Image: Aristotle's Physics translated into Latin by Gerard of Cremona; the manuscript also contains a text by Avicenna (British Library, Harley MS 3487; further details).
This course will examine a range of key thinkers and themes in medieval philosophy, from the fourth to the fourteenth century, telling the story of the development and transmission of philosophical ideas along the way. It will begin in late antiquity, showing the ways in which medieval thought was built on the ancient Greek philosophical tradition. It will outline the transmission of Greek thought to the Arabic-speaking world, examine a number of Arabic philosophers, and consider the impact of Arabic thought on medieval philosophy in Paris. It will conclude with William of Ockham, active in fourteenth century London and Oxford. Topics discussed will focus on problems in metaphysics, such as the nature of existence, universals, and the mind. The relationship between philosophy and theology (or reason and faith) will be a continuing theme.
The abbreviation 'HWW' below refers to A. Hyman, J. Walsh, and T. Williams, Philosophy in the Middle Ages: The Christian, Islamic, and Jewish Traditions, Third Edition (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2010) and 'HW' refers to the earlier edition, A. Hyman and J. Walsh, Philosophy in the Middle Ages: The Christian, Islamic, and Jewish Traditions, Second Edition (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1973).
Starting with the most introductory and building up:
Marenbon, J., Medieval Philosophy, A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016)
Kenny, A. Medieval Philosophy, A New History of Western Philosophy 2 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005)
Avicenna, Psychology of The Salvation/Deliverance (Kitab al-Najat) 6.13 (HWW 259-61) and On the Soul (Kitab al-Nafs) 1.5 (HWW 261-4); note also On the Soul 1.1 (in McGinnis and Reisman 2007: 175-9) [extracts online at wmpeople.wm.edu/asset/index/cvance/Avicenna2]
Al-Ghazali, Incoherence of the Philosophers (Tahafut al-falasifa) 17 (HWW 278-84, also HW 283-91); note also Averroes, Incoherence of the Incoherence (Tahafut al-Tahafut), in Van Den Burgh 1954: 1:316-21