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AHIS202 – The Classical Traditions of Thought

2017 – S2 External

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Convenor
Christopher Forbes
Contact via (02) 9850 8821, or email: christopher.forbes@mq.edu.au
AHH South W95
Credit points Credit points
3
Prerequisites Prerequisites
12cp at 100 level or above
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit studies the origins and development of Greek and Roman philosophy from the earliest pre-Socratic thinkers in the sixth century BCE, to St. Augustine in the fourth century CE. The unit focuses on the beginnings of Greek critical philosophical thinking – Socrates, Plato and Aristotle – and the great philosophical schools of the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The impact of Roman, and then of Judaeo-Christian thinking on the developing classical tradition are discussed, to show how these different thought worlds have shaped the mind set of modern Western civilisation.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. The student will learn from a variety of ancient text types about the varieties of ancient philosophical thinking;
  2. demonstrate a comprehension of ancient world-views and cultural concepts;
  3. contextualise particular ancient documents within their wider cultural and intellectual environment;
  4. show an awareness of the complexity of ancient accounts of past events, belief-systems and experiences;
  5. conduct independent research on chosen topics;
  6. engage with and responding critically to a variety of scholarly opinions;
  7. and formulate an independent view in dialogue with both ancient evidence and modern interpretations.

General Assessment Information

All written assessment tasks (Short Papers and Major Essays) are to be submitted via Turnitin, using the links to be found in the Unit iLearn page.

Late assignments will normally be penalised at the rate of 2% per day, unless prior arrangements have been made with your Tutor. If your assignment is going to be late, please contact your Tutor in advance!

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Short Paper 20% Variable
Major Essay 35% Oct. 9th (Int); Oct 16th (Ext)
Participation 15% End of Semester
Examination 30% Examination Period

Short Paper

Due: Variable
Weighting: 20%

The student must write a c. 1,000 word short essay based on the weekly tutorial discussion topic of their choice. It must be handed in within the week following the relevant tutorial. All Tutorial Short Papers are to be handed in through Turnitin. For each week's Tutorial you will find a number of questions on the document(s) set in the main Unit Booklet. All of these ought to be prepared for the weekly Tutorial. When you decide to hand in the short paper based on a particular week's topic, you should write using the individual questions as a guide as to what ought to be discussed. The Short Papers are exercises in careful and critical reading of documentary sources. Their aim is to develop skills of analysis and deduction, and the ability to write a lucid short answer to a precise set of questions. They are not primarily exercises in the collection of the opinions of others, even if those others are great scholars. The assignments will be marked primarily on your understanding of the sources themselves. Please note that essay form is required for all work submitted. Point form or extended notes are not good enough. Footnotes should be given, and should conform to the Assignment Presentation Style Guide, which is available for download from the Unit iLearn page.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • The student will learn from a variety of ancient text types about the varieties of ancient philosophical thinking;
  • demonstrate a comprehension of ancient world-views and cultural concepts;
  • contextualise particular ancient documents within their wider cultural and intellectual environment;
  • conduct independent research on chosen topics;
  • engage with and responding critically to a variety of scholarly opinions;
  • and formulate an independent view in dialogue with both ancient evidence and modern interpretations.

Major Essay

Due: Oct. 9th (Int); Oct 16th (Ext)
Weighting: 35%

Major essay topics are to be chosen from the list of topics, with introductory bibliographies, which will be made available before the fourth week of Semester. Students may also negotiate for an alternative topic with Dr. Forbes. All Major Essays are to be submitted via Turnitin on or before Monday October 9th (for Internal students), and on or before Monday October 16th (for External students). The submission link will be found on the Unit iLearn page.

Like Short Papers, Major Essays are exercises in careful and critical reading of documentary sources.Wider reading is also required for the essays. Referencing should follow the guidelines in the Assignment Presentation Style Guide, which is available from the Unit iLearn page.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • The student will learn from a variety of ancient text types about the varieties of ancient philosophical thinking;
  • demonstrate a comprehension of ancient world-views and cultural concepts;
  • contextualise particular ancient documents within their wider cultural and intellectual environment;
  • show an awareness of the complexity of ancient accounts of past events, belief-systems and experiences;
  • conduct independent research on chosen topics;
  • engage with and responding critically to a variety of scholarly opinions;
  • and formulate an independent view in dialogue with both ancient evidence and modern interpretations.

