Starred (*) readings are especially recommended.

In cases where no link has been supplied to the reading, either no English version is available, or the text is too long to be posted here.


Monday, July 6. Certainty and Evidence

*John Buridan, Questions on Metaphysics II.1 and Summulae de dialectica 8.4.4, tr. Klima

*John of Mirecourt, Sentences Bk I q. 6: “Can any truth be evidently cognized by a created nature?”, tr. Lloyd Newton

*John Wilkins, Of the Principles and Duties of Natural Religion Bk. I ch. 1

Bernoulli, Jacob, Art of Conjecturing pt. IV, tr. Sylla

Garber, Daniel, “Descartes on Knowledge and Certainty,” in his Descartes Embodied (Cambridge UP, 2000). 111-129.

John Duns Scotus, Lectura I.3, tr. Frank and Wolter

Pasnau, Robert, "Epistemology Idealized," Mind 122, 4 (2013): 987-1021.

Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews 11.1, tr. Baer

Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Posterior Analytics I.2, tr. Larcher

William of Ockham, Expositio in Libros Physicorum Aristotelis prologue, tr. Boehner


Tuesday, July 7. An Introduction to the Medieval Debates about Nominalism and Realism, and Debates over the Categories

"Defense of Nominalism at Paris in 1474," in Lynn Thorndike, University Records and Life in the Middle Ages (Columbia UP, 1944). 355-60.

John Buridan, De Dependentiis

John Buridan, Questions on Metaphysics Bk.IV q. 6 and Bk.V q. 8

John Duns Scotus, Questions on the Categories, tr. Newton

John of Salisbury, Metalogicon II. 17, tr. McGarry

Juan de Celaya, Dialectice Introductiones (selections)

Kaluza, Zenon, "Les ecoles doctrinales," in his Les querelles doctrinales à Paris: Nominalistes et réalistes aux confins du XIVe et du XVe siècles (Pierluigi Lubrina, 1988). 13-34.

Obadiah Walker, Ars rationis ad mentem nominalium libri tres, preface

Symphorien Champier, Isagoge ch. 1

Walter Burley, Expositio super artem veterem (3rd version) 

Walter Burley, On Praedicaments (selections) 

William of Ockham, Summa Logicae I, chs.1-60, tr. Loux

William of Ockham, Quodlibeta V qq. 20-25, tr. Freddoso and Kelley


Wednesday, July 8. Matter and Its Parts, Quantity, and the Theory of Truth

John Buridan, Quaestions on Physics Bk.I qq. 8-10; Bk.III q. 7

John Duns Scotus, Questions on Metaphysics Bk.VII, q. 5, tr. Etzkorn and Wolter

Peter Aureol, Sent. I dd.38-39 

Suárez, Francesco, Metaphysical Disputations XIII 1-4 (1-3, tr. Penner); XL 2.1, tr. Pasnau

The Louvain controversy

Thomas Aquinas, In Octo Libros Physicorum Aristotelis Lects. 7-8, 13-15, tr. Blackwell, Spath, and Thirlkel

William of Ockham, Quodlibeta IV qq. 18-2530-34, tr. Freddoso and Kelley

William of Ockham, Summulae philosophiae naturalis Bk.I (Selections), tr. Pasnau

William of Ockham, Tractatus de Praedestinatione et de praescientia Die et de futuris contingentibus, tr. Adams and Kretzmann


Thursday, July 9. Essences

*John Buridan, Questions on De Anima II.1,2,4 [14.57r], III.4 (14.54r), tr. Zupko et al.

*John Duns Scotus, Ordinatio IV.11, tr. Newton

*Marsilius of Inghen, Seven arguments for substantial form, tr. Pasnau

*Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae 1a q.76.3-4, tr. Pasnau

*William of Ockham, Quodlibeta II qq.10-11, tr. Freddoso and Kelley

Averroes, De substantia orbis ch. 1, tr. Hyman

Suárez, Francesco, Metaphysical Disputation 15, tr. Kronen and Reedy

Pasnau, Robert, Metaphysical Themes chs. 24, 25, 28, 29 (Oxford UP, 2011).


