Welcome to the History of Ancient Philosophy.

 

SUBJECT OVERVIEW 

TEACHER:  Mary-Rose Pintado

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

This course aims to introduce students to the thought of the ancient Greek philosophers and its reception in early Christianity.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

By the end of this course students should be able to:

  1. Appreciate the patrimony received from the first philosophers and situate it in continuity with later philosophy
  2. Understand the importance of Greek philosophical experience in the formation of Christian theology and of western culture
  3. Understand that the philosophical journey is an arduous one involving error and overcoming obstacles, and that human knowledge is authentic but imperfect due to the limitation of human capacities in apprehending truth
  4. Briefly explain and critically evaluate some Greek philosophical positions on metaphysics, knowledge of reality, the relationship between body and soul, and ethics, particularly in the work of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle
  5. Describe some areas of continuity and difference between Greek and early Christian philosophers, and some concepts from Greek philosophy used by the early Church Fathers to better understand and explain the Christian faith

PROGRAM

  1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 Greek philosophy in the formation of western culture and Christian theology

1.2 Brief overview of the history of ancient philosophy

  • The Presocratics
  • The Sophists and Socrates
  • Plato
  • Aristotle
  • The Hellenic schools: the Cynics, Epicureans, Stoics and Skeptics
  • Neoplatonism

1.3 Early Christian thought

  1. THE BIRTH OF THE SCIENCE OF PHILOSOPHY

2.1 The search for principles

  • The proposals of the pre-socratics
  • The birth of metaphysics
  • Metaphysics and theology

2.2 Two complementary ways of understanding reality

  • Plato’s metaphysics: The myth of the cave ( VII, 514a-516e)
  • Aristotelian metaphysics: God, unmoved mover (Met. XII 7, 1072b 13-30)

2.3 Divine causality and creation

  1. KNOWLEDGE OF REALITY: BEING AND TRUTH

3.1 Approaches to reality

  • The relativism of the sophists
  • Socrates’ response
  • Plato and Aristotle: the truth and knowledge as philosophical fields
  • The focus of the Hellenic schools

3.2 Christian revelation as fulfillment of the natural truths attained by reason

  1. THE HUMAN PERSON

4.1 The Human Person in Greek philosophy

  • Plato and the immortality of the soul
  • Aristotle on the nature of the soul
  • Epicurean and Stoic materialism
  • Neoplatonic spiritualism
  • The problem of the relations between spirit and matter, soul and body

4.2 The positive value of the body in Christianity

  1. HAPPINESS AND THE GOOD LIFE

5.1 Ethics in Greek philosophy

  • The meaning of human life according to Socrates and Plato
  • Aristotle and the constitution of ethics as philosophical knowledge
  • The ethics of the Epicureans and Stoics
  • The philosophical ideal of Neoplatonism: union with God.

5.2 The supernatural ideal of the Christian faith.

  1. EASTERN PHILOSOPHY

Brief overview of the origin and some tenets of Eastern philosophy

  • Buddhism
  • Hinduism
  • Confucius
  • Dialogue between Eastern and Western thought

    A detailed copy of the programme is available here. | VIEW

 ASSESSMENT

To be advised

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Composta, D., History of Ancient Philosophy, (Vatican: Urbaniana University Press, 1988).

Copleston, F., A History of Philosophy: Greece & Rome, v. 1, (New York: Doubleday, 1963).

Smith, N., Allhof, F., Vaidya, A.J., Ancient Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary, (Oxford: Blackstone, 2016).

Sullivan, D., An Introduction to Philosophy: The Perennial Principles of the Classical Realist Tradition, (Rockford, Illinois: TAN, 1992).

Yarza, I., History of Ancient Philosophy, (Manila: Sinag-Tala, 1994).

Jowett, B. (ed.), The Dialogues of Plato (5 vols) https://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/plato/index.htm

A selection of works by Aristotle is available here http://classics.mit.edu/Browse/browse-Aristotle.html

Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Science and Religion https://inters.org/interdisciplinary-encyclopedia

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy https://plato.stanford.edu/index.html