Greek Philosophy

Subject PHIL20040 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2x 1 hour lectures each week and 1x 1 hour tutorial in weeks 2-12
Total Time Commitment:

8.5 hours each week





Recommended Background Knowledge:

One of the following subjects is recommended bur not required:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:

Subject Overview:

This subject examines Greek theories of knowledge, reality and value, concentrating on Plato, Aristotle, and several major Hellenistic philosophers, with some coverage of other ancient thinkers as well. Specific questions to be discussed will include: How is knowing possible? What roles in knowledge are played by perception, and by the intellect? What is the reality we seek to know? Is it possible to be responsible for what we do? What is the nature of the soul and mind? How are values - religious, ethical, aesthetic and epistemic values - to be understood, and how do they 'fit in' to reality? Differences in the approaches to these questions to be found in various ancient thinkers will be explored. Greek philosophy is fascinating in its own right. But it also launches the whole discipline of philosophy. The subject will also involve some discussion of how Greek approaches to the questions mentioned both prefigure, but also diverge from, the ways these questions were taken up in the subsequent trajectory of western philosophy.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should:

  • be able to give an account of the scope, achievements, and principal concerns of some central Greek philosophical investigations into the nature of reality, knowledge and value.
  • be improved in their reading of philosophical texts and in their philosophical writing.

A written examination, mid-semester (50%). An essay of 2000 words, due at the end of semester (50%).

This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% tutorial attendance. Regular participation in tutorials is required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. After 5 working days late assessment will not be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Julia Annas, Voices of Ancient Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2001).

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject should:

  • have developed their powers of critical and analytical thinking.
  • be able to apply these powers to problems and issues in other areas of philosophy, and in other disciplines.
  • have a deeper understanding of what it means to be a human being.
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Ancient World Studies
Philosophy Major
Related Breadth Track(s): Ancient Greece Studies

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