This unit explores the thought of the medieval philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas (1225–74), with a focus on his ethics and his metaphysics. It is suitable as an introduction both to medieval philosophy and to the main elements of Thomistic thought. The unit examines selected themes in Aquinas in their medieval context, in the context of Aquinas’ own thought, and in the context of the later history of Thomism. The unit introduces some key Thomistic doctrines and the fundamental concepts of Thomistic philosophy, in addition to ‘patterns of thought’ that are distinctively Thomistic. Topics covered may include: metaphysics and the real distinction of being and esse, virtue theory, natural law, cosmology and the perfection of the universe, the human soul and immortality.

Unit Code: AP3121C

Points: 18.0

Unit Level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit Discipline: Philosophy

Delivery Mode: Face to Face

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning Outcomes


Explain the core theories of Aquinas taught in the unit; for example, the metaphysics of esse, virtue theory, natural law theory


Critically explain a justified view of the degree of coherence of Aquinas’ theories in relation to the basic recurring principles in the Thomistic thought


Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of Aquinas’ theories of metaphysics and ethics


Appraise Aquinas’ positions on metaphysics and ethics in their medieval context, and their place in Aquinas’ thought as a whole


Reflect on the degree to which the metaphysics and ethics of Aquinas have continuing validity and viability as a contemporary system of thought


Lectures, seminars, tutorials


Type Description Wordcount Weight (%)
Written Examination

2-hour written exam

0 50.0

2,500 word essay

0 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 1 Nov, 2017

Unit Record last updated: 2019-02-01 13:59:03 +1100