Approved by Faculty Senate

University Studies Course Approval:

Department Program: Philosophy Department

Course Number: 201

Number of Credits: 3

Course Title: Classical Philosophy

Catalog Description:

201 - Classical Philosophy - 3 S.H.

A study of the philosophical ideas, values, and world views of ancient Greece, especially its views on the nature of the universe, humanity, knowledge, religion, ethics, and politics. Theories from the Presocratics, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle will be critically examined and contrasted with contemporary beliefs and values. Offered each year.

This is an existing course that has previously been approved by A2C2.

 

Department Contact Person for this course: Don Scheid

 

Email: descheid@winona.edu

 

Arts & Sciences Core—Humanities

 

 

 

CLASSICAL PHILOSOPHY

PHIL. 201

Arts & Sciences Core—Humanities

 

 

 

Humanities

"The purpose of the humanities requirements in the University Studies program is to provide a framework for understanding the nature and scope of human experience. Humanities courses explore the search for meaning and value in human life by examining its expression in cultural forms and texts, literature and the arts. ...."

The course on Classical Philosophy involves primarily the philosophical perspectives of the ancient Greeks. Much of the material also reflects Greek views on religion and cosmology, society and politics.

 

"a. identify and understand specific elements and assumptions of a particular Humanities discipline;..."

The main purpose of this course is to present the main elements and assumptions of ancient Greek philosophy as part of the philosophical tradition of the West.

The course begins with an exploration of the early mytho-poetic and religious views of the ancient Greeks (Homer and Hesiod) which are then contrasted with the more "scientific" views of the "physicists" (i.e., pre-Socratic philosophers), especially their theories of the cosmos and of the composition of the material world. Greek values and beliefs are explored in Socratic readings and in works from Aristotle, including: piety (Euthyphro; the obligation to obey the law (Crito); the afterlife (Republic and Phaedo); why be moral, the concept of justice, Greek ideas about the proper relationship between the citizen and his polis, the ideal form of government (Republic); the good life and moral virtues (Nicomachean Ethics), etc.

 

 

"b. understand how historical context, cultural values, and gender influence perceptions and interpretations; ..."

In this class, some attention is given to the historical context, especially as it relates to an understanding of Plato--who is radical in his own cultural context with his feminist ideas about the roles that should be available to women in his ideal state. The cultural/historical context is also important in understanding various aspects of Aristotle's thought concerning, e.g., slavery, the moral virtues, and political theory.

 

 

"c. understand the role of critical analysis (e.g., aesthetic, historical, literary, philosophical, rhetorical) in interpreting and evaluating expressions of human experience."

A major focus of the course is a critical analysis of all the ideas and theories explored. For example, how can Anaximander's model of the world system be squared with observation? Does Aristotle have sound reasons for holding that some people are by nature slaves? Are Plato's living arrangements for the guardians in his ideal state really workable? Is Plato's theory of the Forms ultimately coherent?

 

 

CLASSICAL PHILOSOPHY

PHIL. 201

Curriculum, Outcomes, Policies, and Requirements

Arts & Sciences Core—Humanities

 

 

Syllabus

 

 

Prof. Scheid Philosophy 201, sec. 01

Office: 323 Minn� Hall 11:00-12:20 p.m.; T, Th

Phone: 457-5455 Minn� Hall 110

This course may be taken to count for a University Studies course under the category of "Humanities."

 

 

Textbooks

(1) Cohen, Curd, Reeve (eds.), Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy: From Thales to Aristotle (2nd ed.)(Indianapolis: Hackett Pub.) 1995.

(2) Scheid, Supplementary Materials for Classical Philosophy (3rd ed.).

 

 

Course Routine

This is a reading/lecture/discussion type of course, involving a close reading of original texts (in translation) of ancient Greek philosophy. Readings and other assignments will be given on a class-by-class basis, although we will try to stick to the timeline of the class schedule as closely as possible.

You are expected to do the readings for each class assignment. Do not skim or speed-read. In many cases, you may have to re-read portions at least a couple of times. Read all prefaces and footnotes. Always bring the assigned text or reading to class each day.

 

 

Quizzes

Brief quizzes will be given throughout the semester on the assigned readings and/or material recently covered in class. These may be announced quizzes or "pop" quizzes. We will average about one quiz per week. If a student misses a quiz, for whatever reason, it is automatically recorded as an "F." However, two quizzes (with lowest grades) will be dropped automatically at the end of the semester. Quizzes are graded summarily ("A," "C" or "F").

