Plato Seminar - MSU Philosophy

Plato Seminar PHL  410,  fall  semester  2013   Mondays,  6:40–10:00  p.m.,  SKH  530   Debra  Nails,  SKH  501,     drop-­‐in  office  hours:    1:30–3:00  Fridays     LON-­‐CAPA    


Schedule  of  readings  to  be  completed  before  class:         August     28:   (Wednesday)  Who  was  Socrates?    Who  was         Plato?    Who  are  you?    What’s  a  seminar?    Why         Plato  now?    Presocratic  background  to  Parmenides.       September     2:   Labor  Day—MSU  closed       9:   Cooper’s  introduction  to  Plato:  Complete  Works  pp.  vii–       xxvi;  Parmenides  126a–137c       15:   (Sunday)  Ancient  Circle:  Erik  Jensen,  MSU,  “Moving         Beyond  Opinion:  Barnes,  Burnyeat,  and  the  Jury  Passage         in  Theaetetus,”  1:30-­‐3:30,  2426  Maumee  Drive,  Okemos     16:   Protagoras       23:   Charmides       29:   (Sunday)  Ancient  Circle:    Nathan  Sawatzky,  University  of  Notre  Dame,  “Anangke  and  chreia  in  Pla-­‐ to’s  Republic,”  1:30-­‐3:30,  2426  Maumee  Drive,  Okemos       30:   Republic  1–2  (to  376c)   October   7:   Republic  5.475e–7.517c    Guest  presenter:    Terry  Echterling.       14:   Republic  9  (577b–587b)     18:   (Friday)  3–5  p.m.:    MSU  Philosophy  Colloquium,  Ken  Sayre,  “Plato’s  Anticipation  of  Aristotle’s  Doc-­‐ trine  of  the  Mean,”  followed  by  a  dinner/  reception  (guests  welcome)       21:   Lysis       28:    Phaedrus     November   1:   (Friday)  Philosophy  Colloquium,  U.  of  Michigan,  Ann  Arbor,  Professor  Rusty  Jones,  Harvard       4:   Symposium.    ***Term  paper  topics  due  today  by  email  attachment,  300-­‐word  limit.***     7:   (Thursday)  Plato’s  birthday,  as  celebrated  in  the  Renaissance.         11:   Symposium.    ***Title  and  abstract  due  by  email  attachment.***     18:   UNESCO  World  Philosophy  Day.    Theaetetus.     25:   Theaetetus.    ***Annotated  working  bibliography  due  by  email  attachment.***   December     2:   Phaedo     9:   8–10  p.m.,  SKH  530,  ***comprehensive  final  exam  and  term  paper  submission***     Required  texts:         John  M.  Cooper,  ed.  Plato,  The  Complete  Works  (Indianapolis:    Hackett,  1997),  ISBN  0-­‐87220-­‐349-­‐2.       Anthony  Weston,  A  Rulebook  for  Arguments,  4th  edn.  (Indianapolis:    Hackett,  2009),  ISBN  978-­‐0-­‐87220-­‐954-­‐1.       LON-­‐CAPA  resources    (see  below).      


