Plato’s Late Dialogues

Seminar, Dr. Cynthia Freeland

University of Houston
Fall 2007, Tuesdays 2:30-5:30 p.m.


Working Schedule

(subject to revision)


Aug. 21


Socrates and Plato; dating Plato’s works

The Theory of Forms (review of Phaedo and Republic)

Parmenides 126-136 (the “First Half”): Attacks on Forms


Aug. 28

Parmenides 126-136

The Third Man Argument

Other Attacks on Forms


Sept. 4

Parmenides 136-166 (the “Second Half”)

Parmenides’ Exercise in Dialectic


Sept. 11
Theaetetus  142a-166a

Introduction; knowledge as perception
Socrates as midwife; Heraclitean flux; definitions of perception


Sept. 18

Theaetetus 166a-183c

Relativism and Protagoras’ self-refutation


Sept. 25
Theaetetus 183c-196c

False judgment; the wax tablet; the aviary


Oct. 2

Theaetetus 196c-201d

Knowledge as true judgment + an account

Socrates’ Dream; conclusions


Oct. 9

Sophist 216a-241d

Introduction; search for the sophist; the method of division

Not-being, false statement, appearances


Oct. 16

Sophist 241d-253c

Parricide of “Father Parmenides”

Gods vs. giants; “Friends of Forms”; one-name hypothesis


Oct. 23

Sophist 253c-260d

Dialectic as the blending of kinds

Non-being as difference (otherness)


Oct. 30

Sophist 260d-268d

False statement as blending of speech with non-being

Final definition of the sophist


Nov. 6

Philebus 11a-31a

Introduction: Pleasure vs. Intellect as the best life

Discourse, the Unlimited, and Limit

The One and the Many; Reason as a cause (Limit)


Nov. 13

Philebus 31a-46b

Analysis of pleasure

Introduction of “false pleasures”


Nov. 20
Philebus 46b-67b

More on “false pleasures”

Mixed vs. pure pleasures


Nov. 27

Philebus (conclusions)