Please argue here.  Respond to each other.  I’ll check in every once in a while to see what’s happening and maybe add a thought or two.  Think of this like a medieval university disputation or something of that nature.  Feel free to role-play if you want.  Take on a position even if you don’t agree with it.  Say something a bit strange if you need to.  This will be up and available until the end of Week 14 (Friday the 14th).

Please address a question.  Either respond to one from the suggested questions below, or make up a question and respond to it.  Then, everybody get in there and reply and debate and argue.  Try to get something going.  Be provocative if you think it will help.  Feel free to create an alternate personality… say Artimus Aristotle, or Peggy Plato, or Gertrude Galen, or Timmy Tufayl.

Feel free to propose your own questions if something strikes you.

Please try to spice up your own ideas with things from class.

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Week 13a: Alberti’s Architecture and Perspectival Analysis

Please post both some comments on the readings and your painting analysis.

Suggestions: Alberti uses the word “art” quite a lot.  What does it mean?  He also notes that some arts are necessary, some useful, and some are just cool to know,.. but he suggests that which are which is too obvious to mention.  Which arts belong to which category?  etc…


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Week 12a- Monday: Averroes, Aquinas, Bacon, Witelo on Vision

Welcome back.  Please post some thoughts on the readings assigned for Monday.  Pay particular attention to the Lindberg reading in contrast to the readings based on Aristotle’s De anima.  This section on optics has a dramatic arc that requires that you understand the distinction between the various optical theories.  Recall Lucretius too.  Pay particular attention to note 6 on page 393 and all of our endless discussions on souls, spirits, and forms… and now “species” too.

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Week 11b- Oresme against the Astrologers

Most of you will not be in class on Wednesday.  [To be clear... I will be there.  Those who show up will get some extra credit of some sort.]  Clearly NYU didn’t foresee this debacle of a schedule.  Normally, this class time would have been the wrap-up for astrology.  So, let’s make the best of it….and… have a great Thanksgiving.

Please comment on Oresme’s thoughts and/or any of the astrological readings and/or our guest speaker’s thoughts from Monday.  Suggestions.  Describe how much of astrology you find credible and how much you don’t.  Where do you draw the line?  Refer to our readings and speakers.  Describe what you discovered in this unit on astrology and astro-harmonic stuff.  Describe a way to verify astrololgy.  What methods would you use to determine whether or not astrology has something to say about reality?  Describe how astrology and religion could coexist peacefully.  What does religion need to concede, and what does astrology need to concede?  Go back to the Week 11a comments and attempt to answer a question or two from your or another student’s list of questions.  Our guest speaker got to some of those questions, but not all of them.

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Week 11a- Posts for Monday’s Class

Please post some comments on the readings and everybody should post at least 5 questions for Mary Adams, our guest speaker on Monday.  Please get these up by Sunday night.

Suggestions: Note the medium that extends from the outer cosmos to the terrestrial domain that is described in Walker’s chapters on Ficino.  Recall our readings on perception and Aristotelian sensory theory and Galen and all that?  Can you come up with any analogies for astrology in modern scientific or even non-scientific thought?  How is astrology in line with Judeo/Christian/Islamic monotheism and how is it not?  Imagine arguments from both sides of this divide.  What is the role of metaphor and/or sympathy?  Name a few of the simplest, most basic examples of astrological effects here on earth?  Can you imagine a way to reformulate astrology into a modern physical framework?  Geocentricism and Heliocentricism: does it really matter?  Why or why not?

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10a: The Musical Cosmos

Please write up a few comments and post them by Sunday night.  Here are a few suggestions.  Draw up the descriptions of Harmony and/or Astronomy from the Martianus Capella reading.  What sort of physical situation is Sacrobosco describing in his astronomy?  How does it compare to our modern conception?  Think about how Aristotelian matter theory and a NeoPlatonic cosmological architecture might lead to astrology.  Macrobius’ “Commentary on the Dream of Scipio” describes a harmonic cosmos.  What sort of physical situation is Macrobius describing in his astronomy?  Is there some form of physics?  Kinematic?  Dynamic?  Can you imagine any relationships between his harmonic ideas and modern concepts of forces and fields and actions at a distance like gravity and magnitism?  Do the epistemological concepts of Ptolemy still make sense in the modern world?

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Week 9b- Arithmology, Music, and the Multitudes

Please add some pithy comments on the readings for Wednesday.  Please post them by Tuesday night.

Here are some questions to consider:  Would you call what Boethius is describing as music?  How does out-of-tune singing fit in with this system?  How might Boethian music have a relationship to the divine?  Do Martianus’ numerological observations make any sense?  Do they live on today?  How does the story of Pythagoras and the blacksmith fit with Boethius’ ideas about theory and observation?  Do you sense more Aristotle or Plato?  Do you remember learning the basics of music?  Did you learn those basics before or after numbers?  Why is it that the major scale (and the minor scale for that matter) is not an octave split up into equal parts?  Who among you like to relax to Schoenberg?  Feel free to play with the virtual monochord and piano (links on the syllabus page) and make some observations relevant to the readings.


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Week 9a- Monday’s Comments on Arithmetic

Welcome back to the internets and civilization in general.  Please comment on the readings dealing with arithmetic and algorism.  Some questions to get you going might be….

What is number?  Is one a number?  Is pi a number?  Do you remember learning about numbers for the first time?  Plato or Aristotle or both or neither?  Are there similarities between the primary sources?  Differences of note?  Anything seem odd?

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