Instructor: Chauncey Maher | firstname.lastname@example.org | East College 202
Office Hours: TW 3-4, or by appointment
This course is an introduction to ancient philosophy, focusing on the work of Plato and Aristotle, probably the most influential philosophers in history. We will begin the course with Plato and finish it with Aristotle. We will be concerned with two big themes: the mind (or soul) and the state. Thus, on one hand, we will consider what it is for individual human beings to understand and affect the world; on the other hand, we will consider how humans ought to live with one another. We will see that Plato and Aristotle think these topics are deeply connected, mainly in their conceptions of human happiness (or eudaimonia).
-improve ability to read philosophical texts
-improve ability to identify, construct, clarify, and assess arguments in discussion and writing
-learn significant claims and arguments of ancient philosophers (esp. Plato and Aristotle)
Ackrill (ed.). A New Aristotle Reader. ISBN 978-0691020433
Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. ISBN 9780872204645
Aristotle. Politics. ISBN 9780872203884
Euripides. Iphigeneia at Aulis. ISBN 978-0195077094
Plato. Republic. Trans. Ferrari. ISBN 978-0521484435
Plato. Five Dialogues. Trans. Grube. 2nd edition. ISBN 978-0872206335
Plato. Theaetetus. Trans. Burnyeat. ISBN 978-0915144815
Sophocles, Antigone. Trans. Fitz & Fitzgerald. ISBN 015602764X
+ Photocopies on Moodle
Participation (20% of Final Grade)
Philosophical issues are often more easily grasped when discussed with others. Our meetings will be a mix of presentations by me and discussion. Each time you properly participate, you earn 1 point. You need 15 points to receive an ‘A’ for participation. I will track this on Moodle each week. You are responsible for checking regularly to be sure that this record is accurate. Please email me immediately if you notice a discrepancy.
What counts as proper participation?
A comment or question on a specific remark made by an author, or one of your peers, or me.
It can focus on meaning or interpretation. You should be prepared to explain what you think the person means.
Example: ‘What does Socrates mean when he says that it is always better to be just?’
Or it can focus on truth and rational support. You should be prepared to say why you think the person’s claim does not seem true or well supported.
-Saying needlessly obscure things, such as, ‘The central impediment to a transcendental deduction of the marginalization of the epistemic condition of the proletariat is what the post-structuralist movement has called ‘the malaise of language.’
Essays (80% of final grade)
Our discussions should help you write philosophical essays. Your performance on these essays will be worth 80% of your final grade. Detailed prompts for each essay will be distributed at least one week before they are due.
Any case of suspected academic dishonesty must be reported. Note: “To plagiarize is to use without proper citation or acknowledgment the words, ideas, or work of another. Plagiarism is a form of cheating that refers to several types of unacknowledged borrowing.” When in doubt, cite it. For more information, please see the handbook on Community Standards here:
I will make reasonable academic accommodations for students with documented disabilities. If you think you are eligible for such accommodation, please first register with Disability Services in Biddle House, specifically Stephanie Anderberg (245-1080; email@example.com). If you are eligible, Marni Jones, Director of Learning Skills and Disability Services, will provide you with a letter attesting to that. Once you have that letter, we can meet to discuss what we need to do. All of that must happen in the first three weeks of the semester.