieval and early modern philosophy, but also in the distinctively Jesuit understanding of core philosophical issues produced by one of the most important scholastic thinkers of the early modern period.