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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "PL/PH 311"
COURSE NAME: "Greek and Roman Political Philosophy"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2020
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Seth Jaffe
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 1:30-2:50 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES: Recommended: PL 210
OFFICE HOURS:

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
The advanced course offers students a philosophical encounter with the key ideas and arguments of Greek and Roman political philosophy. Through a reading of ancient texts in English translation – such as Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Politics, and Cicero’s Ideal Orator – students will scrutinize the central debates of Greek and Roman thought, including those about justice, the city, the regime, and the responsibilities of citizenship. The distinctive nature of classical thought – such as its insistence on the unity of ethics and politics and on the importance of metaphysics for politics, the dialectical manner in which Socratic philosophy emerges from political opinion, and the idea of philosophy as a unique way of life – will be examined. While the principal aim of the course is to engage philosophically with primary works of Classical thought, secondary literature will be assigned to illuminate historical context or wider philosophical themes, including the influence of the classical legacy on contemporary politics and political theory – for instance, on modern political forms, such as democracy, tyranny, republicanism, and the mixed constitution.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:

This course explores Greek and Roman political philosophy through a reading of ancient texts in English translation. Among rotating philosophical themes (with a broad theoretical focus on institutions), the course will examine the Classical understanding/s of justice, the city, the regime, citizenship, the relationship between ethics and politics, just war theory, cosmopolitanism, rhetoric, the tension between the active life of politics and the contemplative life of philosophy, the nature of political change (i.e., the cycle of regimes), and, lastly, the lived experience of ancient republicanism.

LEARNING OUTCOMES:
The advanced course offers students a philosophical encounter with the key ideas and arguments of Greek and Roman political philosophy. Through a reading of ancient texts in English translation – such as Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Politics, and Cicero’s Ideal Orator – students will scrutinize the central debates of Greek and Roman thought, including those about justice, the city, the regime, and the responsibilities of citizenship. The distinctive nature of classical thought – such as its insistence on the unity of ethics and politics and on the importance of metaphysics for politics, the dialectical manner in which Socratic philosophy emerges from political opinion, and the idea of philosophy as a unique way of life – will be examined. While the principal aim of the course is to engage philosophically with primary works of Classical thought, secondary literature will be assigned to illuminate historical context or wider philosophical themes, including the influence of the classical legacy on contemporary politics and political theory – for instance, on modern political forms, such as democracy, tyranny, republicanism, and the mixed constitution.
TEXTBOOK:
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Plato's RepublicBloom translatorBasic Books978-0465094080 Almost Corner bookstore. Available as e-book via Amazon; on reserve at JCU; and there are also many used copies floating about.
Aristotle’s PoliticsAristotle, translator Lord (second edition)University of Chicago Press978-0226921846 Almost Corner bookstore. On reserves at Frohring library; used copies floating about.
Cicero on the Commonwealth and LawsCicero, translator ZetzelCambridge University Press978-0-511-06760-0 E-book via Frohring library.
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
3 papers; final; participationX 3 10pp. papers (20% x3 = 60%); final exam (25%); participation (15%) 

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:
The advanced course offers students a philosophical encounter with the key ideas and arguments of Greek and Roman political philosophy. Through a reading of ancient texts in English translation – such as Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Politics, and Cicero’s Ideal Orator – students will scrutinize the central debates of Greek and Roman thought, including those about justice, the city, the regime, and the responsibilities of citizenship. The distinctive nature of classical thought – such as its insistence on the unity of ethics and politics and on the importance of metaphysics for politics, the dialectical manner in which Socratic philosophy emerges from political opinion, and the idea of philosophy as a unique way of life – will be examined. While the principal aim of the course is to engage philosophically with primary works of Classical thought, secondary literature will be assigned to illuminate historical context or wider philosophical themes, including the influence of the classical legacy on contemporary politics and political theory – for instance, on modern political forms, such as democracy, tyranny, republicanism, and the mixed constitution.
ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE

NOTE: I reserve the right to modify the reading assignments. (Note: choice secondary literature will also be assigned)

Course Introduction: Greek and Roman Political Philosophy

1. Tues, Sept. 22nd

Course Introduction: what is Greek and Roman Political Philosophy?

2. Thurs, Sept. 24th

Reading: How to read Plato, and why read Plato.

Plato's Republic

Book I: The Question/Problem of Justice, pp. XX-XX.

3. Tues, Sept. 29th

Plato’s Republic, book I continued

4. Thurs, Oct. 1st

Book II: Glaucon’s Challenge, and the Ideal City in Speech

Class session Plato’s Republic, book II

5. Tues, Oct. 6th

Book III: Poetry and the Educations of the Guardians

Plato’s Republic, book III

6. Thurs, Oct. 8th

Book IV: Justice and the Virtues

Plato’s Republic, book IV

7. Fri, Oct. 9th

Book V: Community of Women and Children; Equal Education of Women; Philosopher Kings,

8. Tues, Oct. 13th

Plato’s Republic, book VI/VII

9. Thurs, Oct. 15th

Plato’s Republic, book VIII/IX

10. Fri, Oct. 16th

Plato’s Republic, book X

11. Tues, Oct. 20th

Aristotle's Politics

Introduction to Aristotelian Political Science

Book I: The Nature of the City, and the Forms of Rule

12. Thurs, Oct. 22nd

Book I. continued

13. Tues, Oct. 27th

Book II: Aristotle on Plato and other well-managed regimes

Aristotle’s Politics, book II

14. Thurs, Oct. 29th

Book III: The City and the Regime: Citizenship, Regime kinds, Class tensions

Aristotle’s Politics, book III

15. Tues, Nov. 3rd

Aristotle’s Politics, book III

16. Thurs, Nov. 5th

Book IV/V: Polity as Best Practicable Regime, and the Causes of Political Degeneration

Book IV

17. Tues, Nov. 10th

Book V

18. Thurs, Nov. 12th

The Best Regime: Aristocracy of Virtue

Book VII

19. Fri, Nov. 13th

Book VIII

20. Tues, Nov. 17th

Cicero's Republic

Intro Cicero and Roman Political Philosophy

Polybius book VI: the Cycle of Regimes

21. Thurs, Nov. 19th

Cicero's Republic I

22. Tues, Nov. 24th

Cicero's Republic II

23. Thurs, Nov. 26th

Cicero's Republic III

24. Tues, Dec. 1st

Cicero's Republic IV

25. Thurs, Dec. 3rd

Tues, Dec 8th (No Class)

Cicero's Republic V

26. Thurs, Dec. 10th (last day of classes)

Dec 11-14 exam period