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Back to Ancient Philosophy: Plato & His Predecessors

Ancient Philosophy: Plato & His Predecessors, University of Pennsylvania

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765 ratings
189 reviews

About this Course

What is philosophy? How does it differ from science, religion, and other modes of human discourse? This course traces the origins of philosophy in the Western tradition in the thinkers of Ancient Greece. We begin with the Presocratic natural philosophers who were active in Ionia in the 6th century BCE and are also credited with being the first scientists. Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximines made bold proposals about the ultimate constituents of reality, while Heraclitus insisted that there is an underlying order to the changing world. Parmenides of Elea formulated a powerful objection to all these proposals, while later Greek theorists (such as Anaxagoras and the atomist Democritus) attempted to answer that objection. In fifth-century Athens, Socrates insisted on the importance of the fundamental ethical question—“How shall I live?”—and his pupil, Plato, and Plato’s pupil, Aristotle, developed elaborate philosophical systems to explain the nature of reality, knowledge, and human happiness. After the death of Aristotle, in the Hellenistic period, Epicureans and Stoics developed and transformed that earlier tradition. We will study the major doctrines of all these thinkers. Part I will cover Plato and his predecessors. Part II will cover Aristotle and his successors....

Top reviews

By LL

Mar 09, 2016

Good intro to early Greek philosophy. Dr Meyer has a simple and subtly humorous approach to the material. Dr Meyer makes the subject approachable so that the student wants to do further reading.

By YY

Apr 02, 2019

I was always wanted to know things on Ancient Philosophy, This course has an over all understanding for Plato's work and his students with their different prospective on him and his philosophy.

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182 Reviews

By Nancy Michael

Apr 18, 2019

outstanding

By Warren Cartwright

Apr 18, 2019

Good background for further exploration.

By Luiz Carlos Maschio Denker

Apr 15, 2019

Um curso introdutório ao tema e as problemáticas da filosofia antiga. Recomendo para aqueles que nunca tiveram contato com o assunto e também para aqueles que querem revisar o tema. A metodologia do curso é super didática, o uso das citações e indicações de bibliografia são o forte do curso. Enfim, recomendo!

By Antonia Tejeda Barros

Apr 15, 2019

This course is fascinating. The professor's lectures are very clear and the course is very well structured. It could be longer and it could go deeper, but still is a great course. Compulsory for all philosophy lovers. Thanks & greetings from Spain / Antonia

By Yashika

Apr 02, 2019

I was always wanted to know things on Ancient Philosophy, This course has an over all understanding for Plato's work and his students with their different prospective on him and his philosophy.

By Robert C Cornell

Apr 01, 2019

Though I don't like doing peer-reviews or peer-reviewed assignments, overall this was an interesting course. Thank you.

By Harry Lowson

Mar 29, 2019

The content of the philosophical texts of ancient Greece are distilled with a great deal of clarity. My only complaint is that it seemed a bit brief. For instance, there are 10 books in the republic, but only a handful of those are explored.

By mukesh kr choudhary

Mar 29, 2019

great course

By Alvaro José Freile

Mar 23, 2019

Very good class

By Natalia Gutiérrez Morales

Mar 21, 2019

Clear course to get introduced into ancient philosophers.