Participation

Due: End of Semester
Weighting: 15%

Internal students will be assessed on their contribution to Tutorials throughout the Unit. External students will be assessed on their participation in the weekly Online Forums (iLearn) and their contribution to the On Campus Session on Saturday October 7th.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • The student will learn from a variety of ancient text types about the varieties of ancient philosophical thinking;
  • contextualise particular ancient documents within their wider cultural and intellectual environment;
  • engage with and responding critically to a variety of scholarly opinions;

Examination

Due: Examination Period
Weighting: 30%

The examination will run for two hours. Students will be asked to answer four essay-style questions from a range of approximately fifteen.

The University Examination period in the Second Semester of 2017 is from Monday November 13th to Friday December 1st. You are expected to present yourself for examination at the time and place designated in the University Examination Timetable. The timetable will be available in Draft form approximately eight weeks before the commencement of the examinations and in Final form approximately four weeks before the commencement of the examinations at: <http://www.timetables.mq.edu.au/exam>.

The only exception to sitting an examination at the designated time is documented illness or unavoidable disruption. In these circumstances you may wish to consider applying for special consideration under the University's Disruption to Study provisions. Information about unavoidable disruption and the special consideration process is available under the Extension and Disruption to Study section of this Unit Guide.

If a Supplementary Examination is granted as a result of the Disruption to Study process, the examination will be scheduled after the conclusion of the official examination period.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • demonstrate a comprehension of ancient world-views and cultural concepts;
  • contextualise particular ancient documents within their wider cultural and intellectual environment;
  • show an awareness of the complexity of ancient accounts of past events, belief-systems and experiences;
  • engage with and responding critically to a variety of scholarly opinions;
  • and formulate an independent view in dialogue with both ancient evidence and modern interpretations.

Delivery and Resources

Technology:

Lectures will be given live and also made available on Echo360. Visual materials used in lectures will be taken from the main Unit Booklet and/or made available as PDF files on iLearn. Brief bibliographies, lists of people, places and technical terms will be made available for each lecture on iLearn.

A computer and Internet access are required. Basic computer skills (e.g., internet browsing) and skills in word processing are also a requirement. You will need a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader, as most Unit documents are provided in PDF format. This software is freely available on the Internet. Please consult the Unit Convenor for any further, more specific requirements.

Face-to-face Tutorials will be held for Internal students; for External students there will be regular postings on iLearn and discussion on the Online Forum. External students who can come to Internal tutorials are welcome to do so.

Lectures and Tutorials:

Lecture times: Monday 9am, W6B 345, Wednesday 12 midday, W6B 325.

Tutorial times (as at mid-July 2017): Monday 10am, X5B 136; Wednesday 1pm, W6B 382.

Books you will need:

The required Text Books for the Unit are as follows:

Modern overview:

T. Irwin, Classical Thought, Oxford, 1989

Ancient Sources:

The First Philosophers: The Presocratics and Sophists, ed. R. Waterfield, Oxford, 2000.

Plato – Protagoras and Meno, trans. A. Beresford, Penguin, 2005, and The Symposium, trans. R. Waterfield, Oxford, 1994.

Aristotle – The Politics, trans. T.A. Sinclair, Penguin, 1962.

Lucretius – On The Nature of the Universe, trans. R. Melville, Oxford, 1997.

Seneca – Letters from a Stoic, trans. R. Campbell, Penguin, 1969.

St Augustine – Confessions, trans. H. Chadwick, Oxford, 1991.

I am aware that this is a larger number of books than are usually set as required texts, but (a) they are all used for tutorial work / short paper topics, and (b) they are mostly very inexpensive. Hopefully, they are books you will find you go back to even outside the boundaries of the Unit.

Unit Schedule

     

Week 1,

Monday July 31st.

Lecture 1

Lecture 2

Tutorial

Introduction: the Classical Tradition.

Presocratic Philosophy: Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes.

Discussion of Unit requirements, assessment, etc.

Week 2,

Monday August 7th.

Lecture 3

Lecture 4

Tutorial

Heracleitus and ‘Monism’; Parmenides and the Philosophy of ‘Being’.

Zeno, Pythagoras, Empedocles and Anaxagoras.

Read the extract from the “History” of Thucydides in the main Unit Document. What are the leading ideas of this speech?

Week 3,

Monday August 14th.

Lecture 5

Lecture 6

Tutorial

The intellectual context of Socrates. Socrates the man.

The ‘Socratic Method’.

Plato's Protagoras sections 320D to 334C, on whether ‘virtue’ (arete) is teachable.

Week 4,

Monday August 21st.

Lecture 7

Lecture 8

Tutorial

“No-one errs willingly”: Greek moral optimism.

