Philosophy of the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance

Enter into the strange world of the Medieval mind; walking with angels and beasts. Consider the literature of Dante, and sex and sin in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tale; alongside the contribution of Islamic and Jewish philosophy. In the area of Political philosophy, we will take a range of thinkers from Aquinas to Machiavelli, and examine the rise of the universities from the 12th century to Renaissance Humanism in the 14th and 15th centuries. Major philosophers included in the course will be: Anselm, Bonaventure, Duns Scotus and Ockham.

This class will be delivered online via the online platform Zoom. Enrolling students need to ensure they have an email, a reliable internet connection, microphone/speakers and access to a tablet, smartphone or computer.

COURSE OUTLINE

  • Introduction to Medieval History, Ideas and Philosophy: This week I will introduce some of the key thinkers in the course and historically situate their development. The contribution of Boethius will be discussed.
  • Walking with Angels and Beasts - Narratives of Time and Space: We will attempt to understand the unfamiliar world of the medieval mind and experience through their art and literature. Dante’s literature will be considered, and Augustine’s theory of time.
  • How Greek were the Medieval philosophers? The rediscovery of Aristotle is a key aspect of medieval philosophy and yet in mindset the Medieval philosophers share very little with Greek ways of thinking about the cosmic order, politics or the human condition.
  • Islamic and Jewish philosophy in the Middle Ages: Both traditions produce major thinkers in their own right. We will look at the way in which these two traditions intersect with Christian philosophy. Much of the science done in the Middle Ages comes from non-Christian thinkers.
  • Philosophical Chaucer - Love, sex and agency: Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales are a fascinating (and fun) way to understand the more secular aspects of Medieval life. Chaucer both mirrors but also critiques his world.
  • Political Philosophy - Aquinas to Machiavelli: Feudalism and the ‘divine right of kings’ are underwritten by a Christianized version of Aristotle’s theory of the ‘natural order’: we will consider a range of views on power and political authority.
  • Rise of the universities and the 12th century revival: Anselm, Bonaventure, Duns Scotus, Ockham, and Aquinas.
  • The role of science in the early Renaissance: How is science reanimated and how does it relate to theology in the 13th and 14th centuries?
  • Renaissance Humanism in the 14th and 15th centuries: What do they have to be so optimistic about?
  • Renaissance Philosophy: We will consider a range of thinkers on ethics, metaphysics, ontology and language.

PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Identify the main aspects of philosophical ideas in the Medieval period.
  2. Situate the philosophical ideas in their historical contexts.
  3. Discuss some of the issues which are raised by the Scholastic and Humanist philosophers.
$270 Limited / $243

<p>Enter into the strange world of the Medieval mind; walking with angels and beasts. Consider the literature of Dante, and sex and sin in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tale; alongside the contribution of

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30 Apr

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