Introduction to Ancient Philosophy
Aristotle — with Platonic inspiration — famously said that all philosophy begins in wonder. The earliest philosophers in the Greek tradition were at the same time the first natural scientists, who looked with wonder upon everything in the heavens and on earth and tried to explain it all in terms of material constituents. Other early thinkers challenged the traditional view of the gods found in Greek myths; the Pythagoreans proposed a whole new way of life; Parmenides of Elea changed the course of ancient thought with his argument denying the reality of change. Then an odd fellow in Athens named Socrates started asking questions, and nothing was ever the same again…
In fall we will (1) examine the beginnings of Greek philosophy with a survey of the Pre-Socratic thinkers; (2) discuss the impact of Socrates; (3) begin to get acquainted with the great philosophical systems of Plato and Aristotle, who responded to the challenges of the Pre-Socratics and Socrates while creating revolutionary worldviews that formed the foundation of western thought for centuries.
In spring we will look at the philosophies that originated in the Hellenistic period — Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Skepticism — and the course taken by Platonism in the Roman Empire, until it rose again as Neoplatonism in the thought of Plotinus and Origen.
This course can be taken by advanced high school students for academic credit, requiring submission of papers and in-class presentations. Adult students may design their own program of study in consultation with the instructor.
Instructor: Patricia Slatin, Ph. D.
Grade Level: Adult
Tuition per Semester: $360
Dr. Slatin has some flexibilty in her schedule and we expect to be able to schedule this class at a time that will work for all those interested in the class. We understand that many adults have unique scheduling requirements and we will do our utmost to arrange the live sessions of this class at a time that is possible for all those who would like to attend. If you are interested in “Introduction to Ancient Philosophy” (or "Neoplatonism"), please contact Dr. Slatin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prerequisites: Part 1 (or instructor's permission)
Patricia Slatin received her Ph.D. in Classics from the University of California at Berkeley in 2005, with a focus on ancient philosophy, particularly Platonic metaphysics and theology. Thereafter she served as visiting assistant professor at Georgetown University (2007-2009) and postdoctoral teaching fellow at Stanford (2009-2013); recently she taught history and Greek at St. John’s Orthodox Academy in San Francisco and Biblical Greek at the San Francisco Theological Seminary. Beyond teaching, Patricia enjoys directing a church school program, singing with her parish choir, taking care of a cat, and hiking the hills of northern California.