    Course  description  and  goals:    By  reading  a  substantial  portion  of  Plato’s  corpus  in  dramatic  order—which  is  a   departure  from  current  Anglo-­‐American  practice—we  will  have  the  advantage  of  encountering  the  more  important   philosophical  topics  more  than  once  during  the  semester,  enabling  us  to  refine  our  views  with  each  successive  en-­‐ counter.    As  we  proceed,  we  will  struggle  with  the  most  crucial  of  the  issues  raised  in  the  secondary  literature.     Members  of  the  class  should  increase  their  knowledge  of  Plato  and  the  issues  he  treats,  of  his  critics  and  defenders,   and  of  the  various  contemporary  strategies  of  Platonic  interpretation,  all  the  while  honing  their  skills  at  expressing   complex  issues  clearly  both  orally  and  in  writing.    There  are  no  philosophers  greater  than  Plato,  none  more  im-­‐ portant  to  later  philosophy,  none  more  relevant  to  contemporary  issues,  and  few  who  could  write  so  beautifully.   But  Plato  is  also  among  the  most  frustrating  of  philosophers,  for  he  wrote  dialogues  in  which  he  does  not  appear   and  that  present  a  variety  of  positions  and  arguments  with  incompatible  conclusions—demanding  that  his  associ-­‐ ates  in  the  Academy  do  their  own  intellectual  work  to  justify  their  own  conclusions.    Equally,  Plato  requires  that   you  do  your  own  intellectual  work  and  justify  your  own  conclusions.    The  compensation  for  meeting  that  difficult  re-­‐ quirement  is  improved  thinking,  writing,  and  oral  expression  that  enriches  all  of  life.         Evaluation:    Besides  having  something  prepared  in  writing  for  each  class,  students  will  give  oral  argument-­‐ presentations  based  on  the  texts  of  the  dialogues,  and  comment  formally  on  others’  arguments.    Thus  every  argu-­‐ ment/presentation  must  be  “tried  out”  on  another  person  in  the  seminar  before  it  is  presented  to  the  seminar  as  a   whole.    A  300-­‐word  abstract  of  the  argument  is  due  48  hours  in  advance  of  the  seminar  by  email  attachment  to  me   and  to  the  commentator.    A  150-­‐word  abstract  of  the  comment  is  due  by  email  attachment  to  me  and  to  the  pre-­‐ senter  12  hours  in  advance  of  the  seminar.    Grades  (50%)  will  be  based  on  such  arguments  and  comments,  and  on   the  quality  of  students’  text-­‐based  participation  in  discussion.    For  the  other  50%,  students  will  write  a  seminar   paper  of  3,000  words  (conforming  to  the  research  paper  guidelines  on  LON-­‐CAPA).       For  explanations  of  grades  (S-­‐U  and  0–4),  see  Everything  about  Grades  on  LON-­‐CAPA.    The  course  is  designed   on  the  assumption  that  students’  regular  and  active  participation  will  enable  me  to  evaluate  their  understanding  of   the  readings  and  their  progress  in  the  course.    When  that  doesn’t  happen—for  good,  bad,  or  indifferent  reasons—I   then  fall  back  on  an  alternative  means  of  evaluation:    the  comprehensive  exam.    Students  who  miss  more  than  one   seminar,  fail  to  turn  in  a  written  assignment,  or  fail  to  present  or  comment  when  scheduled  must  take  the  compre-­‐ hensive  final  exam.   Policies  and  advice:         1.  Preparation  for  class:    read  the  assigned  dialogue  or  excerpt  as  many  times  as  it  takes  to  understand  the  material.     Look  at  any  course  material  posted  on  LON-­‐CAPA  and  note  that  some  of  the  secondary  sources  identified  on  LON-­‐ CAPA  are  elementary  enough  to  help  you  understand  the  text;  others  are  provided  primarily  to  aid  research  for   term  papers.    Write  something  in  advance  of  class:    questions,  comments,  a  diagram  of  an  argument,  objections,   elaborations,  assumptions,  implications—something  that  will  make  you  more  likely  to  participate  in  discussion.         2.  During  class  discussions:    Be  civil.    If  you  find  yourself  hogging  the  conversation,  ask  questions  of  your  classmates


    to  take  the  spotlight  off  yourself.    The  best  discussions  are  ones  that  bounce  around  the  room  instead  of  ping-­‐ ponging  with  me  all  the  time.    Don’t  hesitate  to  tell  me  to  lower  my  voice  or  that  I’m  talking  too  much.    Please   help  me  notice  when  class  time  is  over.   3.  No  make-­‐ups:    Oral  presentations  must  be  made  when  scheduled,  not  when  the  class  has  moved  on  to  new  mate-­‐ rial.    In  the  event  of  sudden  illness  or  other  emergency  circumstances,  let  me  know.  The  final  exam  is  an  insurer  of   last  resort.       4.  Office  hours:    I  keep  office  hours  from  long  practice,  warning  you  in  advance  if  I  anticipate  some  unusual  com-­‐ mitment  that  will  keep  me  away;  but  I  enjoy  my  office  hours  when  students  visit,  so  please  don’t  hesitate  to  drop   in.    If  the  posted  hours  are  inconvenient,  please  make  an  appointment  with  me  by  email.       5.  Do  your  own  work  cooperatively:    Do  not  submit  for  credit  in  this  course  any  work  completed  for  another  course;   and  do  not  submit  work  that  is  not  your  own.    You  are  strongly  encouraged  to  study,  discuss,  and  dispute  with   others  everything  we  do  in  this  course.    Over  the  years,  students  who  have  performed  best  are  those  who  met   outside  of  class  and  shared  their  written  work.   6.  Academic  Freedom  and  Integrity.    Article  2.3.3  of  the  Academic  Freedom  Report  states  that  “the  student  shares   with  the  faculty  the  responsibility  for  maintaining  the  integrity  of  scholarship,  grades,  and  professional  stand-­‐ ards.”  In  addition,  the  Department  of  Philosophy  adheres  to  the  policies  on  academic  honesty  as  specified  in  Gen-­‐ eral  Student  Regulations  1.0,  Protection  of  Scholarship  and  Grades,  and  in  the  All-­‐University  Policy  on  Integrity  of   Scholarship  and  Grades,  which  are  included  in  Spartan  Life:  Student  Handbook  and  Resource  Guide.  Students  who   commit  an  act  of  academic  dishonesty  may  receive  a  0.0  on  the  assignment  or  in  the  course.     7.  Accommodation  for  Students  with  Disabilities.    Students  with  disabilities  should  contact  the  Resource  Center  for   Persons  with  Disabilities  to  establish  reasonable  accommodation.     WHAT’S ON LON-CAPA: PLATO SEMINAR 2013 FOLDERS




