PHIL 463 - Topics in the History of Philosophy
Winter 2014, Section 001 - Plato on the Soul
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is (see other Sections below)
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
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Waitlist Capacity:
Enforced Prerequisites:
One Philosophy course (completed with a minimum grade of C- or better).
Advisory Prerequisites:
PHIL 388 or 389, or permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


Like us, Plato lives and writes at a time when traditional views about the soul and its well-being are increasingly called into question by a wide variety of progressive intellectuals — atheists, immoralists, materialists, and the like. Our aim in this course will be to examine and evaluate Plato’s critical response to these thinkers and their doctrines.

We will begin by exploring his treatment of the Socratic view of the soul, and by considering how that view differs from the more radical alternatives defended by Thrasymachus in book 1 of the Republic and Callicles in the Gorgias. Then we will turn our attention to the Phaedo, and to books 4-7 of the Republic, where Plato advances a number of extraordinarily influential and provocative arguments concerning the soul’s structure, its various powers, and its relation to the body. Finally we will look at his account of several important psychological states — including belief, desire, pleasure, and pain — from earlier works like the Euthyphro and the Lysis to later ones like the Theaetetus, the Philebus, and the Laws.

Our goal throughout will be to determine not only what Plato’s arguments were, but also whether we should accept those arguments as correct even now.

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PHIL 463 - Topics in the History of Philosophy
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM

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