Plato: the man and the theory of ‘Forms’.

Plato's Protagoras, sections 339A to 346E.

Week 5,

Monday August 28th.

Lecture 9

Lecture 10

Tutorial

Plato and the ideal state: the Republic and the nature of justice, and the critique of art.

Platonic Love and the Theory of Knowledge.

 

Plato's Symposium 1. The Speeches of Pausanias and Aristophanes (180-185, 189-194).

Week 6,

Monday September 4th

Lecture 11

Lecture 12

Tutorial

Aristotle 1. Metaphysics and Ethics.

Aristotle 2. From Ethics to Social Theory

 

 

Plato's Symposium 2. Sections 201-212, the reported speech of Diotima.

Week 7,

Monday September 11th

Lecture 13

Lecture 14

Tutorial

Alexander the Great and the spread of Greek ideas: the wider Greek world of the ‘Hellenistic’ age.

Hellenistic philosophies. (1) Stoicism: physics and ethics.

 

 

Aristotle 1: Aristotle's Politics Book 1, on the idea of ‘nature’ (i.e. the nature of women, slaves, etc.).

Mid-Semester Break, Monday September 18th.

   

Week 8,

Monday October 2nd.

Lecture 15

Lecture 16

Tutorial

Hellenistic Philosophies. (2) Greek Epicureanism: Physics and hedonism.

The Roman response to Greek culture

 

 

Aristotle's Politics Book 4: systems of government, the middle classes, and moderate democracy, and 5.9 on the principle of the ‘middle way’.

Week 9,

Monday October 9th

Internal Major Essays due

Lecture 17

Lecture 18

Tutorial

Lucretius and Roman Epicureanism

Seneca and Stoicism

 

 

Lucretius, On the Nature of the Universe, Book 1: freedom from superstition, and the atomic theory.

Week 10, Monday October 16th

External Major Essays due

Lecture 19

Lecture 20

Tutorial

Scepticism, Later Platonism and other developments

The Creation of the World according to Plato and Genesis

 

 

Lucretius, On the Nature of the Universe, Book 5, on the origin of the world, the gods, species, and human society: compare Protagoras.

Week 11,

Monday October 23rd.

Lecture 21

Lecture 22

Tutorial

Early Christian thinking.

Beginnings of Christian philosophy: response to the Classical Tradition.

 

 

Seneca, Letters from a Stoic, Letters 2, 3, 5 and 6. What attitudes are typically Stoic? In what important ways do they contrast with our own?

Week 12,

Monday October 30th.

Lecture 23

Lecture 24

Tutorial

The Classical response to Christianity.

The Development of Christian philosophy.

 

 

Augustine, Confessions, Book 2, concentrating on the ‘theft of the pears’ incident and the attractiveness of moral evil.

Week 13,

Monday November 6th

Lecture 25

Lecture 26

Tutorial

St. Augustine: his background and ideas.

St. Augustine (continued) and Unit Summary.

 

 

Augustine, Confessions, Book 7: the contrast between ‘the books of the Platonists’ and those of the Christians.

 

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy (in effect until Dec 4th, 2017): http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html

Special Consideration Policy (in effect from Dec 4th, 2017): https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policies/special-consideration

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

Creative and Innovative

Our graduates will also be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. They will be imaginative and open to experience and capable of innovation at work and in the community. We want them to be engaged in applying their critical, creative thinking.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • contextualise particular ancient documents within their wider cultural and intellectual environment;
  • show an awareness of the complexity of ancient accounts of past events, belief-systems and experiences;
  • conduct independent research on chosen topics;
  • and formulate an independent view in dialogue with both ancient evidence and modern interpretations.

Assessment tasks

  • Major Essay
  • Participation

Engaged and Ethical Local and Global citizens

As local citizens our graduates will be aware of indigenous perspectives and of the nation's historical context. They will be engaged with the challenges of contemporary society and with knowledge and ideas. We want our graduates to have respect for diversity, to be open-minded, sensitive to others and inclusive, and to be open to other cultures and perspectives: they should have a level of cultural literacy. Our graduates should be aware of disadvantage and social justice, and be willing to participate to help create a wiser and better society.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • demonstrate a comprehension of ancient world-views and cultural concepts;
  • contextualise particular ancient documents within their wider cultural and intellectual environment;
  • show an awareness of the complexity of ancient accounts of past events, belief-systems and experiences;
  • conduct independent research on chosen topics;
  • engage with and responding critically to a variety of scholarly opinions;
  • and formulate an independent view in dialogue with both ancient evidence and modern interpretations.

