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Ancient Philosophy: Humanity’s Place in the Universe

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

Ancient Greek and Roman philosophy are the basis of modern thought, but also provide a fascinating contrast to modern understandings of philosophy. Learn about the development of the subject in the ancient world, with an emphasis on philosophy as a way of understanding and transforming humanity’s place in the universe 

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No previous knowledge required.

Special Information

All essential materials will be provided by the course teacher or will be freely available online.

Content of Course

Students will study texts according to related themes every week which are likely to include: pre-Socratic philosophy; Socrates and Plato; Aristotle; epicureanism; stoicism; scepticism; and neo-Platonism. There will be an overall emphasis on the themes of human flourishing and its place in the cosmos.

Teaching method(s)

Each session will combine lecture and teacher-led group discussion. You will be encouraged to critically engage with the course reading, introducing you to some of the key writings about philosophy. You will be encouraged to reflect on the texts through the lenses of your own thoughts and experiences. Feedback provided during class will enhance your ability to understand the course topics.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a broad knowledge of some key ideas in ancient philosophy.
  2. Demonstrate an awareness of the range of ancient philosophical thought and the continuities and discontinuities between different periods.
  3. Apply basic skills, techniques and practices associated with reading ancient philosophical texts.
  4. Evaluate some central arguments and ideas of philosophy.


Core Readings

The course teacher will recommend suitable core readings throughout the course. Some online sources will be extensively used, as follows:


Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

History of Philosophy without any gaps:



If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.