This unit examines medieval accounts of the soul and body, and the relationship between cognition, emotions and values in selected medieval scholastic thinkers. It investigates two strategies used by medieval thinkers to uphold the transcendent dignity of the human person and the claim that humans are made in the image of God. The first strategy (exemplified by Albert the Great and Aquinas) was to argue for the immateriality and immortality of the soul on the basis of the powers of the intellect. The second strategy (exemplified by Henry of Ghent and the Franciscans) focused on the will rather than the intellect and argued that the image of God in human nature is the radical freedom of the human will – that is, the human ability to love freely. The unit will also consider the relation of debates on these topics to characterisations of thinkers as voluntarists and rationalists, and our understanding of the relation between faith and reason. Students will also be introduced to the primary working tools of contemporary research in medieval philosophy.

Unit Code: AP9123C

Points: 24.0

Unit Level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit Discipline: Philosophy

Delivery Mode: Face to Face

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

Show when this Unit is running

Learning Outcomes


Read the selected primary texts carefully in relation to their purpose and historical context, and articulate a comprehension of them


Critically expound and evaluate the theories, terminology and arguments studied in the unit


Situate and critically interpret the material studied in relation to the wider framework of the Christian philosophical tradition (e.g. faith and reason, voluntarism and rationalism


Develop a topic of research in a critical, rigorous, sustained and self-directed manner, in accord with the methodologies and conventions of research in medieval philosophy




Type Description Wordcount Weight (%)

Option 1: 6000 word essay 90% End of Semester 1000 word skeleton argument 10% Week 13

OR Option 2:

7000 100.0

Option 2: 4000 word essay 60% End of semester 1000 word skeleton argument 10% Week 13 2000 word essay 30% Week 12

OR Option 1

7000 100.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 20 Jul, 2015

Unit Record last updated: 2019-10-03 12:15:26 +1000