Thomas Aquinas: Metaphysics

Optional Additional Literature



Some Optional Additional Literature


SEP = Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

CCAP = The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, P. Adamson and R.C. Taylor, eds.

CAP = Classical Arabic Philosophy: an Anthology of Sources, J. McGinnis & D. B. Reisman, tr, (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2007)

CHMP = The Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy, R. Pasnau, ed. (New York & Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010)

EMP = Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy 500 -1500, H. Lagerlund, ed. (Dordrecht, Heidelberg, London, New York: Springer, 2011) Available in the Reference area at the MU library.

OHMP = Oxford Handbook of Medieval Philosophy, John Marenbon, ed. (Oxford: OUP, 2012)

Past Masters Database = Marquette University subscription to Past Masters available to MU students through Marqcat.

MU Ares = Marquette University Ares Reserve for MU students only.

Note: Some of the works cited here may be available in the MU Ares Reserves for this course.

General Works

James A. Weisheipl, Thomas D’Aquino (Washington, D.C.: CUA Press 1974)

J.-P. Torrell, Saint Thomas Aquinas, v. 1, The Person and His Work (Washington, D.C.: CUA Press, 1996)

Herbert A. Davidson, Proofs for Eternity, Creation and the Existence of God in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy (New york & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)

..... Alfarabi, Avicenna, & Averroes, on Intellect (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).

Dimitri Gutas, Avicenna and the Aristotelian Tradition (Leiden: Brill, 1988)

Class #1 on 29 August 2013

Stump, Eleonore, Aquinas, Part I, 1. Metaphysics: A Theory of Things

Class # 2 on 6 September 2013


SEP: “Arabic and Islamic Psychology and Philosophy of Mind,” Alfred L. Ivry;  “Arabic and Islamic Metaphysics,” Amos Bertolacci

EMP: Vallat, Philippe, “al-Farabi, Abu Nasr,” 346-352.

OHMP: I.3, “Arabic Philosophy and Theology before Avicenna,” Peter Adamson

CHMP: IV Soul and knowledge


CCAP: ch. 6, “Avicenna and the Avicennian Tradition,” Robert Wisnovsky

OHMP: I.4, “Avicenna and Afterwards,” Nadja Germann

EMP: N. Germann, “Ibn Sīnā, Abū ‘Ali (Avicenna),” 515-522.

EMP: J. Janssens, “Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna), Latin Translations of,” 522-527.

Dimitri Gutas. “Intuition and thinking. The evolving structure of Avicenna's epistemology,” in Aspects of Avicenna, ed. Robert Wisnovsky, (Princeton, NJ: Wiener, 2001) 1-38.

Dag Hasse, “Avicenna on Abstraction,” in, ed. Robert Wisnovsky,

(Princeton, NJ: Wiener, 2001) 39-72.

Jon McGinnis, Avicenna (Oxford & NY: OU Press, 2010)  ch. 4-5 on pyschology

Robert Wisnovsky, Avicenna's metaphysics in context, Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 2003

Avicenna’s Psychology. An English Translation of Kitāb al-Najāt, Book II, chapter VI, by F. Rahman (London: Oxford University Press 1952; rpt. 1981).

Deborah Black, “Estimation (wahm) in Avicenna: The Logical and Psychologial Dimentions,” Dialogue 32 (1993) 219-258.

Deborah Black, “Imagination and Estimation: Arabic Paradigms and Western Transformations,” Topoi 19 (2000) 161-87.


CCAP: ch. 9 “Averroes: Religious Dialectic and Aristotelian Philosophical Thought,” R. Taylor

OHMP: I.5 “Averroes and Philosophy in Islamic Spain,” Matteo Di Giovanni

EMP: “Ibn Rushd, Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Hafid (Averroes),” Taneli Kukkonen; “Ibn Rushd (Averroes), Latin Translations of,” Marc Geoffroy

R. C. Taylor, Averroes (Ibn Rushd) of Cordoba. Long Commentary on the De Anima of Aristotle, introduction.

R. C. Taylor, “Intelligibles in act in Averroes,” in Averroès et les averroïsmes juif et latin. Actes du colloque tenu à Paris, 16-18 juin 2005, ed. J.-B. Brenet, (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007) 111-140.

Deborah L. Black, “Models of the Mind: Metaphysical Presuppositions of the Averroist and Thomistic Accounts of Intellection,” Documenti e studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale 15 (2004) 319–52.

Aquinas and his Teacher, Albert

Lawrence Dewan, O.P., “St. Albert, St. Thomas and Knowledge,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 70 (1996) 121-135.

