Phil 115 S14: Schedule and Syllabus

 History of Philosophy I: Ancient and Medieval
Spring 2014
Section 4790  TR 12:30-1:45    Location: F-716

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Ian Duckles
         Office Hours: By Appointment

TEXTBOOK: There is one text required for this class:
  • Pojman, Louis P., Classics of Philosophy, Volume I: Ancient and Medieval. Oxford University Press, 1998.
    ISBN: 9780195116458
COURSE DESCRIPTION: “Survey of ancient philosophy with emphasis on the development of philosophy from the Pre-Socratics through Aristotle, Hellenistic, Roman and medieval thinkers.” (Cuyamaca College Catalogue 2013-2014).

COURSE CALENDAR (topics and important dates included): Homework will be due daily and assignments will be announced in class. Do not be concerned if we fall ahead or behind on this schedule. The most important goal is that everyone understand the concepts and problems. This schedule is subject to change. All changes will be announced in class and posted on the course website. All readings come from the course textbook, and should be completed for the day on whihc they are assigned.

Week 1: Introduction
Tuesday, January 28: Introduction 

Thursday, January 30: The Pre-Socratics (pp. 3-15)

Week 2: Plato
February 4: "Euthyphro" (pp. 16-28)
What are the four definitions of holy/piety that Euthyphro proposes?

February 6: "Euthyphro" Continued
Homework: Answer the following questions about the Apology:

  1. What are the charges leveled against Socrates?
  2. What is the story Socrates tells about the Oracle of Delphi? What is the significance of this story?
  3. According to Socrates what is the role of the philosopher?

Week 3: Plato
February 11: "Apology" (pp. 28-41)
Homework: How does Socrates respond to the charge that he is corrupting the youth? (pages 32-33).

February 13: "Apology"

Week 4: Plato
February 18: Republic (pp. 177-185)
Homework: Identify the major conclusions Plato draws from the Allegory of the Cave.

February 20: Republic Continued

Week 5: Exam
February 25: Review for Exam

February 27: FIRST EXAM

Week 6: Aristotle
March 4: Physics Book II (pp. 255-263)
Homework: In chapter 8 (pp. 261-262) Aristotle considers Empedocles' theory of evolution. Why does Aristotle reject it?

March 6: Physics Continued

Week 7: Aristotle
March 11: 
Nicomachean Ethics Book I.1-I.5, I.7-I.8, I.13 (pp. 289-98)
Homework: In Nicomachean Ethics I.13 (pp. 296-298) Aristotle discusses the soul. What are the parts of the soul according to Aristotle.

March 13: Nicomachean Ethics Book II (pp. 298-304)

Week 8: Aristotle
March 18: Nicomachean Ethics Book III.1-III.5 (pp. 304-309) 
Homework: First, identify the function of an American Citizen. Then, using this function articulate one virtue that such a citizen would possess. Be sure to identify the emotion or appetite the virtue is concerned with as well as the vices of excess and deficiency.

March 20: Nicomachean Ethics Book X (pp. 315-320)

Week 9: Hedonism and Stoicism
March 25: Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus and Principle Doctrines (pp. 352-57)
Homework: Explain Epicurus' argument that it is wrong or irrational to fear death (page 353). 

March 27: Epicurus Continued

Week 10: Skepticism
April 1: Empiricus, Outlines of Pyrrhonism (pp. 369-373)

April 3: Empiricus Continued

Week 11: Exam
April 8: Review for Exam   


Week 12: Spring Break
April 15: No Class!!

April 17No Class!!

Week 13: Augustine
April 22: "On Free Will" (pp. 393-408)

April 24: "On Free Will" Continued

Week 14Boethius
April 29: The Consolations of Philosophy (pp. 421-428)  

May 1: Boethius Continued, Essay Thesis Due

Week 15: Anselm and Maimonides
May 6: Anselm and Guanillo (pp. 432-435)

May 8: Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed (pp. 436-441)

Week 16: Aquinas
May 13: Summa Theologica (pp. 442-453)

May 15: In-class peer editing. Bring three copies of a draft of your essay to class.

