PHEB101 Introduction to Philosophy


The course introduces a broad range of concepts and philosophers in order to outline the main specifics of philosophy as a cultural and intellectual phenomena. The course is structured on two levels. The first is the level of History of philosophy showing the development of philosophical ideas in time. The second level gives an overview on some of the most important problems, debates and topics remaining in philosophy from its birth to the present day.

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Assoc. Prof. Iassen Zahariev, PhD

Course Description:


Successful graduates of the course students:

1) know:

• The basics of the history of philosophy.

• Main problems of philosophy

• Key philosophers and their ideas.

2) can:

• Differentiate philosophy from religion and science.

• Recognise basic philosophical ideas.

• Understand and apply key philosophical concepts

• None.

Full-time Programmes

Types of Courses:

Language of teaching:


  1. What is called philosophy?
  2. Myth and philosophy as ways of explaining the universe.
  3. Pre-Socratics Lecture.
  4. Socrates, moral philosophy and sophists.
  5. Relativism and absolutism in Ethics.
  6. What is an Idea? Plato and Locke.
  7. Justice, Love and wisdom in Plato’s dialogues.
  8. Aristotle and the golden mean.
  9. Towards pleasure as the end of life. Epicurus and modern Utilitarianism.
  10. Philosophy and Religion. Augustine’s Confessions.
  11. Science, fate and the philosophy of Enlightenment.
  12. The age of Ideology and Romanticism.
  13. Is philosophy possible as rigorous science?
  14. Contemporary philosophy. Continental and Analytical perspectives.
  15. The value of philosophy.


Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics

Augistine. Confessions

Copleston. F. A History of Philosophy

Descartes, René. Meditations on First Philosophy

Epicurus. Letter to Menoeceus

Hume, D. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

Husserl, E. Philosophy as a Rigorous Science

Kant, I. An answer to the question: What is Enlightenment?

Locke, J. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

Mill, J. S. Utilitarianism

Mourelatos, A. (ed). The Pre-Socratics: A Collection of Critical Essays

Nietzsche, F. The Gay Science

Nagel, T. What Does It All Mean: A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy

Pluder, V. and Hartung, G. From Hegel to Windelband : Historiography of Philosophy in the 19th Century

Plato. Collected Works

Russell, B. A history of western philosophy

Russel, B. Problems of philosophy

Scruton, R. Modern Philosophy: An introduction and survey

Wollf, R.P. About Philosophy


Mid-semester exams:

1. Analysis;

2. Annotation;

End-semester exam:

1. Presentation;

2. Discussion.