CLAS 330
Plato Spring 2023
Division I Writing Skills
Cross-listed PHIL 330 / CLAS 330

Class Details

Plato is one of the most important and influential thinkers in the history of the western tradition. His depiction of the trial and death of Socrates is one of the classics of western literature, and his views on ethics and politics continue to occupy a central place in our discussions 2400 years after they were written. It is, in fact, quite difficult to get through any course of study in the liberal arts without some familiarity with Plato. Nevertheless, comparatively few people realize that the views we commonly think of as “Platonic” represent only one strand in Plato’s thought. For example, we commonly attribute to Plato a theory of the Forms on the basis of his claims in the so-called “middle dialogues” (mainly Republic, Phaedo, and Symposium). However, in his philosophically more sophisticated and notoriously difficult later dialogues (such as the Parmenides, Philebus, Sophist and Statesman), Plato engages in radical criticism and revision of his earlier views. In this course, we will spend the first third of the semester attempting to understand the metaphysics and epistemology in Plato’s middle dialogues. We will spend the balance of the semester coming to grips with Plato’s arguments in the later dialogues. We will read several complete dialogues in translation, and will also read a wide variety of secondary source material.
The Class: Format: lecture; lecture/discussion; this class will be a roughly equal mixture of lectures, student presentations, and seminar discussion
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 3326
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: students will be expected to prepare a seminar presentation, to write several focused short analytical pieces, and to write a 15- to 20-page term paper in multiple drafts
Prerequisites: PHIL 101, PHIL 102 or permission of instructor; a prior course in logic will be extremely helpful, but is not necessary
Enrollment Preferences: upper-level Philosophy and Classics majors
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
PHIL 330 Division II CLAS 330 Division I
WS Notes: Instructor will provide regular commentary on papers.
Attributes: PHIL History Courses

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  • CLAS 330 - 01 (S) LEC Plato
    Division I Writing Skills
    Cancelled
    3326
    Cancelled

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