PHIL 681: Figures and Topics in Ancient Philosophy
PHIL 681-001: Ancient Philosophical Figures: Selected Dialogues of Plato
Thompson Hall L004
Section Information for Spring 2017
This course will study Plato's Republic and, time permitting, at least one other dialogue.
Plato's dialogues shed light on questions that we grapple with today:
- Is it possible to have knowledge of the good, the right, or the just? If so, what kind of knowledge is this, and how might it be attained? What is the relationship between justice and knowledge?
- Do we really need to be just, if we want a community worth living in?
- What might be a legitimate basis for political authority, and why? Is there any possible basis for political authority that does not ultimately reduce to, or camouflage, rule by the will of the strongest?
- What is an appropriate role for knowledge in political deliberation?
- What do we need to know about in order to benefit our families and communities?
- In order to deliberate well within ourselves?
- Do we need to know how the universe works?
- Do we need to know how to persuade?
- Do we just need to know what we like?
- Can we have knowledge that transcends our personal beliefs or cultural assumptions? If so, how is this to be attained? If this knowledge exists, are we obligated to seek it?
- Is there a relationship between the order of nature (if any) and the best social orders (if any)? If so, what might that relationship be, and how could we tell? If not, why not, and how if at all can we find the best ways to live?
- Is there a relationship between good and the order of the universe?
- Is there a relationship between justice and the order of the universe?
For students in the Ethics and Public Affairs concentration, this course fulfills the general history of philosophy requirement. It may be used as an elective by students who have already fulfilled this requirement.
For students in the Traditional and Contemporary Philosophy focus and students in the Philosophy and Cultural Theory concentration, this course fulfills ancient/medieval philosophy requirement. It may be used as an elective by students who have already fulfilled this requirement.
Course Information from the University Catalog
Examines major philosophical authors, text, and topics of the ancient period and their influence on philosophical thought. May cover Plato, Aristotle, or the pre-Socratic philosophers. Notes: May be repeated for credit when topic is different. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 12 credits.
The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes.