PHI 328: History of Ancient Philosophy

Textbook for the Course

Thomas A. Blackson
Philosophy Faculty
School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ. 85287-4302,,

Book Cover
When I taught this course in a classroom, it always seemed to me that the students did not want to spend their time taking notes. They wanted to listen and think about the material, and they wanted to ask questions and take part in a discussion. The problem was that they did not have enough of an understanding of the material prior to the lecture for this to be possible.

The standard scholarly works provide the wrong kind of explanation. These works are narrowly focused on a period within the history or on a specific text or texts. Beginning students find such detailed analysis and argument difficult to comprehend because so much of it presupposes a general understanding of the 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.

I wrote Ancient Greek Philosophy in an effort to solve this problem.

I have since written a set of online lecture notes (linked from the syllabus) to supplement and sometimes correct the book. The notes contain links to the ancient texts in the Perseus Digital Library and the Loeb Classical Library (available with an ASURITE User ID).


Here are the typos I know. Please report others, 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"

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