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PS220 – Socrates

Famously condemned by democratic Athens as an impious and immoral corrupter of the young, Socrates has subsequently become a kind of hero of intellectual freedom. Yet Socrates’s radical pursuit of self-knowledge, his claim that 'the unexamined life is not worth living for a human being” has also continuously provoked profound philosophical debates. What does it mean to live an “examined life”? Why is self-knowledge the most important kind of knowledge? Does progress in Socratic self-knowledge help to strengthen – can it even comport with – our heartfelt commitments to moral, religious, and political progress? In this course, we begin to explore Socrates’ enigmatic life and teachings through accounts given of him by Plato and Xenophon, as well as through the many different and thoughtful judgments made of him through the ages - from Aristophanes and Aristotle to Rousseau, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and beyond.


TermBlockTitleInstructorLocationStudent Limit/ AvailableUpdated
Spring 2019 Half Block Socrates Eve Grace Palmer Hall 13 25/16 12/11/2018