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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Classical Literature in Translation

Undergraduate Course: Socrates and Plato: Five Dialogues (CLTR10015)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course offers an introduction to Socrates and Plato through the study of five early-to-middle Platonic dialogues, all reading being done in translation. The five dialogues will be chosen from: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Laches and Phaedo.
Course description The main question the course investigates is the historical relation between, on the one hand, Socrates' philosophy and practice of cross-examination and, on the other, Plato as the greatest exponent, but not inventor, of the literary genre of Socratic dialogues. The syllabus may be as follows (the course booklet is authoritative).


1. a) Introduction; Nomos and Phusis b) Greek reading class,

2. a) Euthypro 1 b) Euthypro 2/ Greek reading class

3 a) Apology 1 b) Apology 2/ Greek reading class etc.

4. a) Apology 3 b) Crito 1

5. a) Crito 2 b) Socratic dialogues: Plato and his predecessors

6. a) The quest for the historical Socrates b) Meno

7. a) NB translation exam: up to section 94c8; Meno 1 b) Meno 2

8. a) Meno 3 and b) Meno 4

9. Phaedo

10. Phaedo

11. Phaedo
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Socrates and Plato (GREE10023)
Other requirements A pass in Classical Literature 2: Greek and Roman Epic (CLTR08008) and/or The Greek World 1A: Greece in the Making (CLGE08001) and/or The Greek World 1B: Greece's New Horizons (CLGE08002) is recommended
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 3 courses in Classics related subject matter(at least 2 of which should be in Classical Literature) at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
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 an understanding of the difficulties of ascribing a specific philosophy to the historical Socrates, as opposed to the various claims made by the first generation of writers of Socratic dialogues and awareness of Plato displacement of his competitors in the quest to establish himself as Socrates' main philosophical successor;
  2. demonstrate knowledge of the basic ethical tenets found in the early Platonic dialogues;
  3. develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  4. assimilate a variety of sources and formulate critical opinions on them;
  5. demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
Prior, W. ed. (1996) Socrates. Critical Assessments, 4 Vols., London
Vlastos, G. Vlastos, G. (1991) Socrates, Ironist and Moral Philosopher, Cambridge, 1991

Benson, H.H. ed. (2006) A Companion to Plato, Wiley-Blackwell
Everson, S. ed., Companions to Ancient Thought 4. Ethics
Fine, G. ed. (1999) Plato, 2 vols. (1. Metaphysics and epistemology. 2. Ethics, Politics, religion and the Soul) Oxford
Kahn, C.K. (1996) Plato and the Socratic Dialogue, Cambridge
Kraut, R. ed. The Cambridge Companion to Plato, Cambridge, 1992
Smith, N.D. (1998) Plato. Critical assessments 4 vols., London
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements In order for a student from outwith Classics to be enrolled, contact must be made with a Classics Secretary on 50 3580 for approval to be obtained.
KeywordsSocrates / Plato / English Translation
Course organiserDr Simon Trepanier
Tel: (0131 6)50 3589
Course secretaryMiss Annabel Samson
Tel: (0131 6)50 3783
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