PHIL 301: Ancient Western Philosophy - Fall 2022
PHIL 301 Ancient Western Philosophy, Dr. Joel Martinez
I study the history of moral philosophy as well as contemporary moral theory. My work focuses on moral decision-making and moral theory. I argue that reasoning about who we aim to be and what lives we aim to live are effective ways to make practical decisions. In addition, I do not think there is a useful or accurate distinction between theory & practice. One need not have a PhD in Philosophy to engage in deep philosophical reflection about morality. Similarly, in my view, abstract theorizing about morality is, and ought to be, a practical endeavor.
In this course, we study the development of Philosophical thinking in Western Turkey, the Mediterranean, and North Africa . We first study influential early figures known as “Presocratics” and “Sophists.” We then focus on three major thinkers: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. We will examine their views and arguments on some central questions about human conduct, the natural world, and our knowledge of both We will end the course by studying some enduring ideas of Hellenistic Philosophy. Our goal throughout is to engage as philosophers with these thinkers by analyzing both what they say and their reasons for saying it. The main goal is not to memorize information but to develop a critical understanding of some problems and arguments that remain very much alive today. Throughout the course we will interrogate the very idea of Western culture and identify the sources and impact of this idea.