"Having been educated in this way, he will welcome the reason when it comes and recognize it easily because of its kinship to himself" (Republic, III.402a).
Plato's Republic is a book on education. And, depending on how you read it, you can see it as a manual for education that leads to a just city. Or, you can see it as a manual for education that leads to a just soul. Or, you may just be able to see it as a manual for education that leads to just souls, souls that live in a city that itself will be just as a result. And so, we find that the answer to the age old debate, whether the Republic is a book on how to organize a city or how to train the soul, is, in fact, yes.
What We Will Do
In this brand new Atrium offering, CiRCE Head Mentor Matt Bianco will lead us through a deep dive and close read of Plato's most influential dialogue, the Republic. We will discover what Plato has to offer about human nature, proper education, the just ordering of the soul, and the just ordering of the city. We will wrestle with ideas and arguments that have both haunted and inspired civilizations for centuries, millennia even.
We will consider not only how human nature affects the way we educate, but what that means for what we should teach (the content of education, what we often think of as the curriculum), how we should teach (the mode of education, what we often think of as pedagogy or teaching methods), when we should teach (the stages of education), and when we shouldn't teach (the assessment of education).
How We Will Do It
To really ensure we get to that deep dive and close read, we will spend two meetings on most of the books. We will read and discuss them from two different perspectives: the philosophical (what is Plato/Socrates saying in this book) and the dramatic (how is he saying it). For each book of this magnificent work is simultaneously a philosophical discussion and a play. The characters not only say important things, but they say them while behaving certain ways and responding to other behaviors in a way that is itself a clue to how we should understand the text.
Who Should Do It
If you are a homeschooling parent or a brick-and-mortar school teacher that is teaching or will be teaching Plato's Republic, this is the perfect course for you. If you are the kind of person that just loves philosophy or the ancient world or Socrates and Plato, then this is the perfect course for you. If you are completely new to the ancients or philosophy or theology and just know that Plato and his Republic are important but don't know why, then this is the perfect course for you. If you're not sure why you are reading this description right now, then this is the perfect course for you.
CiRCE Atrium courses do not usually include a writing component, but this one will. It is bonus material, so it is in no way a requirement for you to participate in the program. The writing program will be practicing the common topic of Definition and writing definition essays. By doing this, we will get to learn how to define terms better generally, but we will also learn to define the terms the Socrates himself is using, that we might better understand them.
The Definition Essay writing component is optional. The essays can be submitted, however, and writers will receive feedback from Atrium leader, Matt Bianco.
Join us in the 2021-2022 Atrium year, and together we can try to understand what being educated "in this way" means so that we too can welcome the truth when it comes.
His class will meet on the first and third Tuesdays from 4-5:30 ET (with some shifts for travel needs or holidays, TBD)