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PLAI 500 (Winter 2011): Advanced Interdisciplinary Humanities Seminar

Plato’s Politics of the Exemplary


Instructors: Mark Antaki (Law) and Christina Tarnopolsky (Political Science)

Course syllabus

This course will explore how the Republic performs Plato’s own work of remembering and memorializing his teacher, Socrates, through his revision and reinterpretation of many of the Athenian’s own exemplary and heroic figures, such as Achilles and Odysseus. We will explore the theme of echo by examining the ways in which Plato introduces a new philosophical hero (i.e., Socrates) to his contemporary and future readers by altering and critiquing many of the poetic heroes of ancient democratic Athens. We will also be attentive to the ways in which the reception of Socrates as an exemplary figure has changed over the course of history, and how these new “Socrates” relate to particular historical contexts.