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Unit information: History of Thought in 2019/20

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name History of Thought
Unit code CLAS12366
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Lampe
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Classics & Ancient History
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit introduces students to several foundational traditions of thought in Greek and Roman philosophy. Authors or movements covered may include the pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, Stoicism, and Epicureanism. Among its themes will be the nature of reality, its relation to human thought and language, the purpose of life, and the way to happiness.

Unit aims:

To introduce students to some of the most influential thinkers of Greek and Roman antiquity, both in their own time and ours; to develop students’ sophistication and enjoyment in discussing themes of enduring interest.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will:

(1) be able to explain key teachings in the tests they have read;

(2) be able to evaluate those key ideas critically and to apply those ideas to issues in current affairs;

(3) be able to write a formal essay at a higher level than their coursework for teaching block 1

(4) be able to demonstrate key skills of collaborative working and peer review.

Teaching details

3 hrs/wk interactive lectures

Assessment Details

1. peer-reviewed essay with reflection on peer-review process (1800 words, 75%)

2. blog (25%)

Reading and References

Brennan, Tad. 2005. The Stoic Life (Oxford: Oxford UP).

Hadot, P. 2005. What is Ancient Philosophy? trans. by Michael Chase (Harvard: Belknap)

Leonard, Miriam. 2008. How to Read Ancient Philosophy (London: Granta).

Warren, James. 2009. The Cambridge Companion to Epicureanism (Cambridge: Cambridge UP)