|25A||Ancient Philosophy||MacFarlane||MWF 10-11||100 Lewis|
This course is an introduction to ancient Greek philosophy–and, for the uninitiated, to philosophy itself. We will spend almost all of our time on the three most important Greek philosophers–Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle–with a passing glance at pre-Socratic and Hellenistic philosophers. Our primary goal will be to understand these philosophers’ characteristic methods and views, and (more importantly) their reasons for holding these views. It is often said that we should study ancient Greek philosophy because it is the intellectual basis for all later western philosophy and natural science. That is true, but it is only half the story. We should also study ancient Greek philosophy to become familiar with a worldview so alien that it throws our own into sharp relief. As you are outraged by some of the things these philosophers say, you will come to see more clearly what your own views are, and you will be forced to ask what justifies them. You will not just be studying the history of philosophy; you will be doing philosophy. Prerequisite: None.