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Back to Ancient Philosophy: Plato & His Predecessors

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

1,163 ratings
343 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


Apr 19, 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 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.

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176 - 200 of 335 Reviews for Ancient Philosophy: Plato & His Predecessors

By Anna,Androvitsanea

Aug 11, 2016

An excellent introduction to the world of Plato and its origins.

By Armida S

Jun 18, 2020

It was sufficiently comprehensive for a complex period of time.

By Garry S

May 01, 2019

Fantastic course. Great content. Just what I was looking for!

By Stephen W

Mar 08, 2017

Wonderful course! Can't wait to start Part 2 of the series...

By Ola K

Oct 22, 2017

This is the foundation to most, if not all, modern thinking.

By Arijit D

Apr 02, 2016

Excellent course, a brief survey of pre-Socratic philosophy.

By Amy X

Aug 07, 2020

this course is a great gift for the world that is in crisis

By Vivek C S

Mar 29, 2016

Very well delivered and an Enriching learning experience...

By Alexandru T

Apr 21, 2020

Wonderful introduction to the world of ancient philosophy!

By Natalia G

Mar 21, 2019

Clear course to get introduced into ancient philosophers.

By matias j

Apr 25, 2020

An amazing trip throughout the ancient greek philosophy.

By Warley R

Oct 30, 2016

Great course, excellent curriculum and teaching method.

By Najib a a a A

Aug 12, 2020

This course is very important to understand the living


Jun 09, 2020

Very wholesome experience studying Ancient Philosophy!

By Jary v B

Mar 07, 2016

Excellent teacher. Great introduction into philosophy.

By Steffen W

May 29, 2020

fantastic course, very well explained and structured!

By Juvenal N

Apr 23, 2020

Excellent course and tutor! Highly recommended! AAA++

By Jacob

Oct 25, 2019

Very well spoken outline of Greek philosophy. Thanks.

By Priya B

Aug 02, 2020

Excellent content and very well explained/delivered.

By Andrew F

Jun 29, 2020

Wonderful explication of Plato and his predecessors.

By Callie G

May 04, 2020

Well-articulated lectures, and good reading material

By Vilmos F

Apr 30, 2020

It made things very easy to understand and exciting.

By N A

Aug 26, 2020

It certainly increased my curiosity in this matter.

By Paul A A

Sep 15, 2019

Well done. A little superficial, but a great start.

By Gustavo A G A

May 16, 2017

Buena maestra, gran contenido y muy bien explicado.