|Ancient Greek Philosophy|
This course is divided into four parts. 1) The Pre-Socratics: a discussion beginning with the Ionians, moving to Parmenides and Heraclitus, and touching upon the Atomists, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, the Pythagoreans, and the Sophists. 2) Socrates and Plato. 3) Aristotle (and touching upon the Stoics, Cynics, Epicureans). 4) Neo-Platonism. Most attention is paid to Plato and Aristotle.
Aristotle’s Metaphysics, while one of the most celebrated and commented upon of all philosophical works, remains mostly unread and problematic for moderns. Central to Later Greek and Medieval philosophers and theologians (notably Plotinus and Aquinas), the work, if considered at all, tends to be thought incidental to modern thinking. Members of this seminar can reasonably be expected to work at analyzing and synthesizing this text (or at least parts of it) as an ancient might do, while trying to understand how ancient metaphysics might provide some needful ballast to our modern voyage. Presentation of background material, dialectical discussion and considerations of important commentators should occur when feasible.
Note: This course is bilingual, however, the language of instruction will be English.
Knowledge —its nature, status, conditions and limits— has always been a fundamental issue in Philosophy. Considering the problem as stated in ancient Philosophy, this course explores some of the main views of knowledge in modern and contemporary traditions. Special attention will be paid to Hume’s sceptical position and to the ensuing responses, notably in Kant and in analytical Philosophy.
This course proposes a study of the main alternatives in ethics today, especially concerned with the following questions: what is really important in life? What is ultimately the right way of living? How can we become better equipped to distinguish between right and wrong? What are the main concepts which operate in the different ethical theories? Examples and cases from applied ethics.
|Introduction to Philosophy|
This course will initiate students into the universe of philosophers and philosophy through the study of fundamental texts of the Western philosophical traditions. The emphasis will be on the study of the nature, scope and necessity of philosophical inquiry as an intellectual endeavour, distinct from other disciplines, namely theology and science. We will also discuss some philosophical problems, such as human knowledge and freedom.
This course will study: the transformations of the ancient heritage (Saint Augustine, the pseudo-Dionysius, Boethius); the leading thinkers and schools of the XIth and XIIth centuries; the translations of Aristotelian, Arab and Jewish works; the high points of Scholasticism in the XIIIth century (Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus); and Ockham’s nominalism, in the XIVth century.
Politics is both a complex matter of fact, and a moral issue. This course will address both aspects of this fascinating field of human activity. We are concerned with the following questions: beneath the variety of existing political regimes, are there any constant features? Are political groupings the result of a “social contract” or of sheer human nature? Why do we come together as political communities? Is there an ideal form of political community?