5AACTL07 Presocratics, Hippocratics & Sophists
Credit value: 30 credits
Module convenor/tutor: tba
Assessment: 1 x 3-hour examination
Teaching pattern: 20 x 2-hour class (weekly)
Students are required to attend all the classes and to submit 4 pieces of written work.
In this course we will study a wide range of early Greek thought, from Presocratic cosmology to Sophistic relativism to Hippocratic medicine. We will look at the discourse and ideas which shaped the birth of Western philosophy and science. These early Greek thinkers tried to understand the universe: its constituents; man's role; and how it is understood by man. What they have left us if a series of works, largely fragmentary and often enigmatic. In many cases, much of the evidence for their views only comes from the testimony of their successors. So, at the same time as we consider their philosophy, we must also consider the particular problems involved in studying material of so diverse and fragmentary a nature. The main texts for study will be taken from amongst the surviving fragments of the Presocratics and Sophists. There will also be a brief discussion of what part conceptual thought played in other types of discourse, such as medical and historical writing.
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Waterfied, R. (trans.) 2000. The First Philosophers. The Presocratics and the Sophists. Oxford.
Barnes, J. 1982. The Presocratic Philosophers. London.
Guthrie, W. 1971. The Sophists. Cambridge = History of Greek Philosophy, vol.III (CUP 1969), chs. 1-2, 4, 7, 10.
Irwin, T. 1989. Classical Thought. Oxford.
Kerferd, G. 1981. The Sophistic Movement. Cambridge.
Kirk, G.S., Raven, J.E. and Schofield, M. 1983. The Presocratic Philosophers². Cambridge.
Lloyd, G.E.R. 1966. Polarity and Analogy: Two Types of Argumentation in Early Greek Thought. Cambridge.
Long, A.A. (ed.) 1999. The Cambridge Companion to Early Greek Philosophy. Cambridge.