Monday, July 13. Cognitive Psychology

1. Soul and Its Faculties

    Henry of Ghent, Quodlibeta III q.14, tr. Paasch

    John Duns Scotus, Opus oxoniense II d.16 q.1

    Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae Ia q.77, tr. Pasnau

    William of Ockham, Reportatio II q.20

2. Intuitive and Abstractive Cognition

    John Duns Scotus, Quodlibeta q.6 and q.13, tr. Wolter

    William of Ockham, Quodlibeta I q.13, tr. Freddoso & Kelley

3. Representation / Intentional Content

    John Duns Scotus, Reportatio parisiensis IA d.3 q.4, tr. Wolter & Bychkov

    William of Ockham, Ordinatio I d.3 q.9 

    William of Ockham, Reportatio II qq.12-13, tr. Hackett textbook

4. Intellect, Perception, Body

    William of Ockham, Quodlibeta II q.10, tr. Freddoso & Kelley

5. Transduction

    Henry of Ghent, Quodlibeta 9.15

    John Duns Scotus, Quodlibeta q.15, tr. Wolter

    Peter John Olivi, Sent. II q.58    

    Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae Ia q.79, tr. Pasnau


Tuesday, July 14. Extension, Inertia and Organic Systems

Aristotle, Physics, Bk II.

Brown, Deborah, "Cartesian Functional Analysis," Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90, 1 (2012): 75-92.

Cavendish, Margaret, Philosophical letters: or modest reflections upon some opinions in natural philosophy (London, 1664).

Cavendish, Margaret, Selections from Observations upon experimental philosophy (London: A. Maxwell, 1668).

Cudworth, Ralph, Selections from The true intellectual system of the universe, 2nd.ed. (London, 1678/1743).

Des Chene, Dennis, "Unity of the Body," in his Spirits and Clocks (Cornell UP, 2001). 116-52.

Descartes, René, Selections from Treatise on ManDescription of the Human BodyPrinciples of PhilosophyExcerpta Anatomica, Prima Cogitationes circa Generationem Animalium.

Digby, Sir Kenelm, Two treatises: in the one of which, the nature of bodies; in the other, the nature of man’s soule, is looked into: in way of discovery of the immortality of reasonable soules (London, 1644 (1658)).

Highmore, Nathaniel, Selections from The history of generation (London, 1651). (Part 1, Part 2)

Kaufman, Dan, "Cartesian Substances, Individual Bodies, and Corruptibility," Res Philosophica 91, 1 (2014): 71-102. 

Leibniz, Selections from ‘Letters to Arnauld’, tr. Loemker.

More, Henry, Selections from A collection of several philosophical writings (Joseph Downing, 1712).

Smith, Kurt and Alan Nelson, "Divisibility and Cartesian Extension," Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy 5 (2010): 1-24.


Wednesday, July 15. Causation and Its Enemies

Descartes, René, Selections from Meditations, The Passions of the Soul, Principles of Philosophy and Correspondence,

de la Forge, Louis, Selections from Traité de l’esprit de l’Homme, 1664.

Garber, Daniel, "Understanding Interaction"; "How God Causes Motion"; "Descartes and Occasionalism", in his Descartes Embodied (Cambridge UP, 2001). 168-220.

Hobbes, Thomas, Selections from De Corpore, Elements of Philosophy, and Leviathan.

Malebranche, Nicholas, Selections from The Search For Truth and Dialogues on Metaphysics.

Nadler, Steven, "Descartes and Occasional Causation," British Journal for the History of Philosophy 2, 1 (1994): 35-54.

Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, Letters to Descartes, 1643.


