CLAS 306
The Good Life in Greek and Roman Ethics Spring 2023
Division I
Cross-listed PHIL 306
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Class Details

Most thoughtful human beings spend a good deal of time musing about how we ought to live and about what counts as a good life for a human being. The philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome were among the first thinkers to develop rigorous arguments in response to such musings. Much of the moral philosophy produced in Greece and Rome remains as relevant today as when it was written. In this course, we will examine some central texts in ancient Greek and Roman moral philosophy. We will begin by reading some of Plato’s early dialogues and his Republic. We will then turn to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. We will then examine writings in the Stoic and Epicurean traditions, as well as Cicero’s On the Ends of Good and Evil. As we proceed through the course, we will look at the way in which each thinker characterizes happiness, virtue and the relation between the two. We will also pay close attention to the way in which each of these thinkers takes the practice of philosophy to play a key role in our realization of the good human life.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 3972
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: several short response pieces; a final paper of 10-15 pages; active participation in seminar discussion
Prerequisites: Phil 201 will be helpful but is not necessary.
Enrollment Preferences: Philosophy majors
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
PHIL 306 Division II CLAS 306 Division I
Attributes: PHIL History Courses

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