Education Programs: Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Period of Performance

7/1/2009 - 5/31/2012

Funding Totals

$24,600.00 (approved)
$24,600.00 (awarded)

The Question of Justice: From the Piraeus to the Mountaintop

FAIN: AQ-50172-09

Villanova University (Villanova, PA 19085-1478)
Peter Benjamin Busch (Project Director: November 2008 to April 2014)

The preparation and teaching of a sophomore-level undergraduate course on the question of justice.

This seminar is dedicated to studying the enduring question, "What is justice?" In order to investigate the question with the care it requires, we will follow the lead of Plato's Republic, the dialogue in which Socrates stays down in the Piraeus (the port of Athens) for an all-night conversation about justice. Each unit of the course will take as its starting point one of the major views of justice offered by the men with whom Socrates converses at the beginning of the dialogue. Rather than taking that conversation for granted, however, we will proceed to illustrate, complicate and challenge it with texts by William Shakespeare, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Sophocles, and Frederick Douglass, among others. The course ends with a perspective perhaps very different from that of Socrates: the view of justice taken by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his last speech, "I've Been to the Mountaintop."