The Medieval Period

8.1 Between Ancient and Modern

  • Understand the historical changes that led to the Middle Ages.
  • Summarize the social and cultural conditions that obtained in the Dark Ages.
  • Explain how philosophy and the Church were interdependent in the medieval era.

8.2 Augustine

  • Recount the main events in Augustine’s life from his dissolute youth to his appointment as bishop of Hippo.
  • Define Neoplatonism, necessary truth, and moral evil.
  • Explain the significance to Augustine of the biblical quotation, “Unless you believe, you shall not understand.”
  • Know Augustine’s response to skepticism and describe the kinds of knowledge that he thinks humans can attain.
  • Summarize Augustine’s doctrine of the great chain of being.
  • Understand how Augustine explains the presence of evil in the world.

8.3 Anselm and Aquinas

  • Relate the premises and conclusion of Anselm’s ontological argument and summarize criticisms of it.
  • Explain Gaunilo’s objection to Anselm’s argument.
  • Define ontological argument, cosmological argument, natural law theory, and the doctrine of double effect.
  • Explain and evaluate Aquinas’s first-cause argument.
  • Explain Aquinas’s objection to an infinite chain of movers and summarize how critics have responded to it.
  • Understand Aquinas’s natural law theory of ethics.
  • Assess the proposition that nature is teleological.

8.4 Avicenna and Maimonides

  • Summarize Avicenna’s contributions to philosophy and science.
  • Explain and evaluate Avicenna’s argument for the existence of the soul.
  • Understand Maimonides’s rational approach to biblical writings.

8.5 Hildegard of Bingen

  • Define mysticism.
  • Recount the main events in Hildegard’s biography.
  • Summarize her theory of ethics.

8.6 William of Ockham

  • Explain Ockham’s principle of parsimony.
  • Describe the medieval debate between realism and nominalism and give one reason why the issue is important.
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