Plato (PHIL*6310) | College of Arts

Plato (PHIL*6310)

Code and section: PHIL*6310*01

Term: Winter 2019

Instructor: Ken Dorter


The Theaetetus, Sophist, and Statesman are among Plato’s most important dialogues both individually and as a group. For example, the Theaetetus is the first discussion of knowledge as justified true belief; the Sophist explores the possibility of falsity and the concept of Being (Heidegger wrote a book length commentary on it); and the Statesman introduces the concept of the golden mean. As a group the dialogues follow the Parmenides, in which a very young Socrates explains his theory of forms to Parmenides, who apparently demolishes it with a series of refutations. The significance of this, and the way the trilogy responds to it, is a major issue for understanding Plato’s philosophy as a whole. The course will examine the three dialogues through a mixture of lectures and seminars.

Textbook(s):  Plato, Complete Works (edited by Cooper and Hutchinson) ISBN 0-87220-349-2

Course requirements / evaluation:    Two exegeses, either essays or seminars depending on enrollment.


Course Outline

The University of Guelph resides on the land of the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon, a covenant between Indigenous nations to live peaceably on the territories of the Great Lakes region. We recognize that today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and acknowledging them reminds us of our collective responsibility to the land where we learn, live and work.