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Advanced History of Philosophy: Ancient Greek Philosophy




Admissions requirements

Passing History of Philosophy is required. Depending on the specific focus of the course each year, passing Philosophies of the World is recommended (but not required).


The purpose of Advanced History of Philosophy courses is to allow students to zoom in on important periods in the history of philosophy that they only got a taste of in History of Philosophy or Philosophies of the World. From year to year, the subtitle will shift as the course focuses on different periods. In this particular offering, we will be reading and discussing the work of the greatest thinkers from the ancient Greek period. These thinkers raised questions that still concern us today, such as: Can you choose your own truth? Can a logical impossibility persuade you that what you see in front of you is just an illusion? Can you win a discussion by playing mind games and twisting the arguments of your opponent? Should you resist being affected by things you have no control over?

We will address how ancient Greek thinkers responded to these kinds of questions under the heading ‘pursuing the truth by cultivating oneself’. Hence, two lines of inquiry will be developed. First, we will look at the way in which each of these thinkers pursues the truth and places himself in opposition to others. Second, we will investigate how each of these philosophical positions implies a certain way of life. Moreover, we will also highlight the different ways in which recent interpreters understand these sources. This will not only tell us something about the ancient Greek sources themselves, but also about the different ways in which these sources can be studied and made relevant in light of contemporary concerns.

Students should be prepared for extensive reading, thinking, and writing, as well as active participation and engagement with the readings in the classroom, if they would like to do well in this course.

Course objectives

By the end of this course students should

  • Be familiar with the major trends of a specific period in the history of philosophy.

  • Be capable of critically reflecting on and distinguishing between key types of philosophical argumentation.

  • Be able to comprehend the relevance of the past to their understanding of the present, while becoming more familiar with their own assumptions and values.


  • Have cultivated a set of reading, writing, and discussion skills that allow them to engage texts and other people in an informed and conscientious manner.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Each teaching week of the course will consist of one 4-hour session on the weekly topic, with reading to be completed prior to the meeting. This course depends heavily on group discussion of significant primary and secondary texts. Each class will begin with the instructor introducing the key issues and readings for that day and offering an interpretative framework for the works being discussed (interactive lecture). As a follow up, we will discuss a selection of primary texts in a seminar format. Students should join in the discussion at any time, asking questions, making suggestions, or making comparisons with other texts we have read. For each meeting, each student should prepare a question that focuses on a particular aspect of the texts under discussion.


Participation and attentiveness in classroom discussions is worth 15% of the overall course grade. This will be assessed throughout the course, and is meant to encourage constructive and active engagement with course materials and fellow students. For each meeting, each student should prepare a question that focuses on a particular aspect of the texts under discussion

Two 600-word reflections will be due in two different weeks, and each will be worth 10% of the overall course grade (totaling 20%). These will help to assess the capacity to articulate questions, concepts, and arguments based on individual engagement with course readings.

One “midterm” reading report/book review will be worth 25% of the overall course grade. This will encourage a clear comprehension of objective course content and will show the ability to build on the offered material and link it to primary and/or secondary sources that are not covered by the course.

One final paper (due during reading week) will be worth 40% of the overall course grade. This will encourage analysis of concepts covered throughout the course, and force students to express their ideas clearly and organize them coherently.


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact