In the Symposium, discussed in our reading on pages 134-159, Plato’s character Diotima describes Eros as a very deep drive in human beings. The best kind of education leads on through stages toward better and better understanding of reality and a better life. A person who is “led rightly” will find politics unsatisfactory, a life not worth living. Philosophers seek something that politics can’t supply. For example, a philosopher will seek to find what is beautiful, fine, and good in activities and laws, but in his or her community those activities and laws may not be beautiful, fine, or good. The philosopher will then be led to criticize his own community’s values, as Socrates criticized Athenian values.
So what is this forum about? What are we supposed to discuss? There are three parts to the forum. First, on pages 152-55 of our reading, our author describes Socrates’ critique of democracy. According to Socrates, democracy suffers from five weaknesses. Choose the second, third, and fourth weaknesses. What are they? And do you agree with Socrates that they areweaknesses? Be sure to explain your answer.
Second, on p. 149-150 of our book, there is Socrates’ “allegory of the ship of state.” Do you think that this story is an accurate reflection of what a democracy is? Do our politicians, those seeking public office, and those who seek to influence those in public office, seem to you to be similar to the sailors in the allegory?
Third, Socrates argues that it’s best to stay out of politics and live a private life. (Plato, The Apology of Socrates, page 34, and our textbook, page 152.) Why does Socrates say that? And what do you think? Is it best for us, citizens in a democracy, to stay out of politics and live private lives?
|Due By (Pacific Time)
||09/27/2015 08:00 pm