Wisdom of Classical Philosophy – PHI 501


This course surveys the origins and outcomes of the early thinkers who have come to be associated with the very core and foundations of Classical Philosophy. It begins with a study of the Pre-Socratic thinkers and traces the evolution of the concepts of consciousness as developed by some of the world’s greatest philosophers. Through a study of Pre-Socratic philosophers we glimpse into the origins and early development of philosophy, which later led to a system of thought developed by Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus and Proclus. These ageless insights into the nature of man and the world are profound as well as lastingly beautiful.




This course is divided into ten, one-hour sessions. The introductory session, The Beginning: Thales, Anaximander & Anaximenes as Understood by Aristotle and Aetius, is presented in both audio and video format to better acquaint the student with the instructor.

Session 1 The Beginning: Thales, Anaximander & Anaximenes as Understood by Aristotle and Aetius
Session 2 The Wisdom of Heraclitus and Empedocles Explained
Session 3 The Eleatics: Parmenides, Zeno and Melissus Revisited

Plato’s Philosophy
Session 4 The Apology: The Divine Mission of Socrates
Session 5 The Phaedo: The Separation of the Soul as the Condition for Wisdom
Session 6 The Central Idea of Hellenic Thought: Plato’s Ion and the First Book of Plato’s Republic
Session 7 The Symposium: The Steps Leading to the Vision of Reality
Session 8 Plato’s Timaeus

Session 9 Plotinus: An Exploration of Philosophy as Mysticism and Beauty
Session 10 Proclus: The First Systematic Philosophy and Pseudo-Dionysius



Outcome 1: Students will be able to identify and describe the fundamental insights and problems of Ancient Philosophy through the writings of its classical philosophers, such as Parmenides, Thales, Heraclitus, Zeno, Anaximenes, Plato and Proclus.

Outcome 2: Students will gain the explicatio du text approach to the study of philosophy by acquiring the ability to enter into Classical Thought. The student demonstrates in writing the ability to use the following skills:
(a) Learning the thoughts of another
(b) Listening to the other
(c) Learning and understanding as the other has
(d) Appreciating the other’s vision

Outcome 3: As a consequence of being able to apply the explicatio du text approach to the study of spiritual traditions and “system thoughts” students will:
(a) Recognize that their own spiritual quest will be enhanced by learning to participate in the thought patterns of those philosophers whose thought most clearly provided us with a direction for the spiritual path.
(b) Write statements demonstrating an applied proficiency in (3a).



Pierre Grimes, Ph.D. – Comparative Philosophy, University of the Pacific, California. Professor of Philosophy, Golden West College. President, the Noetic Society, Inc. Director, Open Mind Academy. Author of “Is It All Relative” and “Philosophical Midwifery.”