Greek Philosophy

Subject PHIL20040 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 33 hours - 2 x 1 hour lectures each week and 1 x 1 hour tutorial in weeks 2-12
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

One of the following subjects is recommended but not required:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Ms Brennan Mcdavid



Subject Overview:

This subject examines the ideas of pre-Socratic philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. We focus specifically on the philosophical innovations of the Ancient Greeks, both in their contributions of radically new ideas and radically new methodologies. Specific questions to be discussed will include: What makes philosophy different from mythology? What is knowledge and how is it possible? What is the epistemological value of a definition? What is the nature of the soul and mind? What is virtue and what is its relation to happiness? What is the good life for a human being? These questions grew out of one another for the Greeks, and we will trace that development. We will also think about the relevance of Ancient Greek philosophical positions to our own lives and our own understanding of the world. In doing so, we will test the staying power of Plato and Aristotle’s thought and, more importantly, put into action the Socratic sentiment that the unexamined life is not worth living.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • Acquire ability 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;
  • Improve skills in reading philosophical texts and in writing philosophical papers.
  • A written examination, equivalent to 2,000 words, mid-semester (50%)
  • A written examination, equivalent to 2,000 words held in the end of semester examination period (50%)

Hurdle requirement:

  • Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials (i.e., 8 out of 11 weeks) in order to pass this subject
  • All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day; after five working days, late assessment will not be marked.

Prescribed Texts:

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, trans. C.D.C. Reeve (Hackett, 2014)
Plato Complete Works, eds. John M. Cooper and D.S. Hutchinson (Hackett 1997)

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 Greek
Ancient World Studies
Graduate Certificate in Arts - Philosophy
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Philosophy
Philosophy Major
Related Breadth Track(s): Ancient Greece Studies

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