2110 Philosophy of Religion 3
ao.Univ.Prof. Dr. Gabriele Mras
  • LV-Typ
  • Semesterstunden
  • Unterrichtssprache
08.09.2020 bis 25.09.2020
Anmeldung über LPIS
Hinweise zur LV
Planpunkt(e) Doktorat/PhD
Wochentag Datum Uhrzeit Raum
Freitag 16.10.2020 16:00 - 18:00 Online-Einheit
Freitag 23.10.2020 16:00 - 18:00 Online-Einheit
Dienstag 01.12.2020 14:00 - 16:00 Online-Einheit
Dienstag 15.12.2020 14:00 - 16:00 Online-Einheit
Dienstag 22.12.2020 14:00 - 18:00 Online-Einheit
Dienstag 12.01.2021 14:00 - 18:00 Online-Einheit
Dienstag 19.01.2021 14:00 - 18:00 Online-Einheit
Dienstag 26.01.2021 14:00 - 16:30 Online-Einheit

Ablauf der LV bei eingeschränktem Campusbetrieb

no alternative

Inhalte der LV

Some perennial problems concerning the “immortality of the soul” will be presented and discussed; this time on the basis of the writings of Thomas of Aquinas. 

What interests us most is the role a particular category plays in respect to the question of “body and soul”. As we all know Aquinas puts forward the view that that a soul, because of its "incorruptibility", has the capacity to exist apart from a body ( seems to be “existent” after the body’s death). Now, does this mean that for Aquinas the soul is a substance? Does the soul “interact” with the body as second substance? Not really! To regard Aquinas as substance dualist neglects the Aristotelian roots of Aquinas’ views. Thomas of Aquinas appealed to Aristotle's De anima as support of his view of body and soul. We will however see that the alledged support comes rather from the interpretation of De anima by the Baghdad school of philosophy. We will therefore not only concern ourselves with Aquinas view in relation to Aristotle but will also compare Aristotle's writings and their interpretation by Averroes and Avicenna.

Lernergebnisse (Learning Outcomes)

One of the learning outcomes is to make students familiar with the writings by Thomas Aquinas on body and soul and the debate concerning the “immortality of the soul” in the period after Augustinus until the 14th century. The other learning outcome is to enable students to identify the Aristotelian influence on Aquinas as well as the influence of the Baghdad school of philosophy on Christian thought. The more general learning outcomes are: (i) to be able to analyze philosophical texts, (ii) to argue for and defend philosophical positions in discussion, and (iii) to sum them up in essays.

Regelung zur Anwesenheit

Online teaching: synchron. Attendance Requirement: 100%



The course is designed as a seminar, not as a lecture. The major part of the classes will be devoted to analyzing the argumentation in the texts.

Leistung(en) für eine Beurteilung

We will have discussions on class readings. Part of the grade for this course depends on the participation in these discussions. In addition it is required to write a paper and a final MC exam.

  • paper 50 %
  • participation in the discussion 20 %
  • final exam 30 % 

Empfohlene inhaltliche Vorkenntnisse

some knowledge of Plato, Aristotle, and Augustine on the question of the relation between body and soul

Erreichbarkeit des/der Vortragenden

ao.Univ.Prof.Dr. Gabriele M. Mras
Building D4, 3rd floor, room number D4.3.020
Tel.: 01-31336-4257

Administration: Bettina Gerdenich
Tel.: 01-31336-4166

Assistant: Maximilian Margreiter

Detailinformationen zu einzelnen Lehrveranstaltungseinheiten

Einheit Datum Inhalte
1 1.12.2020: 14:00-18:00

1. Introduction to course


2 15.12.2020: 14:00-18:00

2. Aquinas and Albert’s De Homine

Recent investigations have suggested that the epistemological views of Aquinas in his early Commentary on the Sentences are strongly influenced by Albert in his De homine written around 1245. Albert’s epistemology in the De homine on the other hand is derived from the study of Avicenna and Averroes, in particular from Averroes’s doctrine on human intellectual understanding.


3 22.12.2020: 14:00-18:00

3. Aquinas on the human soul: Aquinas, Aristotle, and Averroes

Aquinas had formed his understanding of Aristotle’s account of the soul and the intellect through his study of the Arabic tradition. How much is here “read” into Aristotle and how adequate is Aquinas understanding of this tradition?


4 12.1.2021: 14:00-18:00

4. Aquinas on philosophy and religion

For Aquinas there are two sources of knowledge for human beings, natural human powers (sensation, intellection) and God. The latter way provides knowledge either through revelation or through causality by which God shares knowledge directly with human beings. For Aquinas in consequence not all reality is knowable by humans through perception and exprience. But, Aquinas uses demonstration/reasoning in refutation of “incorrect” theological docrines, such as on the nature of the human soul. What is “this kind of reasoning”? What is its relation to philosophy? 


  • Summa contra gentiles, Book 1, ch. 1-8; (b) Summa theologiae, prima pars, Q. 1; English translation available
  • Niederbacher, B. S. J.: The Relation of Reason to Faith; in:  B. Davies & E. Stump, eds.: Oxford Handbook of Aquinas, Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2012, p. 337-347.
  • Stump, E.: Resurrection and the Separated Soul; in: B. Davies & E. Stump, eds.: Oxford Handbook of Aquinas, Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2012, p. 458-466.
5 19.1.2021: 14:00-18:00

5. Aquinas on proofs of God

The famous “Five Ways” by Thomas Aquinas are expressed in the “Summa theologian”. Aquinas relied here on the thought of Avicenna and Averroes for the formation of his arguments.


  • Summa theologiae, prima pars,
  • Wippel, J. F.: Being; in: B. Davies & E. Stump, eds.: Oxford Handbook of Aquinas, Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2012, p. 77-84.
  • Pawl, T.: The Five Ways; in: B. Davies & E. Stump, eds.: Oxford Handbook of Aquinas, Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2012, p. 115-134.

Suggested readings:

6 26.1.2021: 14:00-18:00

Final exam

Zuletzt bearbeitet: 01.09.2020