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Sunrise Senior College Online Course Registration

E2104 - The Origins of Western Philosophy in the Pre-Socratics

with Joel Wilcox


Western philosophy began c. 600 BC in ancient Greece, with a group known as the Pre-Socratics, since almost all of them predated the philosopher Socrates. One of them, Pythagoras, is well-known, but most of the others (excepting possibly Heraclitus) are obscure.  Following a brief, preliminary discussion of the nature of philosophy, this class will examine how the Pre-Socratics invented it.  Prior to philosophy, both the culture and the mental life of the Greek world were based on war, music, poetry (notably that of Homer), myth, and religion.  Large-scale political developments of the time not only created a "safe space" for, but actually encouraged, a radical new way of thinking.  It is fascinating to see how the earliest philosophers more or less made it up as they went along, using the very limited conceptual resources available to them from their culture, and brilliantly making up new concepts, or redefining existing words, as these moves became necessary in order to arrive at a radically new, rational way to engage with the world.

Instructor:  Dr. Wilcox has a PhD in philosophy, with a specialty in the Pre-Socratics.  He taught Greek philosophy for more than 30 years. 

Class Information:  The location for this class has been changed to Science 102.


This class is Free to SSC members whose Membership is current (2021-2022 year).  If you are a current member of another Maine Senior College (other than SSC), there is a fee of $5.00 to cover online registration administrative fees.  If you are not a current member of either SSC or MSCN, there is a fee of $10.00 to cover online registration administrative fees.

  • Jul 13th, 2021
    Tue from 2:00 - 4:00 pm

    Will run

UMM Science 102

207 255-1384

Machias, ME 04654

Location map for UMM Science 102

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