This seminar examines the development of Plato’s theory of forms from the earlier dialogues through to his more mature treatment of the subject in later works. The principal themes to be investigated are participation, dialectics, the great kinds, and different aspects of mediation between the forms and the phenomenal world. The forms will be examined from metaphysical, ontological, and epistemological perspectives. The seminar focuses on the specific treatment of the forms in Phaedo, Republic, Parmenides, Sophist, and Philebus. Students are expected to acquire a thorough understanding of the nuances and complexities of Plato’s various approaches to the problems engendered by the theory and whether his views on the forms change radically in the different dialogues under consideration. Evaluations of student engagement in the seminar will be on the basis of several short oral presentations and a final written paper of no more than thirty (30) pages.
Tuesday, 1:30-4:20 p.m.