“What Would Plato Say?” is a free eight-week class that examines the 2016 presidential election through the lens of Plato’s Republic. This course is taught by Norman Finkelstein.
Students are expected to attend all eight classes
The current presidential election has posed timeless political questions in stark form. Bernie Sanders said that, although Hillary Clinton might be competent and experienced, those qualities weren’t sufficient to lead a nation. A president also needed good judgment, which she demonstrably lacked. Donald Trump is accused of being a demagogue who manipulates the base, animal passions of ordinary people. His candidacy calls into question democracy itself, if it can catapult into office a person manifestly unfit to be president. Plato’s Republic explores these questions and many more.
This course will consist of a close reading of Plato’s classic text, with an eye to its contemporary relevance. It will not be a lecture class but, instead, we will read, analyze and debate key passages in the Republic together.
Each student will receive a complimentary copy of the Penguin edition of Plato’s Republic, translated by Desmond Lee.
Enrollment will not exceed 20 students.
*The week of Thanksgiving class will meet on Tuesday the 22nd.
Norman Finkelstein received his doctorate in political theory in 1988 from the Princeton University Politics Department. He taught for two decades in the CUNY system, NYU and DePaul University (in Chicago). He has lectured on a broad range of subjects, and has written ten books that have been translated into more than 50 foreign editions. Finkelstein’s main fields of research and teaching are political theory, international law, and the Israel-Palestine conflict.