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Loyola University Chicago

Department of Philosophy

PHIL 304: History of Ancient Philosophy

PHIL 304: History of Ancient Philosophy

The Generic Catalog Description

Origins of philosophical problems among the Greeks and the main types of philosophical answers; extensive readings in the pre-Socratic fragments and records, in Plato, and in Aristotle.


PHIL 304: History of Ancient Philosophy

James Blachowicz

This survey of ancient Greek philosophy must sacrifice some breadth for the sake of depth. Accordingly, we will concentrate on metaphysical and epistemological issues at the expense of ethical and political issues.

We will look at some selected pre-Socratic thinkers, including Parmenides, and then move to Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. We will examine Plato's Parmenides, Theaetetus and Sophist in detail; and will consider texts from Aristotle's Categories, Posterior Analytics, De Anima, Physics and Metaphysics.


PHIL 304: History of Ancient Philosophy

Blake Dutton

This course is designed to introduce students to the basic issues, texts, figures and schools of classical Greek and Roman philosophy. We will divide the study into three units. The first will deal with Socrates and his disciple, Plato. We will begin our examination by looking at the nature of Socratic inquiry and Socrates' pursuit of wisdom, and then turn to a careful reading of Plato's monumental work, The Republic. In this we will discuss a broad range of questions concerning the soul, justice, the state, knowledge, and the nature of reality. The second unit of the course will focus on Aristotle, himself a student of Plato. We will begin with a general overview of Aristotle's logic, cosmology and hylomorphic metaphysics, and then focus on the relation between his view of the soul and his conception of the good life as these are articulated in his On the Soul and Nicomachean Ethics. In the final unit of the course we will look at three post-Aristotelian philosophical schools that had their origins among the Greeks and that came to dominate Roman philosophy. These are Skepticism, Epicureanism and Stoicism. Here we will examine several debates among these schools over questions of ethics, epistemology and physics.

Typical readings:
Plato, Euthyphro, Crito, Apology, Republic
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, On the Soul, as well as selections from other works
Selected letters and writings of Epicurus
Epictetus, Encheirideon
Sextus Empiricus, Outlines of Pyrrhonism


PHIL 304: History of Greek Philosophy

Julie Ward

This course introduces the philosophy major to the central thinkers of ancient Greece, including pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. The readings cover fundamental themes in Western philosophy, including the nature of substance or what is real; knowledge and belief; Greek conceptions of moral virtue and the best life. We also consider topics such as the political role of women, moral realism and conventionalism, the development of deductive reasoning and proof. The primary texts are the focus throughout the course, but I have assigned a general introductory work, T. Irwin’s Classical Thought which is intended as required reading alongside the primary texts as well as various essays from an anthology of mine.

Required Texts (at campus bookstore)
1. Aristotle, Basic Works, ed. McKeon (Random House).
2. Classical Thought, T. Irwin (Oxford).
3. Feminism and Ancient Philosophy, ed. J. Ward (Routledge).
4. Euripedes, Medea (Hackett).
5. Sophocles, Antigone (Hackett).
6. Plato: Five Dialogues; Republic, Symposium (all by Hackett). 
7. Philosophy before Socrates, ed. R. McKirahan (Hackett).


PHIL 304: History of Ancient Greek Philosophy

Frank Yartz

The history of ancient Greek philosophy is about arche and logos. The Greek word arche is translated as source, beginning, even principle. The word logos can be rendered into English as account, reason (cause). Central to the period is the following question: Is there a beginning (arche) of which one can give an account (logos)? Throughout the period Socrates is a person that becomes a symbol for one using reason for the acquisition of truth. For the Presocratics the question of beginning (arche) centers on the physical realm, although there is a question in Pythagoreanism regarding two sources, one good and one evil. For Plato the archai are Ideas or archetypes. For Aristotle the arche is God as a mover (prime) and thought (self thinking).

Most of the course will focus on Plato and Aristotle. We will begin with a study of some of the texts and records of the Presocratics that are important in the development of the thinking of Plato and Aristotle. The issue of ‘knowledge for moral action’ will be also to some extent addressed..

The course will focus on selections of the works of Plato’s Meno, Phaedo, Symposium, Republic, and ‘Theaetetus. In the presentation of Aristotle’s thought reference to Aristotle Metaphysics, Physics, De Anima, and Ethics will be made.




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