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University of Pennsylvania - Ancient Philosophy: Plato & His Predecessors 

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Ancient Philosophy: Plato & His Predecessors


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Ancient Philosophy: Plato & His Predecessors

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Ancient Philosophy: Plato & His Predecessors
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  • 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.
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Ancient Philosophy: Plato & His Predecessors

The Milesians & Heraclitus

Introduction to Ancient Philosophy

How We Study the Pre-Socratics

Fragments and Sources

Philosophers or scientists?

The Material Principle

God in Nature?

Heraclitus on the LOGOS

Heraclitus on Change

Milesians Readings

Heraclitus Readings



Parmenides to Plato

Parmenides' Prohibition

Parmenides Against Change

Responses to Parmenides

Naturalism after Parmenides

Plato and Socrates

Socrates in the Apology

Piety in the Euthyphro

Morality and Religion


Plato's Apology

Plato's Euthyphro

Parmenides and His Legacy

Plato?s Apology and Euthyphro

Plato on Virtue, Teaching, & Justice

Virtue in the Meno

Teachers of Virtue?

Theory of Recollection

Was Socrates Teaching?

Meno's Paradox

Knowledge vs. True Belief

Is Justice a Virtue?

The Just City

The Just Soul

Rational Injustice?

Plato's Meno

Republic Book 1

Republic Book 2

Republic Book 4

Plato's Meno

Plato's Republic

Plato on Reality & Goodness

Plato's Theory of Forms

The Real and the Good

The Creation of the World

The World Soul

Plato's Mathematical Physics

Conclusion to Part 1

Republic Book 5

Republic Books 6-7

Plato's Timaeus


Republic Books 5-7

Plato's Timaeus

Ancient Philosophy: Plato & His Predecessors
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    Important Dates

    May 25, 2024
    Course Commencement Date

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