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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Ancient Philosophy: Plato & His Predecessors by University of Pennsylvania

4.8
stars
1,225 ratings
364 reviews

About the 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

AA
Apr 18, 2020

Excellent course. This course has opened up ancient philosophy to me and made it accessible. I feel I have finished the course a good understanding of such keys texts as Plato's Republic and Timaeus.

LL
Mar 8, 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.

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326 - 350 of 356 Reviews for Ancient Philosophy: Plato & His Predecessors

By Yingyi Z

Apr 22, 2019

Very straightforward course. The professor explains things well, and I found this a very good intro to ancient philosophy.

By Axel L

Aug 10, 2016

...excellent course for beginners but also for advanced - you will get always a new point of view.

By Humfrido

May 26, 2020

I loved it. I give four stars only because I think that presential courses are better.

By David M

Jun 5, 2016

A good introduction to Ancient Greek Philosophy, though not as in depth as it could be

By Sisawad

Dec 13, 2019

I think it was an enriching course. Though not many other students to engage with.

By Alina S

Jun 2, 2016

everything is fine but the music before each lecture is so loud and annoying

By Louise H

Jun 3, 2020

Maybe a little boring at the end but I very enjoyed the final task !

By Chatziiosifidis A

Sep 16, 2017

Very interesting , well designed and presented, introductory course

By Clotilde D

Feb 2, 2019

Great course, interesting topics and explanations, thanks !

By Francisco L

Jun 26, 2019

Very interesting but some parts too solid.

Many Thanks.

By Vimal K

Jul 20, 2020

Loved the way Dr Susan's way of explaining.

By Leonidas T

Mar 11, 2016

Very interesting and well structure course.

By Warren C

Apr 17, 2019

Good background for further exploration.

By Dennis D

Oct 29, 2020

Good overview of these philosophers.

By Almis P S

Jun 13, 2016

Interesting material well presented.

By Josef P

Mar 10, 2016

Clear and insightful explanation.

By Morgan g

Apr 17, 2020

quick

By Nada N

Aug 8, 2020

Good

By Clare H

Jan 12, 2018

This course covers a lot of very interesting material and is presented in a calm, clear, organized manner. I thought the selected materials were well-chosen and presented in a way that captured the most important ideas of the philosophers discussed. I would not recommend this course to anyone with any formal background in philosophy, as the pace is somewhat slow, and the course spends a lot of time covering some basics of philosophy. (This may be an unfair critique, since I covered this material in college. I was drawn to this course as a refresher, but also hoping to learn something new or gain a new perspective on material I had already read. Rather, this is very much an introductory survey.) As a technical issue, I did not like the "pop quizzes" interspersed into the videos. These were annoying, breaking up the flow of the lecture merely to reiterate basic points. These interruptions added no value. I also disliked the introduction to each video: while it was well-produced, it was repetitive. The into music should be only on the first video, or, at most, on the first video of every section. Not each and every video. It may seem like a little thing, but each video is short, which means you're listening to the same musical into every 5 minutes or so. This is maddening. I skipped over it, but I'd prefer if the videos were edited in a way that acknowledges that people will likely be "binge watching" these, and formatted to flow one into the other seamlessly.

By GiGi H

Aug 30, 2016

It's ok; worth your time if you are trying to get into philosophy and want part of the proper foundation. Overall I enjoyed it and it was good as a hand-hold through the pre-Socratics and some of the most essential Platonic writings.

Pros: the videos are pretty easy to understand, and the material chosen/covered is good to know.

Cons: the video quiz questions are really...dull...and there are too many. A downside of the ease of the videos/lectures is that they don't really go that in depth, and they're nowhere near the quality I've seen in other Coursera courses (like the Kierkegaard course from UCopenhagen).

By Jeffrey A S A

Aug 12, 2019

The content of the course is quite striking since this knowledge is not found everywhere, free and especially taught by a connoisseur. However, the videos are quite tedious since, in my opinion, the voice and tone of the teacher comes a time when it does not transmit energy and therefore is tedious, especially because they could help her with images, examples, animations etc. that could be more interesting and even more striking.

By Duarte M

Apr 12, 2020

I liked the content, but the valuation system is flawed, first is very very very easy; second the peer system is bad.

I would like to have a more challenging quizes and actually exams, and a more demanding essay.

I really liked the teacher, but despite the fact you cover a lot of subjects, you can go more deep, although was not mere superficial knowledge.

By Nick d U

May 9, 2016

The course material is OK; the lectures are fun and interesting, but to pass the course you need to submit an assignment that is subjected to peer review and you will need to get approval by all of your peers. However the act of subscribing to a MOOC alone does not make people suited to review other peoples work...

By Julie C

Apr 12, 2016

The professor is animated and clearly loves her subject. I don't think we need to stop so frequently to ask a quiz question though. It's best to keep going on one subject without interruption.

By Mrigank G

Jan 13, 2019

Content is interesting but the teaching style could be more engaging