Plato's Republic for Beginners
Fridays, 1:45 - 2:50 PM (EST)
Online | Zoom
September 8 - December 15, 2023
(no class October 6)
$325 | Student
$265 | Auditor
Multi-class discounts available (see "Course Levels").
When it comes to philosophy, you have probably heard it said that “everything is a footnote to Plato.” If this seems like an extreme claim, it will seem far less extreme after you have read Plato’s Republic. For the last 2400 years, everyone who has made a significant contribution to the philosophic tradition—including the likes of Augustine, Descartes, Hobbes, Rousseau, and Burke—has first wrestled with Plato. There isn’t enough time in a man’s life for him to read all the classics, but Plato’s Republic is one of very few top-tier classics that everyone who wants a classical education must read.
Given his astounding influence and wisdom, everything that Plato wrote is worthy of our time, and yet the Republic is far and away his greatest and most comprehensive work. While ostensibly about politics, the Republic is actually concerned with every kind of rule, especially the way a man rules his own life, his children, his classroom, or his employees. Plato’s Republic is a handbook on childrearing, teaching, and entrepreneurial endeavors, but most importantly it is a book about creating a good, satisfying, and stable life for one’s self.
In Plato’s Republic for Beginners (a 14-week course), students and auditors will work through the great philosophical work at a very slow and methodical pace. We will use Robin Waterfield’s translation for Oxford, which is smooth, clear, and very easy to follow. This edition is broken up into fourteen chapters, most of which are around 25 to 35 pages long, and we generally won’t read more than one chapter a week. This will allow everyone to move through the book at a leisurely pace and each week’s lecture will carefully unpack the most significant ideas from the reading.
By the end of the class, students and auditors will have a clear grasp of Plato’s teachings on self-governance and understand how these teachings pertain to every sphere of life.
Plato’s Republic (translated by Robin Waterfield)
14 sessions on Friday afternoons from 1:45 - 2:50 PM EST
September 8 – December 15
(NOTE: Class will not meet on October 6)
Gibbs Classical courses are offered at two different levels: Student and Auditor.
Student Level | Students will have entry into Friday Zoom classes, as well as access to recordings of class videos and the class Canvas page, where students may ask questions (of one another or Mr. Gibbs) and carry on discussions about the reading.
Students will be assigned two essays, one in the middle of the semester and the other at the end of the semester. Students are not required to complete the essays but may do so if they choose. The essays should be a minimum of 1200 words long and will receive written feedback which will be returned to students and parents. Students have the option to resubmit their work for additional feedback.
Student Level Pricing is as follows:
1 class - $325
2 classes - $625
Auditor Level | Auditors will receive recordings of the class videos delivered by email every Saturday. The Auditor Level does not come with a Canvas login. It is ideal for anyone whose schedule does not allow attendance on Friday afternoons and who does not plan on doing any written work for the class. During the14-week session, Joshua will offer two hour-long open Zoom sessions for auditors only on a weekday evening (dates will be provided by email at the beginning of the course). During these optional session, auditors are invited to discuss the reading or ask questions.
Auditor Level Pricing is as follows:
1 class - $265
2 classes - $510
Gibbs Classical courses are open to students aged 15 and above. Adults and college students are welcome.
No make-up sessions will be given in the event of a student absence, but recordings of the class will be available for all students.
Class will begin each Friday with the assumption that students have already done the reading which is being discussed.
All emails exchanged between students and Mr. Gibbs should be copied to a parent. All emails sent from Mr. Gibbs to individual students will be copied to parents. No private conversations between underage students and Mr. Gibbs will take place.
Students are expected to use their real names and unmodified backgrounds when in class Zoom sessions.
Students will be clearly informed of due dates for the two papers. It is the responsibility of the student to turn in work. If a student does not turn in work, Mr. Gibbs will not remind or hound the student to do so, neither will parents be notified.
Students are expected to be courteous and polite to one another in class. They are also expected to represent and defend their opinions with dignity and common sense. Disagreement between students will happen, but this is simply part of discussing politics and philosophy like mature adults. If one student’s feelings are hurt by another student, it does not necessarily mean anyone has been mistreated or that an apology is warranted.
Refund policy: A full refund is offered for anyone who decides to drop the class before the start date. A 50% refund is offered for anyone who drops the class before the second class meeting.
Late start policy: If there is space available, students and auditors may join the class after the start date but will not receive a discounted rate.