PHIL 157 - Introduction to Ancient Philosophy
Winter 2016, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is (see other Sections below)
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Waitlist Notes:
May not be repeated for credit.
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Many of the central questions in Western philosophy were first formulated by thinkers in ancient Greece and Rome. We will consider questions such as the following, as they are raised in classical texts of ancient philosophy:

  • What is the ultimate nature of reality? Is anything permanent? What kind of order is there in change?
  • How should I lead my life? What sorts of life would be fulfilling? Satisfying my desires? Doing the right thing? What is the right thing to do?
  • What is the nature of the self? And what is its relation to the body?
  • Can I choose freely? Or are my actions fully determined by prior events? Or might both be true?
  • What is the nature of love? Can we reason with our emotions?
  • Is death something to be afraid of?

Course Requirements:

There will be a strong emphasis on participation, both in class and in online discussion forums on Ctools/Canvas, in order to develop the ability to articulate and analyze positions, as well as on learning how to write argument-based papers criticizing or defending philosophical positions in the text. We will also work through Lewis Vaughn’s excellent Writing Philosophy: A Student’s Guide (Oxford UP) over the course of the term. Students will write papers according to explicit guidelines; and they will choose their topics in response to a set of rubrics. The final exam will consist of (i) short-answer questions about central terms, concepts, and arguments, and (ii) essay questions on texts and issues from the last third of the course.

Intended Audience:

Undergraduates who want the opportunity to be exposed to some of the great ideas and works from ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, as well those who are curious about philosophical questions and methods as they have evolved in the Western tradition.

Class Format:

3 hours of lecture & discussion/week, conducted entirely by the instructor. There are no GSI’s attached to this class.


PHIL 157 - Introduction to Ancient Philosophy
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM

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