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The University of Southampton

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

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


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.

Independent Study121
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)



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


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

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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