1. What happened in AD 529, and why is it a convenient milestone for philosophy?
2. What did medieval Christians "know" that Aristotle said wasn't so?
3. What's the one question almost everyone has heard about medieval philosophy? What's the obvious answer?
4. What was "the strangest document in the history of philosophy" and how did it catch the spirit of its time?
5. What was Plotinus's philosophy called, and what was its goal?
6. What did Proclus see as the job of philosophy?
- How should philosophy and religion relate to one another? Can they peacefully coexist?
- How do you interpret the Eucharist? Do you agree with Aristotle? (364)
- Gottlieb says the "real problem with medieval learning" was that professors "allowed themselves to be tyrannized by books." What do you think this means? What's the correct way to treat books?
- If angels did not have bodies, how could they be in contact with anything? (370) How could Caspar the Friendly ghost move through a wall AND catch a ball? (Dan Dennett: "Dennett was convinced that Descartes’ dualism — the idea that an immaterial mind interacts with a material body — was a “cul-de-sac”. To illustrate the dualist delusion, he makes an improbable reference to the cartoon character, Casper the Friendly Ghost, who could both walk through walls and catch a baseball with his ghostly hand. “There was a latent contradiction built into the very idea of Casper the Friendly Ghost and basically that’s what’s wrong with dualism. Nobody’s ever solved that problem remotely satisfactorily.”)
- Do you equally value spiritual salvation and tranquility, or do you consider one more important than the other? Can you achieve both?
- Are you, or anyone you know, in agreement with Plotinus about being "almost ashamed of being in the body"? Why would anyone have such an attitude? How can they get over it?
- What do you see as the job of philosophy?