Ancient Philosophy: A Companion to the Core Readings
  • Publication Date: December 24, 2018
  • ISBN: 9781554813926 / 1554813921
  • 224 pages; 6" x 9"
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Ancient Philosophy: A Companion to the Core Readings

  • Publication Date: December 24, 2018
  • ISBN: 9781554813926 / 1554813921
  • 224 pages; 6" x 9"

Ancient Philosophy: A Companion to the Core Readings is designed as an approachable guide to the most important and influential works of ancient philosophy. The book begins with a brief overview of ancient Greek mythology and the pre-Socratic philosophers. It then examines a number of the most important works from Plato and Aristotle, including Euthyphro, Meno, Republic, the Categories, the Physics, and the Nicomachean Ethics, before concluding with a brief look at Hellenistic philosophy and the origins of Neoplatonism. Readers who might otherwise struggle with the original texts will find an exceedingly helpful guide in Stumpf’s clear explanations and analyses. Numerous diagrams and images are provided to aid in comprehension.

Comments

“Andrew Stumpf’s Ancient Philosophy: A Companion to the Core Readings is a superb introductory text. Eminently clear and accessible, it provides judicious and balanced coverage of key thinkers and their systems. I would recommend it highly to any instructor developing a course in the field and to any student or interested layperson seeking a useful aid in self-study.” — Travis Dumsday, Concordia University of Edmonton

“Stumpf’s Ancient Philosophy is a very attractive—a very teacherly—introduction to the subject, aimed at undergraduate students. Succinct, well-organized, and clear, it is designed as a companion volume to the primary texts that are standardly read in a basic university course on the subject; it is not a substitute for those texts themselves. Clearly the product of a good deal of experience in the classroom, it is shrewd in anticipating what in the material is likely to mystify—or to entrance—a student; its judicious use of illustrations is particularly striking. Most important, it keeps its eye on the big picture: the overall shape of the first millennium of philosophical work in the West and the substantial contribution of that work to our own scientific and philosophical outlook.” — John Thorp, Western University

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Timeline
Map of the Ancient Greek World

CHAPTER 1: GREEK MYTH AND THE RISE OF PHILOSOPHY

  • Historical Context
  • Introductory Big Question: What Is Philosophy?
  • 1. Greek Religion and Mythological Explanation
    • a) Homer and Hesiod: Gods as Causes
  • 2. The First Philosophers
    • a) The Milesians
    • b) Heraclitus and Parmenides
    • c) The Atomists
    • d) Enduring Themes from the Presocratics
  • 3. Socrates, Plato, and the Sophists
    • a) The Sophists
    • b) Socrates and Plato
    • c) Plato: Early, Middle, and Late Periods
    • d) Plato’s Apology and Socratic Wisdom
  • 4. Conclusion

CHAPTER 2: DEFINING VIRTUE: PLATO’S EUTHYPHRO AND MENO

  • Historical Context
  • Introductory Big Question: The Quest for Definitions
  • 1. The Euthyphro: Socratic Method in Action
    • a) Defining Holiness
    • b) Looking for the Essence
    • c) An Inconclusive Conclusion
    • d) The Euthyphro Dilemma
  • 2. The Meno: Socrates, the Teacher of Virtue
    • a) Plato and Meno on Virtue
    • b) The Debater’s Paradox and the Doctrine of Recollection
    • c) Tying Down the Statues: Knowledge and True Belief
    • d) Solving the Riddle of the Meno
  • 3. Conclusion

CHAPTER 3: PLATO’S PHAEDO AND THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL

  • Historical Context
  • Introductory Big Question: What Is a Soul?
  • 1. The Structure and Content of Plato’s Phaedo
    • a) Philosophy as the Pursuit of Death
    • b) Arguments for the Immortality of the Soul
      • Argument 1: The Argument from Opposites
      • Argument 2: The Argument from Recollection
      • Argument 3: The Argument from Similarity to the Forms
      • Two Objections
      • Argument 4: The Argument from the Forms
      • The Concluding Myth
  • 2. The Soul in Aristotle and in Later Thinkers
  • 3. Conclusion

