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

Phil A211, section 791 Fall 2017

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
by Forrest E. Baird, Forrest 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: TR 2:30 PM – 3:45 PM Room 218 Chugiak Eagle River Center

OFFICE: Chugiak Eagle River Center 211 Here is my Current Schedule.  

Phone: 786-7649 (office) or 694-1023 (home- please no calls after 8 PM). 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.

August 29: 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.    

August 31: Estimated reading schedule to be discussed. Lecture 2.

Before Socrates.

September 5: Lecture 3.


Plato 1.



September 7: Lecture 4

Plato 2.



September 12: Lecture 5.

Plato 3.



September 14: Lecture 6.

Plato 4.


September 19:Lecture 7.

Plato 5.


September 21: Lecture 8.

Plato 6.



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

September 26: Lecture 9.

Aristotle 1.


    On Interpretation

    Posterior Analytics


September 28: Lecture 10.

Aristotle 2.


October 3: Lecture 11.

Aristotle 3.

    On the Soul

    Nichomachean Ethics

Take this link to exam one.

October 5: Lecture 12.

Aristotle 4.



First exam due.

October 10: Lecture 13.

Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy 1.



October 12:  Lecture 14.

Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy 2.

October 17: Lecture 15.

Early Christianity.

October 19: Lecture 16.

Augustine 1.

    On the Free Choice of the Will


October 24: Lecture 17.

Augustine 2.

    The City of God

October 26: Lecture 18.

Augustine 2.

    The City of God

October 3 1: Lecture 19.

Early Medieval 1.



Take this link to exam two.

November 2: Lecture 20.

Early Medieval 2.



    John of Salisbury

November 7:

Islamic and Jewish Philosophy 1.




November 9: Lecture 21.

Islamic and Jewish Philosophy and 13th Century Philosophy.

    Moses Maimonides

    Robert Grosseteste

    Roger Bacon


    Siger of Brabant

Second exam due.

November 14: Lecture 22.

Aquinas 1.

    Summa Theologica

November 16: Lecture 23.

Aquinas 2.

    Summa Theologica

November 21: Lecture 24.

Aquinas 3.

    Summa Theologica

November 23- 24: Thanksgiving Break (No Classes)

November 28: Lecture 25.

Aquinas 4.

    The Principles of Nature

November 30: Lecture 26.

Late Medieval Philosophy.

    John Duns Scotus

    William of Ockham

    Meister Eckhart

December 5: Lecture 27.

Renaissance Philosophy.

December 7:

The Protestant Reformation

Take this link to exam three. Term Papers due.

December 12: Third exam due. Class meets 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM Tuesday. No class on Thursday the 14th. We will watch and discuss an appropriate movie on this meeting - probably The Name of the Rose, but that is up to a class vote.

Remember also to take the post-test to help evaluate the course on Blackboard.

Last class meeting. All work must be in to be graded.

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 May 14, 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.