The Life and Death of Socrates

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Socrates, the son of a humble stonemason, Sophroniskos, was one of the most remarkable, controversial and influential human beings who ever lived. Though he left behind no written testimonial of his peculiar, singular genius, we know quite a bit about him through the accounts and recollections of his contemporaries, critics and followers, primary among them, Plato, Xenophon and Aristophanes. Based almost exclusively on readings of the major ancient texts, the course focuses less on the philosophy of Socrates, as filtered through the great and not unbiased lens of his most famous student, Plato, than on the man, his physical demeanor, his way of life, his loves, his friendships and especially his trial and death in 399 B.C.E.

3 credits

Course Code: HUM 387

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.