PHIL 753

Ancient/Medieval Philosophy 2

Please note: this is archived course information from 2022 for PHIL 753.


Some Ancient and Mediaeval Solutions to Arguments for Logical and Theological Determinism.

One of the oldest of philosophical problems was first raised by Aristotle and has been debated intensively ever since. If we maintain that the claims we make about the future are true or false, then it seems to follow that what will happen is already determined. Aristotle argued that the world is not logically determined in this way and that one solution to the argument is that our claims about the future are neither true nor false.  Mediaeval Christian philosophers could not accept this since they held that god is omniscient and that our history is the realisation of the

divine providential plan. They were thus presented with the problem of explaining how divine foreknowledge and providence are compatible with the freedom of human action required to ground moral responsibility. This led them to raise problems concerning the nature of time and the principles that are to employed in reasoning about it.

In this seminar we will explore various accounts of time proposed by ancient and mediaeval philosophers and their relationship to contemporary theories of time. We will look in detail at the classical problem of logical determinism as formulated by Aristotle and the various ingenious solutions to it and to the arguments for theological determinism proposed by a number of mediaeval philosophers and the interpretations of them by contemporary philosophers. In the seminar we will alternate weekly between reading texts by ancient and mediaeval philosophers and and discussions of their work by contemporary philosophers.

Assessment: Coursework only

Availability 2022

Not taught in 2022


Lecturer(s) Associate Professor Chris Martin


PHIL 753: 15 points