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Level 5

5AANA001 Greek Philosophy II: Plato


Credit value: 15
Module Tutor: Dr Joachim Aufderheide


  • Summative assessment: 1 x 2,500 word essay (100%) 
  • Formative assessment: 1 x 2,000 word essay


  • Summative assessment: 2 x 2,000 word essays (50% each)
  • Formative assessment: 1 x 2,000 word essay

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.

The course is designed to give not only an overview of some of the most important topics in Plato’s philosophy, but also to raise critical points and offer different interpretative strategies, thus providing the student with the knowledge and skills required to study Plato independently. The course will be arranged around one of the most important questions in Plato’s career, ‘Why should I be just?’.

By working through two of Plato’s works centrally devoted to this topic, the Gorgias and the Republic, we will cover aspects of Plato’s Ethics, Metaphysics, Epistemology, Political Philosophy and Moral Psychology. While the module will build on the Greek Philosophy I module for students who have taken it, it does not presuppose that module and can be taken without prerequisite.

Further information

Module aims

  • To communicate an understanding of central philosophical ideas in Plato, and to show how they relate to one another, with a particular focus on how his ethics is informed by other areas of his philosophy, such as his epistemology.

  • To show how Plato’s ideas evolve in response to problems and challenges inherited from others and from his own writings.

  • To teach students to read texts in the history of philosophy with care and subject them to philosophical analysis.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, the students will be able to demonstrate intellectual, transferable and practicable skills appropriate to a Level 5 module and in particular will be able to demonstrate:

  • An understanding of central issues in Plato’s thought.

  • An understanding of how some of these issues interrelate (e.g. how do his views on knowledge relate to 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 with philosophical sensitivity but without being anachronistic.

  • Some awareness of how Plato’s thought develops as a critical response to ideas inherited from others.

Past Syllabi

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


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 between years.

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