PHIL 150 History of Philosophy I

Fall Semester 2011 | DAY


INSTRUCTOR  Mark McPherran, WMX 4623



  • P. Curd, R. McKirahan, A Presocratics Reader, Hackett, 1996
  • C.D.C. Reeve, The Trials of Socrates, Hackett, 2002
  • A. Nehamas & P. Wood, Plato's Symposium, Hackett, 1989
  • S. Lombardo, Hesiod's Works and Days and Theogony, Hackett, 1993
  • G.M.A. Grube, Plato's Phaedo, 2nd Ed., Hackett
  • T. Irwin/G. Fine, Aristotle: Introductory Readings, Hackett, 1996
  • Xeroxed handouts



This course explores the history of early Greek philosophical thought -- the Great Conversation' among the first leading thinkers of the Mediterranean who contributed to the development of world culture (such as it is). We begin by examining the emergence and development of scientific and philosophical inquiry out of mythological patterns of thought as initiated by Thales (c. 625 BCE ) and his Presocratic successors (e.g., Anaximander, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Anaxagoras, Democritus). The course then surveys the work of the Greek Sophists (e.g., Gorgias, Protagoras), continuing on to Socrates, Plato, Aristotle. The course is presented as an ongoing dialogue between successive historical figures about various perennial philosophical issues; at the same time, relevance to current philosophical discussion and contemporary life will be considered (e.g., the Euthyphro concerns the issue of the relation between religion and morality; the Crito addresses the issue of civil disobedience).



  • two take-home exams - 5-10pp - 30% each
  • final exam - 30%
  • participation - 10%



Note: Philosophy 150 has no prerequisites and may be applied towards the Certificate in Liberal Arts