Compendium of Scholastic Philosophy I  -  Fall 2017  -  Syllabus


PHS 507
Compendium of Scholastic Philosophy I
Fall 2017

Michel Legault, M.S.A.,

860 632 3082


This course provides a philosophical survey of the Scholastic Philosophy, especially the Aristotelian-Thomistic approach to main philosophical questions. Topics include the elements of Aristotelian Logic about the three acts of the human mind (simple apprehension, judgment and reasoning; notions about first principles, demonstration and science), natural psychology (philosophy of nature, matter and form, motion, place and time and the First Unknown Mover), and rational psychology or philosophy of man (life and soul, cognition including sensation, perception and intellection, appetition including sensitive appetites and volition, and, finally, a reflection on the nature of man).


To give students a sufficient, though elementary, knowledge of the principal teachings of Aristotle and Saint Thomas about metaphysical questions, epistemological issues, main notions of natural theology and ethics.

To ensure students can articulate this information through active class participation, and testing through examinations.

To allow students to acquire a rich vocabulary and the important notions which will enable them study philosophy and theology more fruitfully.

The program to be covered is the following:

The First Act of the Mind: Simple Apprehension

Words and Concepts: Signs in Definition

The Categories: What is Said in Definition

The Predicables: Modes in Definition

The Method for Definition

Definition: a Statement of Causes

The Second Act of the Mind: Judgment

The Proposition: the Result of Judgment

Conversion and Obversion of Propositions

Opposition of Propositions

The Third act of the Mind: Reasoning

The Categorical Syllogism

Variations in the Syllogism

Apparent Reasoning: Fallacies

First Principles



Natural Philosophy

Matter and Form



Place and time

The Unknown Mover

Human Anthropology

Life and Soul


Sensation and Perception



Sensitive Appetites


Man (The Human Person)


[The numbers correspond to the paragraphs of the text book: of Fr. William A. Wallace, O.P. ,The Elements of Philosophy, A Compendium for Philosophers and Theologians.]

Week 1: Introduction to philosophy.  Introduction to Aristotelian Logic


Fr. William Wallace, O.P., The Elements of Philosophy, A Compendium for Philosophers and Theologians [Wallace], pages 1-14 (#1-2).

Week 2: Simple Apprehension, Words, Concepts and Signs in Definition.


Sr. Mary Michael Splanger, O.P., Logic, An Aristotelian Approach [Splanger], pages 15-29.


Spangler, pages 185-87, exercices 1-3.

Week 3: Material Logic. Universals. Categories (Predicaments), Predicables (modes in definition)


Wallace,  pages 23-27 (#6-8) and pages 28-31 (#9). Spangler, pages 40-49.


Spangler, pages 191-192, exercices 4-5; pages 193-196, exercises 1-4.

Week 4: The Method in Definition. Definition: a Statement of Propositions.


Wallace, pages 31-33 (#10). Spangler, pages 50-69.


Spangler, page 197, exercise 1; pages 198-199, exercises 1-2.

Week 5: Judgment. The Proposition: the Result of Judgment. Opposition of Propositions.


Wallace, pages 17-19 (#4). Spangler: Pages 72-99.


Spangler, pages 200-206, exercises 1-6; pages 207-212, exercises 1-7; pages 213-216, exercices 1-3.

Week 6: Reasoning. The Categorical Syllogism. Variations in the Syllogism.


Wallace, pages 19-23 (#5). Spangler, pages 100-125.


Spangler, pages 217-227, exercises 1-7; pages 228-232, exercises 1-4.

Week 7: First Principles. Demonstration. Science.


Wallace, pages 33-39 (#11-13).


Take-Home exam.

Week 8: Mid-Term Exam (on week 1 to week 7)

Week 9: Philosophy of Nature, Matter and Form. Nature. Philosophical Psychology.


Wallace, pages 41-49 (#15-17).

Week 10: Motion. Place and Time, The Unmoved Mover.


Wallace, pages 49-59 (#18-21).

Week 11: Life and Soul. Cognition.


Wallace, pages 59-65 (#22-23).

Week 12: Sensation and Perception. Intellection. Theory of Knowledge.


Wallace, pages 66-74 (#24-25).


       A short personal reflection on a topic taken from rational psychology (about 2 pages)

Week 13: Appetition. Sensitive Appetites. Emotions and Passions.


