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Module descriptions

7AAN2026 Greek Philosophy I: Plato

THIS MODULE IS RUNNING IN 2017-18

Credit value: 20
Module tutor: Dr Joachim Aufderheide
Assessment:

2017-18

  • Summative assessment: one two-hour exam (100%)
  • Formative assessment: two 1,500–2,000-word essays

2016-17

  • Summative assessment: one two-hour exam (100%)
  • Formative assessment: two 1,500–2,000-word essays

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

Teaching pattern: one one-hour weekly lecture and one one-hour weekly seminar over ten weeks

Pre-requisites: none
Sample syllabus: 7AAN2026 module syllabus 2016-17
Additional information:

This course is designed to give students an overview of key topics in Plato’s epistemology and metaphysics, and, more generally, to guide students in how to approach Plato’s dialogues.  The course will place emphasis on close reading and critical analysis of the primary texts (in translation), introducing students to different interpretative strategies, as well as to key debates in the secondary literature.  Central questions will be: What is knowledge on Plato’s account?  What is the distinction between knowledge and belief?  What are forms?  What are forms for?  What is the role of the form of the good?  How do we attain the good?  A focus throughout will be how Plato’s epistemology shapes his metaphysics and vice versa, and the relation of epistemology to ethics in Plato.  The course will cover a range of texts, including the Meno, Phaedo and Parmenides, focusing in particular on the Republic.  

Further information

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, the students will be able to demonstrate intellectual, transferable and practicable skills appropriate to a level-7 module and in particular will be able to demonstrate that they have:

 

  • An understanding of central issues in the thought of Plato
  • An understanding of how some of these issues interrelate (e.g. the relation between Plato’s views on knowledge and his metaphysical theories)
  • An ability to read shorter passages with care and subject them to analysis, as well as understanding how these passages contribute to the larger work from which they are drawn.
  • The ability to evaluate Plato’s ideas critically and with philosophical sensitivity but without being anachronistic.
Module aims

  • To communicate an understanding of central ideas in Plato, e.g. nature of reality, the acquisition of knowledge, and the attainment of the good life.
  • To show how these ideas evolve in response to problems and challenges inherited from his philosophical predecessors.
  • To give an appreciation of how the problems under discussion were motivated for ancient thinkers, and to consider the question of which of these problems remain alive in the contemporary world.
  • To give an ability to relate the questions discussed to the work of philosophers studied on other papers
  • To teach students to read texts in the history of philosophy with care, as well as secondary material, and subject them to critical philosophical analysis
Past syllabi

7AAN2026 module syllabus 2012-13 (pdf)
7AAN2026 module syllabus 2013-14
(pdf)
7AAN2026 module syllabus 2014-15
 (pdf)
7AAN2026 module syllabus 2015-16 (pdf)

Please note that module syllabus and topics covered may vary from year to year.

More detailed information on the current year’s module (including the syllabus for that year) can be accessed on KEATS by all students and staff. 

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The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary depending between years.

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