Fall 2021

Ancient Greek Philosophy

Listed in: Philosophy, as PHIL-217

Formerly listed as: PHIL-17

Moodle site: Course


Jyl Gentzler (Section 01)


European and American philosophers trace their intellectual heritage to Ancient Greece.  Plato and Aristotle, in particular, have set standards for philosophical inquiry, by distinguishing it from other practices such as poetry, drama, and sophistry.  In this class, we will examine and critically assess their understanding of the nature of philosophical inquiry, by comparing the writing of those whom that they deemed to be philosophers to Homeric poetry, Sophoclean drama, and Protagorean sophistry. We will also examine and critically assess the arguments that Ancient Greek philosophers offered in support of their answers to questions about the nature, sources, and limits of human knowledge; about the merits of relativism, subjectivism, and objectivism in science and ethics; about the nature of the good life; about the relationship between obligations to others and self-interest; and about the connection between the body and the mind.  Open to all students.

Limited to 25 students.  Fall semester.  Professor Gentzler 

If Overenrolled: Priority to majors, then on the basis of seniority and enrollment at Amherst.


Attention to Writing


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2021