1. Philosophy-as-dialogue

week 1: Mon Aug 28 & Wed Aug 30

We will begin by examining the nature of justice. What is justice? Is justice what benefits the strongest? Is justice better than injustice?

watching/reading –  The Melian Dialogue [video, PDF]

listening – Adamson, History of Philosophy, Episode 25 [link]

week 2: Wed Sept 6 — No class on Mon Sept 4 

We will read Plato’s most famous philosophical dialogue, the Republic, beginning with book I (summary here). In it, Thrasymachus defends the view that justice is whatever benefits the strongest, while Socrates attempts to prove him wrong. 

reading – Plato, Republic, book I [PDF]

NB: Assignment #1  [PDF] – due Sept 6

week 3Mon Sept  11 & Wed Sept 13 

In order to better understand the nature of justice, in book II (summary here) Socrates suggests that we draw a parallelism between justice at the level of the state and justice at the level of the individual.

reading – Plato, Republic, book II [PDF]

week 4: Mon Sept  18 —  No class on Wed Sept 20

Same topic as last week.

week 5: Mon Sept 25 & Wed Sept 27

The parallelism between the state and the individual is further articulated in book IV (summary here). As the dialogue progresses, Socrates offers a definition of justice which does not reduces it to whatever benefits the strongest.

reading – Plato, Republic, book IV [PDF]

NB: Assignment #2 [PDF]  – due Oct 2

week 6: Mon Oct 2 & Wed Oct 4

In book VIII (summary here) Socrates compares four types of governments with four types of individuals. This comparison makes clearer why a parallelism exists between the state and the individual.

reading – Plato, Republic, book VIII [PDF]

week 7:  Wed Oct 11 – no class Mon Oct 9

In book IX (summary here) Socrates defends the claim that the just is happy, while the unjust is unhappy. If so, justice must indeed be better than injustice.

reading – Plato, Republic, book IX [PDF]

week 8: Mon Oct 16 & Wed Oct 18

Same topic as last week.