Historical Development of Philosophy

Course Term: Spring Ahead Term 3: Jan. 17 - Mar. 10, 2023


Anthony Pasqualoni
Adjunct Instructor
Department of Philosophy

Course Description and Learning Outcomes:

Students will gain an understanding of the history of Western philosophy by studying texts from significant philosophers in three historical periods.

Learning Outcomes:

1. The student will apply critical thinking competences to philosophical problems and texts.

2. The student will develop writing skills by composing an essay, submitting weekly discussion posts, and completing a written exam.

3. The student will learn how to apply philosophical and critical thinking to current events and issues.

Required Texts:


Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo
by Plato (Author), John M. Cooper (Editor), G. M. A. Grube (Translator)
Hackett Publishing Company; 2nd edition (October 1, 2002). ISBN-13: 978-0872206335

The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories
by Leo Tolstoy (Author), Richard Pevear (Translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translator)
Publisher: Vintage; First Vintage edition (October 5, 2010). ISBN-13: 978-0307388865

Additional texts will be provided online

Course Schedule:

I. Ancient Philosophy: Weeks 1-2

Week 1 Jan. 17-20: Read and discuss the general introduction (pp. ix-x) and the Apology (pp. 21-44) in Plato: Five Dialogues.

Week 2 Jan. 23-27: Read and discuss Meno (pp. 58-92) in Plato: Five Dialogues.

II. Medieval Philosophy: Week 3

Week 3 Jan. 30-Feb. 3: Read and discuss the excerpt from The Alchemy of Happiness by al-Ghazali (text will be provided online).

III. Modern Philosophy: Weeks 4-7

Weeks 4-5 Feb. 6-17: Read and discuss The Death of Ivan Ilyich in The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories by Tolstoy (pp. 39-91).

Week 6 Feb. 20-24: Read and discuss the excerpt from The Destiny of Man by Nikolai Berdyaev (text will be provided online).

Week 7 Feb. 27-Mar. 3: Read “Essay on the Concept of Reading” by Simone Weil (text will be provided online).

IV. Final Week

Week 8 Mar. 6-10: Essay and final exam due.


Introduction: 5%
Discussion 1: 8%
Discussion 2: 8%
Discussion 3: 8%
Discussion 4: 8%
Discussion 5: 8%
Discussion 6: 8%
Essay: 25%
Final Exam: 22%

The University grading scale is:

100–93 A / 92–90 A- / 89–87 B+ / 86–83 B / 82–80 B- / 79–77 C+ / 76–73 C / 72-70 C- / 69–67 D+ / 66–60 D / 59 and below F


The essay will be due during the final week. Details and topics will be posted at least two weeks before the due date.

There are no extra-credit assignments. No credit will be given for assignments or exams submitted after the last day of class.


Unless otherwise stated, each discussion opens on Monday morning and closes on Saturday at noon. Instructions and a grading rubric have been posted on the Discussion Guidelines page. Partial credit will be given for late discussion posts. No credit will be given for posts submitted after a discussion closes. Each discussion closes on Saturday.

Office Hours:

Office hours are Tues. 9-10 am and by appointment — we can talk through video or phone. Send an e-mail to schedule a time.

Academic Integrity Policy and Administrative Statements:

Students should be familiar with Sacred Heart’s Academic Integrity Policy. The remarks about plagiarism are especially important, and they apply to all assignments and exams. If there is evidence of plagiarism, a grade of F will be given for the assignment; at my discretion, an F will be given for the final grade. If you have any questions about how to cite material, please let me know. The Jandrisevits Learning Center and the Ryan Matura Library can provide assistance as well.

The Office of Student Accessibility and other departments have provided information on student accommodations, diversity, equity, and inclusion.


The course withdrawal policy provides details, including a list of deadlines, for withdrawing from the course. Contact the Student Accounts Office at 203-371-7925 to request a withdrawal.