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Předmět, akademický rok 2022/2023
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Aquinas vs Duns Scotus: mind and world - AFSV00349
Anglický název: Aquinas vs Duns Scotus: mind and world
Zajišťuje: Ústav filosofie a religionistiky (21-UFAR)
Fakulta: Filozofická fakulta
Platnost: od 2021
Semestr: zimní
Body: 0
E-Kredity: 5
Způsob provedení zkoušky: zimní s.:
Rozsah, examinace: zimní s.:2/0 [hodiny/týden]
Počet míst: neurčen / neurčen (neurčen)
Minimální obsazenost: neomezen
Virtuální mobilita / počet míst: ne
Stav předmětu: nevyučován
Jazyk výuky: angličtina
Způsob výuky: prezenční
Vysvětlení: Link to Moodle
Další informace: https://dl1.cuni.cz/course/view.php?id=10266
Poznámka: předmět je možno zapsat mimo plán
povolen pro zápis po webu
Garant: Anna Tropia, Ph.D.
Rozvrh   Nástěnka   
Poslední úprava: Anna Tropia, Ph.D. (30.09.2020)
Charles University
Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies

BA course+Erasmus
Email: anna.tropia@ff.cuni.cz

How does the mind know the world? This classical question, at the base of every doctrine of intentionality, will be the starting point of this course. On the one hand, there is the cognitive subject, with its mental structure and constitution – on the other, the world, which can be considered as the totality of the objects that the mind can cognize. Medieval philosophers received from the Ancients the idea that, in order to know something, the knower must become similar to it – by assimilating itself to the known thing. How this “assimilation principle” arrives to the Middles Ages – and how it is appropriated by the Medievals – is a multifaced story, declined in many and different ways. In this course, the doctrines of two of the most representative thinkers of the Middle Ages, Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) and John Duns Scotus (1266-1308), will be analysed in order to reveal the main differences – and the main points of contacts – between them. More particularly, the bank-test to clear their positions will be offered by the treatment of human and angelic cognition.

NB. Permanent link to our courses on Moodle! Please register to access it
Cíl předmětu
Poslední úprava: Anna Tropia, Ph.D. (06.09.2020)

Aim of the course is that of providing students with an introduction to an important part in the history of the mind: for, Aquinas and Scotus thought about the mind(s) in two different ways and accordingly, described either different minds with different capacities (Aquinas) or a mind, which possesses almost the same characteristics independently from the constitution of the cognitive subject (Scotus). The second model to represent the “finite mind” (for, infinite, is the divine mind only) will prove to be the one exerting the strongest influence on modern philosophers, such as Descartes or Spinoza not to mention but two of them. 

Poslední úprava: Anna Tropia, Ph.D. (06.09.2020)

Texts (N.B.: all the texts are available on Moodle)



Aristotle, On the Soul, transl. by W. S. Hett, Loeb Classical Library 1964 


Augustine of Hippo, texts from Eighty-three different questions and The Trinity


Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae (ST): 


Latin text: Vatican 1889–. (UFAR library, but also accessible online: corpusthomisticum.org)


English Text: 


1)     Full text translated by A. Freddoso (accessible online: https://www3.nd.edu/~afreddos/summa-translation/TOC.htm)

2)     “The Treatise on Human Nature: ST Ia 75-102” by A. Freddoso, South Bend 2010 (UFAR library; also accessible online, at Freddoso’s webpage above indicated)

3)     (another translation) R. Pasnau, Treatise on human nature, ST Ia 75-89. Cambridge University Press 2002


Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Aristotle’s De anima (Engl. Transl. by R. Pasnau, Yale University Press 1999 – UFAR library)


John Duns Scotus, Being and Cognition, Transl. by J. Van Der Bercken, Fordham University Press 2016 (UFAR library)


René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy. Engl. Transl. by J. Cottingham, Cambridge University Press 2017 (UFAR library)


René Descartes, texts from the Correspondence, ed. Ch. Adam- P. Tannery, Vrin, 1996 (UFAR library)



Suggested Readings (more on Moodle)


R. Pasnau, Thomas Aquinas on human nature: a philosophical study of Summa theologiae Ia 75-89, Cambridge University Press 2002


R. Pasnau, Theories of Cognition in Later Middles Ages. OUP 1998


E. Scribano, Angeli e beati. Modelli di teoria della conoscenza da Tommaso a Spinoza. Laterza 2006

Požadavky ke zkoušce
Poslední úprava: Anna Tropia, Ph.D. (22.09.2020)

Owing to the current situation, classes will be taught online in the form of video-conferences on the platform Zoom. Before the first class, the students registered on this Sis-page will receive an email with instructions. Zoom is very simple to use, but in case you had any problem, please contact me in due time: anna.tropia@ff.cuni.cz

 The requirements in order to complete this course are:


(1) In Class Active Participation, which includes: reading the assignements and regular attendance


(2) A Final Oral exam (in presence or online), to be discussed in due time during the term. 

Poslední úprava: Anna Tropia, Ph.D. (06.09.2020)

Course Outline



1.     Introduction. The Ancients’ Assimilation. Aristotle and Augustine

2.     Thomas Aquinas’ re-assessments: a) many minds, one world b) intentionality between activity/passivity c) detailing the minds: the angel d) the separate soul e) God

3.     John Duns Scotus striking back against Aquinas. a) a bigger mind b) how many minds? c) assimilation d) metaphysics

4.     Some later evaluations. Descartes and the finite mind that is able to conceive of the infinite

Vstupní požadavky
Poslední úprava: Anna Tropia, Ph.D. (06.09.2020)

This is a BA courses suitable for Erasmus students as well. Be this at it may, everbody is mostly welcomed!

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