GOV 382M • Plato's Republic
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
A theoretically informed close reading of the greatest and most influential work of classical political philosophy. Themes addressed include: the Platonic analysis of the problematic of justice; the way of life of the philosopher as exemplified in the Platonic Socrates and the significance of this way of life for human existence; the meaning of the best regime or utopia as the central theme of Platonic and consequently of classical and medieval political philosophy. These and other related or subordinate themes will be addressed by way of a textual analysis that is constantly informed and invigorated by comparisons with the radically different approach to these and kindred themes in modern political philosophy, beginning with Machiavelli and Hobbes and continuing through the twentieth century.
30% Take-home final exam essay question of 1000 words. 28% Fourteen weekly one-page papers, on one of the study questions handed out the preceding class (2% each). 12% Class participation. 30% Analytic paper, 10-15 pages, due after Thanksgiving.
Platos Republic, trans. Allan Bloom (Harper Collins, Basic Books). (Some useful and suggested but not required secondary readings will be indicated on the syllabus to be handed out in the first class.)