Postgraduate Course: Epicurus and Epicureanism (PGHC11181)
|School||School of History, Classics and Archaeology
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||An advanced introductory survey of Ancient Epicureanism. Students will mainly use source materials in translation. When students have the requisite language skills, they may also work from original Greek and Latin sources.
Ancient Epicureanism was one of the main philosophical schools of Antiquity, and the one whose outlook, at least superficially, is the most comparable to modern popular attitudes on life, death, morality and justice. The course will aim to provide an accurate picture of Ancient Epicureanism, including areas where it does not match up to current attitudes.
List of weekly lectures or presentations, by topic
1. The Man and his School: a) biography b) school c) nature of our evidence
2. Philosophy before Epicurus: a) Democritean Atomism b) Ethics and Pleasure
3. Epicurus on scientific method.
4. Atoms and void: Epicurean atomism.
5. Pleasure and Ethics.
6. Mortality: Soul and Body.
7. Agency and Freedom.
8. Society, friendship and free speech (parrhesia).
9. Cosmology and anti-teleology.
10. Gods and Religion.
After the first three sessions, presented by the lecturer, students will be asked to research and present one topic each. Normally, this will then lead to their essay, although students are not obliged to write on the topic if they wish to pursue something else. Each session should last for about 1h30 - 2hrs, consisting of about one hour of lecturing, followed by group discussion. The lecturer will cover all topics not assigned to a student.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
|Additional Costs|| 1 course text, A.A. Long and D. Sedley, The Hellenistic Philosophers, vol. 1
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2022/23, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||100% based on one essay of 4000 words on a topic to be arranged between student and course organiser.
No marks are awarded for the presentation
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate in seminars and the essay a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning Ancient Epicureanism, including close, historically informed reading of philosophical texts
- Demonstrate in seminars and the essay an ability to analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship concerning ancient Epicureanism, primary source materials concerning Epicurus and his school, conceptual discussions about modern and ancient ideals; the use of philosophical doctrine as a guide to practical conduct and philosophical allegiance within the Greco-Roman world and the links between ancient philosophy and religion
- Demonstrate in seminar participation and the essay an ability to understand and apply specialised research or professional skills, techniques and practices considered in the course
- Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form in seminar discussions, presentations by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course, including awareness of the difficulties of dealing with fragmentary texts
- Demonstrate in seminar discussions, presentations, and the essay originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy
|* Algra, K., Barnes, J., Mansfeld, J., and Schofield, M. eds. (1999) The Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy, Cambridge (CHCP: chapters 8, 11, 12, 16 and 20 deal directly with Epicureanism, while others do in part)|
Clay, D. (1998) Paradosis and Survival: three Chapters in the History of Epicurean philosophy, Ann Arbor
Cooper, J. (2012) Pursuits Of Wisdom, Princeton [general history of ancient ethics/the good life: 'Epicurean life' on pp. 226-76]
Erler, M. (1994) "Epikur" and "Die Schule Epikurs" in H. Flashar, ed. Die Hellenistische philosophie, Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie, Basel, vol. 4/1, 29-490
Furley, D., ed.(1997), From Aristotle to Augustine, London, (pp. 188-221 by S. Everson on Epicureanism)
Long, A.A. (1974) Hellenistic Philosophy, London (Epicurus is pp. 14-74)
* Morel, P.M.(2006) 'Epicureanism' in M.L. Gill and P. Pellegrin eds. (2006) A Companion to Ancient Philosophy, London
* O'Keefe, T. (2010) Epicureanism, Acumen/Durham
Rist, J. (1972) Epicurus, Cambridge
Sedley, D, (1998) Lucretius and the Transformation of Greek Wisdom, Cambridge (ch. 4 attempts a reconstruction of On Nature)
Sharples, R.W. (1996) Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics, ch. 1, London
* Warren, J. (2010) The Cambridge Companion to Epicureanism, Cambridge (=CCE)
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Dr Simon Trepanier
Tel: (0131 6)50 3589
|Course secretary||Miss Danielle Jeffery
Tel: (0131 6)50 7128