|160||Plato||Long||TuTh 12:30-2||240 Mulford|
This course will be an in-depth study of Plato’s philosophy, focusing on two of his greatest dialogues, Republic and Theaeteus. After an introduction on Plato’s intellectual and social context, we will spend eight weeks exploring the themes and structure of the Republic. The work begins as a typical Socratic attempt to define a controversial term (in this case justice), and then morphs into a gigantic thought experiment involving education, theology, utopian politics, psychology, metaphysics, and eschatology. How are we to evaluate this extraordinary project, taking it both in part and as a whole? In the last weeks of the semester, we will study Plato’s path-breaking epistemology in the Theaetetus, paying particular attention to his refutation of epistemic relativism and Socrates’ systematic failure to define empirical knowledge.
Completion of Philosophy 25A is strongly advised. The course will be examined by in-class mid-term and final papers, and a 5-7 page take-home essay.
Required books: Plato The Republic, ed. G.R.F. Ferrari (Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521484435; and Myles Burnyeat, The Theaetetus of Plato (Hackett ): 9780915144815.