Summer 2020 - PHIL 150 E100

Great Works in the History of Philosophy (3)

Class Number: 5430

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 5:30 PM – 8:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 12, 2020
    7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
    Location: TBA



A thematic survey of some classical texts in the history of Western philosophy, from late Antiquity to the 19th century, including by figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, de Gournay, Elisabeth of Bohemia, Spinoza, Leibniz, du Ch√Ętelet, Hume, Astell, Wollstonecraft, Kant, Mill, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and others. Themes may include the nature of the human being, the role of God in philosophical thought, conceptions of the good life, and others. Open to all students. Students with credit for PHIL 151 may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Humanities.


Suppose that one were of a reflective disposition, and wondered exactly what one's situation is in the world—to make sense of it—to ask “What's going on?” One immediately sees that the attempt to answer such a question raises more questions. Why are we here? What sort of place is here? What sort of things are we? What is our relationship to 'here'? What then would be the best way to go about being here, or go about living? Do we have a purpose for being here? If so, what is it? And is it related to how to live best? How can we know any of this? And so on.

In this course we will be examining how Philosophers in Ancient Greece and Rome approached and answered these questions. We will primarily focus upon the works of Plato and Aristotle, but we will also discuss two of the philosophical traditions that came later--Epicureanism and Stoicism.


PHIL 150 may be applied towards the Breadth-Humanities Requirement. It is a required course for the Philosophy Major


  • Participation (assessed on the basis of both attendance and contributions to class discussion) 10%
  • Short Assignments 10%
  • Two Midterms (25% each) 50%
  • Final Exam (take home exam) 30%


Online presence will be required at the scheduled lecture time. Participation will be assessed on the basis of attendance and participation during online lectures.



Remote learning for this semester requires a computer or tablet, camera, microphone (built into the computer or tablet is fine), and internet access. Headsets are advisable but not necessary. Students have access to free Office 365 or Adobe Creative Cloud found here If students do not have reliable access, they should inform the instructor and contact the IT desk to see if a loaner computer can be arranged. There is one computer lab on campus for limited access. It is recommended that students use broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE) internet connection, with bandwidth of at least 1.5Mbps (upload and download).


Links to required readings will be provided via the instructor at no cost through CANVAS.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Thinking of a Philosophy Major or Minor? The Concentration in Law and Philosophy? The Certificate in Ethics? The Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate?
Contact the PHIL Advisor at   More details on our website: SFU Philosophy

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site 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.


Please note that all teaching at SFU in summer term 2020 will be conducted through remote methods. Enrollment in this course acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.