• Answer each of the questions below. The two answers combined must not exceed 2000 words; text that exceeds 2000 words will not be graded.
• Plagiarism and sources: use only class notes and texts we have studied. It is strictly prohibited to copy or paraphrase any external source (i.e. Wikipedia entries, Spark notes, other students, etc.). The university has tools in place to trace plagiarism.
• Please do not use citations in your answer (for example: As Socrates claimed ““the unexamined life is not worth living”); rather, use your own words to explain the ideas presented by philosophers. However, whenever possible, do add a reference to the texts you are referencing. Thus, if you refer to part of a Platonic dialogue, note in brackets the page number and letter to which you refer.
• Example: “From the above claims, Socrates concluded that the soul is eternal” (81b-82a).
• Make sure what your writing clearly expresses the answer you have in mind and that you have explicated all the philosophical concepts you have used.
Question 1 – Definition:
Socrates, we know, was trialed for corrupting the youth of Athens (23e) and found guilty (see the Apology). One of his “corrupting” practices was to encourage fellow Athenians to accurately define concepts they were using, such as virtue, courage, justice and piety.
• Based on the two Socratic dialogues we read, the Euthyphro and the Meno, explain what is required from a good definition. In formulating the various requirements, make sure to refer to the relevant parts in the dialogues (as described above).
• In a crucial moment in the Euthyphro, Socrates asks “is the pious being loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is being loved by the gods?” (10a). What is Socrates’ point in raising this question with regard to definitions? More specifically, what fallacy is he marking out here?
• Even after the juries found him guilty, Socrates avowed no regret and stated his famous claim that “the unexamined life is not worth living” (38a Apology). What is the relationship between this statement and Socrates’ pursuit after good definitions. From the Socratic viewpoint, what makes good definitions so important, both ethically and epistemologically?
Question 2 – The Theories of Ideas and Substance:
One of Plato’s most influential doctrines is “the theory of Ideas” (or alternatively, “the theory of Forms”). In order to clarify this theory, he introduces three allegories, known as “the allegory of the sun,” (507b–509c) “the allegory of the divided line,” (509d–510a) and “the allegory of the cave” (531d–534e). Read the allegories and answer the following questions:
• Choose one of the allegories and use it to present in general lines Plato’s theory of Ideas.
• Plato claims that what is real in the strictest sense are Ideas and that objects of the senses are less “real” than ideas. Explain what is meant by this claim and provide Plato’s arguments in support of it.
• The theory of ideas is often criticized for separating objects of the senses from their forms. This means that objects have their form by virtue of partaking in ideas. Thus, what makes an object “a chair”, i.e., what gives it the form of a chair, is the fact that it partakes in the idea of “the chair.” How does Aristotle’s theory of substance overcome this separation between objects of the senses and their form? Answer the question by clarifying the notion of matter-form unity (hylomorphism).
In a crucial moment in the Euthyphro, Socrates asks “is the pious being loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is being loved by the gods?” (10a). What is Socrates’ point in raising this question with regard to definitions? More specifically, what fallacy is he marking out here?
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