4AANA001 Greek Philosophy I Syllabus Academic year 2013/14

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1 4AANA001 Greek Philosophy I Syllabus Academic year 2013/14 Basic information Credits: 15 Module Tutor: Dr Joachim Aufderheide Office: 706 Consultation time: Wednesdays 12-1 Semester: 1 Lecture time and venue: Wednesdays, 11-11; Strand S-2.18 Module description (plus aims and objectives) This module is an introduction to ancient philosophy by means of studying classic works of Plato and Aristotle. Aiming to impart the skill of closely reading classical philosophical texts (in translation), the first five of the weekly tutorials will focus on Plato's Meno; the last five on extracts from Aristotle's works. The lectures will emphasise a wider historical perspective, making reference to Homer and Hesiod, as well as to the Sophists (who were rivals to the philosophers in providing higher education). Focal point of the lectures will be broadly Socrates question How should we live?, thus allowing for some thematic unity, while encouraging excursions into other important topics such as epistemology and metaphysics. Assessment methods and deadlines Formative assessment: 2 x 1000 word essays Summative assessment: a two-hour exam in May/June (Period II)

2 Outline of lecture topics (plus suggested readings) Week One, 2 October: The background: Ethics in Homer and Hesiod primary (p): Hesiod, Days and Works, verses 1-380; ; Homer, Odyssey Bk XI; Iliad Bk I; IX secondary (s): Rutherford, The Philosophy of the Odyssey, The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Vol. 106 (1986), pp ; further (f): Adkins, Merit and Responsibility; Dodds, The Greeks and the Irrational; Williams, Shame and Necessity, Chs Week Two, 9 October: Why Ethics matters (p): Plato, Apology, Crito (s): Vlastos, Socratic Piety, Burnyeat, The Impiety of Socrates, both in Kamtekar (ed.) Plato s Euthyphro, Apology and Crito: critical essays; (both essays have also appeared elsewhere). (f): Plato, Euthyphro, and other essays in Kamtekar s collection. Week Three, 16 October: Can virtue (being good) be taught? (p): Plato Protagoras 309a-328d (esp. Protagoras long speech); Meno 70a-80a (s): Frede, Introduction in S. Lombardo and K. Bell (trs.) Plato Protagoras, vii-xxiv; Broadie, 'The Sophists and Socrates' in Sedley (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Greek and Roman Philosophy (f): Scott, Meno, Part 1 Week Four, 23 October: What is inquiry? What is teaching? What is learning? The value of knowledge. Reading (p): Meno 80a-100b. (s): Fine, Inquiry in the Meno, in R. Kraut, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Plato. (f): Scott, Meno, Parts II-III. Week Five, 30 October: What is the right means to inquire? Reason vs Senses. What is there and how can we understand it? Forms & explanation. (p): Plato, Phaedo 72e-77c; c (s): G. Vlastos, 'Reasons and causes in the Phaedo, The Philosophical Review 78 (1969), , reprinted in Vlastos, Platonic Studies (Princeton: 1973); Sedley, 'Platonic Causes', Phronesis 43 (1998), (f): Bostock, Plato s Phaedo, pp First Formative Essay due: 8 November

