CLST/PHIL 212: Course Overview (January-April 2017)

Plato and Aristotle in Debate. Lucia della Robbia, Florence

Plato and Aristotle in Debate. Lucia della Robbia, Florence

Is it possible to be sure that we are living a good human life, come what may? What would it be like to “succeed at” being a human being, at being ourselves? In the period under consideration in this course (c. 399 BCE–c. 529 CE), the nascent traditions of Greek logic, science, and ethics were turned to the exploration of these fundamental questions. Athenian philosophy spread across the Mediterranean world in the wake of Alexander the Great and the Roman Empire, laying the groundwork for the subsequent development of Western intellectual history. Over this term, we will study the great Hellenistic schools of ancient Athens (Stoics, Epicureans, and Skeptics) and the later ancient synthesis of Greek philosophy under the banner of Plato (Neoplatonism), and their influence on subsequent thought.

Course materials

Lecture Slides

Assignments & Projects

Online Readings

  • Download online readings for this course (marked • ONLINE in syllabus)
    • Contact instructor for password, also distributed in first class and by email on January 3.

Course Resources


  • Our class ID: 14316254. Password distributed in class and by email on January 3.
  • If you do not yet have a TurnItIn account, please register: (1) Visit; (2) Click “Create account”, then click “Student”; (3) Enter the class ID and password.
    • FYI: is hosted in the United States. You are welcome to use an alias in place of your real name during registration, ensuring that your identifying details are not hosted in the USA. If you do, please email your alias to the instructor. (Note also that we will not store your essays on TurnItIn’s database after the course is complete). For full instructions, see:

Additional materials