OverviewThis module provides an introduction to some of the major works in ancient Greek philosophy in relation to ethics, aesthetics, political theory, ontology and metaphysics. Students will study substantial portions of primary texts by the Pre-Socratics, Plato and Aristotle. The emphasis throughout will be on the philosophical significance of the ideas studied. The module will concentrate on understanding key philosophical arguments and concepts within the context of the ancient Greek intellectual tradition. This means that students will gain a critical distance from normative and modern definitions of philosophical terms in order to understand how Greek philosophy generally approached questions and problems with different suppositions and conceptions of reality, reason and the purpose of human existence.
This module appears in:
3 hours per week
Also available under code CL709 (Level 6)
Method of assessment
The core texts may change from year to year, but will include fragments from the Presocratics and Sophists and key texts from Plato and Aristotle. The works listed below are meant to be indicative of the kind of things students will be expected to read in any given year.
Aristotle, Physics, excerpts
Aristotle, Metaphysics, excerpts
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
Fragments of Heraclitus, Empedocles and Democritus
Fragments of Protagoras
Plato, Timaeus, excerpts
Key secondary material will be provided by module reader or Library scanned excerpts on Moodle.
By the end of the course students should be able to:
1. Articulate answers to key questions in ancient Greek philosophy (e.g., what is virtue?, what is knowledge?, what are the first causes and principles of reality?; what is nature? what is the nature of mimesis?);
2. Understand the importance and implications of the central issues of ancient philosophy within their historical context, the field of philosophy, and modern society;
3. Comprehend the conceptual nuances of key ancient Greek terms without relying on English translations and appreciate the ambiguity and limits of knowledge;
4. Develop critical, specific and in-depth analyses of these issues; and
5. Engage reflectively with other people's analyses and interpretations of primary and secondary sources.