SEP: “Albert the Great,” Markus Führer

EMP: “Albert the Great,” Julie Brumberg-Chaumont; “Thomas Aquinas,” Alexander W. Hall

A. de Libera, Métaphysique et Noétique, Albert le Grand (Paris: Vrin, 2005), ch. VI Psychologie philosophique et théorie de l’intellect, pp. 265-328.

OHMP: ch. 9 Latin Philosophy, 1200-1350, Russell Friedman; ch. 8 Latin Philosophy to 1200, Christophe Erismann;  ch. 22 Mind and Hylomorphism, Robert Pasnau

Class #3 on 12 September 2013

Aquinas’s earliest philosophical treatments of soul and intellect in the Commentary on the Sentences

B. Carlos Bazán, “The Creation of the Soul According to Thomas Aquinas,” Philosophy and Theology in the Long Middle Ages: A Tribute to Stephen F. Brown, ed. Kent Emery, Jr., Russell Friedman & Andreas Speer (Leiden: Brill, 2011) 515-569.

NOTE: SCG 3.43: “That we cannot in this life understand separate substances in the way that Averroes claimed.” See

Edward P. Mahoney, “Aquinas’s Critique of Averroes’ Doctrine of the Unity of the Intellect,” in Thomas Aquinas and His Legacy, David M. Gallagher, ed. (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1994) 83-106.

  1. R.C. Taylor, “Averroes’ Epistemology and Its Critique by Aquinas,” Thomistic Papers VII. Medieval Masters: Essays in Memory of Msgr. E.A. Synan, R.E. Houser, ed. (Houston 1999) pp. 147-177. 

Class #4 on 19 September 2013

Aquinas on philosophy and religion

Class #5 on 26 September 2013

Aquinas on proofs of God

The literature on this is vast. But see the remarks by John O’Callaghan and the late Ralph

McInerny in the Stanford Encyclopedia at Also see the short bibliography there.

Herbert A. Davidson, Proofs for Eternity, Creation and the Existence of God in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy (New york & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)

Class #6 on 3 October 2013

Peter Adamson, “The Theology of Aristotle” SEP:

Peter Adamson, “al-Kindi” SEP:

Cristina D’Ancona, “Greek Sources  in Arabic and Islamic Philosophy” SEP:

Alfred Ivry, “Arabic and Islamic Psychology and Philosophy of Mind” SEP:

S. Marc Cohen, “Aristotle’s Metaphysics” SEP:

Class #7 on 10 October 2013

The suggested readings are sufficient but for those who wish to delve deeper, see Stephen Menn,  “Avicenna’s metaphysics,” Interpreting Avicenna. Critical Essays, Peter Adamson, ed. Cambridge: CUP, 2013) 143-169. This is suggested reading for 31 October but it would be very valuable to study this for Class #1 on 10 October 2013.

  1. R.E. Houser, “Aristotle and Two Medieval Aristotelians on the Nature of God,” International Philosophical Quarterly 51 (2011) 355-375. Available on MU ARES.

Class #8 on 17 October 2013

J. Wipple, “Thomas Aquinas on the Ultimate Why Question: Why is there anything at all?” Review of Metaphysics 60 (2007) 731-753.

John F. Wippel, “Aquinas’s Route to the Real Distinction: A Note on De Ente et Essentia,” The Thomist 43 (1979) 279-295.

J. Owens, “Stages and Distinction in De Ente: A Rejoinder,” The Thomist 45 (1982) 99-123.

Class #9 on 24 October 2013

Dewan, Lawrence, “Thomas Aquinas, Creation, and Two Historians,” Laval théologique et philosophique 50 (1994) 363-387.

Quinn, Philip, “Divine Conservation, Continuous Creation, and Human Action,” in The Nature and Existence of God, ed. A. J. Freddoso (Notre Dame 1983) 55-80.

Taylor, R. C., “Aquinas, the Plotiniana Arabica, and the Metaphysics of Being and Actuality,” Journal of the History of Ideas 59 (1998) pp. 217-239

For the truly ambitious: J. Owens, “The Accidental and Essential Character of Being in the Doctrine of St. Thomas Aquinas,” Mediaeval Studies 20 (1958) 1-40.

Class #10 on 31 October 2013

Class #11 on 7 November 2013

Ralph McInery, Boethius and Aquinas. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1990.

Class #12 on 14 November 2013

Class  #13 on 21 November 2013

Class  #14 on 28 November 2013

Class #15 on 5 December 2013

Class #16 on 12 December 2013 (Optional for MU students)

Class #17 ib 19 December 2013 (Optional for MU students)