To learn more, visit 2023 Course and subject delivery.
|Fees||Look up fees|
Is justice the guiding ideal of human action? Or a weapon the powerful use against the weak? Does democracy work, or should we leave government to experts? What is change: is the seed the same as the tree that grows from it? Is our world made up of objects and properties, or of processes and motions? These questions, and others, were subject to intense and profound investigation in the ancient Greek world. In PHIL20040, we join in this investigation alongside thinkers like Heraclitus and Parmenides, Plato and Aristotle. We will learn to interpret their works using philosophical analysis, and understand the context of their philosophy using historical and sociological analysis.
The subject is divided into three units. In Weeks 1–3, we look at the emergence of Greek philosophy in the sixth century BCE. We’ll compare intellectual professionals in the Aegean to those in other regions of Afroeurasia, and study the thought of some important Presocratic figures. In Weeks 4–7, we will undertake a study of Plato’s metaphysics, epistemology, and moral philosophy, through a careful and comprehensive reading of his Republic. In Weeks 8–12, we’ll turn to Aristotle, looking especially at his natural philosophy and theory of human behaviour in the Physics and Nicomachean Ethics.
Intended learning outcomes
Students who successfully complete this subject should be able to:
- 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: 8 August 2023