Greek Philosophy Syllabus & Schedule

PHIL 20A Fall 2014, Class Code: 42067, Tue/Thur 11 am – 12:15 pm, Room: BCC 51

Instructor: Eric Gerlach, email:

Office Hours: Fri 12 – 1 pm @ K’s Coffee (next door to BCC)

Ancient Greek Philosophy Syllabus & Class Schedule

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.

Required Texts: The only text for the class is the reader, available at Lazer Image, 61 Shattuck Square, Berkeley, (510) 644-3339.  A copy will be on reserve at the BCC Library.

Required Assignments: 4 response essays (40%), 2 exams (60%)


Aug 19 & 21        Introduction to the class & the Ancient Greek World

Aug 26 & 28        Greek Mythology & Drama

Sept 2 & 4        Thales, Anaximander & Anaximenes

Sept 9 & 11        Pythagoras & Xenophanes

Sept 16 & 18        Heraclitus (1st Response Due on the 18th)

Sept 23 & 25        Parmenides & Zeno

Sept 30 & Oct 2        Anaxagoras & Empedocles

Oct 7 & 9        Democritus & Diogenes

Oct 14            Midterm Review

Oct 16            MIDTERM EXAM (2nd Response Due)

Oct 21 & 23        Socrates, Plato’s Apology, Crito & Meno

Oct 28 & 30             Plato’s Symposium & Republic

Nov 4 & 6        Plato’s Timaeus & Parmenides

Nov 13 & 18        Aristotle (3rd Response Due on the 18th)

Nov 20 & 25        Pyrrho & Skepticism

Dec 2 & 4        Epicureanism & Stoicism

Dec 9            Final Review

Dec 11            FINAL EXAM (4th Response Due)

Essay Grading Policy:  For response essays, write at least three pages, stick to your own thinking and provide a clear and focused argument, earning 2 points per page (one point off for every half page less than 3 pages), 2 points for sticking to your thinking, as opposed to summarizing the material, and 2 points for clarity and focus, for 10 points total.

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

Information Competency: understand philosophical concepts and systems

Critical Thinking: evaluate philosophical concepts and argue for and against viewpoints

Global Awareness & Intercultural Competency: understand and appreciate diverse cultures of thought

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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