This master class is open to graduate and undergraduate students, including non-University of Chicago students. Space is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Copies of the readings will be provided.
This seminar will begin with crucial texts from the middle of the thirteenth century that set up the problem of the first known as that problem came to be discussed in the writings of Aquinas, Henry of Ghent, and Duns Scotus. Thereafter, the seminar will examine the three authors mentioned on the issue of the first known and explore how their positions fit into other elements of their theories of cognition. The problem of whether or not to allow that God is in some vague sense the first thing known in an through the concept of being figures into, and is background to, parallel themes in the epistemology of thirteenth century philosophy, including the issue of divine illumination and the theory of abstraction.