Thomas Aquinas on fortune and contingency
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Level: Graduate
Division: The New School for Social Research
Department: Philosophy
Course Number: GPHI 6136
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Social Sciences
  • Philosophy
  • Liberal Arts
The important role played by luck or “good fortune” in human behavior, which has been put forward again by authors such as Bernard Williams and Thomas Nagel, was already discussed in an original way by Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274), who was the first philosopher to make use of the Liber de bona fortuna, a Latin compilation of two chapters taken from Aristotle’s Magna Moralia and Eudemian Ethics which gave rise to lively discussions in Paris at the end of the 13th century. In commenting on texts of Aquinas related to this opuscule, we will study his theory of good luck, contingency and human will – in a time where “Anthropology” and “Psychology” evolved in close connection with Natural Philosophy, Theology and even with Cosmology. Readings will also include selected passages of Henry of Gent and Giles of Rome devoted to Aristotle’s opuscule and partially directed against Aquinas’ interpretation of this text. This course will be taught by Professor Valerie Cordonier.
Course Open to: Degree Students with Restrictions


Not open to Undergraduate students.