For my course, Freedom and Justice, I figured that any required pre-reading would have to consist of proper law etiquette and some historical judicial background. Boy, was I wrong—or not entirely on the right track at least. While Socrates, the main protagonist in Plato's "Republic" does discuss forms of law and justice, the sections I read mainly ruminate upon ethical debates.
The whole of this book is comprised of conversations between Socrates and others whom he is trying to convince of his beliefs. Large topics were of how to best govern a society—the answer is philosopher kings—and what morality and goodness truly mean. Plato (through Socrates) makes many analogies, taking the Allegory of the Cave to show how the difference between human beliefs, their knowledge, the difference between these two realms of thinking, and basically examining each specific aspect of any type of thought down to it's basic core.
I believe the parts of his conversations that pertain to what a society actually needs to function, i.e. guardians and how it should function are really going to relate to discussions I will be having this summer at Cornell.
Princeton Readings in Political Thought" was the other hefty book that was handed to my cohorts and myself that long ago day at Outback Steakhouse. This book contains so many time periods and acclaimed outspoken revolutionaries, it encompasses opinions and political standpoints beyond my wildest dreams. Published works I have read from this amalgamation include everything from St. Thomas Aquinas to John Locke, Marie-Olympes de Gouges, and Malcolm X.
Excerpts from Karl Marx's "The Communist Manifesto" and Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail really appealed to me (not only in their style of writing that was easier for me to understand) but how they actually applied to what I was learning about in school at that time, showing me that the things I will be discovering at Cornell in just a few days will continue to affect my whole life. Everything is connected in some way, shape, or form, and I look forward to learning more about philosophical and political outlooks that I will then be able to apply to the rest of my experiences in this world.