The creative artist reflects his understanding of nature when he portrays it in his art. Therefore, a right philosophy of nature is essential to his portrayal of Creation. This course, which assumes little prior knowledge of philosophy, shows how the use of reason can identify natural principles of the cosmos.  Such a philosophy of nature, developed by Aristotle and clarified by St. Thomas, deepens our appreciation of the world around us and of the findings of modern science. Through this new framework of understanding, a bridge between art and science is created.  Students will see that each deepens our sense of awe and wonder which fuels creativity for scientist and artist alike. 

If you are interested in auditing this course please email

The Philosophy of Nature






  1. Dodds, M.  The Philosophy of Nature.  Available at
  2. Dodds, M. Philosophical Anthropology. Avaliable at
  3. Searle, John.  Minds, Brains, and Science. Harvard University Press.  1984.
  4. Readings assignments for selected texts from Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas are available free online at and  
  5. Other reading assignments will be provided in each lesson’s folder as downloadable material.

Course outline:

  1. Introduction to the philosophical approach
  2. First principles of accidental change
  3. Substantial change
  4. Primary matter
  5. Substantial form
  6. Substances.  Mixed Bodies
  7. Causes
  8. Quantity and Continuum
  9. Motion I
  10. Motion II
  11. Alternative philosophical theories (ancient)
  12. Alternative philosophical theories (modern)
  13. Life
  14. The soul
  15. Vegetative life
  16. Living substances
  17. Sense and knowledge I
  18. Sense and knowledge II
  19. Sense and knowledge III
  20. Colors and reality
  21. Internal senses I
  22. Internal senses II
  23. The Intellect I
  24. The intellect II
  25. The intellect III
  26. Creativity
  27. Appetite and will I
  28. Appetite and will II
  29. Appetite and will III
  30. Mind and brain
  31. Mind and brain
  32. Human soul, self, and personhood I
  33. Human soul, self, and personhood II
  34. Catholic Church documents on human life
  35. Alternative conceptions of man I
  36. Alternative conceptions of man II
  37. Infinity
  38. Place and Space
  39. Time
  40. Special topic
  41. Special topic
  42. Special topic
  43. Special topic
  44. Special topic
  45. Special topic







If you are looking to enroll in the Masters degree in Sacred Arts please complete the application and we will contact you shortly.


If you are a professor interested in joining our faculty or an institution interested in partnering please email our Provost:


If you would like to Audit this course, then Contact Us here.

Sign up for
Pontifex University Course: The Philosophy of Nature-3 Payments of $300/month


Here is the class outline:

1. Welcome & Introduction to the Philosophical Approach

2. First principles of accidental change

3. Substantial change

4. Primary matter

5. Substantial Form

6. Platonic forms

7. Ancient philosophical accounts of nature

8. Substances: reductionism and emergentism versus hylomorphism

9. Elements and the doctrine of "virtual presence" part 1

10. Elements and the doctrine of "virtual presence" part 2

11. Nature

12. Principles of Causality


14. Quantity and Motion

15. Scientific Challenges I

16. Scientific Challenges II

17. Life I

18. Life II

19. The Soul and its powers

20. Vegetative Life

21. Vegetative life and cells

22. Knowledge

23. Sense Knowledge

24. Color Realism

25. Internal Senses

26. Senses Appetite

27. The Intellect I

28. The Intellect II

29. The Intellect III

30. The Will I

31. The Will II

32. Review

33. Modern Ideas on Mind and Brain I

34. Modern Ideas on Mind and Brain II

35. Immorality and Origin of the Human Soul

36. Origin of the Human Person

37. The Origin of Life and of Species

38. Person and Being I

39. Person and Being II

40. Person and Being III

41. Person and Being IV

42. SPECIAL TOPIC I - Philosophy and the Artist

43. SPECIAL TOPIC II - The Creative Imagination