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BA Latin and French

Year of entry: 2020

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Course unit details:
Plato

Unit code CAHE30551
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Classics & Ancient History
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

Plato is one of the most important thinkers in the Western tradition. His dialogues address questions of ethics, aesthetics, politics, physics, epistemology, psychology and life after death, to name just a few. This course provides an introduction to Plato’s writings. We will consider both their philosophical content and the manner in which the arguments are presented. Students will read a number of Plato’s dialogues in their entirety and be given the opportunity both to criticize and defend his thought as well as considering his relevance to the modern world.

Aims

This course aims to

  • introduce students to a substantial range of Plato’s writings and ideas.
  • help students to develop an awareness of what makes for successful philosophical argument via critical engagement with primary sources and secondary literature.
  • aid students’ ability to develop clear and well-argued expositions and evaluations in written form and to gain confidence in oral discussion of these texts.

Learning outcomes

See specific outcomes listed below

Syllabus

Topics covered will include: 

Dialogue form, Socratic method and ethics, Rhetoric, Politics, Metaphysics, Epistemology, Cosmology, Theology, Psychology, Myth, and Love

 

Teaching and learning methods

  • 2 x 1 hour lectures per week;
  • 1 x 1 hour seminar per week;
  • 1 dedicated consultation hour per week.
  • Blackboard: course material, handouts and other supporting materials.

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • give an account of Plato’s discussions of specific philosophical issues, indicating relevant passages in the dialogues and explaining problematic aspects of their interpretation.
  • discuss the relation between different dialogues and indicate its possible significance.
  • assess the value of a philosophical argument.
  • demonstrate achievement of these objectives by producing clear, well-focussed written expositions.

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • construct an argument in written and oral form;
  • pose and attempt to answer questions about complex issues;
  • assimilate and summarise large quantities of evidence;
  • locate and retrieve relevant information from primary sources;
  • engage in constructive philosophical discussion.

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • present the results of their work in a professional manner with appropriate reference to sources and modern published scholarship;
  • assimilate and summarise large quantities of evidence;
  • locate and retrieve relevant information from primary sources;
  • conduct bibliographic searches;
  • engage in constructive (philosophical) discussion.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • construct an argument in written and oral form;
  • pose and attempt to answer questions about complex issues;
  • assimilate and summarise large quantities of evidence;
  • present the results in a professional manner with appropriate reference to sources and modern published scholarship;
  • manage time and resources;

Employability skills

Other
By the end of this course students will be able to: - analyse and examine a large amount of often difficult information; - see both sides of an argument; - synthesise an argument in a cogent form; - retrieve information from complex sources; - manage time and resources; - write in accordance with specific guidance for a particular purpose; - participate in collaborative and critical constructive discussions.

Assessment methods

 

Assessment task

Length

Weighting within unit

Essay

3000 words

50%

Exam

2 hours

50%

 

Feedback methods

  • Written feedback on formative and summative assessment (see above) all summative coursework feedback is designed to contribute formatively towards improvement in subsequent assignments.
  • Students are required to seek formative feedback ahead of the essay assignment by submitting an essay plan or abstract; feedback will be designed to contribute formatively towards improvement of the completed essay.
  • Oral feedback during seminar discussions.
  • Additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment).

Recommended reading

Primary sources:

  • J. Cooper (1997) Plato Complete Works, Hackett.

Secondary readings:

  • Ackrill, J.L., (2001) Essays on Plato and Aristotle, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Annas, J. & Rowe, C.J. (eds) (2002) New Perspectives on Plato, Modern and Ancient, Washington, D.C.: Harvard University Press.
  • Benson, H. (ed.) (2006) A Companion to Plato, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing
  • Fine, G. (ed.) (1999) Plato, Oxford: Oxford University Press. (2 volumes)
  • Fine, G. (ed.) (2008) The Oxford handbook of Plato, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Irwin, T., (1995) Plato's Ethics, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Kahn, C., (1996) Plato and the Socratic dialogue, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Kahn, C., (2013) Plato and the Post-Socratic Dialogue, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Kraut, R. ed., (1992) The Cambridge companion to Plato, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Morrison, Donald R., (2010) The Cambridge Companion to Socrates, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Vlastos, G. ed., (1971) Plato: A Collection of Critical Essays, Garden City, N.Y: Anchor Books. (2 volumes)
  • Vlastos, G., (1973) Platonic Studies., Princeton: Princeton University Press.  

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jenny Bryan Unit coordinator

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