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Joint Program Reading Lists & Examinations

Philosophy

Reading List
Teaching and research in any area of ancient philosophy require familiarity with certain core texts and problems. The Reading List, which reflects these needs, comprises major texts from the Presocratics and Plato to Aristotle and Sextus Empiricus. It should be a major focus of your study during your three years of coursework. Some of this work will be covered in seminars and other courses, but much of it you must study independently. The Reading List is also the basis for a translation examination which members of the Joint Program must pass before advancing to candidacy.

A. Presocratics, Socrates, Plato

1. Presocratics: "B-fragments" of Xenophanes, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Melissus, Empedocles, and Anaxagoras, in Diels-Kranz, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker (7th ed.)
2. Plato: Euthyphro, Crito, Meno
3. Plato: Phaedo
4. Plato (selections): Republic I (331e-35d, 338c-54c), II (357a-62c), IV (427c-45e), V (474b-80a), VI-VII (504b-21a).
5. Plato: Theaetetus

B. Aristotle and Scepticism

1. Aristotle: Categories 1-9, De Interpretatione, Posterior Analytics 1.1-4, 1.13, 2.1, 2.16-19
2. Aristotle: Physics I-II
3. Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics I-III.5
4. Aristotle: Metaphysics Z and H
5. Sextus Empiricus: Outlines of Pyrrhonism I

Classics students in the Joint Program have a very similar reading list.

Exams
Members of the Joint Program must pass a written translation exam before advancing to candidacy, preferably by the end of the third year in the UT graduate program. A candidate who fails this exam may petition the Joint Program Committee for permission to take the exam again.

Candidates specify two items on the list above, one from each set of texts (A and B). The exam consists of six passages (three from each item), and examinees are allotted three hours to translate two from each item. Exams are prepared and evaluated by a sub-committee of the Joint Program Committee. To schedule an exam, contact the Director.

A Bibliography for Ancient Philosophy listing standard texts and some major scholarship is also available from the Director of the Joint Program.

Classics

Ancient Philosophy Reading List
Teaching and research in any area of ancient philosophy require familiarity with certain core texts and problems. The Reading List, which reflects these needs, comprises major texts from the Presocratics and Plato to Aristotle and Sextus Empiricus. It should be a major focus of your study while doing coursework. Some of this work will be covered in seminars and other courses, but much of it you must study independently.

A. Presocratics, Socrates, Plato

  • Presocratics: "B-fragments" of Xenophanes, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Melissus, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Protagoras, and Gorgias in Diels-Kranz, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker (7th ed.)
  • Plato: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo, Symposium, Theaetetus
    Note: Apology and Symposium are also on the Classics reading list.
  • Plato (selections): Republic I, IV-VII, and X
    Note: Republic X is also on the Classics reading list.

B. Aristotle and Hellenistic Philosophy

  • Aristotle: Categories 1-9, Physics I-II, Nicomachean Ethics I-III.5
    Note: Poetics is on the Classics reading list but not covered by this exam.
  • Cicero: Academica II, De Finibus I and III, Somnium Scipionis
    Note: Somnium Scipionis (from De Re Publica VI) is also on the Classics reading list.
  • Sextus Empiricus: Outlines of Pyrrhonism I

Philosophy students in the Joint Program have a very similar reading list.

Ancient Philosophy Exam
Members of the Joint Program must pass a three-hour written exam before advancing to candidacy. A candidate who fails the exam may petition the Joint Program Committee for permission to retake it. The exam covers texts on the Reading List above. It has two parts:

  • two commentaries on excerpts from works on the Reading List. Candidates select one excerpt from each set of texts (A and B);
  • two essays on general questions covering material on the Reading List. Candidates select one question covering each set of texts (A and B).

Each exam is allotted three hours. To schedule an exam, contact the Director. Exams are prepared and evaluated by a sub-committee of the Joint Program Committee.

The Bibliography for Ancient Philosophy distributed every Fall in CC 180K lists principal texts and some major scholarship. Ask the Director of the Joint Program for a current copy. For specific advice and suggestions, consult the Director and other Joint Program faculty.

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