On the most general level, our primary goal in this course is to become better philosophers. To become better philosophers, I think it is imperative that we become better readers of philosophy. Accordingly, I intend this course to be a lesson in textual exegesis or interpretation, and there is perhaps no better place to acquire interpretive skill than the study of Platonic dialogues. I also intend this course to be a study of philosophy in a more or less contemporary sense, so weʼll be reading the Republic in light not only of its more general metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical aspects but also with regard to relevant and recent philosophical points of view.
This course is also what many would call a "discussion class." At its most robust, this means that students more or less decide the trajectory of each discussion, and I weigh in as I see fit. As far as assignments are concerned, I will try to keep the amount of reading around sixty pages per week. There will be manageable summary assignments for each class (which will prepare us for discussion), two short essays, and a comprehensive final essay. There will be no exams and no final exam.
TEXT: (Required) The Republic of Plato: Translated, with Notes, an Interpretive Essay, and a New Introduction, Allan Bloom.