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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Centre for Open Learning : Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Undergraduate Course: Plato's Republic (LLLI07007)

Course Outline
SchoolCentre for Open Learning CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis is a for-credit course offered by the Office of Lifelong Learning (OLL); only students registered with OLL should be enrolled. The course will guide students through a reading of the whole of Plato┐s Republic ┐ which is arguably the most important philosophical text of all time. The text is a seminal work in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political theory, and aesthetics ┐ and so students will be introduced to these branches of philosophy, and to ancient Greek thought generally.
Course description Content of course
1. Book 1 ┐ Introduction
2. Book 2 ┐ Justice and Injustice: is justice good in itself, or is it good on account of its consequences?
3. Book 3 ┐ The Noble Lie: is it ever morally permissible for rulers to lie in order to pursue the public interest?
4. Book 4 - Justice in the State and the Individual: how do we achieve a harmonious and healthy soul?
5. Book 5 ┐ Women and the Family: how are women and children to contribute to the public good in the ideal state?
6. Book 6 ┐ The Philosopher King: democracy may result in the translation of public ignorance into public policy ┐ so who should rule?
7. Book 7 ┐ The Cave: what is the condition of those who lack a philosophical education, and what is the process of coming to enlightenment?
8. Book 8 ┐ Imperfect Societies: what are the defects of those political regimes where the philosopher does not rule?
9. Book 9 ┐ Tyranny: is the tyrannical man ever truly happy?
10. Book 10 ┐ The attack on Poetry and the Myth of Er: Plato argues that poets should be banished from the well ordered state, before concluding the text with his own poetical account of the afterlife.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course, students should be able to:
┐ Explain the dialectical method employed by Plato;
┐ Locate the Republic in the context of the history of Western philosophy, in terms of its influence, and of the subsequent development of key philosophical theories;
┐ State in outline Plato┐s positions on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political theory, and aesthetics;
┐ Critically evaluate the positions which Socrates adopts with respect to these topics;
┐ Use appropriately philosophical terminology, both as employed in the text and more generally.
Reading List
Plato., 2008. The Republic. Waterfield, R., ed. Oxford: Oxford World┐s Classics.
Benson, H.H., 2009. A Companion to Plato. London: Blackwell.
Web sources
John Gordon┐s (course tutor) website:
Class handouts
Tutorial questions and class summaries will be posted to the above web site.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr James Mooney
Tel: (0131 6)50 3077
Course secretaryMrs Sabine Murdoch
Tel: (0131 6)51 1855
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