Hampden Sydney, VA 23943
Dr. Patrick A. Wilson, Chair
Phil 210: Ancient and Medieval Philosophy
"At all times and in every place, in everything that happens to us, daily life gives us the opportunity to do philosophy." -- Plutarch
Philosophy is best done in conversation because - in an important sense - philosophy just is conversation. In Phil 210 we will engage in a conversation of sorts with the most important and influential thinkers of the ancient and medieval period. The goal of the course is twofold. First we want to acquaint ourselves with the views of the ancients and see how they apply to contemporary issues. Second, and more importantly, we want to actually do some philosophy by engaging these thinkers and their views. The class will be run in an 'engaged lecture' format where students will be required to be prepared to engage the texts and the claims made by the instructor in class.
The course requires that you have an open mind and a desire to improve your critical thinking skills. Consider what Plato has to say in the Republic:
"But can you persuade us, if we refuse to listen to you?" he said.
"Certainly not," replied Glaucon.
"Then we are not going to listen; of that you can be assured."
If you are willing to honestly engage issues, no other prior philosophy courses are required to succeed in this course.
The course will focus on the works of Plato and Aristotle, although significant attention will be given to the Pre-Socratics, the Stoics and Epicureans, and some medieval figures. Some of the content of the course will be determined by student interest.
If you have any questions or would like additional information, contact Prof. Hight.