Wallace, pages 74-77 (#26-27).

Week 14: Volition. Analysis of the Human Act. Freedom. The Human Person.


Wallace, pages 77-84 (#28-29).


Take-Home exam

Week 15: Final Exam on Natural Philosophy and Rational Psychology. 


1) Class attendance and active participation in the course during the semester: 10%

2) A short personal reflection on a topic taken from rational psychology (about 2 pages):

[The subject has to be approved by the teacher] 10%

3) Examination on Logic: 40%

4) Examination of Natural Philosophy and Rational Psychology: 40% 


William A. Wallace, O.P. The Elements of Philosophy, A Compendium for Philosophers and Theologians.  New York, Alba House, 1977. 338 pages.  ISBN 0-8189-0345-7. $14.95

Mary Michael Spangler, Logic, An Aristotelian Approach.  New York, University Press of America, 1993. 276 pages.  ISBN 0-8191-8967-7 ;  $29.50



Jacques Maritain, Formal Logic, translated by Imelda Choquette. New York, Sheed and Ward, 1946, 300 pages.

Jacques Maritain, An Introduction to Logic, New York, Sheed and Ward, 1937, 300 pages.

Celestine N. Bittle, O.F.M.Cap., The Science of Correct Thinking, Logic. Milwaukee, The Bruce Publishing Company, 1953. 419 pages.

Vincent Edward Smith, The Elements of Logic.  Milwaukee, The Bruce Publishing Company, 1957. 298 p.


James B. Reichmann, S.J., Philosophy of the Human Person.  Chicago, Loyola, 1985. 346 pages.  

ISBN 0-8294-0504-6,   $16.95

Henry J. Koren, C.S.Sp., An Introduction to the Philosophy of Nature, Pittsburgh, Duquesne University Press, 1962, 199 pages.

Benignus, F.S.C., Nature, Knowledge and God, An Introduction to Thomistic Philosophy. Milwaukee, The Bruce Publishing Company, 1953. 662 pages.

George P. Klubertanz, S.J., The Philosophy of Human Nature. New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1953. 444 pages

J. F. Donceel, S.J., Philosophical Psychology. New York, Sheed and Ward, 1955. 363 p.

Henri Grenier, Thomistic Philosophy, vol. 1, Logic and Philosophy of Nature. Charlottetwon, St. Dunstan’s University, 1948. Pages 375-551.

Jacques Maritain, Distinguish to Unite, or The Degrees of Knowledge, translated by Gerard B. Phelan, New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1950, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 59-12892, 476 pages.


1) Class attendance and active participation in the course: 10%

2) Mid-Term examination: 40%

3) Final examination: 40%

4) Short Reflection Paper on a subject taken from Philosophy of Nature or Philosophy of Man: 10%


A 94-100; A- 90-93; 

B+ 87-89; B 84-86; B- 80-83; 

C+ 77-79; C 74-76; C- 70-73 


F 59 and below

Grading Rubric for the oral exams and personal reflection


1 (F)

2 (D)

3 (C)

4 (B)

5 (A)

Absence of Understanding

Posting shows no awareness of the concepts addressed in the topic by shifting off-topic


Posting demonstrates a misunderstanding of the basic concepts addressed in the topic through an inability to re-explain them

Adequate Understanding

Posting demonstrates an adequate understanding of the basic concepts addressed in the topic by a re-explanation of them

Solid understanding

Posting demonstrates an understanding of the basic concepts addressed in the topic and uses that understanding effectively in the examples it provides

Insightful understanding

Posting demonstrates an understanding of the basic concepts of the topic through the use of examples and by making connections to other concepts


1 (F)

2 (D)

3 (C)

4 (B)

5 (A)

Missing Research

Paper shows no evidence of research: citation of sources missing.

Inadequate research and/or documentation

Over-reliance on few sources; poor quality of chosen sources; spotty documentation of facts in text; pattern of citation errors.

Adequate research and documentation but needs improvement

Good choice of sources but could be improved with some additions or better selection; did not always cite sources; too many citation errors.

Solid research and documentation

A number of relevant scholarly sources revealing solid research; sources appropriately referenced in paper; only a few minor citation errors.

