Know Thyself: An Introduction to Greek Philosophy

Foundational Unit

Semester 2, 2020
Monday 6.00pm – 9.00pm

This unit is an introduction to Greek philosophical thought. The Greek tradition is the foundation of all other Western philosophy and its history has profoundly influenced Christian thought and practice. Authors and schools of thought to be studied include Greek Tragedy, selected Pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Stoics and the Neo-Platonists. Students will be introduced to the historical period and its varied sources and to topics such as nature, myth, tragedy, being, life and death, soul, freedom, immortality, the state, art and God.

Census Date

Tuesday 18 August 




face-to-face 3-hour weekly classes in semester


  • one 6,000-word essay 100%
  • one 4,000-word essay 60%
  • one 2-hour written examination (2,000 words) 40%
  • one 4,000-word essay 60%
  • one 2,000-word essay 40%


  • Aristotle. The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation. Edited by Jonathan Barnes. Bollingen 71: 2. 2 vols. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984. 
  • Blackson, Thomas A. Ancient Greek Philosophy: From the Presocratics to the Hellenistic Philosophers. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.
  • Hamilton, Edith, and Huntington Cairns, eds. Plato: The Collected Dialogues of Plato Including the Letters. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1963.
  • Meyer, Susan S. Ancient Ethics: A Critical Introduction. London: Routledge, 2008.
  • Nussbaum, Martha C. The Therapy of Desire: Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994.
  • Pakaluk, Michael. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
  • Plotinus. The Enneads: A New, Definitive Edition with Comparisons to Other Translations on Hundreds of Key Passages. Translated by Stephen MacKenna. Burdett: Larson, 1992.
  • Sharples, Robert W. Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics: An Introduction to Hellenistic Philosophy. Oxford: Routledge, 1996. 
  • Sophocles. The Theban Plays: King Oedipus, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone. Translated by E. F. Watling. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1947.
  • Vernant, Jean-Pierre. The Origins of Greek Thought. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1984.