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Course module: FRRMV16012
Topics in Hellenistic Philosophy
Course infoSchedule
Course codeFRRMV16012
ECTS Credits5
Category / LevelM (Master)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byFaculty of Humanities; Utrecht Graduate School of Humanities; Domein Filosofie en Religiewetenschap RMA;
Contact personM. Bonazzi
Contactperson for the course
M. Bonazzi
Other courses by this lecturer
A. Čelkytė
Other courses by this lecturer
Teaching period
2  (12/11/2018 to 25/01/2019)
Teaching period in which the course begins
Time slotA: MON-morning, TUE-afternoon, WED-morning
Study mode
RemarkCounts towards the fulfillment of the “Topics Seminar” requirement for RMA Philosophy students.
Enrolment periodfrom 22/10/2018 09:00 up to and including 23/10/2018 23:59
Course application processOsiris
Enrolling through OSIRISYes
Enrolment open to students taking subsidiary coursesYes
Waiting listNo
Course placement process(Sub)school
The intended purpose of this Topics Seminar is for the participating student  (1) to become familiar with positions taken in the current debates over the specific topic area of the course; (2) to appreciate the arguments for and against the positions; and (3) to develop an independent judgment about the most promising approach in this area. 
Specifically the course aims to provide: A firm grasp of the main theories presented: their nature and motivation, their differences and similarities; enhancement of the students’ ability to study and analyse the classical sources within their original context; improvement of skills in handling the scholarly literature and in using the material so as to be able to give an oral presentation and write an academic essay on a subject chosen in consultation with the professor.
This “Topics Seminar” explores in depth various texts related to a topic in the philosophy of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, periods that include  such schools as Stoicism, Epicureanism, Scepticism and Cynicism.
The specific topic and instructor(s) for the coming year will be announced in the spring.
Previous topic (2016-17): Philosophical and Medical Perspectives on Emotion (Epicurus, Galen, and the Stoics)  Contemporary philosophy witnesses an upsurge of interest in so-called cognitive theories (and therapies) of emotion, i.e. theories that view human emotion as (essentially, or in its core) a mode of thought. In Graeco-Roman antiquity most theories of emotion were cognitive in this sense. The most radical and sophisticated theory was developed by the Stoics and encapsulated in their dictum “emotions are judgments” (i.e. mistaken judgements). In this course we trace back the cognitivist approach to its Hellenistic sources, using both primary texts and secondary literature. The Stoa will hold centre stage: Chrysippus, Posidonius, Seneca, Epictetus. But we shall also consider the position held by their great opponent Epicurus and his followers and the attitude of Cynics and Sceptics. Moreover, we shall study the emotion theory of the doctor-cum-philosopher Galen of Pergamum (129-216). In addition, we shall take a closer look at those present-day positions and debates that fall back on, and in certain ways continue, the classic, cognitivist tradition.
This course is for Students History and Philosophy of Science, RMA Philosophy. Students of other MA-programmes, please contact the Course Coordinator. 
The entrance requirements for Exchange Students will be checked by International Office and the Programme coördinator. Therefore, you do not have to contact the Programme coördinator yourself.

Entry requirements
Prerequisite knowledge
Broad familiarity with undergraduate-level work in the areas covered in the course. Students from outside the RMA programme who have not completed MA or advanced undergraduate courses in this area should consult the instructor before enrolling.
Private study materials
Will be made available via Blackboard.
Required materials
Instructional formats

General remarks
The course is taught in the form of a seminars in which lecture, close reading, discussion, group work and presentations are integrated.

Class session preparation
Students are expect to have read carefully the required reading in advance of the seminar meeting and to be prepared to participate actively in the discussion of the texts and related issues.

Contribution to group work
Active participation, including taking responsibility for the discussions in groups.

Active participation
Test weight0
Minimum grade-

Test weight70
Minimum grade-

In the final paper, to be submitted ultimately one week after the end of the course, this historical background has to be incorporated in a systematic discussion of a problem from the range of topics discussed in the course.
Historical knowledge; handling of difficult philosophical texts; ability to raise and discuss philosophically significant questions.

During this course, students will have to work on a final paper. Writing this paper will take place in two steps: after the fourth week, students will do a take-home tentamen. This is exploratory in nature, and discusses relevant historical background for the topic of the final paper.

Take-home prelim
Test weight30
Minimum grade-

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