PH217 Ancient & Medieval Philosophy

for F1OO 2012

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PH 217 Ancient & Medieval Philosophy


F1OO 2012 WO


Gifford, Matthew D.


Adjunct Faculty


Class Days


Class Time

5:00 - 10:20 PM

Credit Hours


Anthony Kenny, A New History of Western Philosophy, by Oxford
University Press. ISBN-13: 978-0199589883

Additional Resources:

Good Secondary Books Yet Not Required:


Bertrand Russell: History of Western Philosophy (about 12 bucks).

Frederick Copleston: A History of Philosophy (10 vols., about 15 bucks each).

Robert C. Solomon: A Short Introduction to Philosophy: The Big Questions (70 bucks).

Robert M. Martin: The Philosopher’s Dictionary. (10-15 bucks)

Also, go to google books and search for “Introduction to Philosophy” and you will find 3-4 decent secondary books from 100 years ago.  These are more helpful than you realize.


Good Websites:


Here are websites I trust.  You should spend some time on them at the beginning of the semester, as they are a great place to turn when you have questions.  They range from basic to technical, as some are simply Philosophical dictionaries and others encyclopedias with 20 page articles.

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information

Course Description:
PH 217 Ancient and Medieval Philosophy : A survey of the central figures of classical and medieval philosophy, including the early Greek thinkers, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas. Their contributions to the development of science, religious thought, and social and political theory are studied. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:
Class time will be spent in lectures and discussions.  The lecture material will be based on readings from the book and other sources, such as, websites and handouts.  However, it is up to the student to be prepared for the lecture.  Discussions are vital to philosophy and religion courses, not to mention the fact that you have 2 options: 1) I can talk for 5 hours each session or 2) there can be a lively discussion about questions and topics you care about from the reading that are germane to the course material.  The choice is yours. 

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand the context in which philosophy began.
  2. Read and understand the major philosophers in the Ancient and Medieval era.
  3. See how the flow of ideas began and how each philosopher built on or reacted against another thinker.
  4. Be able to describe and defend your beliefs about the major ideas and arguments at the foundation of Western thought, such as: Ultimate Reality, Knowledge, Skepticism, the Soul and Philosophy of Religion.
  5. Compare and contrast the views of the Pre-Socratics with Socrates and Plato and Aristotle's reaction to Plato.
  6. Compare and contrast how the Christian and Islamic Philosophers read Aristotle and applied him to their God.
Class Assessment:

There will be 2 tests given in this class.  They should fall on the days scheduled in this syllabus, however, I cannot promise this.  I will tell you at the end of the night if there will be a test the following week and answer any questions you have about it from the review.  Any time you miss a class or even a portion of a class it is your responsibility to get notes from someone in the class and ask them about upcoming tests. 

The test will probably consist of multiple-choice questions, true/false, fill in the blank and matching, and probably a few essay questions. Each test is worth 100 points and 25% of your final grade.

The test will be given at the beginning of class and you will have 1 hour for the test.  If you miss the test given in class there will be a 25 point deduction from test grade.  If not taken by the start of class, one week after the test was given, I will not grade the test.  I cannot stress how much of a problem it is for all involved when you miss a test, and therefore you should be in class when they are given. The only make up time for a missed test is the following week an hour before class starts at 4pm.

Only in cases of death of a loved one, personal illness or military orders will I consider revoking any point deduction & due date, AND documentation with a date on it will be required.  I reserve the right to make the final decision on any and all cases involving a missed tests and point deductions.  You should email me prior to the test if you feel you might miss it, if not before the test, asap after because if you wait till the week after the test you will have failed it.  Test must be taken before I give it in class in any case where you knew you would not be able to make it, there will be no point deductions for test taken early. 


About half way through the semester we will have a discussion about topics you are considering for your paper.  While most anything we talk about in the semester or reading in the text is a possible paper topic it cannot be something too general.  There is no better way to study for a test than to write a paper on the topic, so if you feel you want to write a paper on a topic from the first part of the semester then please talk to me about your topic before you write it. 

Some research will have to be done for this paper, we will go over some good online resources in class & it is expected that you will quote your textbook and at least 2 other sources.  I do not care if you use APA, MLA or Chicago for your formatting, however, one must be used and used correctly so use the one with which you are most comfortable.  We will go over some of this in class as well if you have questions.  BECAUSE if you do not format your paper correctly chances are you will violate one of the schools plagiarism policies and you will receive a 0 on the paper and be turned into the office. 

This paper should be should be 6 pages of text in length and after a great introduction with a strong thesis statement cover a basic summary, an in depth look at your topic, historical criticism & a conclusion.  Please note that title pages and bibliography do not count towards page length.  It is worth 100 points (and 25% of your final grade), and is due 2 weeks before the final on Week 6. 

