‘The Philosopher’: Aristotle

Course Description

The word Philosophy comes from two Greek words, Philo and Sophias, meaning ‘Love of Wisdom.’ As far as we are aware, the first to use this word was the great mathematician and philosopher of the sixth century before Christ, Pythagoras. Pythagoras said that wisdom, in its true and proper sense, could only be really attributed to God. The most we humans could do, Pythagoras thought, was to pursue wisdom, or to have a love of wisdom. For that reason Pythagoras, and others like him, wished not to be called ‘a wise man’ but merely ‘a lover of wisdom.’

In its common usage throughout the ages, the philosophers have been those who have proposed a systematic body of teaching which can make at least some recognisable claim to unfold the ultimate reasons and deepest causes of things. Philosophy is wisdom accessible and attainable by the human mind. Within philosophy’s systematic body of teachings are a number of different sciences which ultimately analyse and explain reality as far as man’s rational and intellectual powers can afford. These philosophical sciences differ from the experimental sciences we would normally study at high school. While the experimental sciences attempt to understand things insofar as they are observable by the five senses (i.e., sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch), philosophical sciences seek to understand the ultimate reasons for things: “the why’s and the wherefore’s.”

In this course you will encounter a whole new way of discovery. Beginning with a brief overview of the history of philosophy and philosophical thought, we will dive into the consideration of the differences between the philosophical and the experimental sciences before looking at the different philosophical sciences in themselves. The course will also look at how philosophy differs from theology and divine revelation.

This course will launch you into the life-long pursuit of understanding some of history’s more notable philosophers: from Plato (428-347BC) and Aristotle (384-322BC), to Augustine of Hippo (354-430) and Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109), from the great medieval philosophers like Albert the Great (1206-1280), Bonaventure (1221-1275) to the greatest of them all, Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). The course will also briefly look at those who sowed the seeds for modern philosophical thought: Francis Suarez (1548-1617), René Descartes (1596-1650) and Emmanuel Kant (1724-1804).

So join us for this interesting and enlightening course, designed to introduce the beginner to the world of philosophical thought.

Course Objectives

  1. To obtain a firm grasp of the nature of philosophical sciences.
  2. To be able to see the difference between philosophical sciences and experimental sciences.
  3. To gain an understanding of the history of philosophical thought.
  4. To learn about the major philosophical thinkers and their influence.

Course Duration

6 Weeks: 12 Hours (i.e., two hours, one night a week).

Recommended Reading

Texts Recommended for Purchase by Course Participants:

Kreeft, Peter. Summa Philosophica. South Bend, IN: St. Augustine’s Press, 2012.

Popular Level Reading:

Gardeil, H.D. Introduction to the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas. St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1956.

Garrigou-Lagrange, Reginald. Reality: A Synthesis of Thomistic Thought. Translated by Patrick Cummins. St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1950. (Revised Printing: Ex Fontibus Company, 2012).

Geisler, Norman L. and Paul D. Feinberg. Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1980.

Gilson, Etienne. Methodical Realism: A Handbook for Beginning Realists. Virginia: Christendom Press, 1990 (reprint).

Glenn, Paul. Apologetics. Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1980.

_________. Introduction to Philosophy. London: B. Herder Book Co., 1966.

Rogers, Glenn. Proof of God? Inquiries into the Philosophy of Religion, A Concise Introduction. Estherville, IO: Simpson & Brook, Publishers, 2012.

Maritain, Jacques. Introduction to Philosophy. Translated by E.I. Watkin. Merryland: Sheed and Ward, 2005.

Weisheipl, James A. Friar Thomas D’Aquino: His Life, Thought and Works. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1974. Reprint, Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1983.

Scholarly Level Reading:

Aristotle. The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation. Edited by Jonathan Barnes. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1984.

Copleston, Frederick. A History of Philosophy. (11 vols.). Great Britain: Continuum International Publishing, 1946-1975.

Gilson, Etienne. The Christian Philosophy of St Thomas Aquinas. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1994.

Woodbury, Austin. Introduction to Philosophy. Sydney: Aquinas Academy (unpublished text), 1972.