Ancient & Medieval Philosophy
GENERAL EDUCATION: This course fulfills a General Education - Letters requirement.

CATALOG DESCRIPTION: An examination through leading texts of the historical development of western philosophy from Greek antiquity through the Middle Ages.
DESCRIPTION: History is a narrative--a story we tell ourselves about the past so that we may better understand the present and prepare for the future. The story helps us to locate ourselves, to understand who we are and why our world is as it is. A course in history is an opportunity to appropriate that story for yourself. The history of philosophy is the core of any history: it is the story of the hearts and minds of the thinkers that shaped the world. The purpose of this course is to help you to appropriate that story, to make it your own.
TOPICS: May include any or all of the following: Pre-Socratic philosophers (including Thales, Anaximander, Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Parmenides, the atomists, and the Sophists), Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epicureanism, stoicism, skepticism, Neoplatonism, Augustine, Anselm, Maimonides, Aquinas, and William of Ockham.
OBJECTIVES: By the end of this course you should be able to give a good account of yourself regarding ancient and medieval philosophy. Specifically you should be able to explain the key concepts and arguments of the most significant philosophers from Greek antiquity onwards. You should be able to explain how each of these philosophers responded to or was influenced by his predecessors. And you should be able to explain how each of these philosophers both reflects and shapes the popular ideas and institutions of his day. You will learn not only to articulate these philosophers’ theories and arguments but to evaluate them and to discern their implications for our modern world-view. You will also begin to articulate your own philosophical views about reality, knowledge, truth, morality, beauty, God, and humanity. In short, by the end of this course you should be an informed and engaged listener in the great conversation that is western philosophy.

The second objective of this course is to help you to improve your own thinking. We’ll be watching the masters at work in the craft of thinking, imitating them, trying to follow their moves, tracing the lineaments of their thoughts. By the end of the semester you should be able to make some of those intellectual moves yourself and to evaluate your own and others’ thinking.
REQUIREMENTS: Textbook reading assignments, including readings in primary philosophical texts
Exams and quizzes
Writing assignments, which may include a scholarly research paper
PREREQUISITES: None but an inquiring mind and a willingness to study hard and participate actively.