Week 17: The Media
May 20: Extra Day

May 22: Review for Final (Final Paper Due)

The Final Exam for the course will be on Tuesday, May 27 12-2:00 PM in F-716.


  • 20% Midterm Examination 1
  • 20% Midterm Examination 2
  • 20% Final Examination
  • 10% Final Paper Due May 15. Though this is only worth 10% of your grade failure to complete this assignment of the associated pre-writing will result in an F in the course.
  • 10% Homework. Homework will be due at the start of the class for which it is assigned. I will not accept late assignments.
  • 20% Pop Quizzes. These will be given at the start of class, they cannot be made up if missed.
Grade Scale:
A: 93-100 %

A-: 90-92 %

B+: 88-89 %

B: 83-87 %
B-: 80-82 %
C+: 78-79 %

C: 70-77 %
D: 60-69 %
F:  <60 %


Student Responsibility to Drop/Withdraw: It is the student’s responsibility to officially add, drop, or withdraw from the course stated in the class schedule. Failure to do so can result in a failing grade.

Class Attendance: A student may be disenrolled from the course after two absences; however, a student will be disenrolled from the course after eight absences without exception. ATTENDANCE IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR THIS PARTICULAR COURSE.

Tardiness/Early Departure: If a student arrives unreasonably late or leaves early without notifying the instructor before the event, then that student will be considered absent for that class session.

Professionalism: It is assumed that students will conduct themselves in a professional manner with a positive attitude. An open mind is one of the most important tools required for success in academia. If a student is negative and feels as is there is nothing of value to be gained by the college experience or this course, he or she will not do well in this course.

Student Code of Ethics and Conduct: Students must abide by the Student Code of Conduct published in the Grossmont College Catalogue 2006-2007 24-25. Students who obstruct the instructor’s ability to convey knowledge, or disrupt their fellow students’ ability to learn, will be dealt with under the terms delineated in the Grossmont College Student Code of Conduct. Such dealings may include, but are not limited to, warnings, written reprimands, disciplinary probations, instructor-initiated suspensions, terminations of financial aid, short or long-term suspensions from campus, and temporary or permanent expulsions. These consequences are serious and can easily be avoided.

Examples of disruptive activities that will not be tolerated are: repeated cell phone ringing, repeatedly falling asleep in class, excessive talking, texting, passing of notes, entering and leaving class several times during a session, verbal rudeness directed towards the instructor and/or other students, and non-verbal rudeness directed towards the instructor and/or other students. Finally, ACADEMIC DISHONESTY IS GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL FROM THE COURSE. If you are unsure of what academic dishonesty is, ask the instructor.

This instructor is charged with maintaining a positive learning experience for all students in this course, and that responsibility is a serious one. Disruptive behaviors will not be tolerated in this course.

Academic Integrity: Cheating and plagiarism (using as one’s own ideas, writings or materials of someone else without acknowledgement or permission) can result in any one of a variety of sanctions.  Such penalties may range from an adjusted grade on the particular exam, paper, project, or assignment to a failing grade in the course.  The instructor may also summarily suspend the student for the class meeting when the infraction occurs, as well as the following class meeting.  For further clarification and information on these issues, please consult with your instructor or contact the office of the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Students with disabilities who may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to notify the instructor and contact Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS) early in the semester so that reasonable accommodations may be implemented as soon as possible. Students may contact DSPS in person in room A-113 or by phone at (619) 660-4239 (voice) or (619) 660-4386 (TTY for deaf) or online at

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TIPS FOR SUCCESS IN THIS COURSE (Thanks to Professor June Yang):
  1. Be optimistic about your ability to learn from the textbook, the instructor, and each other.
  2. Do all homework. It will be collected every time, and spot-checked.
  3. Do all assigned reading.
  4. If you find you fall behind in your understanding, contact the instructor.
  5. Be prepared to spend time outside of class working on class material, doing readings, homework, preparing for quizzes and exams, etc.
  6. Have confidence in your ability to do the work.
  7. Ask questions if you don't understand something.
  8. Remember that you are gifted with more education and intelligence than many persons on this planet. If you try, you are sure to get it, or at least most of it!
  9. Remember that we are all here to learn.