The Beautiful City: Plato’s Republic (PHI4402.01)

Catherine McKeen

Plato’s Republic stretches its insistent intellectual tendrils into just about every corner of the Western intellectual tradition. The Republic is ostensibly about constructing a maximally just political community. This is the kallipolis, the “beautiful city.” Along the way, however, Socrates and his interlocutors wrestle with inter-tangled philosophical questions about truth, beauty, gender, family, reality, the self, war, goodness, and art. Just for starters. For this course, we’ll engage in an in-depth investigation of the Republic. Some motivating questions for our inquiry: What is the relation between a person and their community? What are the political conditions for human flourishing? What is the “common good”? How do we balance the common good against private interests? Should politics control art? And, what does the Republic reveal about the prospects and limits of utopian political thinking? We will use the methods of philosophical analysis, argument, and close reading. In addition to a close reading of the Republic, we’ll engage with a range of responses to this most durable of Greek texts.

Learning Outcomes:
• Close reading and in-depth study of primary and secondary source texts
• Analyze philosophical views and arguments
• Hone philosophical research and writing skills

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: No formal prerequisites, but it is recommended that students have taken two previous philosophy courses.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
W 2:10PM - 5:50PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 16
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 4000 , All courses , Four Credit , Fully In-Person , Philosophy