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Third Course - FALL 2007


Basic Principles in Natural Philosophy and Logic


7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, at the Family Research Council Building, 801 G Street, NW, Washington, D.C.



Philosophy as classicly understood has a clear pedagogical order. The study of more advanced areas, like metaphysics and ethics, needs to be preceded by a grounding in preliminary concepts and principles, both concerning reasoning in general (logic) and the character of the physical world (natural philosophy or "physics"). This course will give an overview of the Aristotelian conception of logic, emphasizing not just the formation and evaluation of argument, but general questions of human thought and speech (questions today often thought of as more matters of epistemology, philosophy of science, and philosophy of language, rather than logic). It will also review the central principles of Aristotelian natural philosophy, especially the doctrine of the four causes, and will consider also the Aristotelian treatment of "the soul"-the nature and powers of the living creature, especially the human being-as a special case of applied natural philosophy.


1. 19/9: The structure of logic (three parts, its relation to the rest of philosophy).

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, at the Family Research Council Building, 801 G Street, NW, Washington, D.C.

No background reading is required for the first class, but students who wish to may turn to Ralph McInerny's discussion of Aristotle's logic in A History of Western Philosophy (section C of Chapter 3, available here http://www2.nd.edu/Departments/Maritain/etext/hwp110a.htm.

2. 9/26: On the Categories - substance, accident, "the problem of universals".

3. 10/10: Scientific and Dialectical Reasoning (Posterior Analytics, Topics).

4. 10/24: Physics - motion, the four causes.

5. 11/7: Physics - the four causes (cont.), the first cause.

6. 11/28: On the soul - its definition.

7. 12/5: On the soul - its powers.




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