College of Humanities and Social Sciences

PHIL 421: Seminar

PHIL 421-002: Seminar in Philosophy
(Spring 2017)

04:30 PM to 07:10 PM R

Thompson Hall L004

Section Information for Spring 2017

All students taking the Philosophy major must take at least one section of 421/422.

For students taking a Philosophy major with a catalog year of 2015-2016 or earlier, can be used to fulfill the requirement for two courses of 400-level or above.

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?
  • 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?


Satisfies the writing intensive requirement in the major.


Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

Explores topics in current philosophical research in a seminar format. Topics vary. Notes: May be repeated for credit when topic is different. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 18 credits.
Mason Core: Capstone
Specialized Designation: Writing Intensive in the Major
Recommended Prerequisite: Nine credits in philosophy.
Schedule Type: Seminar

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.

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