CHAPTER 4: JUSTICE AND THE GOOD IN PLATO’S REPUBLIC

  • Historical Context
  • Introductory Big Question: Is There an Objective Moral Standard?
  • 1. Republic I & II: Is Justice Socially Constructed?
    • a) Problems with the Conventional View of Justice
    • b) Thrasymachus and Justice as Oppression
    • c) A More Subtle Variation on the Theme
    • d) The Significance of the Issue
  • 2. Justice in the State and in the Individual
    • a) Characterizing the Just State
    • b) Justice in the Individual Soul
    • c) To Be Just Is Always Best
    • d) Critiquing Plato’s Account
  • 3. The Philosopher Kings and Their Education
    • a) Basic Training
    • b) Advanced Education
    • c) The Analogies of the Sun and the Divided Line
    • d) The Allegory of the Cave
  • 4. Conclusion

CHAPTER 5: LOGIC AND SCIENCE IN ARISTOTLE

  • Historical Context
  • Introductory Big Question: Philosophy as Obsession with Order
  • 1. Logic and Reality in the Categories
    • a) Categories in Context: Aristotle’s Organon
    • b) Substances and Accidents: Aristotle’s Ontology
    • c) The Four-Fold Division of the Things That Are
    • d) The Ten Categories
  • 2. Science and Learning in the Posterior Analytics
    • a) The Dilemma of Prior Cognition
    • b) Aristotle’s Solution
    • c) Induction and Abstraction
  • 3. Conclusion

CHAPTER 6: NATURE AND FIRST PHILOSOPHY

  • Historical Context
  • Introductory Big Question: Nature and Freedom
  • 1. Aristotle’s Physics
    • a) What Is a Nature?
    • b) Aristotle’s Hylomorphism
    • c) The Four Causes and Aristotle’s Teleology
  • 2. Aristotle’s Metaphysics
    • a) All Human Beings by Nature Desire to Know
    • b) Revisiting Particular Substances
    • c) The Prime Mover: Thought Thinking Itself
  • 3. Conclusion

CHAPTER 7: GOOD PEOPLE AND GOOD CITIES: ARISTOTLE’S ETHICS AND POLITICS

  • Historical Context
  • Introductory Big Question: Does Life Have a Meaning?
  • 1. Practical Philosophy
  • 2. Key Teachings and Arguments from the Nicomachean Ethics
    • a) Happiness and the Good Life
      • The Argument for Happiness as the Good
      • The Nature of Happiness
      • The Function Argument
    • b) Virtue and Character: Aristotle’s Vision of a Good Person
      • The Main Moral Virtues and the Doctrine of the Mean
    • c) Friendship and Pleasure: Two Further Components of Happiness
      • Genuine Friendship as a Key to the Good Life
      • True and False Pleasures
  • 3. Politics: The Master Science
    • a) The Nature and Purpose of the City-State
    • b) Examining Kinds of States
    • c) The Best Political Organization
  • 4. Conclusion

CHAPTER 8: HELLENISTIC PHILOSOPHY, CHRISTIANITY, AND NEOPLATONISM

  • Historical Context
  • Introductory Big Question: How Do We Navigate Pluralism?
  • 1. Hellenistic Philosophy
    • a) Epicureanism
    • b) Stoicism
    • c) Skepticism
    • d) Concluding Remarks on Hellenistic Philosophy
  • 2. Christianity and Neoplatonism
    • a) From Jerusalem to Rome
    • b) Plotinus: The Descent of the Soul
    • c) Plotinus: The Return to the One
  • Conclusion
    • The Road to the Medieval Era

Image Credits
Index

Andrew Stumpf is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at St. Jerome’s University.

  • — A guide to many of the most important works from Plato and Aristotle, including Euthyphro, Meno, Republic, the Categories, the Physics, and the Nicomachean Ethics.
  • — Includes a chapter on Greek mythology, sophism, and the pre-Socratic philosophers
  • — Also includes a chapter on philosophy after Aristotle: Hellenistic thought, Christianity, Neoplatonism, and the road to the Middle Ages.
  • — Diagrams, images, and a friendly tone make the ancient arguments easy to understand
  • — Can be read on its own or alongside the corresponding source texts

To read Stumpf’s treatment of Euthyphro and Meno, click here. (Opens as a PDF.)

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