Project #848 - 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. Who is the prophetess who advises Socrates in the Art of Love in Plato's Symposium? (She outlines the ascent to the Form of Beauty).

2. Identify the two significant similes that occur at the end of Book VI and the beginning of Book VII of Plato's Republic.

3. Name at least one respect in which, according to Aristotle in Metaphysics 1.6, Plato's Theory of Ideas or Forms is distinct from, or develops on, Socrates' search for definitions.

4. Socrates' so-called "intellectual autobiography", as articulated by Plato in Phaedo 96A-102A, recounts Socrates' reactions to a particular group of philosophers. Who are they? (You could identify them by name or by some features of their philosophy).

5. Which virtue is primarily discussed in the dialogue Laches? Short-Answer Questions (choose 2) – 10 marks

Allocate 15-20 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. Why might Plato “distance” himself from the narration of the Symposium by framing the story within third- or fourth-hand reportage? Give some textual examples of this distancing, and explain its possible function.

2. Does Socrates' critique of craftspeople's knowledge in the Apology apply to the speech of Erixymachus in Symposium? Why, or why not?

3. What do you take to be Plato’s attitude toward either (a) poetic tradition and custom or (b) professional orators and rhetoricians? Base your answer on a manageable selection of evidence from Symposium or Phaedrus or both.

4. Describe some salient features of Socrates' dialectical method (elenchus) in "early" dialogues such as the Laches (see syllabus for our readings). How does Plato strive to differentiate Socrates' method from the speeches of sophists?

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5. Compare Socrates' remarks regarding his own "wisdom" in Apology with his claim to expertise on love in the Symposium. Are the two views consistent or contradictory? If so, how? If not, why not? Briefly support your answer from primary texts.

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

Allocate about 25-35 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. In the view of Plato (as far as you can guess from the dialogues we have read so far, in which Plato is not a direct speaker), is the question "What is Love" approachable by Socratic method? If so, how? If not, why not?

2. Can Socrates’ procedure, as it is sketched in the Apology and exemplified in the Laches, justify its own rules? You might consider this question alone, or consider whether it needs to do so to achieve Socrates’ stated objectives. (If you have read a secondary article like Gregory Vlastos’s “Socratic Elenchus” [posted on Vista], you are welcome to reference it, but this question can be answered fully from the primary sources).

3. Glance ahead to Republic V, 449A-464A (described by some scholars as a source of Plato's "feminism") and compare the positions defended by Socrates there with Diotima's speech addressed to contemporary Athenian aristocrats. Are these positions compatible? Can you point to specific texts to explain Plato's position?

4. Analyze and criticize or defend Socrates’ arguments against natural philosophy in his “intellectual autobiography” (Phaedo 96A-102A).

5. Could Socrates (as depicted in the Symposium) fall in love? 

Subject Philosophy
Due By (Pacific Time) 09/30/2012 12:00 am
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