ATS2837 - Plato and Platonism - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit



Professor Andrew Benjamin

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


In the first part of this century the British philosopher A. N. Whitehead remarked that 'all philosophy is but a series of footnotes to Plato.' This unit introduces students to some of the central themes in Plato's work. These will include: the relation between knowledge, moral virtue and happiness; the immortality of the soul and reincarnation; the existence and nature of Plato's forms - abstractions such as beauty itself, alleged to be the source of all beautiful things here. Finally we will look at some of the developments of Plato's philosophy in neoplatonism.


Students who successfully complete this unit will:

  1. be able to explain central themes from the work of Plato in thelight of scholarship on the subject;
  2. be able to identify important harmonies and divergences between theworks of Plato and subsequent Platonist philosophers;
  3. be able to identify analytic connections between the works of Platoand contemporary work in metaphysics and epistemology;
  4. develop an ability to read, interpret, and analyse historicalphilosophical texts from the Ancient Greek and Roman traditions;
  5. learn how to make use of major reference works in Plato scholarship.


Within semester assessment: 60% + Exam: 40%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Twelve credit points of first-year Arts units.

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: