PHI201: Medieval Philosophy


PHI201: Medieval Philosophy

Key details

Accredited towardsBachelor of Arts in the Liberal Arts
Unit typeCore unit
Credit points6
Indicative contact hours3 hours per week
Offered inSemester 1
Tuition feeLearn more



This unit deals with some of the key themes and debates within medieval philosophy. It begins by introducing students to the Aristotelian hylomorphism of St Thomas Aquinas, with specific attention to Aquinas’ hylomorphic theory of the human person. It continues by introducing students to the medieval debate over universals, looking at such figures as Porphyry, Boethius, Duns Scotus and William of Ockham. It then explores the philosophical and theological controversies surrounding Latin Averroism. The course concludes with a brief examination of the natural theology of St Anselm and Aquinas. A background theme throughout the course will be different conceptions of the relationship between reason and faith. While the course will be chiefly devoted to philosophy in medieval Christendom, we will also touch on the work of some of the major philosophers in the medieval Islamic world, such as Avicenna and Averroes.


Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit of study, students will be able to:

  1. understand the key terms, concepts and theses of medieval Aristotelian hylomorphism;
  2. understand key aspects of the medieval debate over universals;
  3. understand the medieval attempt to reconcile Aristotelian natural philosophy with Christian faith;
  4. understand some of the classic medieval proofs for the existence of God;
  5. reconstruct philosophical arguments from medieval primary sources;
  6. engage in independent research and to critically evaluate conflicting scholarship;
  7. think logically, critically analyse situations, and design responsible solutions to problems;
  8. effectively and confidently participate in group work and tutorial events and to contribute with clarity and coherence; and
  9. write well-argued and well-structured essays and appropriately use references and bibliographies according to academic conventions.



Interested in other Philosophy units?

PHI101: Introduction to Philosophy
PHI102: Metaphysics
PHI201: Medieval Philosophy
PHI202: Moral Philosophy
PHI301: Modern Philosophy
PHI302: Social and Political Philosophy
PHI303: Philosophy of Language
PHI304: Twentieth Century Analytic Philosophy
PHI305: Intensive Study of a Text in Classical Philosophy
PHI306: Intensive Study of a Text in Modern Philosophy



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