Sustained engagement with Plato's dialogues, promoting philosophical encounter with issues which are foundational to Western thought, including knowledge, justice, truth, love and immortality. The unit allows time spent with Plato's treatment of key questions to become a prism in which can be found not only his predecessors — Socrates and the pre-Socratics — but also his approach to the very art of thinking itself.

Unit code: AP9500P

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Philosophy

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning outcomes


discuss key concepts in Western philosophy — including being, knowledge, love, truth, justice, and the soul — in relation to their origin in Plato’s thought.


analyse elements of the "elenchic" Socratic method exhibited in the Dialogues.


reflect critically on the presuppositions which inform Plato’s thought, as these bid to be foundational in Western philosophy.


interrelate, using reflection and argument, the positions found in the various dialogues.


utilizing research, critically apply Plato's insights to a philosophical consideration of contemporary experience in one or more of the spheres treated.

Unit sequence

The unit can be taken with another unit of philosophy (or philosophically-cognisant theology), as pre- or corequisite.


Lectures and Tutorials

Indicative Bibliography

  • Brunschwig, Jacques, and Geoffrey E. R. Lloyd (eds). A Guide to Greek Thought: Major Figures and Trends. Harvard, MA: Harvard UP, 2003.
  • Kraut, Richard, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Plato. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992.
  • Lampert, L. How Philosophy Became Socratic: A Study of Plato’s Protagoras, Charmides, and Republic. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2010.
  • Melchert, Norman. The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy. Third ed. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Co., 1999. Plato, The Collected Dialogues of Plato, including the Letters. Ed. Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns. Bollingen Series 71. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1961.
  • (***) Reeve, C.D.C (ed) A Plato Reader: Eight Essential Dialogues. Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Co., 2012.
  • Santas, Gerasimos, ed..The Blackwell Guide to Plato’s Republic. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006.
  • Taylor, A. E. Plato: The Man and His Work. Dover Books on Western Philosophy. New York: Dover Books, 2011.
  • Vlastos, Gregory. Socrates: Ironist and Moral Philosopher. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1991.
  • Zuckert, Catherine H. Plato’s Philosophers: The Coherence of the Dialogues. Chicago, IL: U of Chicago P, 2009.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Essay 3500 50.0

*Seminar presentation of draft [clarity of presentation plus leadership of subsequent discussion to be assessed (40% of assessment for this essay)]; followed by submission of the written-up essay, assessed as a written piece of work (60%).

3500 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 21 Sep, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2020-09-21 19:12:45 +1000