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Unit information: Thought in 2020/21

Unit name Thought
Unit code CLAS10040
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Folit-Weinberg
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Classics & Ancient History
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit introduces students to several foundational traditions of thought in Greek and Roman philosophy. Authors or movements covered may include the pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, Stoicism, and Epicureanism. Among its themes will be the nature of reality, its relation to human thought and language, the purpose of life, and the way to happiness.

Unit aims:
To introduce students to some of the most influential thinkers of Greek and Roman antiquity, both in their own time and ours; to develop students’ sophistication and enjoyment in discussing themes of enduring interest.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will:

(1) be able to explain key teachings in the texts they have read;

(2) be able to evaluate those key ideas critically and to apply those ideas to issues in current affairs;

(3) be able to write a formal essay at a higher level than their coursework for teaching block 1;

(4) be able to demonstrate key skills of collaborative working and peer review.

Teaching details

This unit will involve a combination of independent investigative activities, long- and short-form lectures, and discussion. Students will be expected to engage with materials and participate on a weekly basis. Feedback will be provided for both formative and summative assessments, and this will be supported by meetings with tutors.

Assessment Details

Peer-reviewed essay with reflection on the peer-review process (1800 words (100%).

Reading and References

Brennan, Tad. 2005. The Stoic Life (Oxford: Oxford UP)

Hadot, P. 2005. What is Ancient Philosophy? trans. by Michael Chase (Harvard: Belknap)

Leonard, Miriam. 2008. How to Read Ancient Philosophy (London: Granta).

Warren, James. 2009. The Cambridge Companion to Epicureanism (Cambridge: Cambridge UP)