Ancient Philosophy - CLAS7080

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 5 30 (15) Kelli Rudolph checkmark-circle


This module introduces some of the major works in ancient philosophy in relation to ethics, aesthetics, political theory, ontology and metaphysics. Students will study substantial portions of primary texts by the Presocratics, Plato, Aristotle the Epicureans, Stoics and/or the Skeptics. 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 intellectual tradition. This means that students will gain a critical distance from normative and modern definitions of philosophical terms in order to understand how ancient philosophy generally approached questions and problems with different suppositions and conceptions of reality, reason and the purpose of human existence.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 30
Private Study Hours: 260
Total Study Hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:
• Essay (2,000 words) – 50%
• Exercises (2,000 words) – 40%
• Seminar Participation – 10%

Reassessment methods:
• 100% Coursework (3,000 words)

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.
The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Articulate answers to key questions in ancient 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 central issues of ancient philosophy within their historical context, the field of philosophy, and modern scholarly literature;
3 Comprehend the conceptual nuances of key ancient Greek terms without relying on English translations and appreciate the ambiguity and limits of knowledge;
4 Demonstrate critical, specific and in-depth analyses of these issues;
5 Engage reflectively with other people's analyses and interpretations of primary and secondary sources.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate skills in critical analysis and argument, both through their reading and through listening to others;
2 Make complex ideas understandable in their philosophical writing;
3 Make complex ideas understandable by developing appropriate communication skills;
4 Work autonomously and to take responsibility for their learning.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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