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This subject examines the ideas of pre-Socratic philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. We focus specifically on the philosophical innovations of the Ancient Greeks, both in their contributions of radically new ideas and radically new methodologies. Specific questions to be discussed will include: What makes philosophy different from mythology? What is knowledge and how is it possible? What is the epistemological value of a definition? What is the nature of the soul and mind? What is virtue and what is its relation to happiness? What is the good life for a human being? These questions grew out of one another for the Greeks, and we will trace that development. We will also think about the relevance of Ancient Greek philosophical positions to our own lives and our own understanding of the world. In doing so, we will test the staying power of Plato and Aristotle’s thought and, more importantly, put into action the Socratic sentiment that the unexamined life is not worth living.
Intended learning outcomes
Students who successfully complete this subject will:
- Acquire ability to give an account of the scope, achievements, and principal concerns of some central Greek philosophical investigations into the nature of reality, knowledge and value;
- Improve skills in reading philosophical texts and in writing philosophical papers.
Students who successfully complete this subject should:
- have developed their powers of critical and analytical thinking.
- be able to apply these powers to problems and issues in other areas of philosophy, and in other disciplines.
- have a deeper understanding of what it means to be a human being.
Last updated: 21 February 2020