What is justice?
Why is it important to be just?
These are the dominant themes in the Republic, a dialog written by Plato about his teacher, Socrates.
Socrates is one of the foundational figures in Western Civilization; he was also tried, convicted, and executed by his fellow citizens. We will begin with a discussion of his trial, and the defense he offered against accusations of harming society and the state.
We will then turn to Plato’s Republic to explore in much greater depth the meaning of the fundamental concept of justice. Our goal is to use Plato’s thought to further hone our understanding as to why justice is so fundamental to our experience as American citizens. In the dialog, Socrates addresses many topics of concern to us. We will investigate what is meant by virtue, the ideal of spiritedness, the role of education, and the power of music. We will consider Socrates’ method of discussion as a means of teaching and learning and apply it in class, as well.
Finally, we will explore how the “Allegory of the Cave” informs Plato’s political thought as he assesses the best & worst forms of government.
Student inmates will read, study, and discuss Plato’s Apology of Socrates and Republic in their entirety.