PHI-10015 - Ancient Philosophy
Coordinator: Sophie Allen Tel: +44 1782 7 33364
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 4
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2023/24


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2023/24

This module introduces some of the oldest known philosophy, from three traditions: Indian, Chinese, and Greek. Three main topics will be studied from the perspective of philosophers from these different traditions: the world, knowledge, and the nature of the self or soul. Students will become familiar with the distinctive approaches to philosophical issues, and also consider how social and linguistic differences and developments have played a part in shaping philosophical problems. The module will also explore how the questions considered are relevant to philosophical debates today.

To introduce students to three key traditions in the history of ancient philosophy.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

explain fundamental ideas from the three major ancient traditions of philosophical thinking: 1,2
research into some of the arguments or positions of ancient philosophers from three ancient philosophical traditions and present the results in writing: 1,2
present critically on the basis of lecture and seminar discussions, as well as on the basis of further research, some of the main concepts and views of the topics covered in the the course: 1,2
illustrate the general relevance of ancient philosophy for contemporary philosophical thought: 1,2
understand the different social and political contexts in which the philosophers studied were working, and appreciate what they took the aims of philosophy to be: 1,2
reflect upon the extent to which we can understand ancient philosophy, the problems which we might encounter in that endeavour, and what the conclusions about this imply for what the study of ancient philosophy can offer: 1,2
understand differing interpretations of a philosophical position encountered within the texts, and to critically assess whether one interpretation is more plausible than another, giving reasons for this assessment: 1,2
recognise and explain cases where linguistic accident, or lack of conceptual definition, has produced philosophical problems which we may not consider to be problematic, and to appreciate the implications of this phenomenon to current philosophical discussion: 1,2
distinguish between the main features of Greek, Indian and Buddhist ancient philosophies: 1,2

Study hours

10 hours lectures
10 hours seminars
50 hours preparation for seminars and seminar work
40 hours preparation for essay
40 hours preparation for exam

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Assignment weighted 50%
Philosophical dialogue on a topic related to the first and/or second parts of the module
Students will be asked to submit a 1,000-word philosophical dialogue on a topic related to the first and/or second parts of the module.

2: Open Book Examination weighted 50%
Open book assessment with a 28 hour assessment window, 2 hour active writing time, to answer two questions from a list.
This open book assessment will run for 28 hours with questions made available on KLE when the assessment commences. The suggested writing time is 2 hours, excluding referencing and proof-reading. Students will be given a choice of several questions on the content of the whole module. They should submit the answers to two questions to KLE before the deadline, at least one of them on the third topic of the course (these questions will be in a separate section on the exam paper). Further guidelines and preparatory reading will be provided on KLE.