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2017/18 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CLAS3710 Plato on Love

20 creditsClass Size: 36

Module manager: Dr Elizabeth Pender

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2017/18

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

What does Plato contribute to the age-long attempt to understand the experience of love? Two Platonic dialogues have love as their central theme: Symposium and Phaedrus. The scene is Athens. In the Symposium we join a celebratory drinking party and in Phaedrus a walk in the countryside. These beautifully-written dialogues consider love from many different perspectives and reveal Plato’s own enduring passions for Socrates, for debate and for truth. We shall consider the concept of love within Plato’s philosophy, assess Plato’s influence on the history of thought on love and debate contemporary challenges to his ideas arising from our own cultural viewpoints.


On completion of this module, students will be able to understand Plato's views on love, as expressed in the Symposium and Phaedrus; the hermeneutical issues of the dialogue form; how Plato's views on love reflect his cultural context, especially in the areas of Greek homosexuality, honour and shame; and how Plato's language of love echoes earlier Greek poetry.

Skills outcomes
Interpretation of literary texts; abstract thinking; critical thinking.


Introductory lecture (1) on Plato as author; 7 lectures on the text of Symposium + 7 lectures on the text of Phaedrus; 1 in-class test; 5 seminars on Plato’s accounts of: soul, truth, beauty, creativity and love.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment11.001.00
Private study hours179.00
Total Contact hours21.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Reading Plato's two dialogues; reading critical works on the Platonic texts; preparing for the in-class test on the content of the dialogues; preparing for seminars; preparing final essay.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

In-class test in week 5.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,500 words70.00
In-course Assessment1-hour test30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 21/04/2017


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