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AP/PHIL 2015
Plato and Aristotle
Winter 2015

Prerequisite / Co-requisite:  None

Required Course Text / Readings:
Selections from  Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy. From
Thales to Aristotle (eds by Marc Cohen, Patricia Curd, and C.D.C. Reeve), Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 2011 (4th ed).

Expanded Course Description:
The course will focus on some of the most influential works by Plato and Aristotle.  It will begin with an overview of Greek philosophy to contextualize Socrates and his most famous pupil, Plato.  Following this, we will turn to Plato’s Euthyphro, an early Socratic dialogue, as an example of the Socratic method and then to Plato’s Apology, which is the best account of the life and philosophy of Socrates, the archetype of a philosopher in the western tradition.  Next, we will examine selections from several of Plato’s so-called middle dialogues including the Phaedo (for an analysis of the first arguments for the immortality of the soul and what it means to be a philo-sopher), the Republic (for a critical analysis of the origin, structure and meaning of the first and most influential paradigm of a utopian society in western literature) and the Symposium (for the meaning and analysis of erotic love as the pathway to true philosophy). After Plato, we will focus on his most famous pupil, Aristotle, another pillar of western philosophy. We will begin with an analysis of the structure of his corpus (and the fundamental principles behind it) and then turn to selections from some of Aristotle’s most important works in view of understanding how the universe as a whole operates on the one hand, and on man’s nature, function, and place in this universe on the other hand. The primary focus will be on selections from the Physics (for the nature and doctrine of the four causes), On the Soul (for the definition and functions of the soul/life), Nichomachean Ethics (for happiness as the supreme end or good), and Politics (for the definition and structure of the state and man as a political animal).

Organization of the Course:
This course will consist of two weekly one hour lectures by the course director  and one weekly tutorial with a teaching assistant. The lectures will focus mainly on the weekly readings (see syllabus).

Course Learning Objectives:

Students will have a good background into some of the most influential works of the two pillars of western philosophy: Plato and Aristotle. 

Students will become engaged with the material and understand why these philosophers and their works have been so influential throughout the ages.

Students will develop the ability to formulate and defend a coherent critical thesis within an essay.

Weighting of Course:
Participation: 5% (This includes your attendance and contribution to class discuss during tutorials).

One mandatory in-class exam: 15%  (In-class test will consist of several questions based on the lectures and readings. The answers may vary from one paragraph to one page).

One five page essay: 35%  (A choice of topics will be assigned by the course director. The aim of the essay is to encourage students to develop a critical argument from issues discussed in the course.)

Final take home exam: 45%  (The take-home exam will consist of six questions that will cover all material discussed in the course.  Each reply should be no more than 400 words and should consist of a short critical argument. The purpose is to examine the student’s comprehension of the course material without the added pressure of an in-class exam.)


The Senate Committee on Curriculum & Academic Standards Web site provides an important read, the:  STUDENT INFORMATION SHEET.
The Student Information Sheet includes:

Additional information:

The Senate Grading Scheme and Feedback Policy stipulates that  (a) the grading scheme (i.e. kinds and weights of assignments, essays, exams, etc.) be announced, and be available in writing, within the first two weeks of class, and that, (b) under normal circumstances, graded feedback worth at least 15% of the final grade for Fall, Winter or Summer Term, and 30% for ‘full year’ courses offered in the Fall/Winter Term be received by students in all courses prior to the final withdrawal date from a course without receiving a grade (see the policy for exceptions to this aspect of the policy - 

“Final course grades may be adjusted to conform to Program or Faculty grades distribution profiles.”
If Term Test will be held outside of regularly scheduled class time, include announcement of day, date and time here (e.g., Saturday, October 28, 2006, 10 am to 11:30, room TBA). 

