CLAS 306
The Good Life in Greek and Roman Ethics
Last Offered Spring 2019
Division II
Cross-listed CLAS 306 / PHIL 306
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

Most thoughtful human beings spend a good deal of time musing about how we ought to live and about what counts as a good life for a human being. The philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome were among the first thinkers to develop rigorous arguments in response to such musings. Much of the moral philosophy produced in Greece and Rome remains as relevant today as when it was written. In this course, we will examine some central texts in ancient Greek and Roman moral philosophy. We will begin by reading some of Plato’s early dialogues and his Republic. We will then turn to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. We will then examine writings in the Stoic and Epicurean traditions, as well as Cicero’s On the Ends of Good and Evil. As we proceed through the course, we will look at the way in which each thinker characterizes happiness, virtue and the relation between the two. We will also pay close attention to the way in which each of these thinkers takes the practice of philosophy to play a key role in our realization of the good human life. This course is part of the Williams College program at the Berkshire County Jail and House of Corrections and will be held at the jail. Transportation will be provided by the college. The class will be composed equally of Williams students and inmates, and one goal of the course will be to encourage students from different backgrounds to think together about issues of common human concern.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 9
Expected: 9
Class#: 4053
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: several short response pieces; a final paper of 10-15 pages
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: juniors & seniors & students who can demonstrate an interest in the subject matter of the class; there will not be any preference purely on the basis of major; final selection for the course will be made on the basis of an interview with the instructor
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
CLAS 306 Division I PHIL 306 Division II
Attributes: PHIL History Courses

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