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JMU in Ancient Greece: 2018

On location in Samos, Paros, Delos, Santorini, Athens, Mycenae, Delphi, Greece, Turkey


We invite you to join us in an exploration of the world of the Ancient Greeks. Our program will consist of two main parts: half will be devoted to providing a broad overview of Ancient Greek philosophy and history, and half will focus on more specific Ancient Greek philosophical puzzles and paradoxes. No background in any of these fields is necessary. All that’s required is your own intellectual curiosity about the Ancient World, as well as a desire to visit many of sites we’ll be discussing.

In addition to the time spent on the courses—classroom lectures and discussions, as well as group activities and site visits—we’ve also structured the program to allow you the freedom to explore on your own during our non-class periods. Though you will be spending some of this time reading and preparing for the classroom activities, there will also be opportunities for interacting with the locals, hiking, or simply relaxing on the beach. As you’ll find, Greece has plenty to offer.

Now for a bit more on the academic side of the program. Each student will receive credit for two 3-credit courses: PHIL 101 (Introduction to Philosophy:  Ancient Greek Puzzles and Paradoxes), and PHIL 240  (Greek Philosophy in Context). It may be possible to have one or both classes count towards requirements in other majors or programs (Classics, General Education, or the B.A. Philosophy requirement, for instance), but you’ll need to clear that with us first.

Professor Bolyard will cover the beginnings of philosophy and history of the Ancient world, and we’ll focus on some of the enduring questions of philosophy:  What is real, and what is illusion?  What is the proper goal of a good life?  To what extent do we owe things to our country?  In addition, we’ll read Hesiod and excerpts from some of the earliest historians, Herodotus and Thucydides.    

Professor Goodman’s course will be a topical introduction to the study of philosophy, and the topics we’ll discuss will all center around, or at least be directly traceable back to, some puzzles and paradoxes first formulated by some ancient Greek thinkers. Is motion possible? Zeno’s Paradox suggests it isn’t!  Must every statement be either true or false?  Aristotle thought so, but the Liar Paradox suggests that cannot be!  There cannot be two separate objects occupying the same space at the same time, right?  Chrysippus' Puzzle seems to show otherwise!  We’ll not only be thinking about what the Ancients had to say about interesting questions such as these concerning the nature of reality, knowledge, and how language works, but how certain contemporary philosophers go about trying to resolve these issues.

Instructional methods include lectures, guided tours, journal assignments and/or papers, and exams. Students will enroll in both classes for a total of 6 credit hours. Students should be in relatively good physical shape, since we will be visiting many ancient sites that require walking on uneven ground up steep hills. Students should also be able to swim.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We’d be excited to tell you more about our program!

(JMU in Ancient Greece is offered every other year, from mid-May to mid-June)

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