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

1,486 ratings

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


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.


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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401 - 425 of 443 Reviews for Ancient Philosophy: Plato & His Predecessors

By Alejandro C D

Jun 9, 2020

It is an extremely profitable course because it introduces us to the thinking of the pioneers of philosophy, which has become a cultural tradition that has established the foundations of today's civilization.

By Jackson H

Mar 17, 2018

This course is pretty good. I'm not a fan of peer reviewing, I'd rather have TA's do it, but I realize that is logistically impossible. Other than that the professor is pretty good and makes phil

By Pinkie

Mar 8, 2016

Before this course the topic of philosophy had never appealed to me, while from now on it turns out to be an interesting subject. A wonderful introduction to ancient philosophy of Greece !

By Heather L

Feb 23, 2022

This course is an excellent introduction to reading & learning about ancient philosophers. The videos helped to make the works of Plato, Socrates & many others understandable. Thank you.

By Patrícia R P

May 2, 2020

I am immensely grateful for shared knowledgeability. This course was an incredibly gratifying experience that serves as an introduction to the magnificent world of philosophy!

By Marie S

Mar 12, 2018

Ordered, Structural and a good set of information to cover in 4 weeks! The only thing I missed every now and then was enthusiasm, but furthermore an awesome course!

By Amitava D

Apr 30, 2022

Good presentation by professor.

There are lot of write ups that need to be understood by me.

This is a good initiative to undestand what philosophy is.

By Greg G

Aug 11, 2016

Dr. Meyer is a systematic and thorough presenter, and does an excellent job of making the material accessible, without oversimplifying.

By Tim B

May 1, 2016

Intuitive, clear and logical progression through important ideas in early Western thought, surprisingly fresh and relevant today.

By Ping Z

Sep 26, 2016

Very interesting and challenging. I need to spend a lot of time on the reading assignment, but I enjoyed the reading very much.

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 Marilyn S

Feb 14, 2021

Good course. Wish I could access comments from peer review or continue to access the course itself.

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 18, 2019

Good background for further exploration.

By Dennis D

Oct 29, 2020

Good overview of these philosophers.