These papers will be graded on a basic strike policy.  I am looking for 8 specific things:

1.     Strong thesis statement in italics (because if you cannot find it ... neither can I!),

2.     Minimum required sources used,

3.     Dialog with sources both primary and secondary (do not just throw in a quote, tie it in, talk about it, agree or disagree with it),

4.     Your thoughts in a “Something our society needs to remember from this” section before the conclusion (also in italics),

5.     Correctly formatted (1 inch margins, double spaced, 12 pt font),

6.     Page length (as long as it is not half a paper),

7.     Topic relates to class.

8.     Turned in on time. 

Each of these things that I do not find will be a strike against your grade worth 7-10 points.  I do reserve the right to add a few points for things like originality.


On Week 6 you will turn in your paper.  I will return them on Week 7, and on Week 8 after the final you will give 20 min presentation over your paper topic.  Feel free to be as creative as you want but this is not required.  At minimum you should cover your paper topic with summary or by reading your paper and then expand on how it relates to the rest of the semester topics and philosophers. 

The criteria are: it must be about one of the philosophical topics examined in the class, must be at least 20 mins., it must have some kind of Q&A or dialog building part (it must invoke classroom discussion), and there must be some thesis to it (you must have a point, explain it and defend it).  Feel free to incorporate PowerPoint, clips, sound bites, pictures, charts, whatever (it would be wise to try it out any technology before the day of the presentation).

This is worth 100 points and 25% of your final grade.  There can be no late presentations. 



A student’s grade will be determined according to the following breakdown and scale:

                                                Tests:                                      25% Each

                                                Paper:                                     25%

                                                         Presentation:                           25%

                                   A 90-100%     B 80-89%       C 70-79%       D 60-69%       F 0-59%

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Test have one week to be made up and there will be a point deduction (25 Points!), NOTE, this means if you miss a test, you must make it up at 4PM BEFORE the next class starts. 

See test section for more details.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Attendance and contribution is necessary to gain the full experience of an education.  Therefore, students are required to attend each class session.  While you are required to be in class your children and cell phones are not suppose to be.  I cannot stress enough how much it will irritate me if I catch you texting or on Facebook in the middle of my lecture (or anything else).  Please do not disrespect me or your classmates by doing this.  Do not be surprised if I ask you to step outside and finish your texting.  Also, while in my class I expect you to be working on my material and not another classes, please do not work on anything in my class that is not germane to my class.   Please be prepared to have lively discussions in class, to do this you must read before you come.  No listening to music either. 

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Week 1: Intro

Week 2: Pre-Socratics

Week 3: Soc & Plato

Week 4: Aristotle

Week 5: TEST, Stoics and Epicureans

Week 6: Skeptics & Islamic Philosophy

Week 7: PAPER DUE, Christian Philosophers

Week 8: Final & Conversation

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 98
Attendance and contribution is necessary to gain the full experience of an education.  Therefore, students are required to attend each class session.  However, I realize that you are adults and can make your own decisions and so an absence is understandable.  With that said missing more than 2 class sessions will be considered excessive and may result in the student being withdrawn from the class.
For a once a week class (8 week semester): missing 2 will result in administrative withdrawal.

While you are required to be in class your children and cell phones are not suppose to be as illustrated in the handbook.  I cannot stress enough how much it will irritate me if I catch you texting or on Facebook in the middle of my lecture (or anything else).  Please do not disrespect me or your classmates by doing this.  Do not be surprised if I ask you to step outside and finish your texting.  Also, while in my class I expect you to be working on my material and not another classes, please do not work on anything in my class that is not germane to my class.  Please be prepared to have lively discussions in class, to do this you must read before you come.  No listening to music either.  

After the 3rd time I ask you to stop texting during the semester we will have to talk about if you want to stay in the class or not.

Tardy is considered showing up after I have finished taking attendance.  I will not remove your name from the absent list if you show up tardy.  

There really are no excused absences … you are either here or you are not.  Yes, in cases of Military orders or being in the hospital I will work with you, but I am the judge of what is acceptable.  But it is still your responsibility to get notes from someone in class and catch up.  And any school policy supersedes mine and you must talk to the office when you miss too many by their standards no matter what I say.

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .

Additional Information:



Syllabi may be modified at any time
without prior notice; however, I will probably give you a copy of changed


Some people think that Philosophy
and Religion classes are hard, I understand this, that is why I truly care if
you think my class is fair.  Based on
this, the test will reflect primarily classroom discussions, so whatever we
talk about in class is what will show up on the test.  I encourage you to always tell me on the
answer sheet if you thought a test question was unfair, not covered in class,
or a trick question (or vague).  The
textbook should be read before you come to class so that we can have better
discussions during the class time.  This
is why it is critical for you to get notes from someone in class whenever you



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Last Updated:8/2/2012 3:36:54 PM