This course is divided into six sections. The first section – What is Philosophy? – deals with the problems surrounding any definition of the discipline and looks at various ways of thinking about it. The second section – Why Study Philosophy? – distinguishes some general types of reasons, and then examines reasons for studying philosophy. Section three looks at the relationship of philosophy to theology. It distinguishes different ways in which they might relate, and gives a historical survey of that relationship. Section four – Main Areas of Philosophy – introduces the main branches of the subject and gives a preliminary account of them. Section five, Presocratic Philosophy, looks at the earliest Greek philosophers and at how philosophy developed from myth. It examines two key issues: the problem of ‘appearance and reality’ and the problem of ‘the one and the many’. The final section introduces the student to Socrates. It presents the life and death of this iconic figure and examines the political intrigue surrounding his death and his own account of his philosophical vocation.
Professor: Br Kevin O'Reilly OP