“Know thyself,” “an unexamined life is not worth living,” “nothing in excess.” Most Westerners have heard these expressions and know something about the Gold Age of Athens. Plato was born when Athens was thought to be the greatest democratic society in human history. He watched as ignorance, lust, pride, greed, delusions, arrogance, and self-absorption led to the collapse of the great “free and open society.” The “liberals” destroyed Athens with their self-indulgence, the conservatives destroyed Athens with their religious and intellectual intolerance, those who sought military or economic empire building drove the city to overextended itself and fall apart. The dialogues read in this class take place before Athens destroyed itself. Plato’s readers must have natural intelligence and educational opportunity and be living in a society that allows citizens free intellectual inquiry. He is showing his readers what the Athenians made.
at least one RPH class and junior or senior standing or permission of the instructor.