In many ways ancient philosophy sets the agenda and foundations for all subsequent developments in the history of philosophy. In this course, students will be introduced to the major figures and ideas of ancient philosophy. This course will set the stage for subsequent lessons in both the history of philosophy and systematic philosophy. This course will include discussions of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Augustine among others. Students in this course will be equipped to:

– demonstrate familiarity with the major figures and movements of ancient philosophy.
– identify and explain the core ideas and arguments of ancient philosophy
– critically and creatively engage with the most important ideas and arguments of ancient
– identify the ways in which the ideas and arguments of ancient philosophy impacted the
development of catholic theology and continue to be applicable in today’s world.

Texts for Course
1. Norman Melchert, The Great Conversation: An Historical Introduction to Philosophy, Fourth
Edition (McGraw-Hill, 2002). You can easily find the parallel passages in the most recent
edition, Eighth Edition (Oxford University Press, 2018).
2. Pierre Hadot, What is Ancient Philosophy?, Trans. M. Chase (Harvard: Belknap Press of Harvard
University Press, 2002).

Click HERE to download the Course Workbook.


Course Content

1 What is Ancient Philosophy?
2 Plato, The Gorgias: Rhetoric, Wisdom, and Knowledge
3 Plato and The Republic: The Theory of the Forms
4 Plato and The Republic: The Rule of Wisdom
5 Aristotle: From Experience and Change to Wisdom
6 Aristotle: On the Good Life and Politics
7 Aristotle: God and the Best Life
8 Epicurus: The Pleasant Life
9 Epictetus: Piety, Duty, and Apathy
10 Plotinus: Three Hypostases and the Ascent of the Soul
11 Augustine: Christianity and Ancient Philosophy
12 Retrospective: Loving Wisdom in the Ancient World