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Socrates' Children: Studying Ancient Philosophy

“Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.” (John Paul II, Fides et Ratio, 1998)

In the Catholic intellectual tradition and within classical education at large, there is a longstanding appreciation for the wisdom that comes from philosophers. In the New Testament itself, there is direct evidence that Paul engaged with the philosophers of his day, and throughout the early history of the Church, language and concepts from early philosophers were adopted to help explain key concepts of the Christian mystery. Philosophy in the early period of the Christian movement was seen as the “handmaid of theology.” 

Today, philosophy enjoys a very different kind of reputation. It is often regarded as speculative and therefore not useful, as dull, as perhaps an interesting diversion for those in the ivory tower of academia.

But philosophy, literally the love of wisdom, should never be boring or pedantic. It ought to help us clarify our thinking, help us to understand the views of others, and give us tools for making good judgments about the world around us. That is what this course aims to do. 

This course, a semester-long course for high school students and mature middle school students, will cover the early period of the history of philosophy, from the pre-Socratics up to Plotinus.  While the course will be offered within the Aquinas House, the study is not limited to Catholics. All lovers of wisdom welcome!


  1. Students will be familiar with the major figures of ancient philosophy, especially Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
  2. Students will grasp the different ways ancient thinkers wrestled with concepts like science and philosophy, and the surprising unity between these two fields in the early period of philosophy.
  3. Students will learn how the major developments in philosophy frequently build on one another, producing philosophy as a great conversation or a great tradition. 
  4. Students will have a greater awareness of different worldviews which enables better conversations with those who see the world differently. 

Required Materials:
Books and supplies are not included in the purchase of the course.

  • Socrates’ Children, Volume I by Peter Kreeft (978-1-68578-008-1)
  •  The Art of Philosophy, Volume I by Luke Arredondo (Provided by instructor for free)
  •  Socrates’ Children Full 4-Volume Set by Peter Kreeft (optional; only Volume I will be needed for this particular course, but the 4-volume set is cheaper than buying the volumes one at a time)

Luke Arredondo, PhD, serves as the Director of Faith Formation for the St. Philip Institute of Catechesis and Evangelization in the Catholic Diocese of Tyler, Texas. He earned a BA in Philosophy at St. Joseph Seminary College, an MA in Theological Studies at Notre Dame Seminary, and a PhD in Comparative Religious Ethics at Florida State University. He has taught at the middle school, high school, and college levels, both in person and online and also has volunteered in homeschool cooperatives. Luke has been married for 14 years and has four daughters and one son. He and his wife, Elena, homeschool their children in East Texas and they are diehard New Orleans Saints fans.

Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. unnamed-e1455142229376 To download Zoom:

  1. Visit
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.

Red checkmarkScanner: In this class, students frequently submit homework assignments by scanning pages from their workbooks. Students and/or their parents should have easy access to a scanner and the ability to use it.


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