This unit is an introduction to Ancient philosophical thought. The Greco-Roman tradition is the foundation of all other Western philosophy and its history has profoundly influenced Christian thought and practice. Authors and schools of thought to be studied include Greek Tragedy, selected Pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Stoics, and the Neo-Platonists. Students will be introduced to the historical period and its varied sources, and to topics such as nature, myth, tragedy, being, life and death, soul, freedom, immortality, the state, art, and God.

Unit code: AP9100C

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Philosophy

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Critically situate the topics studied within the wider framework of the Western intellectual tradition


Elaborate the purpose, context and intention of selected philosophical texts, and rigorously assess their implications


Critically explain the presuppositions of selected philosophical texts' arguments in relation to common Greco-Roman philosophical assumptions


Expound the significance of the topics studied for related areas in philosophical enquiry and offer critical appraisal of their relevance to the philosophical tradition


Develop a topic of research in a critically rigorous, sustained and self-directed manner

Unit sequence

One unit of philosophy


Lectures, seminars, tutorials. When taught online asynchronously, the tutorial/seminar component may be replaced by guided reading exercises.

Indicative Bibliography

Recommended reading:

  • Barnes, Jonathan, ed. The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation. 2 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.
  • Blackson, Thomas A. Ancient Greek Philosophy: from the Presocratics to the Hellenistic Philosophers. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.
  • Graham, Daniel W., ed. and trans. The Texts of Early Greek Philosophy: The Complete Fragments and Selected Testimonies of the Major Presocratics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
  • Hamilton, Edith, and Huntington Cairns, eds. Plato: The Collected Dialogues of Plato including the Letters. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961.
  • Irwin, Terence. Aristotle’s First Principles. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988.
  • ¬———. Classical Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
  • Meyer, Susan. Ancient Ethics: A Critical Introduction. London: Routledge, 2008.
  • Prior, William J. Virtue and Knowledge: An Introduction to Greek Ethics. London: Routledge, 1991.
  • Sharples, R. W. Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics: An Introduction to Hellenistic Philosophy. Oxford: Routledge, 1996.
  • Taylor, A. E. Plato the man and his work. New York: Dover, 2011.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Variant 1

Skeleton Argument 1000 10.0

1 x 6000-word essay

6000 90.0

Variant 2


1 x 2000-word essay

2000 40.0
Skeleton Argument 1000 10.0

1 x 4000-word essay

4000 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 16 Aug, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-08-16 15:22:37 +1000