The Classics and Philosophy Program is a combined PhD program, offered by the Departments of Philosophy and Classics at Yale, for students wishing to pursue graduate study in ancient philosophy. Suitably qualified students may apply for entry to the Program either through Philosophy, for the Philosophy Track of the Program, or through Classics, for the Classics Track of the Program. See details of the program.
Advanced seminars in ancient philosophy, suitable for graduate students, are a regular feature of the graduate programs in Philosophy and Classics. In particular, at least once per year, seminars are held which center on discussion of the work of an ancient philosopher read in the original language; such seminars are designed as a focal point for graduates working on ancient philosophy, whatever their stage in the program.
Yale’s large and active research community in ancient Greek and Roman philosophy includes three faculty specialists in the Philosophy and Classics departments and several faculty members in other departments with expertise in ancient philosophy and related areas of research. Taken together, these professors specialize in the following major periods of ancient philosophy: Archaic and Classical Philosophy (Presocratics, Plato and Aristotle); Hellenistic and Post-Hellenistic Philosophy; and on diverse subjects within ancient philosophy, including metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, ethics, philosophy of action, and political philosophy.
Yale’s Philosophy Department is known for its strength in the history of philosophy as well as for its long tradition of successful integration of history of philosophy and systematic philosophy. Such integration is exemplified by the fact that many of its faculty teach and pursue research in both areas. Graduate seminars regularly range over topics in the history of philosophy and in contemporary philosophy.
A central feature of the Yale program in ancient philosophy is the annual week-long seminar that connects our graduate students and faculty with invited specialists from Europe and North America for the intensive study of foundational works in the field. The seminar, generously supported by the Provost’s Office, began with a ten-year exploration of Plato’s Republic held jointly with King’s College London and continued with a five-year exploration, wholly Yale-based, that brought a group of faculty and graduate students together annually over five days to read works of Aristotle’s Parva Naturalia, a connected series of shorter texts on topics in philosophical psychology widely recognized as essential complements to Aristotle’s more famous — and more widely read — work of psychology, De Anima. Future years will see a return to Platonic texts and other essential works from the ancient philosophical tradition.
Throughout the academic year Yale typically hosts several talks in ancient philosophy given by distinguished ancient philosophers from all over the world, sponsored by the Departments of Classics and Philosophy or by our very active Working Group in Ancient Philosophy. In addition, in recent years, a number of distinguished ancient philosophy specialists have visited at Yale for longer periods ranging from one week to a semester.