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Justice, Tragedy and Philosophy: Politics in Ancient Greece

Semester and Year FA 2017
Course Number IDSEM-UG1827
Section 001
Instructor Irene Han
Days F
Time 3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   HUM, PREMOD



This course is an introduction to the tragedy and philosophy of ancient Athens. We are especially interested in exploring concepts of guilt, justice, and the good, as these are developed in diverging ways by tragedians and philosophers. What role does free will play in politics? What does the invention of philosophy tell us about changing attitudes toward politics? Can justice be decided by a political body or must humans conform to an eternal standard? What is the correct way to educate the young? Is the good attainable and what is its relationship to happiness and pleasure? Is democracy possible or must we be ruled by the virtuous and the wise? What place does divinity and revelation have in politics? Does philosophy have a unique vantage point to discuss political questions? Is the emphasis in tragedy on imperfect knowledge a legitimate political concern? These issues will be considered by reading the following works: Aeschylus'  Oresteia , Sophocles'  Three Theban Plays,  Aristotle's  Nicomachean Ethics,  and Plato's  Republic. 


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)