PHIL 119
Justice, Democracy and Freedom: Plato with Footnotes Spring 2020
Division II Writing Skills
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Class Details

This course addresses a central question in both ethics and political philosophy: How should we live? The question has two parts: What is the best life for individuals? And what social and political arrangements make such a life possible? In attempting to answer these questions we also engage related theoretical questions concerning what is real and how we have access to it. We begin with readings from Plato’s Republic , a seminal work in the history of philosophy that has exerted a powerful influence on nearly every subsequent attempt to answer these questions in the context of the Western philosophical tradition. After reading from early Platonic dialogues and the Republic , we also consider some of the best of these attempts in the Western philosophical canon (“footnotes on Plato”) and the challenges they present to Plato’s conclusions. Our principal focus will be on issues that continue to be of paramount importance in the world today, namely, democracy, justice and the meaning of freedom.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 3488
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: eight 2-page response papers based on readings (first three are pass/fail), two five-page papers, and class participation
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: none, open to all students
Unit Notes: meets 100-level PHIL major requirement
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
WS Notes: Professor will provide detailed comments on short and long writing responses; facilitate peer review of short papers in class; and discuss frequent types of errors, writing in philosophy, writing approach and process, drafting, and the importance of using writing tutors. Handouts will be provided on both informal fallacies and numerous writing tips. Students will be encouraged, but are not required, to make appointments to discuss ideas and drafts.
Attributes: JLST Interdepartmental Electives
LEAD Ethical Issues of Leadership

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