Instructor: Alex Campbell. This course meets MWF 12:20 – 1:10 p.m. in MU 105.
Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were fascinated by the questions of how we ought to live, what we should spend our time pursuing, the kind of person that we should be, and what kinds of political institutions best enable citizens to flourish. These practical questions will be the focus of the course. We will begin with Plato’s early Socratic dialogues (Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito), which center around Plato’s teacher Socrates. We’ll then read the Republic to explore Plato’s own views on these topics followed by Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Throughout the course, we will be interested in learning about these thinkers with an eye to what they can teach us today. Accordingly, we will supplement these ancient texts with contemporary works by Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcom X, and Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture). We will also occasionally supplement course readings with films on topics such as happiness, climate change denial, fake news, and other forms of nefarious political manipulation.