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Back to Ancient Philosophy: Plato & His Predecessors

Ancient Philosophy: Plato & His Predecessors, University of Pennsylvania

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715 ratings
172 reviews

About this Course

What is philosophy? How does it differ from science, religion, and other modes of human discourse? This course traces the origins of philosophy in the Western tradition in the thinkers of Ancient Greece. We begin with the Presocratic natural philosophers who were active in Ionia in the 6th century BCE and are also credited with being the first scientists. Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximines made bold proposals about the ultimate constituents of reality, while Heraclitus insisted that there is an underlying order to the changing world. Parmenides of Elea formulated a powerful objection to all these proposals, while later Greek theorists (such as Anaxagoras and the atomist Democritus) attempted to answer that objection. In fifth-century Athens, Socrates insisted on the importance of the fundamental ethical question—“How shall I live?”—and his pupil, Plato, and Plato’s pupil, Aristotle, developed elaborate philosophical systems to explain the nature of reality, knowledge, and human happiness. After the death of Aristotle, in the Hellenistic period, Epicureans and Stoics developed and transformed that earlier tradition. We will study the major doctrines of all these thinkers. Part I will cover Plato and his predecessors. Part II will cover Aristotle and his successors....

Top reviews

By LL

Mar 09, 2016

Good intro to early Greek philosophy. Dr Meyer has a simple and subtly humorous approach to the material. Dr Meyer makes the subject approachable so that the student wants to do further reading.

By AH

Mar 17, 2016

Highly recommended. This course was a great guide to understand to pre socratic philosophers. Professor Susan Sauvé Meyer is very clear in her explanations. Thanks a lot. I enjoy the course.

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166 Reviews

By Dimitris Syropoulos

Jan 18, 2019

Absolutely marvelous Dr Meyer proved that philosophy is not a task for idle thinkers but the mean to face everyday practises under the right perspective and hierarchy.

By Chew Renxiang

Jan 14, 2019

Delivery of course is very clear and concise and had a very enjoyable and insightful learning experience.

By Mrigank Gutgutia

Jan 13, 2019

Content is interesting but the teaching style could be more engaging

By ehab al othman

Jan 03, 2019

great

By Jaclyn

Nov 29, 2018

Fantastic course. I know the English translation of the text is hard to follow sometime, but Professor Meyer breaks it down wonderfully. The best part about this philosophy course is that it's strictly about the Plato, Socrates, and the written material. The past philosophy lectures I've heard from professors but their personal opinion and interpretation of the text. I don't care about your personal philosophy I care about Plato and Socrates! Again take this course, Professor Meyer is fantastic!

By Jairo Garcia Pereira

Nov 02, 2018

Adorei. Para mim, que sou brasileiro, as legendas em espanhol ajudaram muito. Conteúdo conciso e claro, abordando questões fundamentais sobre a matéria. Muito bom!

By Alison Orchant

Oct 28, 2018

Although I do not have the time (or inclination, I guess) to write answers to the provocative questions, I found the lectures and the reading material fascinating. Thank you!

By Juan Sebastián Gálvez Pozo

Sep 19, 2018

Excellent!

By Ramiro Fidel Velasco Prudencio

Aug 24, 2018

Great!

By Sage Fang

Aug 18, 2018

Awesome course! One little notice though. I don't think the indicated time of the reading assignments are accurate. I am not good as skimming but I am confident that I read faster than average people. They definitely take longer than 10 min, so do consider that when making your schedule.