Thursday, July 16. Affective Psychology

1. Emotions and Will

John Duns Scotus, Ordinatio III d.15 q.1 

John Duns Scotus, Ordinatio III d.33 q.1, tr. Newton

John Duns Scotus, Ordinatio III d.34 q.1

Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae Ia q.80, tr. Pasnau

William of Ockham, Ordinatio I d.1 q.3

William of Ockham, Quodlibeta II q.17, tr. Freddoso & Kelley

2. Will and Intellect

Godfrey of Fontaines, Quodlibeta 8.16

Henry of Ghent, Quodlibeta 9.6, tr. Teske

Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae Ia q.82, tr. Pasnau


Monday, July 20. Early Modern Platonism/Finding Women in the History of Philosophy

* Gerson, Lloyd, “What is Platonism?” Journal of the History of Philosophy 43, 3 (2005): 253–76.

* Mercer, Christia, “Prefacing the Theodicy,” in L. Jorgensen and S. Newlands eds., Essays on the Theodicy (Oxford UP, 2014). 13-42.

* Mercer, Christia, “Seventeenth-Century Universal Sympathy: Stoicism, Platonism, Leibniz, and Conway,” in E. Schliesser ed., Sympathy: A History (Oxford UP, 2015). 108-39.

* Mercer, Christia, "Spinoza and Leibniz on Substance and Mode," in D. Pereboom ed., The Rationalists (Rowman & Littlefield, 1999). 273-300.

* O'Neill, Eileen. “Disappearing Ink: Early Modern Women Philosophers and their Fate in History,” in J. A. Kourany ed., Philosophy in a Feminist Voice (Princeton UP, 1998).

* Plotinus’ Enneads is a several volume text (not too expensive in the Loeb edition if you are interested!) and available as an e-book. The Essential Plotinus is a good short collection. Read: (a) Enneads, Book I, sect. 6 (1-9) which is in the Essential Plotinus, pp.33-57. Also, important is Enneads, Book VI, sect. 9 (1-10) which is in Essential Plotinus, pp.72-89.

Ficino, Marsilio, Platonic Theology, 6 vols. trans., M. J. B. Allen, eds., J. Hankins and W. Bowen (Harvard UP, 2001-06).

Horn, Christoph and James Wilberding, eds., Neoplatonic Natural Philosophy, (Oxford UP, 2012).

Janiak, Andrew and Christia Mercer, “Philosophy’s Gender Bias,” Washington Post, April 18, 2015.

Kristeller, Paul O. and Michael Mooney, eds., Renaissance Thought and its Sources (Columbia UP, 1979).


Tuesday, July 21. Anne Conway


* Conway, Anne [1790]: The Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy, trans., A. Coudert and T. Corse (Cambridge UP, 1996).

(Comment: Participants should acquire their own copy; Be skeptical of the introduction and its emphasis on Kabbalist sources.)

Conway, The Conway Letters, The Correspondence of Anne, Viscountess Conway, Henry More, and their friends, 1642-1684, ed. M. H. Nicolson; Revised edition by S. Hutton (Oxford UP, 1992).

Intellectual biography:

Hutton, Sarah, Anne Conway. A Woman Philosopher (Cambridge UP, 2004).

(Comment: Not a lot of philosophy, but wonderfully sets the complicated context of Conway’s work and the diverse philosophical culture of early modern England.)

Secondary Literature:

* Mercer, Christia, “Anne Conway’s Metaphysics of Sympathy,” for Feminist History of Philosophy: The Recovery and Evaluation of Women's Philosophical Thought, eds. Eileen O’Neill and Marcy Lascano (Springer, 2015).

Broad, Jacqueline, Women Philosophers of the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge UP, 2002).

Merchant, Carolyn, “The Vitalism of Anne Conway: its Impact on Leibniz's Concept of the Monad,” Journal of the History of Philosophy 17, 2 (1979): 255-69.

(Comment: There is very little written on Conway and most of it is focused on a slice of her thought, which means the subtlety of the system is lost.)


Wednesday, July 22. Moderate Skepticism as a Defense of Toleration


Selections from Castellio's On Heretics (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

Calvin, Declaration for maintaining the true faith 

Calvin, Institutes, Bk. IV, Ch, xx, "Civil Government"

Secondary source:

Curley, Edwin, "Sebastian Castellio's Erasmian Liberalism." Philosophical Topics 31 (2004): 47-73.