Assessment tasks

  • Major Essay
  • Participation
  • Examination

Socially and Environmentally Active and Responsible

We want our graduates to be aware of and have respect for self and others; to be able to work with others as a leader and a team player; to have a sense of connectedness with others and country; and to have a sense of mutual obligation. Our graduates should be informed and active participants in moving society towards sustainability.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • engage with and responding critically to a variety of scholarly opinions;
  • and formulate an independent view in dialogue with both ancient evidence and modern interpretations.

Assessment tasks

  • Major Essay
  • Participation

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Our graduates will have enquiring minds and a literate curiosity which will lead them to pursue knowledge for its own sake. They will continue to pursue learning in their careers and as they participate in the world. They will be capable of reflecting on their experiences and relationships with others and the environment, learning from them, and growing - personally, professionally and socially.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • demonstrate a comprehension of ancient world-views and cultural concepts;
  • show an awareness of the complexity of ancient accounts of past events, belief-systems and experiences;
  • conduct independent research on chosen topics;
  • and formulate an independent view in dialogue with both ancient evidence and modern interpretations.

Assessment tasks

  • Participation
  • Examination

Problem Solving and Research Capability

Our graduates should be capable of researching; of analysing, and interpreting and assessing data and information in various forms; of drawing connections across fields of knowledge; and they should be able to relate their knowledge to complex situations at work or in the world, in order to diagnose and solve problems. We want them to have the confidence to take the initiative in doing so, within an awareness of their own limitations.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • demonstrate a comprehension of ancient world-views and cultural concepts;
  • contextualise particular ancient documents within their wider cultural and intellectual environment;
  • show an awareness of the complexity of ancient accounts of past events, belief-systems and experiences;
  • conduct independent research on chosen topics;
  • engage with and responding critically to a variety of scholarly opinions;
  • and formulate an independent view in dialogue with both ancient evidence and modern interpretations.

Assessment tasks

  • Short Paper
  • Major Essay
  • Participation

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • demonstrate a comprehension of ancient world-views and cultural concepts;
  • show an awareness of the complexity of ancient accounts of past events, belief-systems and experiences;
  • engage with and responding critically to a variety of scholarly opinions;
  • and formulate an independent view in dialogue with both ancient evidence and modern interpretations.

Assessment tasks

  • Short Paper
  • Major Essay
  • Participation
  • Examination

Capable of Professional and Personal Judgement and Initiative

We want our graduates to have emotional intelligence and sound interpersonal skills and to demonstrate discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgement. They will exercise initiative as needed. They will be capable of risk assessment, and be able to handle ambiguity and complexity, enabling them to be adaptable in diverse and changing environments.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • The student will learn from a variety of ancient text types about the varieties of ancient philosophical thinking;
  • demonstrate a comprehension of ancient world-views and cultural concepts;
  • contextualise particular ancient documents within their wider cultural and intellectual environment;
  • show an awareness of the complexity of ancient accounts of past events, belief-systems and experiences;
  • conduct independent research on chosen topics;
  • engage with and responding critically to a variety of scholarly opinions;
  • and formulate an independent view in dialogue with both ancient evidence and modern interpretations.

Assessment tasks

  • Short Paper
  • Major Essay
  • Participation
  • Examination

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • The student will learn from a variety of ancient text types about the varieties of ancient philosophical thinking;
  • demonstrate a comprehension of ancient world-views and cultural concepts;
  • contextualise particular ancient documents within their wider cultural and intellectual environment;
  • show an awareness of the complexity of ancient accounts of past events, belief-systems and experiences;
  • conduct independent research on chosen topics;
  • engage with and responding critically to a variety of scholarly opinions;
  • and formulate an independent view in dialogue with both ancient evidence and modern interpretations.

Assessment tasks

  • Short Paper
  • Major Essay
  • Participation
  • Examination

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • The student will learn from a variety of ancient text types about the varieties of ancient philosophical thinking;
  • demonstrate a comprehension of ancient world-views and cultural concepts;
  • contextualise particular ancient documents within their wider cultural and intellectual environment;
  • show an awareness of the complexity of ancient accounts of past events, belief-systems and experiences;
  • conduct independent research on chosen topics;
  • engage with and responding critically to a variety of scholarly opinions;
  • and formulate an independent view in dialogue with both ancient evidence and modern interpretations.

Assessment tasks

  • Short Paper
  • Major Essay
  • Participation
  • Examination

Changes from Previous Offering

There have been no significant changes to the Unit since the last offering, in 2015.