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Overall Score : 96 / 100

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Course Description

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.

Instructor Details

Susan SauvA Meyer

Susan SauvA Meyer is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was chair of the Department of Philosophy from 2008-2015. Educated at the University of Toronto (BA 1982) and Cornell University (PhD 1987), she held a joint appointment in Philosophy and the Classics at Harvard University before joining the University of Pennsylvania faculty in 1994. She has written widely about natural philosophy and the tradition of ethical inquiry in ancient Greek philosophy and is North American editor of the international journal Archiv fAr Geschichte der Philosophie. Her books include Aristotle on Moral Responsibility (1993), Ancient Ethics (2008), and Plato: Laws 1 and 2 (2015).



103 total reviews

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By Laurent G on 26-Apr-19

Excellent course, Pr. Sauv-Meyer keeps the material very engaging, and makes it very clear and easily accessible. Knowing how difficult the original texts are sometimes, this is very valuable.

By SHILKUMAR P on 5-Feb-19

Excellent Course guide (Professor Meyer) and Materials.Very short but effective lectures.Its difficult to provide whole theme in short lectures but Professor has done this job fabulously.

By Jaclyn on 29-Nov-18

Fantastic course. I know the English translation of the text is hard to follow sometime, but Professor Meyer breaks it down wonderfully. The best part about this philosophy course is that it's strictly about the Plato, Socrates, and the written material. The past philosophy lectures I've heard from professors but their personal opinion and interpretation of the text. I don't care about your personal philosophy I care about Plato and Socrates! Again take this course, Professor Meyer is fantastic!

By Chew R on 14-Jan-19

Delivery of course is very clear and concise and had a very enjoyable and insightful learning experience.

By ehab a o on 3-Jan-19


By Javier on 15-Feb-19

This is a brilliant course. Professionally designed and very well structured. I have enjoyed it thoroughly and more importantly I have learnt significantly. I highly recommen

By Juan L P B on 24-Feb-19

Aprend mucho con ste curso recomendable para quien se interese por la filosofa.

By Natalia G M on 21-Mar-19

Clear course to get introduced into ancient philosophers.

By Alvaro J F on 23-Mar-19

Very good class

By mukesh k c on 29-Mar-19

great course

By Marcela C on 30-Jan-19

Great teacher, it really captures the essence of the ancient philosophers and teaches you the general views in their different philosophical perspectives.

By Dimitris S on 18-Jan-19

Absolutely marvelous Dr Meyer proved that philosophy is not a task for idle thinkers but the mean to face everyday practises under the right perspective and hierarchy.