Thursday, July 23. Radical Skepticism in Defense of Toleration

Primary sources:

Selections from Montaigne's Essays: 

the "Apology for Raymond Sebond,"; plus, an outline of the Apology

"Of cripples,"

"Of custom,"

“Of conscience,"

"Of freedom of conscience,"

"Of coaches."

Secondary source:

Curley, Edwin, "Skepticism and Toleration: The Case of Montaigne," Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy ​2 (2005): 1-33.


Monday, July 27 – Tuesday, July 28. The Novatores and Francis Bacon 

(Reading Notes: Read This First!)

*Bacon, Francis, Cogita et visa, excerpts

*Bacon, Francis, Instauratio Magna

*Bacon, Francis, Novum organum, Bk II §§ 1-20, 48

*Bacon, Francis, Wisdom of the Ancients, excerpts

Cardano, De subtilitate, excerpts

Garber, Daniel, "Defending Aristotle/Defending Society in the Early 17th Century Europe," in W. Detel and C. Zittel (eds.), Wissensideale und Wissenskulturen in der freuhen Neuzeit: Ideals and Cultures of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe (Akademie Verlag, 2002). 135–60.

Garber, Daniel, "Telesio among the Novatores"

Giglioni, Guido, “Mastering the Appetites of Nature: Francis Bacon’s Sylva Sylvarum,” in C. Wolfe and O. Gal eds., The Body as Object and Instrument of Knowledge (Springer, 2010). 149-67.

Gilbert, William, De magnete, excerpts

Morin, Jean-Baptiste, Refutation of the Erroneous Theses, excerpts

Sorel, Charles, "Summary of the Strangest Opinions of the Modern Innovators in Philosophy," excerpts in English

Sorel, Charles, "Le sommaire des opinions les plus estranges des novateurs Modernes en la Philosophie," complete in French

Telesio, Bernardino, De rerum natura iuxta propria principia, excerpts


Wednesday, July 29. Body and Life

Primary Readings:

Descartes, Rene, Discourse on Method 5, tr. CSM

Descartes, Rene, Passions of the Soul I.2-16, tr. CSM

Descartes, Rene, Principles of Philosophy II.1-23 & 64, IV.187-207, tr. CSM

Descartes, Rene Treatise on Man, tr. CSM

Thomas Aquinas, On Being and Essence, paragraphs 27-30, tr. King

Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae Ia 75.1-6; 77.878.1-2, tr. Pasnau

Secondary Readings:

Bitbol-Hespériès, Annie, “Cartesian physiology,” in Descartes’ Natural Philosophy, eds. S. Gaukroger, J. Schuster, and J. Sutton (Routledge, 2000). 348-382.

Hatfield, Gary, “Mechanizing the Sensitive Soul,” in Matter and Form in Early Modern Science and Philosophy, ed. Gideon Manning (Brill, 2012).

Woolhouse, Roger, “Descartes and the Nature of Body,” British Journal for the History of Philosophy 2, 1 (1994): 19-33.


Thursday, July 30. Soul and Mind

Primary Readings:

Descartes, Rene, Meditations 2 & 6, tr. CSM

Descartes, Rene, Optics 4-6, tr. CSM 

Descartes, Rene, Passions of the Soul I.17-47, tr. CSM

Descartes, Rene, Principles of Philosophy I.47-76, tr. CSM

Descartes, Rene, Sixth Replies points 3 & 9, tr. CSM

Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae Ia 76.1, 3-4; 78.3-4; 79.1, tr. Pasnau

Secondary Readings:

Pasnau, Robert, “The Mind-Soul Problem,” in Mind, Cognition and Representation: The Tradition of Commentaries on Aristotle’s De Anima, eds. P.J.J.M. Bakker and J.M.M.H. Thijssen (Ashgate, 2007): 3-20.

Rozemond, Marleen, “The Nature of the Mind,” in The Blackwell Guide to Descartes’ Meditations, ed. S. Gaukroger (Blackwell, 2006): 48-66.

Simmons, Alison, "Re-Humanizing Descartes," Philosophic Exchance 41, 1 (2013): 53-71.