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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Spring 2010

GOV 351C • Classical Quest for Justice

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
38840 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
UTC 3.110
Stauffer, D

Course Description

What is justice? What are its demands as a virtue of individuals? What is its status as a guiding principle of domestic politics and as a restraint or standard in times of war? What are the strengths and weaknesses of different kinds of political orders in their quest for justice or in their pursuit of alternative ends? What is the relationship between politics and philosophy? In this course we will consider these fundamental and enduring questions of political philosophy primarily through a careful study of two of the masterpieces of classical antiquity: Plato's Republic and Thucydides’ The Peloponnesian War. Although we will supplement our study of these two great texts with a look at other works, such as Plato’s Apology of Socrates, our focus will be on reading and discussing the Republic and The Peloponnesian War. These works will be approached, not just as crucial documents for our understanding of a distant age, but as works that still speak directly and profoundly to permanent questions of moral and political life.

Grading Policy

Paper: 20% First exam: 25% Second exam: 25% Attendance: 10% Participation: 10% Quizzes: 10% (Note: These percentages are approximate, and the paper may be made optional.)


Plato and Aristophanes, Four Texts on Socrates, trans. by T. West and G. West (Cornell) Plato, The Republic of Plato, trans. by Allan Bloom (Basic Books) Thucydides, The Landmark Thucydides, ed. By Robert Strassler (The Free Press)


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