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Back to Reason and Persuasion: Thinking Through Three Dialogues By Plato

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Reason and Persuasion: Thinking Through Three Dialogues By Plato by National University of Singapore

273 ratings
82 reviews

About the Course

In this course we study the ancient, Socratic art of blowing up your beliefs as you go, to make sure they're built to last. We spend six weeks studying three Platonic dialogues - "Euthyphro", "Meno", "Republic" Book I - then two weeks pondering a pair of footnotes to Plato: contemporary moral theory and moral psychology. Platonic? Socratic? Socrates was the teacher, but he said he never did. Plato was the student who put words in his teacher's mouth. You'll get a feel for it. We have a book: the new 4th edition of "Reason and Persuasion", by the instructor (and his wife, Belle Waring, the translator.) It contains the Plato you need, plus introductory material and in-depth, chapter-length commentaries. (Don't worry! John Holbo knows better than to read his book to the camera. The videos cover the same material, but the presentation is different.) The book is offered free in PDF form - the whole thing, and individual chapter slices. It is also available in print and other e-editions. See the course content for links and information. The course is suitable for beginning students of Plato and philosophy, but is intended to offer something to more advanced students as well. We seek new, odd angles on old, basic angles. Tricky! The strategy is to make a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary approach. Lots of contemporary connections, to make the weird bits intuitive; plus plenty of ancient color, still bright after all these years. So: arguments and ideas, new possibilities, old stories, fun facts. Plus cartoons. The results can get elaborate (some book chapters and some lesson videos run long.) But each video comes with a brief summary of its contents. The lessons progress. I put them in this order for reasons. But there's no reason you can't skip over and around to find whatever seems most interesting. There are any number of self-contained mini-courses contained in this 8-week course. You are welcome to them. Plato has meant different things to different people. He's got his own ideas, no doubt. (Also, his own Ideas.) But these have, over the centuries, been worn into crossing paths for other feet; been built up into new platforms for projecting other voices. (Plato did it to Socrates, so fair is fair.) So your learning outcome should be: arrival somewhere interesting, in your head, where you haven't been before. I wouldn't presume to dictate more exactly....

Top reviews


Feb 2, 2017

Very interesting. The questions were rather challenging. The book clarifies a lot, and porf. Holbroke has a nice way of teaching. The videos were rather enticing and very informative.


Oct 27, 2016

I wish the course was longer! The Professor did a fantastic job of making the content fascinating and engaging. Please please please make another MOOC!

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26 - 50 of 80 Reviews for Reason and Persuasion: Thinking Through Three Dialogues By Plato

By Tracy T

Jun 1, 2016

I never would have thought Plato would be captivating, but this course brings the Dialogues to life!

By Greg G

Aug 9, 2016

The professor's view of Plato is unique and interesting. I would not recommend this as a first look at the Dialogues, however. Also, it was difficult to see how the lectures connected to the remit of the course, to teach "reason and persuasion", in Plato's view. The course was more of a "modern take on ancient questions".

By Anaaya P

Sep 12, 2021

Very interesting and a fascinating learn for beginners in philosophy, taught in a fun manner so it never got boring. Truly opened my mind.

By Dzulhafiez I

Mar 29, 2022

This course is based on Logic and is not that difficult. It is a good course on philosophy and greek mythology.

By Martijn V

May 1, 2022

Good introduction to Plato and critical thinking. It's much better than just picking up the books!

By Wanda G

Nov 29, 2020

Very refreshing, conveying important concepts in an unpretentious and entertainingly funny manner.

By Chanya

Oct 10, 2019

This course is very good . Recoomended to take this and it help you to be good in your thouhgt

By Matthew K

May 14, 2017

Excellent course, entertaining and informative teacher, no previous Plato experience required!

By Adam M

Aug 31, 2016

Professor Holbo is simply a fantastic lecturer. I hope he produces more courses for Coursera.

By Yana H

Dec 5, 2016

Engaging and interesting course from the coolest professor you'll ever have.

By D S

Jan 31, 2018

Outstanding professor, brings Philosophy to life ... really enjoyed it

By Mark A S

Jun 2, 2020

One of the best courses I've ever taken, period.

Mark Stephens



Jan 31, 2020

Much to interest and well explained in an entertaining mannner.

By Tarek H

May 17, 2016

Exceptionally interesting. Love professor Holbo! Thank you.

By Yael H

Jun 14, 2017

Wonderful, funny, thought provoking, rich, and very clear

By Joerg P

Mar 13, 2019

Cool lecture, I thorough enjoyed it and recommend it

By Nhat L

Sep 26, 2017

Highly recommend to study. Very informative course

By nasser e

May 22, 2017

Very good course and an exceptional instructor

By Nicholas H

Nov 30, 2018

thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening

By Clive D

Aug 16, 2017

Very good and interesting course.

By Adam A

Jun 24, 2022

T​horoughly enjoyed this class.

By Subrahmanyan M

Feb 24, 2018

Well designed

simplified course

By Michael E

Jun 11, 2016

Lecturer is actually socrates

By rosario r c

Nov 18, 2019

Very interesting. Thank you.

By Tim B

Mar 31, 2020

learned a lot abouit Plato