Show/hide main menu

Level 6

6AANA020 Neoplatonism


Credit value: 15
Module tutor: Dr Shaul Tor


  • Summative assessment: 2 x 2,500 word essays (50% each)
  • Formative assessment: 1 x 2,500 word essay


  • Summative assessment: 2 x 2,500 word essays (50% each)
  • Formative assessment: 2 x 1,500 word essays

Teaching pattern: one one-hour weekly lecture and one one-hour weekly seminar over ten weeks.
Pre-requisites: some background in the study of Plato and Aristotle is a prerequisite for this module (4AANA001 Greek Philosophy I or equivalent)

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. Above all, however, the Neoplatonists are distinctive for their own philosophical interest and value, developing fascinating positions on issues such as the structure of reality,
the soul and its happiness, 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. Anyone interested in the work of these two thinkers is likely to find Neoplatonism of interest too. 

Detailed information on the current year’s module can be accessed on KEATS by all students and staff.   

Further information

Module aims

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.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, the students will be able to demonstrate intellectual, transferable and practicable skills appropriate to a Level 6 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.

Past syllabi

Please note that module syllabus and topics covered may vary from year to year.

Detailed information on the current year’s module can be accessed on KEATS by all students and staff.   

Blank space

The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

module availability
King's Crest
Sitemap Site help Terms and conditions  Privacy policy  Accessibility  Modern slavery statement  Contact us

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454