PHIL 13185-7: Philosophy University Seminar - Kelsey

Instructor: Sean Kelsey

Philosophy University Seminar

Plato’s Republic contains many ideas about many topics; most of the topics are of manifest human interest, and most of the ideas are developed with tremendous imagination and power. But though in these respects the book is an ideal text for a first course in philosophy, it is also very demanding: it is an advanced book, not addressed to beginners; it is a long book, devoted to a single, complicated line of argument; and it is an old book, set in a world that is nowadays in many ways very alien.

Still, on the principle that few things worth doing are easy, and that anything worth doing is worth doing well, in this course we will read Plato’s Republic, in its entirety, twice: once relatively slowly, in order to have time to practice new skills, and then again relatively quickly, with an eye on the forest as opposed to the trees. Both times we will read with an eye ultimately on exploring, at leisure and in freedom, the ideas the book contains and the ideas it provokes in us.

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