3 Outline of lecture topics (plus suggested readings) continued Week Six, 13 November: How and why do we inquire? (p): Aristotle Metaphysics I.1-4; 6-9. (s): ): J. Lear, Aristotle: the Desire to Understand, Ch. 1. (f): Posterior Analytics I.2-3; II.8; II.19; Taylor Aristotle s Epistemology in Everson (ed.) Epistemology. Week Seven, 20 November: What is nature? And how do natural things change? (p): Aristotle, Physics II. (s): J. Lear, Aristotle: the Desire to Understand, Ch. 2. (f): Parts of Animals I.1; I.5; S. Waterlow, Nature, Change, and Agency in Aristotle s Physics, Chs. 1-2; D. Bostock, Aristotle on Teleology in Nature (in D. Bostock, Space, Time, Matter, and Form: Essays on Aristotle s Physics). Week Eight, 27 November: What are we? Body, soul, or both? (p): Aristotle, On the soul, II.1-4. (s): Everson, Psychology in Barnes (ed.) Cambridge Companion to Aristotle. (f): J. Ackrill, Aristotle s Definition of psychê (in J. Ackrill, Essays on Plato and Aristotle); Week Nine, 4 December: The human goal: happiness (p): Aristotle Eudemian Ethics I.1-7. (s): Woods, Aristotle: Eudemian Ethics (translation and commentary), (f): Bobonich, Aristotle s Ethical Treatises (in R. Kraut (ed.), The Blackwell Guide to Aristotle s Nicomachean Ethics) Week Ten, 11 December : Virtue and other goods (p): Aristotle Eudemian Ethics II.1-6. (s): Woods, Aristotle: Eudemian Ethics (translation and commentary), (f): Pearson, Phronesis as a mean in the Eudemian Ethics, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy (32) ; Hursthouse, The Central Doctrine of the Mean (in R. Kraut (ed.), The Blackwell Guide to Aristotle s Nicomachean Ethics). Second formative essay due: 20 December

4 Suggested essay questions Write a formative essay on a topic from each of the sections: Section I: What is Socrates' conception of happiness? Answer by reference to the Apology, the Crito, the Meno, or the Phaedo. Is Meno s paradox an impediment to Socrates project of enquiry? Is the theory of recollection a plausible account of how we acquire knowledge? Is virtue teachable? Answer by reference to the Meno or the Protagoras. What is the difference between knowledge and true belief in the Meno? Which conception of happiness do you find most appealing, Hesiod's, Homer's, or Socrates'? Justify your choice. Section II: Does Aristotle provide a persuasive account of wisdom? Discuss by reference to the Metaphysics I.1-4. Explain Aristotle's concept of nature as the inner principle of change of natural things (Phys. II). Why should we think that natural processes are for the sake of some good? Discuss by reference to Physics II.7-8. What is Aristotle's conception of the soul? Is Aristotle's account of the human function plausible? What makes a life good? What is the role of other goods besides virtuous action? Is Aristotle's account of virtue plausible?

5 Suggested additional readings In general, reading more Plato and Aristotle is the best way to improve one's understanding of their thought. There are good collections of their works. Plato Although the Hackett volume Plato: complete works, edited by John Cooper, is very handy and worth having, it leaves out the often substantial introductions which the translators add to the text. M. Frede's introduction to the Protagoras, for example, is a helpful overview and worth reading. These introductions also contain useful hints for secondary literature. Socrates Ahbel-Rappe and Kamketar (eds.), A Companion to Socrates Brickhouse, and Smith, Plato s Socrates Vlastos, Socrates: Ironist and Moral Philosopher Plato Benson (ed.), A Companion to Plato Fine (ed.) Plato 1: Metaphysics and Epistemology, and Plato 2: Ethics, Politics, Religion, and the Soul. Fine, Oxford Handbook of Plato Irwin, Plato s Ethics. Kraut (ed.), Cambridge Companion to Plato. Aristotle Jonathan Barnes has edited the revised Oxford translation (two volumes) which is worth having. Most of the texts we cover are in Fine and Irwin Aristotle: Introductory Readings -- which is an abridged version or their Aristotle: Selections. For the Eudemian Ethics (NB NOT Nicomachean Ethics), use either Kenny s translation (Oxford World Classics) or Inwood/Woolf s (Cambridge). In general, the Clarendon Oxford Series contains very good translations of and commentaries on select books of Aristotle's. You might want to get hold of M. Woods translation and commentary of (part of) the Eudemian Ethics. Good introductions are by Ackrill, Aristotle the Philosopher and Lear, Aristotle, the Desire to Understand. Good collections are Anagnostopoulos, A Companion to Aristotle Barnes, Cambridge Companion to Aristotle (which contains a very full and commented bibliography which should form an excellent starting point for further research on pretty much any topic in Aristotle) Shields, Oxford Handbook of Aristotle

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