POL S 308
Origin and evolution of major political concepts from ancient Greece to the medieval period, from Thales through Aquinas.
The primary focus of the course will be on Plato's dialogues. We will read the Republic, the Lysis, the Symposium, and the Phaedrus, to tease out from these dialogues a specifically Platonic framework for political and ethical inquiries. We will study Plato with two primary learning goals. The first is to understand the way Plato navigates the question of justice in relation to the question of friendship, on the one hand, and political liberty, on the other. The second is to reflect whether and how the ancient Athenian's moral and political inquiries can inform our own moral and political understanding and judgment today. Besides Plato's own dialogues, we will read Thucydides' History of the Poleponnesian War to acquaint ourselves with the political climate of the Athenian democracy, its imperial rise and decline; and Aristotle's Politics to see an example of contemporary influence and reception of Plato's thoughts.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading
Three 5-6 page essays.
Participation 10% First paper 30 % Second paper 30% Final paper 30%