Primary Text for the Course

Book Cover

In my experience in the classroom, students do not want to spend all their time taking notes. They want to listen and think about the material, and they want to ask questions and take part in a discussion. For this to be possible, they must have some understanding of the material prior to class.

How are they to get this understanding?

The standard scholarly works provide the wrong kind of explanation for beginning students. These works are narrowly focused on a period within the history or on a specific text. Beginning students find such detailed analysis and argument difficult to comprehend because so much of it presupposes a general understanding of the historical figures and lines of thought that define the ancient philosophical tradition.

The standard anthologies are the traditional alternative, but they do not provide enough explanation for beginning students. They provide brief introductory remarks, and these remarks are almost always too brief to provide the understanding beginning students need.

To help solve this problem, I wrote Ancient Greek Philosophy: From the Presocratics to the Hellenistic Philosophers. (I have since created this website to supplement the book. For the most part, the website follows and extends the chapters in the book.)


Typos are difficult to find. Here are the ones I know. Please report others, and I will add them to the list.

5: "In spite the" should be "In spite of the"

17, note h: "Anaxamander, for example" should be "Anaximander, for example"

22: "verymany" should be "very many"

23: "must either be competely or not all" should be "must either be completely or not at all"

23: "how could what is be in the future?" should be "how could what is not be in the future?"

25: "indivisible and indestuctible" should be "indivisible and indestructible"

27: "DK 78 B 11" should be "DK 68 B 11"

27: "in Pamenides" should be "in Parmenides"

40, note a: "the Athenians in the battle" should be "the Athenians in battle"

50: "what it not is impious" should be "what is not is impious"

55, note u: "has in him in" should be "has in mind in"

60: "fail do it" should be "fail to do it"

64: "as at least as" should be "at least as"

71, note a: "amazed if knew how much" should be "amazed if he knew how much"

74, note e: "rather than true statesman" should be "rather than true statesmen"

74, note e: "so-called 'statesman'" should be "so-called 'statesmen'"

111: "goes on to to tell" should be "goes on to tell"

207: "in its natural and incarnate state" should be "in its natural and disincarnate state"

229, note a: "In 322, Alexander" should be "In 332, Alexander"