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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Greek

Undergraduate Course: Plato and Justice (GREE10015)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will look at Plato's Republic with special reference to the arguments about justice in book 1. The text will be studied and analysed in detail and interpreted in its philosophical, literary and historical context. In particular the course will be concerned to explore the nature of Greek concepts of justice.
Course description Plato's Republic covers a tremendous range of philosophical issues, including the nature of an ideal state, but what gives its overall shape and meaning is the driving question behind it: what is justice? Book 1, which in many ways can be read independently of the rest of the Republic, examines (and dissects) several contemporary views of justice. Topics covered are likely to include the following: nature of Platonic dialogue; literary construction of book 1; Socratic arguments; helping friends and harming enemies; Thrasymachus' argument (the interest of the stronger); the contribution of Polemarchus. Book 1 is important for our understanding of contemporary moral thinking - comparisons might be made, for instance, between Thrasymachus position and the approach of the historian Thucydides.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Greek 2A (GREE08007) AND Greek 2B (GREE08008)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesAdvanced-level ability in Greek language and literature, equivalent to two years' study at the University of Edinburgh (if uncertain, consult the course organiser).
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, command of the body of knowledge considered in the course, and an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
  2. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material;
  3. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  4. demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers;
  5. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise primary source material in its original language.
Reading List
Annas, J. An Introduction to Plato's Republic. Oxford 1981.
Beversluis, J. Cross-Examining Socrates: A Defense of the Interlocutors in Plato's Early Dialogues. Cambridge. 2000.
Donohue, B. 'The Dramatic Significance of Cephalus in Plato┐s Republic' Teaching Philosophy, 20 (1997): 239-249.
Dover, K., Greek Popular Morality in the Time of Plato and Aristotle, Oxford 1974.
Everson, S. 'The incoherence of Thrasymachus', Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 16 (1998): 99-131.
Ferrari, G. The Cambridge Companion to Plato's Republic (2007).
Gifford, M. 'Dramatic Dialectic in Republic Book I', Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 20 (2001): 35-106.
Kahn, C. 'Proleptic Composition in the Republic or Why Book 1 Was Never a Separate Dialogue,' Classical Quarterly N.S. 43 (1993), 131┐142.
Kerferd, G. B. The Sophistic Movement. Cambridge 1981.
Rosen, S. Plato's Republic: A Study, New Haven 2005.
Rudebusch, G. 'Dramatic Prefiguration in Plato's Republic', Philosophy and Literature 26 (2002): 75-83.
Santas, G. The Blackwell Guide to Plato's Republic (2008).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements In order for a student from outwith Classics to be enrolled on this course, contact must be made with a Course Secretary on 50 3580 in order for approval to be obtained.
KeywordsPlato and Justice / Ancient Greek Philosophy
Course organiserProf Andrew Erskine
Tel: (0131 6)50 3591
Course secretaryMs Elaine Hutchison
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582
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