Philosophy 25A

Summer 2023 Session A

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
25A Ancient Philosophy Grosser MTuWTh 12-2 Wheeler 102

This introductory course will cover major developments in ancient Greek philosophy. While we will primarily examine works of Plato and Aristotle, we will also look at Presocratic as well as Stoic and Epicurean thought. Topics will include the nature of knowledge and the nature of the soul. The focus of this course, however, will be on themes in ethics and political philosophy. What does it mean to live a “good life,” and what are essential internal and external conditions for achieving such a life? What is the role of knowledge and of virtue in developing a good character, and how can both be acquired? How are we to relate to ourselves, to our emotions such as anger, shame, and fear, or to the fact that we sometimes do and desire what is bad for us? And how are we to relate to others who we encounter within and outside our communities? In light of these questions, we will discuss differing understandings of “the best political order” proposed by ancient thinkers, an order that enables human happiness and flourishing. What does justice consist in, and how is it related to equality? What is the meaning of citizenship—and who has access to the special political, juridical, and moral status it entails? How can friendship and love be relevant in the realm of politics? And what possibilities are there to express dissent with one’s community and to critique one’s polis (city-state)—for instance, with reference to the idea of a cosmopolis, a universal community that transcends particular forms of belonging and of which all humans are members?