History of Ancient Philosophy (2020/2021)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Alessandro Stavru
Alessandro Stavru
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Other available courses
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 2A dal Feb 15, 2021 al Apr 1, 2021.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

KNOWLEDGE The course aims at offering in-depth knowledge of the basic subjects, authors and schools of ancient philosophy (6th Century bC-529 aD), thus allowing students to deepen their knowledge of the history of a fundamental phase of Western philosophy and its most important concepts.

SKILLS At the end of the course, students will be able: to consider ancient philosophical texts within their proper historical-critical perspective; to approach them from viable hermeneutical points of view; and to judge critically and by themselves the subjects and the authors treated in classes. This will also enable them to compare some topics of ancient philosophy with contemporary subjects and authors. Students will also develop the capacity to communicate philosophical contents to specialists and non-specialists alike, and the capacity to continue their studies at a higher level.


Title and content of the course: "Appearance and truth in ancient philosophy".

In ancient thought, the link between appearance and truth implies a dialectic between an inner (mostly invisible) and an outer (or visible) dimension. Such distinction is attested in Greek culture since the Homeric poems and archaic lyric, is developed among the Pythagoreans and the Sophists becomes important with Socrates and the first-generation Socratics (including Plato and Xenophon), and is then tackled by Aristotle. We will examine the seminal moments of this development, delving into topics largely debated in ancient philosophy such as the dialectic between opinion and knowledge, the coincidence of virtue and beauty, and the link between ethos and pathos.
The course will provide a shared reading of texts dealing with the relationship between appearance and truth in ancient philosophy: students will be involved in discussing these texts and, where possible, developing a critical approach to them.

A) A. Stavru, Il potere dell’apparenza, Napoli, Loffredo 2011.
B) Course reserve with texts by Euripides, Gorgias, Plato, Xenophon, Aristotle, and secondary literature dealing with the topics and the authors discussed in class. The course reserve is available at the copy shop ateneo æmme edizioni, Lungadige Porta Vittoria, 37.

Non-attending students will bring the same texts as attending students, to which they will add one more text (to be agreed with the instructor).

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Alessandro Stavru Il potere dell'apparenza Loffredo 2011

Assessment methods and criteria

Teaching method: The course will be held in accordance with the provisions on COVID-19 issued by the University of Verona. The course includes lessons and seminars in which texts will be read and discussed. Attendance is therefore useful, but not mandatory. Given the unpredictability of the health emergency, lessons will be recorded via panopto/e-learning/zoom and uploaded on the Moodle platform. In case of specific provisions issued by the University of Verona, these lessons may eventually replace the teaching in presence.

Office hour: Throughout the academic year, the instructor is available either in his room, or via e-mail, or via Zoom/Skype.

Evaluation method: The student will be interviewed orally or via Zoom (depending on the developments of the health emergency). Students can choose a topic from which they can start their exam (such choice must be communicated to the teacher by e-mail at least one week before the date of the exam).