Western Heritage

“The Greek Legacy”

Overview

The philosophic pursuit of knowledge and the good life as exemplified by Socrates and his pupil Plato remains at the core of the Greek legacy to Western civilization. The moral and political issues that emerged from Athenian democracy and empire, and loss of freedom over the course of the Peloponnesian War, provided the context for Socrates’ questioning of the meaning of justice in relation to regimes and the individual soul.  The moral and political uncertainty of the contemporary world highlights the continued relevance of Socrates’ philosophic endeavor—to establish standards of goodness, truth, justice, and beauty for politicians no less than for individual citizens.

Lecture

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Recommended Readings 

  1. Thucydides - "Pericles' Funeral Oration"
  2. Thucydides - "Pericles' Plague Speech"
  3. Plato - "The Republic" (Selection from Book VII, "The Allegory of the Cave")
  4. Plato - "The Republic" (Selections from Book VIII and IX)
  5. Plato - "The Apology of Socrates" (Excerpt)

Note: Readings 3 and 5 are not included in Hillsdale's publication, Western Heritage: A Reader.

Q & A Session

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