Excellent critical research and documentation

Critically selected and relevant scholarly sources demonstrating extensive, in-depth research; sources skillfully incorporated into paper at all necessary points; all citations follow standard bibliographic format.


Students at Holy Apostles College & Seminary are expected to practice academic honesty.

Avoiding Plagiarism

In its broadest sense, plagiarism is using someone else's work or ideas, presented or claimed as your own.  At this stage in your academic career, you should be fully conscious of what it means to plagiarize. This is an inherently unethical activity because it entails the uncredited use of someone else's expression of ideas for another's personal advancement; that is, it entails the use of a person merely as a means to another person’s ends.

Students, where applicable:

Consequences of Academic Dishonesty:

Because of the nature of this class, academic dishonesty is taken very seriously.  Students participating in academic dishonesty may be removed from the course and from the program.


Even though you are not required to be logged in at any precise time or day, you are expected to login several times during each week. Because this class is being taught entirely in a technology-mediated forum, it is important to actively participate each week in the course. In a traditional classroom setting for a 3-credit course, students would be required to be in class 3 hours a week and prepare for class discussions 4.5 hours a week. Expect to devote at least 7 quality hours a week to this course. A failure on the student’s part to actively participate in the life of the course may result in a reduction of the final grade.


An Incomplete is a temporary grade assigned at the discretion of the faculty member. It is typically allowed in situations in which the student has satisfactorily completed major components of the course and has the ability to finish the remaining work without re-enrolling, but has encountered extenuating circumstances, such as illness, that prevent his or her doing so prior to the last day of class.

To request an incomplete, distance-learning students must first download a copy of the Incomplete Request Form. This document is located within the Shared folder of the Files tab in Populi. Secondly, students must fill in any necessary information directly within the PDF document. Lastly, students must send their form to their professor via email for approval. “Approval” should be understood as the professor responding to the student’s email in favor of granting the “Incomplete” status of the student.

Students receiving an Incomplete must submit the missing course work by the end of the sixth week following the semester in which they were enrolled. An incomplete grade (I) automatically turns into the grade of “F” if the course work is not completed.

Students who have completed little or no work are ineligible for an incomplete. Students who feel they are in danger of failing the course due to an inability to complete course assignments should withdraw from the course.

A “W” (Withdrawal) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the first week of a semester to the end of the third week. A “WF” (Withdrawal/Fail) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the third week of a semester and on or before the Friday before the last week of the semester.


D:\Michel Legault\My Pictures 20120403\Michel 20130617\DSCN4782.JPG

Father Michel Legault, priest of the Society of the Missionaries of the Holy Apostles

Life and activities

Born in Montreal in 1935, Fr. Michel Legault studied first to become a teacher in the Province of Quebec, Canada. He taught 13 years as a Brother of Christian Instruction in public primary schools (1954-1958) and private secondary schools (1958-1964) [physics, chemistry, mathematics, Latin, Philosophy and music].

From 1964 to 1967, he taught philosophy at  Normal School (College). In 1967,  he entered the Society of the Holy Apostles and studied theology at St. Paul University in Ottawa. While studying theology, he taught General Ethics and Social Ethics at Ottawa University. He was elected as representative of the students on the Senate of Saint Paul University.

In 1970-1971, he spent one year at the Institut d’Études sociales de  Institut Catholique de Paris. He was ordained a priest on July 10, 1971. Then he taught philosophy, sciences and music while being dean of studies at Holy Apostles Seminary, in Otele, Cameroon (1971-1982).

From 1982 to 1984, he completed his doctoral dissertation (The Philosophy of Education of UNESCO) at Institut Catholique de Paris. In August 1984, he was elected on the general council of this religious family. During his sojourn in Montreal he taught philosophy at Saint John Vianney College and was the director of the Vocational Residence (students discerning for priesthood and religious life). From 1984 to 1988, he was member of the General Council of the Society of the Holy Apostles.

He returned to Cameroon from 1988 to 1997. He was rector of Holy Apostles Seminary in Otele. He founded a Major Seminary of Philosophy for the religious of Central Africa, Institut de Philosophie Saint-Joseph-Mukasa. He organized the propaedeutic year of spiritual formation before the Major Seminary for the Ecclesiastical Province of Yaoundé. He was one of the first teachers of philosophy who opened the Faculty of philosophy at Catholic University of Central Africa (Yaounde, Cameroon), and he initiated the teaching of Philosophy of Education and Pedagogy at the same University.

