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Medieval Philosophy

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Medieval Philosophy

Instructor: David Squires
Office and Hours: Check homepage for location, T 3:30pm-6:30pm or by appointment

Course Description

Medieval Philosophy

Required Texts

Required Texts

Assignments and Academic Policies

Assignments: there will be three paper assignments over the course of the semester.  The papers are weighted equally (20% each).  Papers are graded for substance (understanding the prompt, answering the prompt, producing good arguments, etc.), as well as for the quality of writing (grammar, usage, organization, style, etc.).  For the sake of fairness, do not exceed the length limit. You should not need to make use of outside sources.  Papers are due at the beginning of class, in hard copy, on the Thursday of the week that they are due.   Late papers will be penalized.

Participation: There are two independent participation assignments each worth 20% of the final grade—viz. 1) Discussion Participation and 2) Reading Participation. Participation points are not free points, so read these two sections below carefully.

Discussion Participation: This participation assignment measures your engagement in terms of philosophical discussion. The best scores will go to students who show a sustained pattern of thoughtful contribution and questioning in class, especially if that contribution demonstrates that you have read the assigned material diligently. This can take the form of asking questions to me or other students, answering questions that I ask you by offering your interpretation of a text, producing or analyzing arguments, comparing different texts, etc. You must bring to class the text we are reading each day. If the assignment is from an electronic text that I distribute, you should print it out and bring it to class.  Class attendance is an essential part of Discussion Participation.  Only university required absences will be excused.  Unexcused absences will result in Discussion Participation penalties.

Reading Participation: This participation assignment measures your engagement with the assigned readings. You are expected to read all of the assigned texts carefully and completely. As few as four times this semester or as many as each class period, I will give you a quiz question(s) that you must answer in a short period of time. Your Reading Participation score will be based on your answers to these quizzes, which will receive standard letter grades. If you’ve done the reading carefully and completely you should not have too difficult a time offering good answers to the questions you’ll be asked. These quizzes are not designed to test philosophical expertise, so much as whether you are doing the readings and understanding them at a basic level.  In general, think of the readings and class participation as an act of citizenship, through which each individual and the collective body is responsible for the class experience.

“The Chain”: The Chain is a string of emails that I’ll send you throughout the semester (chained together so as not to gum up your inbox—hence the name).  Each email in The Chain will have three parts—1) the Afterthought: a brief summary of the latest reading, which should be very handy when it comes time to review ideas before writing a paper, 2) the Forethought: a few guiding comments or questions for the next reading, and 3) a Funny Thought: a place for me to post philosophical memes, videos, articles, and, in all likelihood, pictures of my cat, Alice. If there are readings to be handed out, they will be attached to The Chain.   Reading/viewing the Chain is entirely optional, but reading the attached assignments is not optional. If you find yourself struggling with the readings, consider at least reading the Forethought. Additionally, asking questions about the readings or commenting intelligently on them by replying to the Chain will increase your discussion participation score.

Summary: Papers count for 60% of your grade (20% each), discussion participation for 20%, reading participation for 20%. Rubric: A: 93%, A-: 90%, B+: 87%, B: 83%, B-: 80%, C+: 77%, C: 73%, C-: 70%, D+: 67%, D: 63%, D-: 60%

Disabilities: The university’s policies regarding disabilities can be found at: Information concerning Sara Bea Disability Services can be found at:

Academic Integrity: Don’t Cheat! This includes plagiarism of any variety, including having others do your work for you or merely syntactically or terminologically altering the work of others (e.g. plugging in a few different words into a paragraph written by someone else).  Any instances of cheating discovered will be dealt with swiftly according to university policy.

Laptop and Mobile Device Policy: Laptops and Mobile devices should not be used during class.  The results are in: scientific studies show that screens mean less glean.  Science giveth the iPhone X Plus and science taketh it away!


Week 1:
Class 1 (1/16)
Class 2 (1/18)

Week 2:
Class 3 (1/23
Class 4 (1/25)

Week 3:
Class 5 (1/30)
Class 6 (2/1)

Week 4:
Class 7 (2/6)
Class 8 (2/8)

Week 5:
Class 9 (2/13)
Class 10 (2/15)

Week 6:
Class 11 (2/20)
Class 12 (2/22)
First Paper Due (2/22)

Week 7:
Class 13 (2/27)
Class 14 (3/1)

Week 8:
Class 15 (3/6)
Class 16 (3/8)
Spring Break

Week 9:
Class 17 (3/20)
Class 18 (3/22)

Week 10:
Class 19 (3/27)
Class 20 (3/29)

Week 11:
Class 21 (4/3)
Class 22 (4/5)
Second Paper Due (4/5)

Week 12:
Class 23 (4/10)
Class 24 (4/12)

Week 13:
Class 25(4/17)
Class 26 (4/19)
Spring Break

Week 14:
Class 27 (4/24)
Class 28 (4/26)

Week 15:
Class 29 (5/1)
Third Paper Due (12:00pm, last day of finals)