Skip to main navigation Skip to site navigation Skip to content

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

with Joel Wilcox

Free Register

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.

                       (Rain Date:  Thursday, July 22nd   2:00 to 4:00 PM)

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:  This class will be held outside by the Gazebo on the UMM campus (across from the Science building).  Please bring (depending on the day) a sunhat, sunscreen, and/or a jacket.  Please bring a folding chair or a blanket to sit on.


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.

UMM Gazebo

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