• "20 % Rule"
No examination or test worth more than 20% of the final grade will be given during the last two weeks of classes in a term, with the exception of classes which regularly meet Friday evenings or on the weekend (Saturday and/or Sunday at any time). (Approved by Senate, November 28, 1996)

SYLLABUS :  PHIL 2015  (Plato and Aristotle) Winter 2015

Course Director: Professor Gerard Naddaf

Campus Address: Ross S 443
Tel. 416 735-2100 ex 77594
Office Hour: Tuesday and Thursday  11:30-12:30 or by appointment

Lectures LSB

Teaching Assistants (and tutorial leaders):

Sam Steadman (T 1 and 2) T1 in MC 211 and T2 in 213
Vitaly Kiryuschenko (T 3 and 4)  T3 in VH 2009 and T4 in FC 105

Page numbers below will be to the Hackett 4th edition (see UUDLE: University Undergraduate Degree Learning Expectations outline): Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy from Thales to Aristotle , edited by Cohen, Curd and Reeves, Indianapolis, 2011.

Tuesday, January 6: Introduction to syllabus

Thursday, January 7: Overview of Greek philosophy and culture to contextualize Socrates and Plato.

Tuesday, January 13: Plato’s Euthyphro as an example of the Socratic method in philosophy (=Hackett 135-152).

Thursday, January 15:  Plato's Apology as one of the most important sources for the life of Socrates who is the epitome of a philosopher in the western tradition (Hackett 153-178).

Tuesday, January 20: Socratic themes and paradoxes in Plato's Apology (Hackett: 153-178).

Thursday, January 22: Philosophy as a preparation for death (Phaedo 57a-65c = Hackett 267-274); Final death scene (Phaedo 115b-118a = Hackett 317-319)

Tuesday, January 27: In-class exam. This exam is mandatory and it is worth 15% of the final grade.

Thursday, January 29: What is justice? Some introductory remarks on Plato’s Republic. 

Tuesday, February 3: The genesis of the state and the origin of the three classes (selections from Republic 2 and 3 = Hackett: 408-455).

Thursday, February 5:  The origin of happiness in the state and the individual; an introduction to Plato’s psychology (Republic 4 =Hackett: 456-482).

Tuesday, February 10:  The three waves: equality of women, communal life, and philosophers as kings and queens (selections from Republic 5 = Hackett: 483-514).

Thursday, February 12:  The world of Forms and the Form of the Good as the ultimate object of knowledge (selections from Republic  6 = Hackett: 515-541).

[Thursday, February 12 first essay topics. This five-page essay is due on Tuesday, February 26.  You can hand in the essay in class or alternatively you can drop it off in the box especially designated for this in the philosophy department. Late papers will be penalized.


Tuesday, February 24: The allegory of the cave: from total ignorance to blissful knowledge. (Republic 7 = Hackett 542-566).

Thursday, February 26: Erotic love as the pathway to true philosophy (Symposium 198c-212c = Hackett 343-57).

Tuesday, March 3: Aristotle as a systematic philosopher: an introduction to the structure of his corpus.

Thursday, March 5: Nature and the doctrine of the four causes; potentiality and actuality (selections from Physics 2 and 3 = Hackett: 740-764).

Tuesday, March 10: The definition and functions of the soul (selections from De Anima 1 and 2 = Hackett: 847-862).

[Note that March 8 (2013) is the last date to drop a course without receiving a grade.]

Thursday, March 12: Happiness as the supreme end or good (selections from Nicomachean Ethics 1 = Hackett: 870-883).

Tuesday, March 17: The virtues of character and the doctrine of the mean (selections from Nicomachean Ethics 2 = Hackett: 883-890).

Thursday, March 19: Choice and responsibility (selections from Nicomachean Ethics 3 = Hackett: 890-901).

Tuesday, March 24: The virtues of thought and their relation to the virtues of character (selections from Nicomachean Ethics 6= Hackett: 905-913).

Thursday, March 26: Happiness and contemplation  (Nicomachean Ethics 10 = Hackett: 919-929).

Tuesday, April 2: Politics and the best state according to Aristotle (selections from the Politics 1, 2, 3 and 7 = Hackett 930-960).

Take home exam (Thursday, April 2). This exam will consist of six questions and is due on Thursday, April 9 at 12:00 noon. You can drop it off in the box especially designated for this in the philosophy department (Ross S 4th floor).  Exams must first be submitted to turnitin via moodle.

Short Bibliography (TBA)

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