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Course Description

If politics is the study of how we organize and define ourselves as a community, fifth-century Athens fundamentally defined and grounded the conceptions of the moral basis of political action and judgment in Western political thought. This course will examine how the tragedies of Aeschylus and Sophocles and the philosophies of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle are set against the emergence and eventual decline of Athens. These texts present dramatically different standards of what defines political virtue and conceptions of what it means to be political. They address issues ranging from the moral dimensions of politics; to the conflicting loyalties to the household, city-state, and gods; to the competing obligations of identity, citizenship, and leadership. What do we value? What binds us together? What are our duties to one another? Who is in charge and why? Finally, we will explore how classical Greek writings can bring a renewed political vocabulary to modern society. | Facilitated discussion.
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