PHI 202 Medieval Philosophy 

Medieval philosophy centered on the synthesis of Catholic faith with ancient philosophy, the rise of university culture, and the widespread systematic exploration of philosophy. In this course, students will be introduced to the major figures and ideas of medieval philosophy. This course will include discussions of the emergence of scholasticism, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Blessed Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham. Students in this course will be equipped to:

  • explain and evaluate the core topics of medieval philosophy including the relationship of faith and reason, the divine names, the analogy of being, the problem of universals, natural theology, voluntarism, divine foreknowledge, et cetera
  • compare and evaluate diverse schools of medieval philosophy: Thomist, Scotist, and Ockhamist
  • identify the continuing importance and relevance of medieval philosophy for catholic theology and contemporary culture.


  1. Introduction: sources, method, context, and meaning (Faith seeking understanding)
  2. Faith and Reason I: Augustinian Approaches
  3. Faith and Reason II: Latin Averroism
  4. Faith and Reason III: The Handmaiden of the Theology
  5. Anselm: The Existence of God
  6. Thomas Aquinas: The Divine Names
  7. Duns Scotus: Univocal Naming of God
  8. Augustine: Divine Illumination
  9. Thomas Aquinas: Experience and Abstraction
  10. William of Ockham: Nominalism
  11. Thomas Aquinas: Law and Morality
  12. Thomas Aquinas: Church and State
  13. Scotus: Law, Freedom, and the Will
  14. Ockham: Morality, Church, and State
  15. Faith Seeking Understanding: The Continuing Relevance of Medieval Philosophy


Text for the Course: Medieval Philosophy: From Augustine to Duns Scotus, Frederick Copleston, S.J., in A History of Philosophy (New York: Double Day, 1993).