Syllabus: Ancient Ethics

Syllabus: Ancient Ethics


Jakub Jirsa


Tue - 10:50 - 12:30


The purpose of this seminar is to give a basic overview of ancient ethical theories as represented in several texts raging from tragedies, Plato?s dialogues and Aristotle?s treatises (Hellenistic ethics will be discussed if we have time by the end of the term). The readings will be of two kinds a) primary texts in English translations and b) selected papers from the current secondary literature.




course participation 30% presentation(s) 30% term essay 40%


Schedule fall term 2007:




Striker, G. (1996): ?Greek Ethics and Moral Theory?, in idem (ed): Essays in Hellenic Epistemology and Ethics, Cambridge, 169-182.


Kahn, Ch. (1998): ?Pre-Platonic Ethics?, in S. Everson (ed): Ethics. Companions to Ancient Thought 4, Cambridge, 49-76.


Annas, J. (1992): ?Ancient Ethics and Modern Morality?, Philosophical Perspectives 6, 119-136.




Sophocles, Antigone (translation) edition TBA




Georgias of Leontini, The Encomium of Helen in J. Dillon & T. Gergel (eds. and trans.) The Greek Sophists, 76 -84.




Gorgias (trans. D. J. Zeyl, in Coopers edition Plato. Complete Works)

Protagoras (trans. S. Lombardo and K. Bell) excerpts

Theaetetus (trans. M.J.Levett, rev. M. Burnyeat, in Coopers edition Plato. Complete Works) excerpts

Republic IV (trans. G. M. A. Grube, rev. C. D. C. Reeve)

Laws X (transl. T. J. Saunders)


Nehamas A. (1987, repr. 1999): ?Socratic Intellectualism?, reprinted in his Virtues of Authenticity, Princeton, 27-58.


Gerson, L. P. (2005): ?What is Platonism?? in Journal of the History of Philosophy, vol. 43, no. 3, 253-276.


Carone, G. R. (1994): ?Teleology and evil in Laws 10?, Review of Metaphysics 48, 275-98.


Sedley, D. (2000): ?The Ideal of Godlikeness?, in Fine, G. (ed.) (2000): Oxford Readings in Philosophy: Plato, vol. 2, Oxford, 791-810.




Nicomachean Ethics (trans. Ch. Rowe) I.1-10, 13, II.1-6, III.1, VI.1-2, X.4-9


Burnyeat, M. (1980): ?Aristotle on Learning to Be Good? in A. O. Rorty (ed): Essays on Aristotle?s Ethics, Berkeley-LA-London, 69-91.


Broadie, S. (2002): ?Philosophical Introduction? in Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Oxford University Press, p. 9-91 (selected passages)