Ancient Philosophy


a) to acquire a basic knowledge of the most important figures in ancient philosophical thought and of some of their texts.
b) to acquire a basic understanding of the specificity of ancient philosophy as a foundational moment in and the beginning of the philosophical tradition.
c) to acquire the ability to identify the most significant philosophical problems in ancient thought.
d) to acquire a basic knowledge of the main lines of development of ancient philosophy.
e) to acquire a basic ability to place concepts, methodological strategies and doctrinal positions in the historical context to which they belong.
f) to acquire a basic understanding of ancient philosophical terminology and its role in the genesis of philosophical terminology.
g) to acquire a basic ability to read and interpret some key texts of ancient philosophy.
h) to recognize the importance of the study of ancient philosophy for the understanding of current philosophical issues.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

António Jorge de Castro Caeiro


Weekly - 4

Total - 168

Teaching language



Not applicable


2002: A Areté como Possibilidade Extrema do Humano. Fenomenologia da Práxis em Platão e Aristóteles. INCM. Lisboa.
2019: ARISTÓTELES. Ética a Nicómaco. Introdução, tradução e notas de António de Castro Caeiro. 6ª Edição. Quetzal. Lisboa. (1ª ed.: 2002)
2016: Caeiro, António de Castro. «Plato’s Gorgias Eschathological myth». In Maria José Velasquez, Greek Philosophy and Mystery Cults, (pp. 51-68). Oxford, OUP.
2014: ARISTÓTELES. Fragmentos dos Diálogos e Obras Exortativas. Introdução, tradução e notas de António de Castro Caeiro. Lisboa, INCM.

Teaching method

(a) Most classes are expository, allowing and promoting the students intervention, in order to clarify the reading of relevant passages from the texts under analysis.(b) Some classes are taught in the so-called seminar regime, i.e., they consist of reading, commenting and text analysis (using pdf projected by computer).(c) Finally, some classes consist of discussing with students the subject matters already presented and the problems raised. 

Evaluation method

At the end of the semester, the final exame(70%), Class Attendence(10%), In the middle of the semester one exam (20%)

Subject matter

Arete as extreme possibility of humans
Philosophy for Plato and Aristotle is a program for transforming humans into beings configured by extreme possibilities (excellences, aretai). Both seek to understand the relationship of humans with the multiple realities that appear to us, the way they are constituted, seeking, therefore, to make sense of it and obtain transparency of the situation that is to be alive, to exist. The search for truth is not just to understand intellectually what is going on but to wake us up to ways of being and ways of existing that would otherwise remain dormant. We will try to see in this semester not only in theory what philosophy is but how Plato and Aristotle see the transformation of human beings in their practical situation as a way of life. We will be reading and commenting on Aristotle (Metaphysics I, II; Nicomachean Ethics I, VI; Dialogues) and Plato (Protagoras, Gorgias, Republic, Phaedo, Phaedo, Banquet)


Programs where the course is taught: