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History of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy

by University of New Orleans

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Course Description

Taught by Chris W. Surprenant, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of New Orleans and director of the Alexis de Tocqueville Project in Law, Liberty, and Morality.

A survey of philosophy from the early Greeks through the middle ages including such philosophers as the Pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas.

The primary objective of this course is to acquire an historical understanding of the primary ideas and questions that concerned ancient Greek and medieval philosophers, thinkers whose ideas laid the intellectual foundations of Western civilization. Generally, our focus will be on how these thinkers answer questions such as: “What is philosophy?” “What is knowledge?” “How do we acquire knowledge?” “How ought we to live our lives?” Specifically, we will focus we will examine the differences and similarities between the ancient Greek, medieval, and our own conception of the world and ourselves. Finally, the course aims to develop the critical thinking and analytical writings skills needed not just to examine these questions in the context of ancient Greek and medieval philosophy, but also to better examine our own lives, what we value, and why we value it.    

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