PP3SSG-Society and State in Ancient Greece

Module Provider: Philosophy
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Prof David Oderberg

Email: d.s.oderberg@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

A module devoted to the study of Aristotle’s classic work The Politics. We look at his conception of politics, society, and government, and examine its relevance to modern concerns and issues.


This module will introduce you to ancient philosophy through a study of the greatest of the Greek philosophers, Aristotle. We will look at his famous work on ethics and political philosophy, The Politics.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of this module you will:

  •  have a detailed understanding of Aristotle’s book The Politics.

  •  understand the basic outlines of Aristotle’s moral and political philosophy.

  •  have been introduced to Aristotle’s philosophy in general.

  •  have a grasp of some of the classic problems in ancient philosophy, particularly in moral and political philosophy.

  •  be able to relate what you have learned to some of the traditional and contemporary problems of moral and political philosophy.

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:

The module text is S. Everson (ed. and trans.), Aristotle: The Politics and the Constitution of Athens , Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1996).

Recommended preparatory reading:

  1. J. Barnes, Aristotle: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000)

  2. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (any edition, e.g. Oxford World’s Classics edition, trans. Ross and ed. Brown, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009)

The module will cover the following topics:

  • Origins of the state

  • Natural slavery

  • Aristotle’s critique of Plato

  • Types of political organization

  • Who is a citizen?

  • Political power

  • Monarchies good and bad

  • Democracy, oligarchy, aristocracy, tyranny

  • The ideal state

  • Education

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module will consist of 10 x 2 hour lectures and 10 assessed student presentations conducted in small groups. Each presentation will be devoted to an important article on a topic from the Politics. Students will be expected to make a short presentation of the article, designed to stimulate class discussion.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Guided independent study 170
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 80
Oral assessment and presentation 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

2 x coursework assignments each worth 40% = 80% of final module mark.

1 x oral presentation worth 20% of final module mark.

Formative assessment methods:

Pre-submission meetings for coursework, and post-assessment discussion, will be made available to all students.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Written assignment, to be completed in August/September.

    For presentations, the student will be required to submit a slideshow during August.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 26 September 2018


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