Ancient Western Philosophy (PHIL 301)

Lewis & Clark College

Fall 2022

Professor Joel A. Martinez (

Tentative Course Schedule:

(Please Note: I am providing this tentative course schedule merely as a courtesy. It should not be construed as a commitment to keep strictly to the plan outlined below.



Week 1:  Introduction, Early Philosophers (The First?)


a. Shields preface ix-xii &Chpt 1 pp. 1-9  

b. Curd Introduction, pp. 1-22 and pp. 31-38;

c. SEP links on Pre-Socratics and Doxography


8/30 Introduction to course -  Philosophy (What?) and Its Origins

9/1 Sources, Doxography and the Presocratics I:  The Milesians, Xenophanes

Supplementary reading:  Bernard Williams "Why Philosophy Needs History"


Week 2  --  Change and Multiplicity; Being and Unity


a. Curd pp. 39-72

b. Shields pp.  9-20

9/6  The Presocratics II:  Heraclitus, Parmenides

9/8  The Presocratics II:  Parmenides, Zeno






Week 3 -- Parmenides' Assault on a posteriori Knowledge and Zeno's Paradoxes


a. Curd pp. 39-72

b. Shields pp.  9-20

9/13    Parmenides Continued


9/15    Parmenides and Zeno



Week 4 --  Sophists & the Challenges for Philosophy; Socrates

Readings for 9/20: 

a. Curd fragments on Protagoras pp.145-148,

b. Plato's Protagoras 309a-328d (Cooper's Collected works see syllabus or google drive week 4)

9/20  Protagoras and Plato’s Protagoras


Readings for 9/22: 

a. Euthyphro, Meno 70-80d, and re-visit Protagoras reading (Elenctic method vs. Sophistic Method, Protagoras’ Conventional Morality vs. Socrates’ Revisionism, Hedonism and Ethics, Knowledge and Techne (the Skill Analogy))

b. Shields 35 -59

9/22 What are Socrates' main philosophical contributions?




Week 5  Exam and Plato’s Project

ASSIGN Exam 1  Covering the Presocratics and Socrates


Reading for the Week:  Read through Plato's Gorgias.

9/27  Socrates in the Gorgias

9/29  Socrates in the Gorgias



Week 6: Plato on Knowledge and Explanation


10/4  Meno 80d-100 & Phaedo 57-90  Two Accounts of Recollection




Week 7:  Plato on Knowledge and Explanation


10/11    Phaedo  91-118  Forms in the Phaedo & The Hypothetical Method



10/13     Transitioning the Republic; The Forms and Western Culture. Helmut Heit, Jude Dougherty and Susan Bordo.  In class reflections and discussions.


Week 8:  Plato’s Republic


10/18 Republic 1-2 The Challenge of the Republic



10/20  Republic 3-4  Early Education and Virtue      


Short Paper #2 due



Week 9:  The Move to Virtue


10/25    Republic 3-4  Early Education and Virtue      

Short Paper #2 due


10/27   Republic 6-7 Higher Education


Week 10:    Transitioning to Aristotle


11/1 Plato’s   Parmenides  Finishing Plato, moving to Aristotle


11/3   Parmenides (cont)



Week 11:   Aristotle on Being and Nature               


11/8   Intro to Aristotle, Categories  Short Paper #3 due


11/10   Physics  2.1-3  Nature and the Four Causes





Week 12:  Aristotle on Luck and the Automatic; Begin Happiness and Virtue


11/15  Physics 2.4-9 Luck and the Automatic, Hypothetical Necessity


11/17   EN Bk. 1 & 2


Week 13:  Aristotle on Virtue


11/22   Finish Aristotle:  EN Bk 2 & 6




Week 14:  Hellenistic Philosophy


11/29  TBD


12/1  TBD   (Term paper draft due)


Week 15:  Hellenistic Philosophy


12/6  TBD