5AANB002 Greek Philosophy II: Aristotle
Credit value: 15
Module tutor: Dr Raphael Woolf
Summative assessment: two 1,500-word essays (100%)
Formative assessment: two 1,500-word essays
Teaching pattern: one one-hour weekly lecture and one one-hour weekly seminar over ten weeks.
Availability: view module availability for current/next academic year
This course is designed to introduce students to Aristotle’s wonderfully rich but intricate philosophical writings by focusing on some of the most prominent topics in Aristotle’s philosophy. Students will learn how to read, how to criticise, and how to make sense of Aristotle and will thus be in a position to benefit from the wealth of Aristotle’s thought. In the early part of the course we explore some of the basic themes of Aristotle’s epistemology, metaphysics and philosophy of nature. We then focus on key topics from his psychology and ethics, perhaps of all his wide-ranging enquiries the areas that continue to provide the greatest stimulus for contemporary thinkers.
Suggested preliminary reading
De Anima Books II and III
Nicomachean Ethics Books I, II and X
To communicate an understanding of central ideas in Aristotle, e.g. his demanding definition of knowledge, his views on how soul relates to body, the grounding of his ethical thought in other areas of his philosophy (e.g. teleology), and his metaphysics.
To show how Aristotle reacted to earlier Greek thinkers, especially Plato.
To teach students to read texts in the history of philosophy with care and subject them to philosophical analysis.
By the end of the module, the students will be able to demonstrate intellectual, transferable and practicable skills appropriate to a Level 5 module and in particular will be able to demonstrate:
An understanding of central issues in Aristotle’s thought.
An understanding of how some of these issues interrelate (e.g. how does his view on substance relate to his view on soul as form of the body?).
An ability to read shorter passages with care and subject them to analysis, as well as understanding how these passages contribute to the larger work from which they are drawn.
The ability to evaluate Aristotle’s ideas without being anachronistic.
Some awareness of how Aristotle reacts to the Pre-Socratics and Plato