7AAN2031 Greek Philosophy III: Special Topics
THIS MODULE IS NOT RUNNING IN 2017-18
Credit value: 20
Module tutor: Prof Raphael Woolf
- Formative assessment: one x 2,000–3,000-word essay, due by end of semester or as otherwise instructed
- Summative assessment: one x 4,000-word essay
Teaching pattern:one weekly one-hour lecture and one weekly one-hour seminar
Sample syllabus: 7AAN2031 module syllabus 2014-15 (pdf)
- Although there are no formal prerequisites for this module, 7AAN2026 Greek Philosophy I: Plato and 7AAN2027 Greek Philosophy II: Aristotle would provide useful background for it, at least for those students who have never studied Plato and Aristotle before
- Part-time students might wish to note that, in 2014–15, the ‘special topic’ of this module will be Neoplatonism
Neoplatonism is the last great ancient philosophical tradition, founded in the 3rd century by Plotinus, who is arguably the most important ancient thinker after Plato and Aristotle. Neoplatonism had a tremendous historical influence on subsequent philosophy, in both the European and Islamic worlds. It is also distinctive for its philosophical interest, as Neoplatonists developed striking positions on issues such as the relation between language and thought, the nature of evil, and the meaning of freedom. The Neoplatonic tradition also devoted considerable attention to the interpretation and harmonization of Plato and Aristotle; thus anyone interested in the work of these two thinkers is likely to find Neoplatonism of interest too.
Students will gain:
- An understanding of the main principles of the philosophy of Plotinus.
- An understanding of some criticisms and further developments of Plotinus’ ideas by later Neoplatonists.
- An understanding of how Neoplatonists developed and interpreted ideas of Plato and Aristotle.
- Useful background for further study of medieval philosophy and earlier Greek philosophy.
By the end of the module, the students will be able to demonstrate intellectual, transferable and practicable skills appropriate to a Level 7 module and in particular will be able to demonstrate:
- The ability to read texts from the late ancient Neoplatonic tradition with sympathy and care.
- The ability to assess and criticize views put forward in such texts, without resorting to anachronism.
- An understanding of how Neoplatonism developed ideas taken from earlier periods in Greek philosophy.
Please note that module syllabus and topics covered may vary from year to year.