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Bethany Parsons

PhD Candidate in Classics

Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Contact: b.k.parsons@sms.ed.ac.uk / ed.ac.uk / strongaorist / PhilPeople

I studied my BA (Hons) in Philosophy with Classical Civilisation and MA in Continental Philosophy at the University of Warwick before coming to Edinburgh for my doctoral studies. My research focuses on Friedrich Nietzsche's lectures on the Presocratic philosophers in the context of 19th century philology, and the intersection of tragedy and pessimism in his thought. I enjoy joint supervision between Classics and Philosophy, and my interests include a broad range of topics in Ancient philosophy and 19th and 20th century Continental philosophy.

Research

PhD Thesis

My PhD thesis is on Friedrich Nietzsche’s lectures on the Presocratics in the 1870s. The focus of my research is twofold. Firstly, I explore the transmission and reception of the Presocratics from antiquity through to the 19th century, where ‘classics’ as a discipline really begins, to access the notion of what Presocratic philosophy was in the 19th century. Secondly, I examine on the relationship between tragedy and philosophical pessimism in Nietzsche’s work.These two strands combine into an analysis of the 'tragic' as Nietzsche's framework for understanding the Presocratic philosophers in the early period lectures.

Publications

Parsons, B (2018). ‘Philosophy and Commentary: Evaluating Simplicius on the Presocratics’. In: John F. Finamore and Danielle A. Layne (eds), Platonic Pathways: Selected Papers from the Fourteenth Annual Conference of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies. Gloucestershire: The Prometheus Press. pp 227-242

Teaching

I am an Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, with two years experience of teaching small group tutorials in a higher education context. I have taught topics in ethics, ancient philosophy, early modern philosophy, and Greek and Roman culture and society.

Teaching experience

Graduate Tutor, School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences, University of Edinburgh, 2017-18. Post involves teaching small group tutorials, marking essays and exams, and providing both written and face-to-face feedback. Courses taught on:

  • Morality and Value – 2 tutorial groups, Winter 2017
    • The course introduces students to some of the problems and concepts in moral philosophy. The examination of these problems and concepts will develop students' ability to understand and critically evaluate philosophical ideas and arguments.
  • The Greats: From Plato to the Enlightenment - 2 tutorial groups, Spring 2018
    • The course examines the philosophy of four of the ‘Great’ figures in the history of Western philosophy – Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, and Kant. By enhancing their ability to understand a text historically and philosophically the students will come to comprehend the depth and significance of milestones in the history of philosophy.

Graduate Tutor, School of History, Classics, and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh, 2016-18. Post involves teaching small group tutorials, marking essays and exams, and providing both written and face- to-face feedback. Courses taught on:

  • Roman World 1A – 2 tutorial groups, Winter 2016
    • The course covers the political and social history of Rome down to Augustus, together with the material culture, monuments, art, literature and thought of the Romans during this period.
  • Greek World 1B – 2 tutorial groups, Spring 2017
    • The course covers the development and dissemination of Greek culture in Athens and other Greek city states in the period from the Peloponnesian War, to the reign of Alexander the Great and its aftermath, to the period of the rise of Rome.
  •  Greek World 1A – 3 tutorial groups, Winter 2017
    • The course introduces students to the history, society and culture of the ancient Greeks in various periods from the Bronze Age through to Archaic and early Classical eras (down to c. 476 BC).
  • Greek World 1B – 1 tutorial group, Spring 2018
    • The course covers the development and dissemination of Greek culture in Athens and other Greek city states in the period from the Peloponnesian War, to the reign of Alexander the Great and its aftermath, to the period of the rise of Rome. 

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