Samuel C. Rickless

Professor of Philosophy


Fall 2017

PHIL 100: Plato [Syllabus] [For registered students, see TritonEd]

This course is devoted to careful examination and evaluation of the main philosophical positions advocated and defended by Socrates and Plato, as they appear in Plato’s dialogues. Topics to be covered include: Socrates’ theory of definition; Socrates’ acceptance, and Plato’s denial, of (i) hedonism [the thesis that the good is pleasure], (ii) the impossibility of weakness-of-will, and (iii) moral intellectualism [the thesis that virtue is a kind of knowledge]; Socrates’ and Plato’s (rather different) defenses of the claim that virtue (justice in particular) is sufficient for happiness; the paradox of inquiry, the doctrine of recollection, and Plato’s arguments for the immortality of the soul; and Plato’s theory of forms, his theory of knowledge, and the emendations to those theories forced upon him by considerations raised in the Parmenides and Theaetetus. Prerequisites: Upper-division status; at least one philosophy course recommended.