Philosophy 25A

Summer 2009 Session A

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
25A Ancient Philosophy Stazicker MTuWTh 10-12 215 Dwinelle

This intensive 6-week course is an introduction to the philosophy of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, as well as an introduction to doing philosophy. Our aim will be to understand the views and arguments of these philosophers, and to engage critically with them. This will require close reading of the ancient texts, and thoughtful discussion of the issues they raise. Some of the ideas we discuss will be surprisingly familiar, some of them strikingly alien to our usual ways of thinking. In studying and assessing these ideas, we will be asking not only what, if anything, justifies the ancient philosophers’ views, but also what, if anything, justifies our own views. The questions we will discuss include: What is the difference between knowledge and belief? What are definitions? Must someone who understands a notion be able to define it? What is the connection between virtue and knowledge? How is it possible to be weak willed? Is breaking the law ever morally justifiable? What is the connection between morality and being human? Students will be required to write three short papers, contribute to in-class discussion, and sit a final exam.

Previously taught: FL08, SU08D, SU08A, FL07, SU07D, SU07A, FL06, SU06D, SU06A, FL05, SU05D, SU05A, FL04, SU04D, SU04A, FL03.