Greek Philosophy Syllabus & Schedule

PHIL 20A Fall 2018 – Class Code 40309

Mondays & Wednesdays, 9:30 am – 10:45 am, BCC Room 216

Instructor: Eric Gerlach – email:


Office Hours: Fridays, Noon -1 pm @ K’s Coffee, next to BCC

Course Description: This course introduces students to the history of ancient Greek philosophy and thought.  We will study the central figures and concepts of the period.

Texts:  The readings for the class will be posted at the top of each of the lectures online.

Assignments: Two 4-5 page essays (2 x 25%) due Sept 30th & Nov 18th, & a final 8-10 page paper (50%) due Dec 16th.

Class Schedule

Aug 20 – Introduction to the Course

Aug 22 – Sumer, Egypt, Babylon & Greece

Aug 27 – Mythology, Drama, Tragedy & Poetry

Aug 29 – Miletus & Thales


Sept 5 – Anaximander & Anaximenes

Sept 10 – Pythagoras

Sept 12 – Xenophanes

Sept 17 – Heraclitus

Sept 19 – Parmenides

Sept 24 – Zeno

Sept 26 – NO CLASS – 1st Essay (4-5 pg.) Due Sunday Sept 30

Oct 1 – Anaxagoras

Oct 3 – Empedocles

Oct 8 – Democritus

Oct 10 – Diogenes


Oct 17 – Socrates & Plato’s Apology

Oct 22 – Plato’s Crito & Meno

Oct 24 – Plato’s Symposium

Oct 29 – Plato’s Republic

Oct 31 – Plato’s Timaeus

Nov 5 – Plato’s Parmenides

Nov 7 – Plato’s Theaetetus & Sophist


Nov 14 – NO CLASS – 2nd Essay (4-5 pg.) Due Sunday Nov 18

Nov 19 – Aristotle’s Metaphysics

Nov 21 – Aristotle’s Logic

Nov 26 – Aristotle’s Ethics

Nov 28 – Aristotle’s Politics

Dec 3 – Pyrrho

Dec 5 – Epicurus

Dec 10 – Stoicism

Dec 12 – NO CLASS – 3rd Final Essay (8-10 pg.) Due Sunday Dec 16

Essay Grading Policy

For each essay, state the question you are answering and take a clear position at the beginning, then argue with clear and focused points for the required page length. Do not summarize material that is irrelevant. You can include personal experience, examples from fiction or material from outside the course.  You are not graded on the position you take, but on the quality and quantity of your argument.

This class is acceptable for credit at UC and CSU. It counts towards GE AA/AS area 3; CSU area C2; and IGETC area 3. It can be used as an elective for the Liberal Arts with an Emphasis in Arts and Humanities, Associate in Arts Degree Program and the Liberal Arts: Intersegmental General Education Transfer (IGETC) Certificate of Achievement and the Global Studies AA Degree.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Describe the main philosophical views of ancient Greek philosophers.

2. Analyze & evaluate a philosophical argument based on a careful reading of the original text.

General Student Requirements

Students are expected to come to class prepared to ask questions and participate in discussions. All readings and assignments should be completed by the beginning of class on the day they are discussed. This class is run as a lecture/discussion course.  Students are responsible for all class material (even if they miss class). It is your responsibility to ask if you missed something; it is not the instructor’s responsibility to remind you. If a student has any extenuating circumstances which may affect full participation in the class, the student must speak to the instructor as far ahead of any due date as possible. All assignments must be completed and all requirements must be met in order to pass the class. You must turn in all assignments (even if they are late) in order to be eligible to receive a “C” grade or higher.  There are no exceptions, under any circumstance.  Plagiarism—“[t]o use another person’s ideas or expressions in your writing without acknowledging the source” (MLA Handbook,  5th ed., §1.8)—will not be tolerated. Plagiarists, intentional or inadvertent, will receive a zero on the assignment in question; repeat offenders will get an F for the course and will be subject to college disciplinary action. Students are encouraged to review plagiarism policies in the current Vista College catalog.

Disabled Student Program and Services (DSP&S) are provided for any enrolled student who has a verified disability that creates an educational limitation that prevents the student from fully benefiting from classes without additional support services or instruction. Please let the instructor know if you require any support services or would like more information about DSP&S.

The syllabus is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor. Any changes will be announced in class. Additional handouts of required readings may also be added.

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