Syllabus 410 & Syllabus 810 Philosophy Resources (Joshua Barton’s PowerPoint) Everything about Grades (undergraduate) RUBBER STAMPS



Parmenides HELP WITH THE READINGS Protagoras


Lysis Phaedrus

Symposium Theaetetus


Guidelines for Written Abstracts (undergraduate) Guidelines for Oral Presentations, Comments, Replies, etc. Guidelines for Handouts Sample Speaker’s Script Term Paper Research Guidelines (undergraduate) Peer Review Form Division of the Arguments Scolnicov 2003 Chart Self-predication—The Third Man Argument A Problem with the Greek Text Some Candidate Platonic Forms Characters and Settings Relations of the Characters (diagram) Philosophical Controversies Argument against Relativism 356-357 Literary Criticism: a very brief consideration Outline and Useful Bibliography Segvic 2002, “No One Errs Willingly: The Meaning of Socratic Intellectualism” Penner 1973, “The Unity of Virtue” Scodel 1988, “Literary Interpretation in Plato’s Protagoras” Woolf 2002, “Consistency and Akrasia in Plato’s Protagoras” Characters and Setting notes on method in Charmides Vlastos 1982, “The Socratic Elenchus” Philosophical Inquiry in Charmides Characters and Setting Introduction and a Contemporary Controversy Characters and Setting Introduction and Structure Madness and Method (diagrams from Griswold 1986, Self-Knowledge in Plato’s Phaedrus) Phaedrus read in Greek by Julius Tomin Britney Spears and Phaedrus Link to Frisbee Sheffield on erôs in Phaedrus and Symposium Characters and Setting video clip from Hedwig and the Angry Inch Characters and Setting PHL 210-level Theaetetus Notes structure of Theaetetus Notes (illustration) Fogelman & Hutchinson 1990, “Seventeen Subtleties in Plato’s Theaetetus” Characters and Setting (illustrated) Arguments about the Psyche (210-level)





Supplemental Considerations at 410-level Ebert 2001, “Why is Evenus Called a Sophist at Phaedo 61c?” Phaedo and bioethics cartoon International Plato Society link Ancient Philosophy Society link Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy link The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy link Plato’s Physical Appearance link Quotations after Plato Nails 2009, “Socrates” Kraut 2009, “Plato” Nails 2006a, “The Trial and Death of Socrates” Nails 2006b, “The Life of Plato of Athens” Dramatic Dates of Plato’s Dialogues The Greek Alphabet Schools of Interpretation of Plato Problems of Interpretation of Ancient Texts Does the Translation Matter? Stemma Codicum of Gorgias and Sigla Tetralogies of Thrasyllus and Ancient Division of Plato’s Works Vlastos 1991, excerpt: Vlastos in Brief Nails 1995, excerpt: failed attempts to map Plato’s views to the order in which his works were composed 31 Ways to Succeed in Graduate School Term Paper Research Guidelines (graduate) Gonzales 2007, review of Penner-Rowe 2005 Jinek 2008, “Love and Friendship in the Lysis and in the Symposium: Human and Divine” LNS (Lesher, Nails, Sheffield): Plato’s Symposium: Issues in Interpretation and Reception LNS: Jim Lesher’s PowerPoint illustrations LNS: key to Jim Lesher’s PowerPoint presentation LNS: conference participants (photo of the authors) Nails 2012b, “The Naturalized Epistemology of the Symposium” Nietzsche 1864, “On the Relationship between Alcibiades’ Speech and the Other Speeches in Plato’s Symposium” Obdrzalek 2006, review of Penner-Rowe 2005 Obdrazalek 2010, “Moral Transformation and the Love of Beauty in Plato’s Symposium” Rowe 2000, “The Lysis and the Symposium: aporia and euporia?” Sedley 1989, “Is the Lysis a Dialogue of Definition?” Sheffield 2001, “Psychic Pregnancy and Platonic Epistemology” Sheffield 2011, “Beyond Eros: Friendship in the Phaedrus” Sheffield 2012, The Symposium and Platonic Ethics: Plato, Vlastos, and a Misguided Debate




Plato Seminar - MSU Philosophy

Plato Seminar PHL  410,  fall  semester  2013   Mondays,  6:40–10:00  p.m.,  SKH  530   Debra  Nails,  SKH  501,     drop-­‐in  office  hours:    1:30...

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