Ancient Ethics – Socrates and Plato

Jakub Jirsa (jakub.jirsa@ff.cuni.cz)

Thursday 15:50 – 17:25, room 218

 

The aim of the course is to explain and discuss basic ethical problems on the examples from Plato’s dialogues. We will proceed from the so-called Socratic dialogues to the Republic and other writings that are usually considered to be ‘later’ or ‘more mature’. One question will be – besides ethical issues – how these different dialogues belong together and what the common link between them is.

Each dialogue (or its selected part) will be accompanied by an article introducing the problem. These articles will be presented (by participants), presentations of the passages from the dialogues are possible as well. The readings (both primary and listed secondary sources) are obligatory.

All texts will be accessible in the library (course reader) and posted on web on Moodle.

Assessment:

·                participation, 30%

·                presentation, 30%

·                final essay (2000 words), 40%

 

Course outline:

2.10. – introduction to the course, ancient and modern philosophy

·         Williams, B. (2006 [1998]): “Plato: The Invention of Philosophy” in Making Sense of the Past, pp. 148-186.

9.10. – Protagoras – virtues, definitions of virtues and their unity

·         Devereux, D. (2006): “The Unity of Virtues” in Benson,H. (ed) A Companion to Plato, Oxford, pp. 325-340.

16.10. – Protagoras and Gorgias – no one errs willingly, akrasia, knowledge and emotions

·         Segvic, H. (2000): “No One Errs Willingly: The meaning of Socratic Intellectualism”, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 19, pp. 1-45, parts I-VII.

23.10. – Gorgias – moralist and immoralist

·         Segvic, H. (2000): “No One Errs Willingly: The meaning of Socratic Intellectualism”, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 19, pp. 1-45, parts VIII-Appendix.

30.10. – Charmides – knowledge, self and soul

·         McKim, R. (1985): “Socratic self-knowledge and knowledge of knowledge in Plato’s Charmides,Transactions of the American Philological Association 115, pp. 59-77.

6.11. – Republic – the elementary question: what makes our life happy and is a just life a happy one as well? Please choose one from the texts.

·         Shields, Ch. (2006): "Plato's Challange: the Case against Justice in Republic II" in Santas, G. (ed): The Blackwell Guide to Plato's Republic, pp. 63-83.

·         Irwin, T. H. (1999): "Republic 2: Questions About Justice", in Fine, G. (ed): Plato vol. 2, Oxford, pp. 164-185.

13.11. – no seminar; participants are invited to join the International Plato Symposium on the Sophist, Villa Lanna, V Sadech 1

20.11. – Republic – virtues and human motivation

·         Cooper, J. M. (1985): “Plato’s theory of Human Motivation”, History of Philosophy Quarterly 22, 3-21. Reprinted in Cooper, J. M. (1999), Reason and Emotion, Princeton, 118-137.

27.11. – Republic – reason and public life

·         Sharples, R. W. (1994): “Plato on Democracy and Expertise” in: Greece and Rome, vol. 41/1, 49-56.

4.12. – Timaeus –divinity and us, Plato’s cosmic plan

·         Sedley, D. (2000): “The Ideal of Godlikeness”, in Fine, G. (ed): Plato vol. 2, Oxford,pp. 791-810.

11.12. – Laws X – divinity and rationality

·         Hackforth, R. (19361, 1965), ‘Plato’s Theism’ in: R. E. Allen (ed.) Studies in Plato’s Metaphysics, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 439-447.

18.12. – conclusions, discussion and paper presentations