PHI 328: History of Ancient Philosophy

Topics, Readings, and Assignment Questions

1. Introduction
Ancient Greek Philosophy, Introduction (1-8)

• The major figures and lines of thought in the period of study
• Methodology in the History of Philosophy

2. The Presocratic Period
Ancient Greek Philosophy, Chapter 1 (9-34)

• The social and political conditions in the Mediterranean Basin
• Enlightenment thinking, the Milesian Revolution, the beginnings of physics and philosophy
• Parmenides and the methods for knowledge, reason versus experience
• The inquiry into “nature” (φύσις), Democritus and ancient Atomism

• Quiz, Two Questions (but only one graded), Debriefing

3. Socrates, the historical figure and the character
Ancient Greek Philosophy, Chapters 2 and 3 (35-69, 70-95)

• The Age of Pericles
• The trial and execution of Socrates
• The Sophistical movement
• Socrates, “love of wisdom” (φιλοσοφία), the “soul” (ψυχή), and “happiness” (εὐδαιμονία)
• Socrates against the Sophists

• Quiz, One Question, Debriefing

4. Plato and the Academy
Ancient Greek Philosophy, Chapters 4 and 5 (98-130, 131-149)

• The Peloponnesian War and the end of the Golden Age
• Plato's interpretation of Socrates
• A new conception of the soul, its relation to the body, and the good life
• The theory of justice in the Republic
• The renewed interest in nature in the Timaeus, the teleological perspective

• Quiz, Three Questions, Debriefing

5. Aristotle and the Lyceum
Ancient Greek Philosophy, Shapters 6 - 9 (151-171, 172-187, 188-204, 205-223)

• The rise of Macedon, Alexander the Great, a new school is established in Athens
• The first great Platonist and the first great Platonic critic
• Physics is second philosophy, becoming like the unmovable first mover
• The soul is the form of the body
• Ethics and the good life in the Nicomachean Ethics

• Quiz, Three Questions, Debriefing

6. The Hellenistic Philosophers
Ancient Greek Philosophy, Chapter 10 (225-256)

• The ancient world after the death of Alexander to the death of Cleopatra (323-30 BCE)
• Epicurus and the Epicureans
• The Stoics
• The Academic Skeptics

• Quiz, One Question, Debriefing

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