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PHL 204
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 PHL 204 Syllabus

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Posts : 225
Join date : 2016-06-29

PostSubject: PHL 204 Syllabus   Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:57 pm


Instructor: Daniel Propson (or
Office Hours: M 10-11:30 AM; Th 10-11:30 AM

Office Location: 648 Mathematics and Science Center

Oakland University
Summer 2016
Section 002
Online Instruction

Course Description
The ancient Greek world was a tremendously vibrant, passionate, and fascinating place.  Greece was a center of trade on the Mediterranean, a magnet for artists and performers, and an attractive place to democrats and tyrants alike.  On this fertile ground, the foundation for what we now call “Western culture” was built.  Through the actions of people like Parmenides, Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Plato, and Aristotle, disciplines like geometry, biology, and philosophy were developed.
In this course, we will investigate the history of ancient Greek philosophy.  We will focus particularly on questions like the following: What is the basis for our moral judgments?  How can we find some stable truth in a world that is continually changing?  What is the relationship between a whole and its parts?  Are human beings the measure of all things?  Does the best sort of life involve worldly attachments, or does it consist of purely intellectual inquiry?  We will attempt to answer all these questions, and we will also consider how we might apply the thoughts of ancient thinkers to modern questions in philosophy and ethics.

Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy, Fourth Edition; by Cohen, Curd, & Reeve (editors)
ISBN: 978-1603844628
Hellenistic Philosophy: Introductory Readings, Second Edition; by Inwood and Gerson.
ISBN: 978-0872203785

Helpful Supplementary Texts
Aristotle: A Very Short Introduction, by Jonathan Barnes. ISBN-13: 978-0192854087

You will be graded on a number of different assignments, including:
Midterm Exam (10%) – July 26th – This exam will be posted on the morning of the 26th, and you will have 10 hours to complete it.  Please plan your time accordingly.
Final Exam (15%) – August 18th – Like the midterm, this exam will be posted on the morning of the 18th, and you will have 10 hours to complete it.  Please plan your time accordingly.
Dialogues (15%): In these, you will write a short dialogue (similar to Platonic dialogues) where you allow two or more characters to address a topic from the class or the readings.  These should involve original criticisms and arguments, not simply regurgitations of the text.  You will have three of these.
Persuasive Essay (30%): The culminating paper for the course will ask you to make an interesting or unique argument about the interpretation of one of the texts we read.  I need you to submit your proposed topic for approval by July 31st, and the paper will be due by August 16th.
Participation (30%): This is an online class, so class participation is absolutely essential.  You can only learn if you are involved.  This means three things: (1) Reading the material for the course, (2) Watching the lectures for the course, and (3) Participating in the online forum for the course.  Your participation mostly hinges on this third component.  I will be expecting you to post regularly to the online forum.  Specifically, I expect 8-10 meaningful posts per week, which will add up to at least 56-70 posts for the semester.  A meaningful post should be 75+ words that contribute to the conversation.  A sufficient number of shorter posts may be counted as a meaningful post.  I will also expect you to read all the posts in the “Ancient Philosophy” section of the forum, as they unfold.

Online Forum
As indicated above, participation in the class forum will be a critical portion of your grade.  The forum is located at
Get there right away, register (under your real name), and start posting!

Office Hours
I will be holding regular office hours in my office on campus, on Mondays and Thursdays.  I highly encourage you to come into office hours so that I can meet you in person, and so that we can discuss your progress in the course.  If that is not possible, we could also arrange an office hours meeting on Skype, if you so desire.  Please let me know in advance if you would like to do that, and we will schedule a time.

WebEx Sessions
In addition, I plan to hold a number of online WebEx sessions.  These are live online sessions where we will be able to talk to each other, and I can answer questions.  Please stay tuned for more information on these sessions!

Policies and Procedures

1. No high horses.  Respect the opinions of your classmates, and listen to what they say.
2. Don’t waste my time by plagiarizing.  I can’t emphasize this enough.  I catch plagiarists and make them wish they had never met me.  Cases of academic integrity will be forwarded to the Dean of Students.  See for Oakland University policies on academic dishonesty.
3. Watch the mail.  This class is short.  Check your email, Moodle, and the forum obsessively.

Grading Scale

95-100% = 4.0 grade 77-79% = 2.8 grade
92-94% = 3.8 grade 73-76% = 2.5 grade
90-91% = 3.6 grade 70-72% = 2.1 grade
88-89% = 3.5 grade 67-69% = 1.9 grade
83-87% = 3.3 grade 63-66% = 1.5 grade
80-82% = 3.0 grade 60-62% = 1.3 grade

Grades between 55 and 60% will receive a 1.0.  Grades below 55% will receive a 0.0.

The Presocratics & The Sophists
July 5-7: The Milesians (1-17); Xenophanes (23-29); Heraclitus (29-40); Parmenides (40-47); Zeno (47-51).
July 12-14: Empedocles (52-74); the Atomists (80-93), The Sophists (104-118); Gorgias (read the handout posted on Moodle, not the excerpt from the textbook)

Socrates and Plato (Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy)
July 19-21: Euthyphro (135-152); Apology (153-178); Republic Books I-IV (369-482)
July 26-28: Republic Books V-VII (483-566); Symposium (344-357); Parmenides (642-651)

Aristotle (Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy)
August 2-4: Physics (732-764); Metaphysics (796-846)
August 9-11: Nicomachean Ethics (870-929); Politics (930-960)

Hellenistic Philosophy (Hellenistic Philosophy)
August 16-18: Readings TBA
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Posts : 225
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PostSubject: Re: PHL 204 Syllabus   Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:35 am

Hellenistic Readings

August 16-18: Epicureans (Diogenes Laertius 3-19; Letter to Menoeceus 28-31; Lucretius 63-71)

Stoics (Cleanthes 139-141; Cicero 141-155; Plutarch 180-181; Epictetus 233; Seneca 243-244, 248-249)

Academic Skepticism (Cicero 280-284)

Pyrrhonian Skepticism (Sextus 302-314)

Daniel Propson   --   PHL 204 Professor   --   Plato nut   --   Private message me with questions

Illustration by Matt Russell and Nick Gibb at
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