Raphael, School of Athens, fresco, 1509-1511 (Stanza della Segnatura, Papal Palace, Vatican)

Plato’s Republic: Power and Happiness

Instructor: Bruce King
Colors NYC
178 Stanton Street
New York, NY 10002

Plato’s Republic inaugurates a tradition of political and moral philosophy by asking why so many prefer power to happiness.  We will pursue answers to Plato’s question by engaging in a close, critical reading and discussion of the dialogue, in all its philosophical and formal complexity.  Our animating inquiries and themes will include: Plato’s homology of city and soul; the education of citizens by poets, musicians, legislators, and philosophers; the economic and kinship structures of the city and of utopia; the political uses and limits of metaphysics; and the very possibility of the just city.  We will also discuss Plato’s recourses to allegory:  of the Divided Line and of the Cave (most famously), as well as of the soul’s transmigrations.   As we take up these—and other—themes, we will also critically examine the model of life that Plato’s Socrates presents—that is, of philosophy as a way of life.  What connections can we draw between the work of the ancient philosopher and our own contemporary efforts to create cities and selves?

Course Schedule

Wednesday, 6:30-9:30pm
March 30 — April 20, 2016
4 weeks


Registration Closed

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