Skip to main content

Study information

Ancient Philosophy

Module titleAncient Philosophy
Module codeCLAM106
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Dr Gabriele Galluzzo (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module will engage in detail with influential philosophical texts from Ancient Greece and/or Rome. It will explore key philosophical questions and arguments developed in these texts, and also consider their philosophical legacy and relevance to the modern day. How is it possible to know something? What makes a personality? How can truth be established. What is a good life? How can virtue and happiness be reconciled? The texts and questions to be studied in a given year will be chosen from a range of options including the Pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, as well as Hellenistic, Roman, and Late Antique philosophers.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module provides a framework for critical discussion of philosophical themes through the analysis and exegesis of key texts and arguments. It addresses ancient as well as current debates on central philosophical questions such as concepts of the universe, the notion of Self, ethics and the notion of a ‘good life’, metaphysics, epistemology, or the practical philosophy. Overall the course aims to give you the tools to access and think critically about texts that raise complex philosophical questions, and to critically examine the relevance of ancient theories to contemporary debates.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of philosophical views and debates in antiquity
  • 2. Reflect critically on the philosophical views found in the ancient world, and engage with modern scholarly discussions of these views

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Use, analyse and critically evaluate ancient philosophical texts
  • 4. Critically engage with modern scholarly debates
  • 5. Reflect critically on the origins, development and significance of philosophical thoughts and ideas in the ancient and modern world

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Apply key bibliographical skills, the latest forms of information retrieval, as well as word-processing skills
  • 7. Think autonomously and analytically on the basis of ancient philosophical texts and secondary literature
  • 8. Construct and defend a sustained argument (both in written form and orally)
  • 9. Work with instructor and peers in an independent, constructive and responsive way

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

Texts and topics will be chosen from the following:

  • Early and Classical Greek philosophy;
  • Hellenistic philosophy;
  • Roman philosophy;
  • Late Antique philosophy

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching15Intensive seminar and reading group teaching
Guided independent study135Working independently and in groups in preparation for seminars and essays

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay804000 words1-9Mark; written and oral feedback
Oral presentation2015-20 mins1-9Mark; written and oral feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-9Referral/Deferral period
Oral presentationEssay1-9Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will be capped at 50%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • C. Gill, Greek Thought. Greece and Rome New Surveys in the Classics (Oxford University Press, 1995). 
    T. Irwin, Classical Thought (Oxford University Press, 1989). 
    Morford, M. The Roman Philosophers (Routledge, 2002).
  • O’Keefe, Tim, Epicureanism (Acumen 2010).
  • Sedley, D. (ed), Cambridge Companion to Greek and Roman Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2003).
  • Sellars, J., Stoicism (Acumen Press, 2006).
  • Thornsteinsson, R.M., Roman Christianity and Roman Stoicism: a comparative study of ancient morality (OUP 2010). 
    R. Wardy, Doing Greek Philosophy (Routledge, 2005).

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Philosophy, Rome, Ancient Greece

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date

Feb 2013

Last revision date