Project #1228 - Philosophy of Plato- Question Paper

A. Factual Questions (answer all) – 5 marks

Allocate less than 10 minutes for this section. Answers should ordinarily require only a word or a few words, rarely a full sentence.

1. Describe one of the definitions of knowledge mooted in Plato’s Theaetetus. 2. Give an example of a Platonic myth from the texts that we have read.

3. According to the closing prayer of the Phaedrus, which aspects of himself does Socrates desire to be in harmony?

4. Will the philosopher return to the cave? (Republic VII).
5. The
Republic operates on a fundamental analogy of the tripartite soul with a ___________.

B. Short-Answer Questions (answer 2) – 10 marks

Allocate 20-25 minutes per answer. A typical short-answer question will require about a paragraph (not more than 200 words), but use your judgement. Good short-answer answers should be clear and structured, and should explicitly reference evidence from the relevant primary sources (do include direct citations, e.g. 103B, where they are relevant to your answer). Particularly strong answers might compare multiple texts or ideas, and demonstrate facility for critical argument and evaluation.

1. Briefly summarize and analyze one of the objections in Parmenides to the Forms (as they are introduced by the “young” Socrates).

2. Why must the competent speaker be able to distinguish individual kinds of souls, and how might this influence Plato’s own writing? (Phaedrus 271D).

3. Briefly characterize the key features of Socrates’ ideal city in Republic II (circa 372B and following), which Glaucon will characterize as the “city of pigs”. Why might Socrates think it is ideal? What is the key difference between this city and Kallipolis, the city described in the subsequent books of Republic?

4. In the Republic, Socrates might be understood as contending that benefits will be conferred on a community in which all human beings and possessions are held "in common" by one another. Describe these benefits, and sketch Socrates' argument in favour of this proposal. You may defend or criticize it.

C. Long-Answer Questions (Essays) (choose 1) — 15 marks

Allocate about 40-50 minutes for your answer. A typical answer will require about 500-600 words, but use your judgement. Essays should begin with, and defend from the primary evidence, a clear thesis. An excellent essay should consider and evaluate alternative viewpoints or counterarguments.

1. "Meaning and reality were not hidden somewhere behind things, they were in them, in all of them." (Herman Hesse, Siddhartha [1951], p. 32). Does Plato agree?

2. Why does Plato use metaphors and similes (such as the cave allegory, the chariot analogy, and the Myth of Er?)

3. What is Plato’s Republic?

4. What is a Platonic Form?

5. Defend (a version of) Plato's Theory of Forms against the "third man" argument. (This is the infinite regress puzzle at Parmenides 132E-133A; the title "third man" is due to Aristotle, who applies the argument to the Form of Human.)

6. Examine the way in which one of the definitions of knowledge in the Theaetetus is challenged. Do you believe the challenge succeeds? Is it meant to refute the proposed definition?

7. Who speaks for Plato? (i.e.: should Plato be understood as endorsing the views expressed by the "main" speaker in each dialogue? as endorsing views expressed by other speakers to greater or lesser degrees? Why?)

8. Should the "city-soul analogy" of the Republic be understood literally (to apply to both external city and soul), or only metaphorically (to apply strictly to soul, or soul as it relates to the Forms, and not to any external city)?

9. Would Plato’s Socrates encourage you to pursue your university education today? If so (or not), why, or under what conditions? In the course of your argument, try to refer to Platonic texts we’ve read.


*** do not exceed the word limits***

*** do not summarize the text!! pure analysis please***

Subject Philosophy
Due By (Pacific Time) 11/25/2012 12:00 am
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