AP/PHIL2015 3.0 A: Plato and Aristotle

Offered by: PHIL

(Cross-listed to: AP/CLST2015 3.0A )


Fall 2019






Calendar Description / Prerequisite / Co-Requisite

An examination of some of the most influential and enduringly relevant works of Plato and Aristotle, the two great pillars of western philosophy, demonstrating how all modern philosophy has its roots in their corpus. Course credit exclusion: GL/PHIL 2630 6.00.

Course Website

Many courses utilize Moodle, York University's course website system. If your course is using Moodle, refer to the image below to access it.

    Additional Course Instructor/Contact Details

Professor S. Rodde


Office Location:  S417 Ross

Phone Number:  (416) 736-2100 Ext. 40901

Office Hours:  TBA

    Expanded Course Description

This course is an introduction to the thought of Plato (427-348 BCE) and Aristotle (384-322 BCE), two of the most brilliant and influential thinkers in the history of western philosophy. We will read most of Plato’s Republic, one of the greatest texts in the history of philosophy, as well as selections from the works of Aristotle. Our goal is to understand their views on a range of topics, including the nature of the soul and its relation to the body, the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom, causation and explanation, and the good life for human beings. We will also try to achieve a broader understanding of Greek philosophy by relating Plato’s and Aristotle’s views to those of their predecessors and, if time permits, to their successors. No prior knowledge of ancient Greek philosophy is required.

    Required Course Text / Readings
  • Republic. Trans. by G.M.A. Grube. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company,1992.
  • Aristotle: Selected Readings. Trans. by Terence Irwin and Gail Fine. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995.
    Weighting of Course

Reflective Summary (1). . .  25% (Due before material is covered in lecture)

Online Commentaries (10) . .5% (Due before material covered in lecture)

Essay (1). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40%

Tutorial Participation . . . . .  10%

Final Exam. . . .  . . . . . . . . . 20%

    Organization of the Course

Lectures and tutorials

    Course Learning Objectives

By the end of this course you will have read selections from the works of Plato and Aristotle and you should have a basic familiarity with their views. In addition you should have developed your ability to:


  • Read and understand difficult and challenging texts
  • Critically assess the strength and weakness of arguments
  • Appreciate unfamiliar ideas and points of view
  • Express yourself clearly in discussion
  • Write clearly, concisely and effectively in support of your claims
    Additional Information / Notes

Reflective Summary:

Students are required to submit a reflective summary on the readings. The reflective summary should be no more than 1500 words in length, and has two parts. The summary should bring out the most important points in the reading. The reflection should address an interpretive or evaluative issue raised by that reading. This summary must be submitted before the material is covered in lecture.


Online Commentaries:

Students are expected to submit 10 very short commentaries on the readings, with no more than one commentary per week. Each commentary should be between 200 and 250 words in length and will typically involve a very brief discussion of a key concept/distinction/problem from the readings. Each commentary will be submitted electronically on Moodle before the material has been covered in lecture.

Each commentary will be worth 0.5% of the final grade and will be marked using the excelente/regular/deficente scale.


Students are expected to write and essay on a topic that will be given in class. The essay should be no more than 2000 words in length. The essay will be marked by your TA. Your mark will be based on a general impression of the essay’s quality



Tutorial attendance is mandatory. Tutorial participation is worth 10% of your final mark and will be awarded by your TA.


Final Exam:

The final exam will deal with all the material covered in the course. The date will be determined by the Registrar.

    Relevant Links / Resources