Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

Introduction to Plato - Johnson

PHGA 5001

Introduction to Plato



Instructor: Brian Johnson

E-Mail address: [best way to reach me]

Office Phone Number: 212-636-6394

Office: Lowenstein Building (LL), Room 806e

Office Hours: TBA

During office hours, I am reachable by Instant Messenger:

            AOL and Yahoo ID = fordhamjohnson          MSN =

[Please note: I do not check the e-mail associated with these IM accounts!]



The Complete Dialogues, published by Hackett Press


Course Requirements:

                       Reading Assignments.

                       A term paper of 15 – 25 pages.

                       Regular attendance.



Course Plan and Assigned Readings:


Week 1

Introductory lecture on Plato, Socrates, and the problems inherited from the pre-Socratics


Week 2

Euthyphro and the Apology: the Elenchus and its malcontents


Week 3:

Protagoras: Hedonism and intellectualism


Week 4:

Meno: True Beliefs, Recollection and the Hypothetical Method


Week 5:

Phaedo: Immortality and the Forms


Week 6:

Phaedo: Immortality (cont.) and the Hypothetical Method


Week 7:

Gorgias: Examination of justice


Week 8:

Gorgias: Justice, nature and convention


Week 9:

Phaedrus: Rhetoric and the tri-partite soul


Week 10:

Republic 1-2: Set up of the problem about justice


Week 11:

Republic 3-4: Civic and individual virtues


Week 12:

Republic 5-7: Philosophy and ruling


Week 13:

Republic 5-7: Philosophic knowledge and the Forms


Week 14:

Republic 8-10: Systems of government and happiness


Week 15:

Republic 8-10: (continued); the Myth of Er



Additional Reading:


            W.K.C. Guthrie, A History of Greek Philosophy 3,4 (Cambridge 1971, 1975)

            T.H. Irwin, Plato’s Ethics (Oxford 1995)

            Gregory Vlastos, Socrates: Ironist and Moral Philosopher (Cornell 1991)

            G. Fine, On Ideas (Oxford 1993)

            G. Fine (ed.). Plato 1 & 2. Oxford Readings in Philosophy (Oxford 1999)

T. Irwin. (ed.) Classical Philosophy: Collected Papers (New York 1995)

I. M. Crombie, An Examination of Plato’s Doctrines (London 1962)

            Ch. Kahn, Plato and the Socratic Dialogue (Cambridge 1996)

            R. Kraut (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Plato (Cambridge 1992)

            Steven Everson (ed.), Companions to Ancient Thought, vols. 1-4



            R.W. Sharples. Plato: Meno (Bolchazy & Carducci 1985)

            D. Gallop. Plato: Phaedo (Chapil Hill 1965)

            D. Bostock. Plato’s Phaedo (Oxford, 1986)

            J. Annas. An Introduction to Plato’s Republic (Oxford 1981)

Cross & Woozley, Plato’s Republic: a Philosophical Commentary (Macmillan 1966)

E. R. Dodds, Gorgias (Oxford 1959)


Papers on Specific Subjects

Early Socratic Dialogues

            G. Vlastos. “The Socratic Elenchus.” Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 1                   (1983), 27–58.

            P.T. Geach. “Plato’s Euthyphro.” In Logic Matters (Berkeley 1980)

            R. Kamtekar, Plato's Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito: Critical Essays (2004)


            G. Vlastos. “Was Polus refuted?” American Journal of Philology 88 (1967) 454–             60.

J. Moss, “Shame, pleasure, and the divided soul.” Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 24 (2005) 137-170.

R. Woolf, “Callicles and Socrates: Psychic (Dis)harmony in the Gorgias.” Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 22 (2000) 1-40.


            G. Vlastos. “Anamnesis in the Meno.” Dialogue 4 (1965) 143–67.

P.Woodruff. “Plato’s early theory of knowledge.” In S. Everson ed., Epistemology:             Companions to Ancient Thought (Cambridge 1990) 60–84.

G. Fine. “Inquiry in the Meno.” In The Cambridge Companion to Plato (Cambridge 1992) 200–26.


            A. Nehamas. “Plato on the imperfection of the sensible world.” American                                     Philosophical Quarterly 12 (1975) 105–17.

            G. Vlastos. “Reasons and causes in the Phaedo.” In Vlastos, Platonic Studies                   (Princeton 1973) 76–110.

J. Annas. “Aristotle on inefficient causes.” Philosophical Quarterly 32 (1982) 311-26.

            I. Mueller. “Platonism and the study of nature (Phd. 95efff.).” In ed. J. Gentzler,             Method in Ancient Philosophy (Oxford, 1998) 67-89.


            G. Vlastos. “Degrees of reality in Plato.” In Vlastos, Platonic Studies (Princeton             1973) 58–75.

Ch. Kahn. “Some philosophical uses of ‘to be’ in Plato.” Phronesis 26 (1981) 105–34.

G. Fine. “Knowledge and belief in Republic V–VII.” In Everson, Epistemology,



F. Sheffield. “Psychic pregnancy and Platonic epistemology.” Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 20 (2001) 1-33.


Aside from the readings listed, you should feel free to read the entries on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  A number of its entries are quite good:



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