 

 

Examinations

Three regular, in-class exams, including the final examination, are required for this course. Exams will cover assigned readings, lectures, and in-class discussions. The final examination may be slightly cumulative, but the lion's share will be on material that has been covered since the previous exam.

Any student who misses any examination must, on his/her initiative, arrange for a make-up exam as soon as possible. Make-up exams will be arranged only for students who have documented, excused absences for the day of the original exam. Make-up exams may be written or oral, at the professor's discretion. Written make-up exams usually include essay questions.

 

 

Course Grade

The final grade for this course will be determined approximately as follows:

Quizzes: 20%

Interim Exams: 20%, 30%

Final Exam: 30%

In addition, as a minimum requirement (necessary condition) for passing the course, the student must pass at least one of the examinations with a "D" or better.

 

 

Manners and Decorum

Obviously, talking and other disturbances in class are not acceptable. Other things that I find distracting and/or rude include blowing bubble gum, snapping gum, clipping nails, snapping pens, and crinkling food bags and candy wrappers.

 

 

Cheating

Each student is expected to do his/her own work and only his/her own work on all quizzes and examinations. In accordance with the policy of the Philosophy Department, the best any student can get out of this course for cheating is an "F."

 

 

General Suggestions

The three basic requirements for doing well in almost any college course, including this one, are: regular attendance, on-time completion of reading and writing assignments, and good note taking in class.

Incredibly, the vast majority of students who do poorly do so, not from lack of intelligence or because of some learning disability, but simply because they fail to perform one or more of these basic requirements. Therefore, to get the most out of this course, my advice is:

 

Attend class regularly!

Do all reading assignments!

Take good notes!

 

 

Statement on University Studies Courses

"University Studies" courses are normally intended to serve either of two main purposes: (i) to develop basic skills (such as logical reasoning, writing, or math skills); (ii) to broaden one's intellectual horizons, introducing a student to new subjects and helping a student explore new disciplines. In neither case are University Studies courses necessarily easy.

You should not expect this course to be easy simply because it is listed as a University Studies course. This course is of about average difficulty for a 200-level (i.e., sophomore-level) college course.

 

 

All course activities and assignments simultaneously address all University Studies’ required course outcomes, in Classical Philosophy 201, in the following ways:

The general guidelines for the designation of "Humanities" under the University Studies program are as follows:

Humanities

"The purpose of the humanities requirements in the University Studies program is to provide a framework for understanding the nature and scope of human experience. Humanities courses explore the search for meaning and value in human life by examining its expression in cultural forms and texts, literature and the arts. ...."

"a. identify and understand specific elements and assumptions of a particular Humanities discipline;..."

"b. understand how historical context, cultural values, and gender influence perceptions and interpretations; ..."

"c. understand the role of critical analysis (e.g., aesthetic, historical, literary, philosophical, rhetorical) in interpreting and evaluating expressions of human experience."

The course on Classical Philosophy involves primarily the philosophical perspectives of the ancient Greeks. A good deal of the material also reflects Greek views on religion and cosmology, society and politics.

 

(a) The main purpose of this course is to teach students the main elements and assumptions of ancient Greek philosophy as part of the philosophical tradition of the West.

The course begins with an exploration of the early mytho-poetic and religious views of the ancient Greeks (Homer and Hesiod) which are then contrasted with the more "scientific" views of the "physicists" (i.e., pre-Socratic philosophers), especially their theories of the cosmos and of the composition of the material world. Greek values and beliefs are explored in Socratic readings and in works from Aristotle, including: piety (Euthyphro; the obligation to obey the law (Crito); the afterlife (Republic and Phaedo); why be moral, the concept of justice, Greek ideas about the proper relationship between the citizen and his polis, the ideal form of government (Republic); the good life and moral virtues (Nicomachean Ethics), etc.

(b) In this class, some attention is given to the historical context, especially as it relates to an understanding of Plato--who is radical in his own cultural context with his feminist ideas about the roles that should be available to women in his ideal state. The cultural/historical context is also important in understanding various aspects of Aristotle's thought concerning, e.g., slaves, the moral virtues, and political theory.

(c) A major focus of the course is a critical analysis of all the ideas and theories explored. For example, how can Anaximander's model of the world system be squared with observation? Does Aristotle have sound reasons for holding that some people are by nature slaves? Are Plato's living arrangements for the guardians in his ideal state really workable?