Since 1998, Fr. Michel teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary, in Cromwell, Connecticut.


Baccalaureate of Arts (University of Montreal)

Baccalaureate in Education (University of Montreal)

Baccalaureate in Theology (University St. Paul, Ottawa)

Licentiate in Philosophy (University of Ottawa)

Master in Philosophy (Institut Catholique de Paris)

Master in Divinity (Holy Apostles College and Seminary)

Doctorate in Philosophy (Institut Catholique de Paris)

Studies in Sociology (Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. and Institut d’Études sociales, Paris)  

Doctorate Honoris Causa from Holy Apostles College and Seinary.


  1. La conception démocratique de l'éducation : John Dewey dans Démocratie et éducation]

Yaoundé, Cameroun : Presses de l'Université catholique d'Afrique centrale, [2002]

Pour une philosophie de l’éducation, Cahiers Jacques Maritain, no 14, Déc. 1986, pages 5-58

Une éducation libérale pour la démocratie: Jacques Maritain : pour une philosophie de l'éducation, Presses de l’Université catholique de l’Afrique centrale (Yaoundé, Cameroun), 2002, 62 pages

Communication at the symposium on Jacques Maritain, Montréal, 1988, Métaphysique et éducation

Compendium of Scholastic Philosophy I

CALENDAR Fall 2017




Aug. 29


p. 1-9][1]

p. 13-14

Chapter 1. Introduction to Philosophy

#1. Introduction to Philosophy

Chapter 2. Logic

#2. Aristotelian Logic.

Introduction to Logic [MMS ch.1, p. 1-11][2]


Sept. 5

p. 14-17

#3. Simple Apprehension [MMS ch. 2, p. 15-22]

Words and Concepts: Signs in definition [MMS ch. 3, p. 23-29]


Sept. 12




#6. Material Logic

#7. Universals

#9. Categories [MMS ch. 4, p. 30-41]


Sept. 19



#8. Predicables: Modes in Definition [MMS ch. 5, p. 42-49]

#10. Kinds of distinction

The Method for Definition [MMS ch. 6, p. 50-58]

Definition: a Statement of Causes [MMS ch. 7, p. 59-69]


Sept. 26


#4. Judgment

The Proposition : the Result of Judgment [MMS ch. 8, p. 72-82]

Conversion and Obversion of propositions [MMS ch. 9, p. 83-89]

Opposition of propositions [MMS ch. 10, p. 90-99]


Oct. 3


#5. Reasoning,

The Categorical Syllogism [MMS ch. 11, p. 100-113]

Variation in the Syllogism [MMS ch. 12, p. 114-119; 122-125]


Oct. 10




#11. First Principles    

#12. Demonstration

#13. Science.                Some exercises on Logic


Oct. 17

Exam on Logic


Oct. 24




Chapter 3. Natural Philosophy

#15. Philosophy of Nature [3]   

#16. Matter and Form    

#17. Nature


Oct. 31



#18. Motion                

#19. Place and Time


Nov. 7




Chapter 4. Psychology

#21. Philosophical Psychology

#22. Life and Soul          

#23. Cognition


Nov. 14



#24. Sensation and Perception

#25. Intellection


Nov. 21



#26. Appetition

#27. Sensitive Appetites


Nov. 28



#28. Volition; Analysis of the Human act

#29. Man


Dec. 4

Exam on Natural Philosophy and Rational Psychology


1) Class attendance and active participation in the course: 10%

2) Mid-Term examination: 40%

3) Final examination: 40%

4) Short Reflection Paper on a subject taken from Philosophy of Nature or Philosophy of Man: 10%

[1] The indications [WW] correspond to Fr. William Wallace’s Textbook, The Elements of Philosophy, A Compendiun for Philosophers and Theologians.

[2] The indication [MMS] corresponds to Sr. May Michael Spangler’s Textbook, Logic, An Aristotelian Approach. This textbook will be mainly used for the study of Logic. The teacher will give you a summary of the principle notions to understand and learn. Some exercises will also be suggested.

[3] For Natural Philosophy and Rational Psychology, a written commentary will be furnished by the teacher.