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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Section Title
Classical Political Theory: Classical Greek Thought
Online - Zoom
1:30PM to 2:45PM
Feb 17, 2021 to Apr 21, 2021
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Virtual Classroom  
Course Fees
Section Notes

Please note: This course will be a seminar with a highly interactive approach. Class time will be devoted to discussion. The weekly readings will include Aeschylus’s “The Eumenides,” Sophocles’s “Antigone,” Plato’s “Apology” and “Crito,” and a short excerpt from Aristotle’s “Politics.” All readings for this course will be available for free online through the course website. If you prefer to purchase the book versions/translations the instructor will be using in class, they are listed under "recommended books."

Recommended reading: (4 books listed below)

Aeschylus, The Oresteia: Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, The Eumenides (9780140443332)

Sophocles, The Theban Plays (9780140440034)

Plato, The Last Days of Socrates: Euthyphro, The Apology, Crito, Phaedo (9780140445824)

Aristotle, Politics (9780192831095)