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Natural Philosophy

PHIL 209

Natural Philosophy

  • Course ID:PHIL 209
  • Semesters:1
  • Department:Philosophy
  • Course Rank:Required
  • Teachers:Thomas Royals

Description and Objectives


This course will offer students a very preliminary and age-appropriate introduction to the subject of “natural philosophy”.

In addition to providing a deeper understanding of cause & effect in the natural world and the other “hard sciences”, we hope to provide students with a conceptual corrective to the predominant modern view of reality as merely corporeal.

Topics covered:

·      The notion of a “science”

·      The notion of “nature”

·      The fact of “change” and its different modes

·      Cause & effect



·      The different kinds of causes

·      “mobile” being vs. physics

·      the notions of “substance” & “accidents”

·      Aristotle’s theory of hylemorphism

·      Fragmented knowledge & modern views of causality



  • Material Logic by Martin Cothran (selections)
  • Aristotle’s Revenge:  The Metaphysical Foundations of Physical and Biological Science by Edward Feser (selections)
  • Elements of Philosophy by William Wallace, O.P.

Course Requirements

Course requirements and grading criteria:

  1. Tests (60% of the total/quarter).
  2. Quizzes (40% of the total/quarter).

There is a re-take policy for quizzes and is as follows:

  1. Make-up quizzes can be taken during my office hours (below).  These quizzes are not written, but oral responses to posed questions on the same material.  Students must bring the original (graded) quiz to the make-up attempt so that the new grade is recorded on that document.  The two quiz scores (written & oral) are averaged for a final score for that particular quiz grade.

Office hours:  I am available twice each week before and after school hours:  Monday from 3:05-4:05 p.m.; Friday from 7:15 a.m.-8:15 a.m.  During these times students can ask more questions about the material, take make-up quizzes, or follow-up with me for any other substantive or administrative matter.

Extra credit:  One extra-credit assignment is available each quarter.  It is worth 10 points and due 7 days before the end of the academic quarter.  Therefore, students who wish to take advantage of the extra credit opportunity should make arrangements with me 10 (or more) days before the end of the academic quarter.

Successful Students

The hallmark of any academically successful student is diligence.  In our circumstances, it is a “forward leaning” disposition towards academic work – its care and completion.

The acquisition of this virtue should be highly sought-after for its applicability not only to academic studies, but a host of non-academic contexts throughout one’s life.

Students can even have little interest in a given subject (perhaps, even, “Natural Philosophy”), but still exhibit a diligence toward assignments or in tackling course difficulties, and yet remain academically successful in the course.

Additional Resources


Qtr2EC (Dec. 1)



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