"In the Image of God he Created Them": Medieval Theories of Human Transcendence, Cognition, Emotions and Values

AP3123C

Dr Callan Ledsham 
 Not Offered in 2020
This unit examines medieval accounts of the soul and body, and the relationship between cognition, emotions and values in selected medieval scholastic thinkers. It investigates two strategies used by medieval thinkers to uphold the transcendent dignity of the human person and the claim that humans are made in the image of God. The first strategy (exemplified by Albert the Great and Aquinas) was to argue for the immateriality and immortality of the soul on the basis of the powers of the intellect. The second strategy (exemplified by Henry of Ghent and the Franciscans) focused on the will rather than the intellect and argued that the image of God in human nature is the radical freedom of the human will – that is, the human ability to love freely. The unit will also consider the relation of debates on these topics to characterisations of thinkers as voluntarists and rationalists, and our understanding of the relation between faith and reason. 

Prerequisites

two units of philosophy at second level

Mode

face-to-face 3-hour weekly classes in semester

Assessment

  • one 5,000-word essay 100%
or
  • one 2,000-word essay 40%
  • one 3,000-word essay 60% 

Bibliography

  • Dales, Richard C. The Problem of the Rational Soul in the Thirteenth Century. Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History. Leiden: Brill, 1995.
  • Frank, William A., ed. Duns Scotus on the Will and Morality. Translated by Allan B. Wolter. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1997.
  • Henry of Ghent. Quodlibetal Questions on Free Will. Edited and translated by Roland J. Teske. Medieval Philosophical Texts in Translation 32. Milwaukee, AI: Marquette University Press, 1993.
  • ———. Quodlibetal Questions on Moral Problems. Edited and translated by Roland J. Teske. Medieval Philosophical Texts in Translation 41. Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 2005.
  • Kent, Bonnie. Virtues of the Will: The Transformation of Ethics in the Late Thirteenth Century. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1995.
  • Pasnau, Robert. Thomas Aquinas on Human Nature: A Philosophical Study of Summa Theologiae 1a, 75-89. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  • Pegis, Anton. St. Thomas and the Problem of the Soul in the Thirteenth Century. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1976.
  • Scotus, John Duns. Philosophical Writings: A Selection. Edited and translated by Allan B. Wolter. Edinburgh: Nelson, 1962.
  • Williams, Thomas, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Duns Scotus. Cambridge Companions to Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.