Spring 2018 - PHIL 350 D100

Ancient Philosophy (3)

Class Number: 2906

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 10:30 AM – 11:20 AM
    WMC 3250, Burnaby

    Th 9:30 AM – 11:20 AM
    SECB 1013, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    PHIL 100W (or equivalent) or 150.



Examines central philosophical themes and figures in ancient philosophy. Topics may include justice, knowledge, the good life, time, change, appearance and reality, the nature of God, and others. Historical readings will be the central focus and may include works by Plato, Aristotle, Thales, Anaximander, Pythagoras, Parmenides and others.


This course is an advanced introduction to themes in ancient western philosophy. A central focus will be on the distinction between pleasure and well-being/happiness in ancient Greek and Roman ethics. Pleasure is a kind of feeling, while happiness is not itself a feeling, but, rather, a way of being.  Since it is a primary motivator to action, philosophers like Plato and Aristotle do have well-developed theories of pleasure, but they disagree about its nature and whether and how pleasure relates to the truly good and happy life. After all, a person can be pleased by terrible things, in which case it makes sense to say they have pleasure while at the same time also denying that they are living well. But can one live well and achieve happiness while avoiding pleasure altogether? The Stoics think they can (and must), while Aristotle thinks that though not all pleasure contributes to happiness, happy people can (and must) experience pleasure. Other topics to be discussed include beauty, love, and friendship.


  • Five short (one-page) response papers, to be completed on dates of your choosing, with three to be done by the end of week 8, worth 5% each 25%
  • One short paper (four to six pages) 20%
  • One long paper (ten to fifteen pages) 35%
  • Take-home final 20%



Plato, A Plato Reader, Hackett Publishing 978-1-60384-811-4

Plato, Philebus, Hackett Publishing 978-0-87220-170-5

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Hackett Publishing 978-0-87220-464-5

Other readings to be distributed electronically.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html