Fall 2006: Philosophy 190P

Plato’s Middle Dialogues


Instructor: Dr. Gale Justin

Office: Mendocino 3024

Office Phone: 278-6547

Office Hours: Tues. Thurs. 1:30 – 2:30 and by appointment

E-mail: justin@csus.edu

DSL: http://www.csus.edu/indiv/j/justing


Catalogue Description: Seminar: major philosopher.  Intensive study of a major philosopher.  3 units.

Prerequisite:  6 units in philosopher or permission of the instructor.


Course Content:

    A seminar focusing on Plato's theory of knowledge as represented in the Meno, the Phaedo,  and the Theaetetus.  Discussion starts off with the Socratic principle of the priority of definition as a prerequisite for expert knowledge and then moves on to an examination of Meno's doubts concerning the possibility of inquiry and Socrates' response in terms of the distinction between true belief and knowledge.  These topics in turn bring to the fore the problem treated at length in the Theaetetus, namely, the gap for Plato between sense perception, on the one hand, and knowledge under the guidance of the Forms, on the other.


Required Texts: Plato's Meno (Hackett Publication)

                        Plato's Phaedo (Hackett Publication)

                        The Theaetetus of Plato, with introduction by Myles Burnyeat (Hackett Publication)


Requirements:  Twelve Summaries of reading assignments                      30%

                         An outline of a seminar paper                                       10%

                         A preliminary and final draft of a 5 -7 page seminar paper          60%  

                                                                                                            Total:   100%  

Learning Objectives:

1.      To acquire an understanding of Plato’s ideas on the nature of knowledge as these ideas emerge and develop in the Meno, Phaedo, and Theaetetus, dialogues in which Plato voices his own, not Socrates’, opinions.

2.      To understand some of the importantly different ways in which Plato’s arguments can be interpreted.

3.      To develop oral skills in discussing philosophic material.

4.      To develop writing skills in summarizing, criticizing, and defending philosophic theses of Plato’s and/or of one’s own.

Course Calendar:


Sept. 5             Introduction

Sept. 7             Meno 70a-77a Summary 1

Sept. 12           Meno 77a – 82b, Summary 2

Sept. 14           Meno 82b – 89d, Summary 3

Sept. 19           Meno 89d – 100c, Summary 4

Sept. 21           Phaedo 57a-67a,  Summary 5

Sept. 26           Phaedo 67a – 70d, Summary 6

Sept. 28           Phaedo 70d -72e, Summary 7

Oct. 3              Phaedo 72e – 76e, Summary 8

Oct. 5              Phaedo 77a – 84c, Summary 9

Oct. 10           Phaedo 84c – 91b, Summary 10

Oct. 12           Phaedo 91b – 95b, Summary 11

Oct. 17           Phaedo 95b – 102d, Summary 12

Oct. 19           Phaedo 102d – 107a, Summary 13

Oct. 24           Phaedo 107a – 118a, Summary 14, Paper Outline Due

Oct. 26          Theaetetus 142a – 153e, Summary 15

Oct. 31          Theaetetus 153e – 158a, Summary 16

Nov. 2           Theaetetus 1158a – 160e, Summary 17

Nov. 7           Theaetetus 160e – 168a, Summary 18

Nov. 9           Theaetetus 168a – 171e, Summary 19

Nov. 14         Theaetetus 171e – 177c, Summary 20 First Draft of Paper Due

Nov. 16         Theaetetus 177c – 183c, Summry 21

Nov. 21          Theaetetus 183c – 186e, Summary 22

Nov. 28          Theaetetus 186e – 200e, Summary 23

Dec. 5             Theaetetus  200e – 206e, Summary 24

Dec. 12           Theaetetus 206e – 210d, Summary 25 Second Draft of Paper Due