This seminar is a close examination of the dialectical exercises contained in Plato’s Parmenides that could emanate from a one-sided treatment of either the one or the many. Generally considered by the ancient Greek philosophers as Plato’s most insightful and yet enigmatic dialogue, it has continued to defeat well settled interpretations into modern times. The first part of the seminar will primarily focus on the philosophical and historical context of the dialogue. The second part is a detailed consideration of the individual negative and positive hypotheses in the second section of the Parmenides. The primary teaching approach for this course is lecture based. Students will be expected to do class presentations and submit a final paper at the end of the semester. At the end of the course, students should be able to identify a cluster of problems with respect to the status of the one and the many, vis-à-vis positive and negative outcomes and the implications of these outcomes for Plato’s theory of forms. Students are expected to demonstrate their ability to engage with Plato’s philosophy by means of seminar presentations, dialogue, and the submission of written work.
Wednesday, 1:30 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.