Ontology - 1st semester


Acquire a basic ability to:
a) understand the meaning and specificity of Ontology as a major component of philosophical tradition and a current field of research;
b) understand why Ontology is the sought after science (zêtoumenê epistêmê);
c) understand the interlinking between Ontology and the other branches of philosophy;
d) understand the interlinking between Ontology and the various branches of science;
e) understand the various approaches that have been taken in trying to provide an answer to ontological questions and to reach the zêtoumenê êpistemê;
f) understand that the zêtoumenê epistêmê may perhaps remain out of reach;
g) understand the most important ontological concepts;
h) understand, compare and use these concepts critically and independently;
i) independently interpret and discuss doctrinal views in this research field;

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Mário Jorge Carvalho


Weekly - 4

Total - Available soon

Teaching language



Not applicable


Burnet, J. (Ed.) (1902). Platonis Opera, T. IV. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Burnet, J./Duke, E. A. (Ed.) (1986). Platonis Opera, T. IV. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Slings, S. R. (Ed.) (2003). Platonis Rempublicam recognovit brevique adnotatione critica instruxit S. R. S. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Adam, J. (Ed.) (1902). The Republic of Plato. Cambridge: University Press, 2 vols.
Shorey, P. (Ed.) (1946). Plato The Republic. London/Cambridge (Mass.): Heinemann/Harvard University Press, 2 vols.
Emlyn-Jones (Ed.) (2013). Plato Republic. London/Cambridge (Mass.): Heinemann/Harvard University Press, 2 vols.
Chambry, E. (Ed.) (1933). Platon La République. Paris: Belles Lettres, 3 vols., suc. reed.
Vegetti, M. (Ed.) (1998-2007). Platone La Repubblica. Napoli: Bibliopolis, 7 vols.
Radice, R. /Reale, G. (Ed.) (2009). Platone Repubblica. Milano: Bompiani.
Schleiermacher, F./Kurz, D. (Ed.) (2001). Platon Werke 4: Der Staat. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.

Teaching method

This curricular unit has a theoretical-practical character.
The teaching methodology combines:
a) the theoretical analysis of philosophical problems and concepts
b) a thorough interpretation of the philosophical texts in question (with special emphasis both on their connection with the problems and concepts under discussion, and on interpretive issues, etc.)
c) the discussion of alternative views, objections, counterexamples, etc.

This curricular unit is designed to give participants the experience of working, as it were, in the “laboratory” of philosophical thought. Particular emphasis is also put on the discussion of questions, objections, related issues, etc. during office hours.

Evaluation method

Individual evaluation. Obligatory written exam (2/3). Each student will have to present a written work on an approved topic and discuss it with the lecturer (1/3).

Subject matter

Introduction to ontological problematics – Plato and the discovery of the metaxy

How does pre-scientific everyday consciousness leave room for the pursuit of missing knowledge, and notably for the pursuit of knowledge in scientific disciplines? And how do scientific disciplines in turn leave room for the pursuit of knowledge of all reality? How is there any room for Ontology as a sought-after science? Is there any need for this kind of knowledge? And what is Ontology about?
Our discussion of these issues is based on Plato’s discovery
a) that there is something between knowledge and ignorance viz. between reality and nothing (a metaxy sophias kai amathias viz. tou ontos kai tou mê ontos)
b) that both everyday consciousness, and scientific (or indeed philosophical) thought are stuck in this metaxy and leave room for the pursuit of missing knowledge.
The analysis of this set of problems follows the path of discovery of the metaxy portrayed in books V, VI and VII of the Republic.


Programs where the course is taught: