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Unit information: Ancient Philosophy in 2021/22

Unit name Ancient Philosophy
Unit code PHIL20040
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Tho
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Philosophy
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The Ancient world included rich philosophical traditions which have had a profound influence on philosophy and culture today. Ancient Greece and Rome stretched across wide areas of the globe, including thinkers from what are now known as the Middle East and Africa, along with the Greek archipelago. Ancient China and India had philosophical traditions such as the 'Hundred Schools of Thought' (China) and Vedic and Buddhist traditions (India). In this unit we will look at one or more schools of Ancient Philosophy, with a likely focus on departmental areas of specialism such as Greek and/or Chinese philosophy. In a given year we may focus on in-depth study of one or more philosophers from a single tradition (such as Aristotle and Plato). In another year we might study works from more than one tradition (such as Greek and Chinese philosophy). Our aims will be to:

  • Introduce students to one or more key thinkers or schools or philosophy from the ancient world
  • Analyse debates from ancient philosophy that have continuing theoretical interest today.
  • Engage in in-depth study of key texts
  • Briefly position thinkers and schools within a historical and global context.
  • Critically engage with contemporary secondary literature on ancient philosophy.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

1. demonstrate detailed knowledge and in-depth understanding of selected core texts in ancient philosophy,

2. demonstrate detailed knowledge and in-depth understanding of the key secondary literature concerning these texts,

3. demonstrate the ability to philosophically analyse and engage critically with the relevant core texts and secondary literature, to a standard appropriate for level I/5,

4. demonstrate the ability to communicate philosophical ideas, positions, and arguments, in clear, fluent writing of a standard appropriate to level I/5,

5. demonstrate independent research skills of a standard appropriate to level I/5.

Teaching Information

Lectures and seminars.

Assessment Information

Open book take home exam (100%) [ILOs (1)-(5)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PHIL20040).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.