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Thomas Aquinas on Human Nature

Thomas Aquinas on Human Nature
Phil 5314

Instructor: Dr. David Squires
Office and Hours: Sullivan 205 by appointment

Course Description

This course is a graduate level introduction to the Aristotelian/Thomistic view of the human person that consists of two parts.  In the first part we will read Aristotle’s De Anima and St. Thomas’s commentary on the same, a commentary which inspired Pico de Mirandola to remark that “without Thomas, Aristotle would be mute.”  In the second part we will read selections from St. Thomas’s Treatise on Man.  Our main goals will be to consider the essence of the soul in general, as well as various powers and acts of the human soul.  If we have time, we will condense the tentative reading schedule slightly in order to make room for a brief discussion of passions and habits.

Greek Reading Group(s)

If there is sufficient interest, there will be an optional Greek grammar and/or optional Greek reading group that will meet once a week to practice Greek grammar or read Aristotle’s De Anima.

Required Texts

I encourage you to read in the original languages, but I also require you to have these translations on hand:

The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation, Volume One.  Edited by Jonathan Barnes, Princeton University Press: Princeton, 1995.

ISBN13: 978-0-691-01650-4

2) Robert Pasnau’s translation of Aquinas’s Commentary on the De Anima, ISBN-13: 978-0-300-07420-4

3) Alfred Freddoso’s translation of the Summa:


Term Paper (70%): Each student must submit a 15-20 pp. argumentative term paper for this course by xx/xx/2024.  A proposal of your paper must be submitted by xx/xx/2024.  Failure to submit your proposal by the deadline will result in a lowered participation score.  Your term paper should engage secondary literature relevant to your prosed paper topic, and your proposal should provide a short bibliography of the secondary literature you intend to use.  You are responsible for tracking down and making proper use of this material.

Participation (30%): This class will be run as a short lecture followed by a directed discussion of the assigned readings.  Students are expected to attend and participate in each class meeting by generating questions about and analysis of the assigned readings.  Additionally, each student must post 2-5 substantive questions and/or talking points to the discussion board on Blackboard before 5pm the day before each class.  The board will not be used for discussion, but only as a place to share your questions/talking points with the instructor and other students in the class before the next day’s discussion.  Your questions/talking points should pertain to the assigned readings.  The instructor may call upon students to further elucidate their posts in class in order to facilitate discussion.

Academic Policies:

Disabilities: If you have a disability that may require special assistance, please contact Counseling Services/Disability Services, which is located on the second floor of Crooker Center.

Academic Integrity: Students are expected to comply with the University of St. Thomas’s Academic Integrity policy (A.02.11).  You are in graduate school.  The penalty for academic dishonesty of any kind is a failing grade for the course, as well as my recommendation to the Chair that you be dismissed from the program.

Classroom Etiquette: Please avoid any distracting activities during class.

Recording Policy: Do not produce audio or video recordings of classroom lectures or discussions, unless you have permission from me.

Tentative Schedule:

Part 1: Aristotle’s De Anima and St. Thomas’s Commentary on the same
Class 1 (1/16) De Anima (DA) 1.1 & Commentary

Class 2 (1/23) DA 1.2-5 & Commentary
Class 3 (1/30) DA 2.1-2 & Commentary
Class 4 (2/6) DA 2.3-4 & Commentary
Class 5 (2/13) DA 2.5-3.1 & Commentary
Class 6 (2/20) DA 3.2-3 & Commentary
Class 7 (2/27) DA 3.4-8 & Commentary
Class 8 (3/5) DA 3.9-3.13 & Commentary
Spring Break (3/11-3/15)

Part 2: St. Thomas on Human Nature
Class 9 (3/12) (this class will be rescheduled) Summa Theologiae: Ia q.75 a.1-3
Class 10 (3/19) Ia q.75 a.4-6
Class 11 (3/26) Ia q.76
Easter Break (3/28-4/1)

Class 12 (x/2) Ia q.77 a.1-8
Class 13 (x/9) Ia q.80 a.2; Ia q.81 a.2-3
Class 14 (x/16) Ia q.82 a.1-5; Ia-IIa q.8 a.1-3
Class 15 (x/23) Ia-IIa q.9
Class 16 (x/30) Ia q.83; Ia-IIa q.10 a.2; Ia-IIa q.13; De Malo q.6