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CLU33211 Explaining the World

At the beginning of all philosophy, Plato and Aristotle claimed, lies amazement at the world. Greek philosophical explanations of the world, in turn, articulate understandings of what kinds of beings we are and what we should do with our lives. This module explores one intriguing set of answers to these questions through a selection of texts drawn from the first complete corpus of Greek philosophical works that survive from antiquity, the dialogues of Plato.
  • Module Organisers:
    • Dr Ashley Clements
  • Duration:
    • Semester 1
  • Contact Hours:
    • 27 (22 lectures and 5 seminars)
  • Weighting:
    • 10 ECTS
  • Assessment:
    • 50% coursework (two written assignments), 50% written examination
  • Course Open To:
    • Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology; TJH Classical Civilisation; Columbia Dual Degree; Ancient and Medieval History and Culture; Visiting; Open Module

Learning Outcomes

On successful conclusion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Interpret Plato’s dialogues in their historical, dramatic/literary and philosophical context as literary, philosophical and political works
  • Evaluate the key intellectual influences on Plato’s thought and the form of his writing
  • Evaluate Platonic answers to the question of how we should live in their original context
  • Critique existing scholarly approaches to Plato