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Philosophy through Plato


Philosophy through Plato

High School Class

Full Year Course

Meets: Monday 12:45- 1:45 p.m CST

Instructor: Fr. Wesley Walker

Required Text: Plato: Complete Works edited by John M. Cooper (ISBN: 978-0-87220-349-5)
Credit: 3
Prerequistes: Formal Logic and/or Speech and Rhetoric


Philosophy through Plato

“The unexamined life is not worth living,” Socrates tells us.

This course will explore what the examined life looks like, primarily through the writings of Plato, one of the most influential thinkers in the history of Western thought. We will consider topics like self-knowledge, responsibility and justice, the soul and death, language, epistemology, leadership, love, beauty, and the Good. We will also consider the impact of Plato’s thought on subsequent philosophy and how our present cultural might appropriate, diverge from, and synthesize Plato’s thought. The goal of this class is to get more familiar with philosophy with a special emphasis on becoming more virtuous people.

Grades will be assessed according ot the following criteria:
● Most days, students will be required to read about 20-25 pages a day unless they are working on an assignment.
● Discussion Board Posts (20%): At the beginning of each unit, you will be responsible for writing a discussion board post that accomplishes three objectives: (1) answering the question of the unit (i.e. “What is self-knowledge?”) from your own point of view; (2) interviewing an authority in your life (parent, other teacher, pastor, etc.) the question of the unit and reporting their answer; (3) noting any divergences in the answers provided in 1-2.
● Class Discussion (20%): In class, students will need demonstrate that they are reading, understanding, and engaging with the text through conversation. This includes being able to answer questions about the text and thinking critically about what it contains.
● Reflection Assignments (30%): At the end of each unit, students will write short, 5-paragraph reflection papers considering three questions: (1) “What was Plato’s answer to the question?” (2) “How did Plato answer the question?” and (3) “How does Plato’s answer differ from my answer? How might my answer change?”
● The Final Paper (30%): The final paper will be written over the last three weeks of the course. It must be 4-6 pages/1,000-1,500 words (double-spaced, 12 point font).

Course Schedule1
● Unit I: What is Self-Knowledge? (Alcibiades I)
1 Special thanks to Matt Bianco of the CiRCE Institute for the general shape of the class.
● Unit II: What are Rhetoric and Justice?” (Gorgias)
● Unit III: What is the Soul? (Phaedo)
● Unit IV: What is Language? (Cratylus)
● Unit V: What is Knowledge? (Theaetetus)
● Unit VI: What is Deception? (The Sophist)
● Unit VII: What is a Leader? (The Statesman)
● Unit VIII: What is Love? (Phaedrus)
● Unit IX: What is Beauty? (Symposium)
● Unit X: What is the Good? (Philebus)

Required Text: Plato: Complete Works edited by John M. Cooper (ISBN: 978-0-87220-349-5)
Credit: 3
Prerequistes: Formal Logic and/or Speech and Rhetoric


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