Ancient and Medieval Philosophy (used to be called History of Philosophy I)

Phil A211, section 191 - Spring 2018

William Jamison

THEME: Survey of primarily Western philosophy from the pre-Socratic era through the late Middle Ages. Traces development of scientific, metaphysical, epistemological and ethical thought with emphasis on pivotal historical figures and debates.

Special Note:  This page links to other pages on my web site that are an important part of the syllabus. Students should select those links to become familiar with the other elements of the syllabus. On following a link a page will state that it is part of the syllabus if it is. Other links are supplied as resources for students that are interested in taking advantage of them, but if they are not specifically noted as part of the syllabus it is up to the student to pursue them or not. The purpose of this is to simplify the main page of the syllabus while supplying supplementary information as necessary or to enrich the experience of taking the course.

Student Outcomes

Students completing this course should be able to identify, comprehend, analyze, and evaluate complex philosophical arguments in oral and written discourse. They should also be able to understand, analayze, interpret, and apply major works in the areas of the History of Philosophy, Ethics, and contemporary topics.


Philosophic Classics: From Plato to Derrida (6th Edition)
by Forrest E. Baird


Course grades are based on:

 Exams - 50% - nine essays showing an understanding of the materials covered in class and the assigned readings in response to questions, each with a minimum of 300 words,

 25% of the grade will be based on a term paper. 

 Response to quiz questions posed in each lecture -25%.

CLASS: Hours: Friday 6:00 P – 8:45P Room Eagle River Center 220

OFFICE: Eagle River Center by appointment. Here is my Current Schedule.  

Phone: 786-4458 (office) or 694-1023 (home- please no calls after 8P). The best way to get a message to me is via e-mail. My web page is located at and my e-mail address is wsjamison@ALASKA.EDU. All tests and the term paper should be turned in using e-mail. This syllabus on my web site has links to other sources for many of the texts for the philosophers we will discuss. Some of the links include wonderful web pages on the various philosophers.

January 19: This lecture includes an introduction to the course and description of course requirements. We will discuss: the purpose of doing philosophy, the course readings as an "all you can eat buffet", and what the tests and quizzes will be like. Some useful links we may use for the course are listed here and a bibliography here.    

Estimated reading schedule to be discussed. Lecture 2.

Before Socrates.

January 26: Lecture 3.


Plato 1.



Lecture 4

Plato 2.



February 2: Lecture 5.

Plato 3.



Lecture 6.

Plato 4.


February 9: Lecture 7.

Plato 5.


Lecture 8.

Plato 6.



    The Timaeus "As being is to becoming, so is truth to belief." 29c

February 16: Lecture 9.

Aristotle 1.


    On Interpretation

    Posterior Analytics


Lecture 10.

Aristotle 2.


February 23: Take this link to exam one due next week.

Lecture 11.

Aristotle 3.

    On the Soul

    Nichomachean Ethics

Lecture 12.

Aristotle 4.



March 2: First exam due.

Lecture 13.

Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy 1.



March 9:  Lecture 14.

Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy 2.

Lecture 15.

Early Christianity.

Lecture 16.

Augustine 1.

    On the Free Choice of the Will


March 12 - 17 Spring Break no classes

March 23: Lecture 17.

Augustine 2.

    The City of God

Lecture 18.

Augustine 2.

    The City of God

March 30: Take this link to exam two due next week.

Lecture 19.

Early Medieval 1.



Lecture 20.

Early Medieval 2.



    John of Salisbury

April 6: Second exam due.

Islamic and Jewish Philosophy 1.




Lecture 21.

Islamic and Jewish Philosophy and 13th Century Philosophy.

    Moses Maimonides

    Robert Grosseteste

    Roger Bacon


    Siger of Brabant

April 13: Lecture 22.

Aquinas 1.

    Summa Theologica

Lecture 23.

Aquinas 2.

    Summa Theologica

April 20: Lecture 24.

Aquinas 3.

    Summa Theologica

Lecture 25.

Aquinas 4.

    The Principles of Nature

April 27: Lecture 26.

Late Medieval Philosophy.

    John Duns Scotus

    William of Ockham

    Meister Eckhart

Lecture 27.

Renaissance Philosophy.

Take this link to exam three due next week. Term Papers due.

May 4: Third exam due. Class meets for the last time. We will watch and discuss an appropriate movie. Remember also to take the post-test to help evaluate the course on Blackboard.

This syllabus may be adjusted at any time to meet the class or instructor’s requirements upon one week’s notice to students. 


This page is maintained by William S. Jamison. It was last updated November 18, 2017. All links on these pages are either to open source or public domain materials or they are marked with the appropriate copyright information. I frequently check the links I have made to other web sites but each source is responsible for their own content.