The University of Southampton
Courses

PAIR3004 Political Texts

Module Overview

The aim of this module is to examine, analyse, and appraise Plato's political thought. This will be accomplished by considering the historical, philosophical, and literary aspects of his work. While the focus is on Plato himself, the purpose of the module is to retrieve a way of thinking about politics that has been lost to the modern world, even if echoes of it are retained in various approaches to political thinking. Our goal is to recover the 'strangeness' of ancient thought, a kind of thought that rested on a different approach to ethics and politics and that had not yet been filtered through Christian attitudes.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

By the end of the module, you will be able to demonstrate: An ability to engage critically with the reading of the set texts, To evaluate interpretations of the set texts To draw on these critical skills to analyse debates concerning the intellectual and conceptual origins of modernity 1. The intellectual purposes of this course are twofold. First, to explore and critically reflect on questions of citizenship, political education and justice, as they are first presented to the West in the thought of PLato. 2. The pedagogic-ethical purposes of this course are twofold. First, to encourage students to develop their reflective capacities and intellectual dispositions. Second, to encourage students to clarify and reflect critically on their ethico-political commitments and characters

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an ability to engage critically with the reading of the set texts
  • Demonstrate an ability to engage critically with the reading of the set texts
  • Analyse debates concerning the intellectual and conceptual origins of modernity
  • Evidence independent working
  • Evidence oral communication skills
  • Use written communication skills
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of problem solving
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of Information technology
  • Apply interpersonal skills

Syllabus

Ancient Democracy The historical Socrates The Platonic Socrates Socratic dialogues as a genre Sophists and related intellectual disputes Close reading of specific dialogues

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The first three weeks will be lecture-based plus discussion, the remaining weeks will be seminar based. However, all sessions are in the form of weekly two-hour meetings.

TypeHours
Independent Study126
Teaching24
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

The following Platonic dialogues are set texts:. Euthyphro Apology Crito Protagoras Gorgias Republic Resource type: Background textbook Political Thinkers (Boucher and Kelly, eds.) chs. 2-5 Guthrie, A History of Greek Philosophy, Vol. III, pt. 2 Taylor, Socrates: A Very Short Introduction, chs. 2-4 Kahn, Plato and the Socratic Dialogue, chs. 1-3 Kraut, The Cambridge Companion to Plato (chs. 1, 2, 4) Vlastos, Socrates: Ironist and Moral Philosopher (chs. 2, 3)

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Attendance and engagement 10%
Essay  (2000 words) 60%
Essay  (1500 words) 30%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2500 words) 50%
Essay  (2500 words) 50%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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