Seminar on philosophical texts by medieval authors

lfilo1325  2017-2018  Louvain-la-Neuve

Seminar on philosophical texts by medieval authors
3 credits
30.0 h
Counet Jean-Michel;
Main themes
The course requires a direct and frequent exposure to Medieval texts. We shall either study a particular text (from beginning to end or jumping around in it), or extracts from different authors addressing a specific problem. We shall examine these texts from a historical perspective. We shall shell out their sources, insisting on the fact that Medieval thinkers believed they were on the threshold of different traditions and heritages: biblical and theological, patristical, philosophical (Ancient, Arab, and Jewish thought). From a doctrinal point of view, we shall also show what was innovative in these texts when they were written and in their cultural context. If the need arises, we shall underline their posterity, especially their influence on Modern thought. On top of this historical approach, we shall also examine the argumentative strategies of the texts themselves, highlighting their logical and conceptual rigor, which makes for excellent training for the students' reading skills. The texts will be explained by the lecturer: the goal is to give examples of reading methods and to indicate the necessary tools for a proper reading of these texts. The students will be asked to do complementary readings.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 The aim of the course is to teach the students how to "read" Medieval texts on their own. In other words, by overcoming the cultural distance separating us from the texts, the students should come to understand the workings and uses of the texts and the methods necessary for explaining them,. thus providing the capacity for further independent research in this area.

The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
The seminar  will tuns on the thought of Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464). He is seen as the last philosopher of the Middle Ages and the firs thinker of Modern Times. The  lectures aim at introducing to his philosophy in all its aspects : theology, cosmology, anthropology, doctrine of learned ignorance,  coincidence of the opposites and so on.  The lectures will  particularly focus on the De Visione Dei (The Vision of God)  for it's a good gateway to the general doctrine.
Teaching methods
Lectures by the professor, sketches out of the students. Discussions
Evaluation methods
Oral examination on the whole matter. Particular question chosen and prepared by the student
Other information
Online resources
Bibliographie de base:
Jean-Michel Counet, Mathématiques et dialectique chez Nicolas de Cuse, Paris, Vrin, 2000
Frédéric Vengeon,  Nicolas de Cues, le monde humain. Métaphysique de l'infini et anthropologie, Grenoble, Jérôme Million, 2011.
Maurice de Gandillac, La Philosophie de Nicolas de Cues, Paris, Aubier Montaigne, 1941.
Jasper Hopkins,  A concise introduction to the philosophy of Nicholas of Cusa, University of Minnesota Press, 1978.
Hans Blumenberg, La Légitimité des Temps modernes, Paris, Gallimard, 1998
Ernst Cassirer, Individu et cosmos dans la Philosophie de la Renaissance, Paris, éditions  de Minuit, 1983.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme

Bachelor in Philosophy

Minor in Medieval Studies