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.
Ancient Philosophy: Plato & His PredecessorsUniversity of Pennsylvania
About this Course
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania (commonly referred to as Penn) is a private university, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. A member of the Ivy League, Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, and considers itself to be the first university in the United States with both undergraduate and graduate studies.
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TOP REVIEWS FROM ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY: PLATO & HIS PREDECESSORS
Excellent course. This course has opened up ancient philosophy to me and made it accessible. I feel I have finished the course a good understanding of such keys texts as Plato's Republic and Timaeus.
This was an extraordinary learning experience. I wanna thank and congratulate coursera and specially teacher Susan Meyer for the clean communication. This will definitely help me in the future.
Well taught and a very reasonable course load. Though I've studied some of the writings from this period, the class provided good structure and new insights, especially on the pre-Socratics.
This course is an excellent introduction to reading & learning about ancient philosophers. The videos helped to make the works of Plato, Socrates & many others understandable. Thank you.
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