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PHIL 231 Philosophical Classics: Ethics & Political Philosophy

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    A Few Big Assignments

    Great Discussions

    Great Intro to the Subject

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    • Profile picture
    Dec 19, 2016
    | Would highly recommend.

    Not too easy. Not too difficult.

    Course Overview:

    There are two crucial reasons for my very high, unreserved recommendation for this course. Firstly, I was assigned to read Plato's Republic, which prompted me to seriously search myself for the answer to a seemingly simple question: "what is justice?" I had previously taken it for granted that justice was inherently understood by all humans, but this book and my professor's discussion of it launched a journey of life-changing discovery that challenged my initial assumption. I won't be giving spoilers because I believe this journey is worth having for everyone in every major. The second major reason for my endorsement is the unparalleled competence of the professor who taught the course, Dr. Steven Ball. He fostered vigorous and intriguing debate, and maintained an engaging wittiness that I have never seen rivaled. These were the perfect circumstances in which to explore some of the deepest questions humans can conceive of asking. Again, everyone in every major can benefit from this exploration, particularly when facilitated by an engaging, knowledgeable professor.

    Course highlights:

    The most important thing I learned in this course was how to properly approach an argument, following the example of Socrates in Plato's Republic- a luminary that lived thousand of years ago! The cornerstone of the Socratic Method is to use logic, examples and counterexamples to support or detract from a specific moral claim. Importantly, Socrates endeavored to produce and refine ethical guidelines for their own sake, rather than to aggrandize his ego. We all could stand to emulate him! In fact, the world would be a much better place if the Socratic Method was taught as late as high school, as early as elementary school, and drove political debate!

    Hours per week:

    6-8 hours

    Advice for students:

    If you are the kind of person that likes to speak up in class, you will have plenty of opportunities to do so. If not, don't worry, it isn't mandatory to speak up. Regarding the difficulty of the class, while it my be challenging to keep track of what particular philosophers had to say on particular topics, the class is definitely worth taking, especially if you can commit to entering with an open mind. It is very likely that you will find yourself challenging your previous assumptions about ethics and politics! I can attest that it is liberating to arrive at a set of morals that I feel confident in logically defending.

    • Fall 2013
    • Dr. Steven Ball
    • Great Intro to the Subject A Few Big Assignments Great Discussions

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