The Origins of Philosophy (Presocratics)

The Origins of Philosophy (Presocratics)

This course is divided into six sections : What is Philosophy? ; Why Study Philosophy? ; The place of philosophy in theology ; Main Areas of Philosophy ; Presocratic Philosophy ; Socrates

Course code: PHEN01

Professor: Dr. Kevin O'Reilly

Course description

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. 

Table of content

Unit 1:  what is philosophy?
  1. Introduction.
  2. The meaning of philosophy
  3. A form of life. 
Unit 2: Why study philosophy?
  1. Reasons.
  2. An innate tendency
Unit 3: The place of philosophy in theology
  1. Terminology.
  2. Philosophy and theology:the patristic period.
  3. Philosophy & theology: the middle ages.
  4. From the enlightenment to idealism....
  5. Twentieth-century philosophy
  6. What this means
Unit 4: the main areas of philosophy
  1. Metaphysics
  2. Epistemology
  3. Philosophy of mind
  4. Philosophy of language
  5. Logic
  6. Ethics
  7. Political philosophy
  8. Philosophy of religion
Unit 5: presocratic philosophy
  1. Myth and philosophy
  2. Fragments
  3. The physicists
  4. Appearance and reality
  5. The one and the many
Unit 6: Socrates
  1. Athenian society
  2. Socratic method
  3. Socrates’ death