Welcome to the History of Ancient Philosophy.



TEACHER:  Mary-Rose Pintado (maryrosep54@gmail.com)

DURATION: 25 classes


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


By the end of this course students should be able:

  • To discover to what extent philosophical thought 1) is influenced by its relationship with other areas of knowledge and culture, 2) philosophical thought is indebted to ancient classical thinkers for the development of philosophical concepts and terminology, 3) initiated the development of Christian theology
  • To understand the apostolic value of sound philosophical habits of reasoning.   


1. Introduction: Why study Ancient Philosophy? 

2. 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
3. The Search for Principles
    • The proposals of the Presocratics
    • The birth of Metaphysics
    • Metaphysics and Theology
    • Two complementary ways of understanding reality
    • Plato’s Metaphysics: The Allegory of the Cave (VII, 514a – 516e)
    • Aristotelian Metaphysics: God, Unmoved Mover (Met.m XII 7, 1072b 13-30)
4. Early Christian Philosophy: the birth of the science of philosophy

    5. Divine Causality and Creation 

    6. Knowledge of Reality: Being and Truth 

    7. 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

    8. Christian Revelation as fulfillment of the natural truths attained by reason

    9. 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

    10. The Positive Value of the body in Christianity

    11. Happiness and the Good Life

    12. 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.

    13.  The Supernatural Ideal of the Christian faith.

    14. Eastern Philosophy: a brief overview of the origins and some tenets of Eastern philosophy

      • Buddhism
      • Hinduism
      • Confucianism
      • Shintoism
      • Daoism

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


    To be advised




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

    Other references:

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

    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).

    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

    Internet History of Philosophy https://www.iep.utm.edu/

    History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, Peter Adamson, Kings College, London (podcast) https://historyofphilosophy.net/

    Khan Academy on Socrates, Plato & Aristotle https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/world-history/ancient-medieval/classical-greece/v/socrates-plato-aristotle