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Throughout the 2021-22 academic year, we will be prioritising face to face teaching as part of a blended learning approach that builds on the lessons learned over the course of the Coronavirus pandemic. Teaching will vary between online and on-campus delivery through the year, and you should read guidance from the academic department for details of how this will work for a particular module. You can find out more about the University’s overall response to Coronavirus at: https://warwick.ac.uk/coronavirus.

PH140-15 Ancient Philosophy

Department
Philosophy
Level
Undergraduate Level 1
Module leader
Thomas Crowther
Credit value
15
Assessment
20% coursework, 80% exam
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

By the end of the module, students should be able to (i) understand the main philosophical issues and arguments presented in a number of important texts of ancient philosophy (ii) critically engage with the main ideas and arguments of these texts, and articulate their own views about the relative strengths or weaknesses of these arguments.

Module web page

Module aims

The main module aim is to introduce students to the ideas, arguments, and themes of a number of important works of ancient philosophy. The method is to do this by interactive lectures, seminars and guided close reading and analysis of the primary texts and of issues raised by these texts.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

Week 1. Lecture 1. Introduction

Week 1. Lecture 2. Introduction to Ancient Greek Worldviews

Week 2. Lecture 3. Milesian Materialism 1

Week 2. Lecture 4. Milesian Materialism 2

Week 3. Lecture 5. Heraclitus 1

Week 3. Lecture 6. Heraclitus 2

Week 4. Lecture 7. Euthyphro: Introducing the Socratic Method

Week 4. Lecture 8. Euthyphro: Exploring the Socratic Method

Week 5. Lecture 9. Plato, The Meno 1

Week 5. Lecture 10. Plato, The Meno 2

Week 6. No lectures

Week 7. Lecture 11. Plato on Form 1

Week 7. Lecture 12. Plato on Form 2

Week 8. Lecture 13. Plato on Soul in the Phaedo 1

Week 8. Lecture 14. Plato on Soul in the Phaedo 2

Week 9. Lecture 16. Aristotle, Physics 1

Week 9. Lecture 17. Aristotle, Physics 2

Week 10. Lecture 18. Aristotle, The Function Argument 1

Week 10. Lecture 18. Aristotle, The Function Argument 2

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • (i) understand the main philosophical issues and arguments presented in a number of important texts of ancient philosophy
  • (ii) critically engage with the main ideas and arguments of these texts, and articulate their own views about the relative strengths or weaknesses of these arguments.
  • (iii) Develop the skills of close reading of ancient philosophical texts, including an ability to understand and explain technical vocabulary from ancient philosophical texts and an awareness of debates about the interpretation of certain key terms in ancient texts.
Indicative reading list

Primary Texts

Barnes, J. (ed.). 2002. Early Greek Philosophy. London, Penguin.
Cooper, J. (trans.) 2002. Plato, Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo.
Indianapolis, Hackett.
Waterfield, R. (trans.) 2009. Meno and Other Dialogues. Oxford, O.U.P.
Ackrill, J. (ed.) 1987. A New Aristotle Reader. Oxford, O.U.P. A very reliable collection of selected
works, containing all of the Aristotle material relevant to this course.
Waterfield, R. 2008. Aristotle, Physics. Oxford, O.U.P. Contains helpful introductory material.

Secondary Text
Barnes, J. 1982. The Presocratic Philosophers. London, Routledge.
Long, A. A. 1999. The Cambridge Companion to Early Greek Philosophy. Cambridge, C.U.P.
Irwin, T. 1988. Aristotle’s First Principles. Oxford, O.U.P.
Kraut, R. (ed.) 1992. The Cambridge Companion to Plato. Cambridge, C.U.P.
Barnes, J. (ed.) 1995. The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle. Cambridge, C.U.P.
Fine, G. (ed.) 1999. Plato 1: Metaphysics and Epistemology. Oxford, O.U.P.
Fine. G. (ed.) 1999. Plato 2: Ethics, Politics, Religion and the Soul. Oxford, O.U.P.
Fine. G. 2003. Plato on Knowledge and Forms. Oxford, O.U.P.
Shields, C. 2012. Ancient Philosophy: A Contemporary Introduction. 2nd ed. London, Routledge.
Shields, C. 2014. Aristotle. London, Routledge.

Subject specific skills

(i) The capacity to read classic works of Ancient philosophy, centrally those of Plato and Aristotle and to understand key ideas in those texts.
(ii) The capacity to explain key arguments found in classic philosophical texts, such as those in Plato and Aristotle.
(iii) To develop an appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of these arguments, and to be able to communicate these strengths and weaknesses in written and oral work.
(iv) To work effectively with peers in group-oriented work on Ancient Philosophy, and to communicate and think about Ancient Philosophy in a seminar environment

Transferable skills

(i) To acquire the capacity to read difficult material effectively and critically.
(ii) To develop the capacity to explain demanding ideas and arguments clearly, briefly and accurately.
(iii) To think creatively about problems by deploying the capacity for clear thinking and reasoning
(iv) To work collaboratively and sensitively with others in a seminar environment, and to develop the self-confidence to communicate effectively in a seminar environment.

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 9 sessions of 2 hours (69%)
Seminars 8 sessions of 1 hour (31%)
Total 26 hours
Private study description

No private study requirements defined for this module.

Costs

No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Students can register for this module without taking any assessment.

Assessment group D1
Weighting Study time
1000 word essay 20%
Online Examination 80%

~Platforms - AEP


  • Online examination: No Answerbook required
Feedback on assessment

Detailed written feedback will be provided on summative essay, including advice on how to
improve written work.
An exam report will also be provided, giving a general account of successful ways of answering a question and some common problems, but it will not comment on individual answers.

Past exam papers for PH140

Courses

This module is Core for:

  • Year 1 of UCXA-Q8V7 Undergraduate Classical Civilisation with Philosophy
  • Year 1 of UPHA-V700 Undergraduate Philosophy
  • Year 1 of UPHA-VQ52 Undergraduate Philosophy, Literature and Classics

This module is Core optional for:

  • UCXA-Q82P Undergraduate Classical Civilisation
    • Year 1 of Q82P Classical Civilisation (Part-Time)
    • Year 2 of Q82P Classical Civilisation (Part-Time)
  • Year 1 of UIPA-V5L8 Undergraduate Philosophy and Global Sustainable Development
  • Year 1 of UPHA-VQ72 Undergraduate Philosophy and Literature

This module is Optional for:

  • Year 1 of UPHA-VL78 BA in Philosophy with Psychology
  • Year 1 of UCXA-Q820 Undergraduate Classical Civilisation
  • Year 1 of UHIA-V1V5 Undergraduate History and Philosophy
  • Year 1 of UPHA-VQ72 Undergraduate Philosophy and Literature
  • Year 1 of UPHA-V7ML Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics

This module is Option list B for:

  • Year 1 of UMAA-GV17 Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy