The Presocratics; Socrates; Sophists.

CLST 211 “The unexamined life is not worth living”: this is how the seminal Athenian philosopher Socrates explained his way of life to the jury that sentenced him. How did this attitude – and with it the complex of Western philosophy, medicine and science – first emerge in ancient Greece? In this course, we will piece together fragmentary evidence for the birth of rational speculation between the poets Homer and Hesiod (8th century BC) and Plato and Aristotle (4th century BC). Along the way, we will encounter the original articulations of Greece’s most enduring and provocative ideas. Textbook: John Cooper, Pursuits of Wisdom (Princeton, 2012).

Cross-Listed as PHIL 211A

Prerequisites: None