PHI-10018 - Medieval Philosophy
Coordinator: Jonathan Head Room: CBA2.032 Tel: +44 1782 7 33515
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 4
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2023/24


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2023/24

Medieval philosophy is one of the most fascinating, most overlooked, and often most mysterious areas in the history of philosophy. This module gives you the opportunity to consider major debates in philosophy and religion in the period 100-1500 AD, including diverse contributions from Africa and the Islamic world. We will study key philosophers in detail, and you will be encouraged to form your own views about many important philosophical debates from this period. Informed by our reading of original texts, as well as the latest scholarship on this period, we will reflect on such questions as:
1) What is the connection between philosophy and religion?
2) What is the connection between reason and faith?
3) Will we live forever?
4) Was the world created, and why is there evil in it?
5) In what ways, if any, does God interact with our world?
6) Do we need to be forgiven for our bad actions/intentions?
7) What does it mean to be a human being?
8) Are we free?
9) Do we have knowledge, or should we be sceptical about various knowledge claims?

To introduce students to key traditions in the history of medieval philosophy. Students will develop critical and analytical skills by reflecting upon debates in the tradition, as well as by considering their relevance for today. Through the assessments, students will also progress with their reading, writing and reflective skills.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Analyse and critically assess key approaches in medieval philosophy: 1,2
Explain some of the central debates in medieval philosophy: 1,2
Develop and defend views regarding debates in medieval philosophy: 1,2
Write about philosophical issues in medieval philosophy with clarity and precision: 1,2
Summarise and analyse key readings from medieval philosophy: 1,2
Reflect upon and explain the contemporary relevance of debates in medieval philosophy: 2

Study hours

Active Learning:
10 hours attendance at lectures
10 hours attendance at seminars
50 hours study and preparation for seminars using online resources provided by the module leader
Independent Learning:
40 hours study and preparation for reflective exercise
40 hours study and preparation for essay

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Essay weighted 50%
Essay 1,000 words
1,000 word essay chosen from 5 titles on a topic in Medieval Philosophy covered in the first half of the semester. Submitted part-way through the semester. Feedback from essays will help inform work for reflective exercise.

2: Exercise weighted 50%
1,000 word reflective exercise
1000 word reflective exercise. Students will explain and reflect upon the contemporary relevance of a philosophical debate, theory or argument from medieval philosophy. After a summary, students will argue for its contemporary relevance by selecting a particular issue and explaining the application of historical ideas to it.