The Philosophy of Plato

Write a 4-6 page essay-style answer to one of the following questions:Question I: Plato’s PhaedoWhat does Simmias mean when he compares the soul to a harmony or attunement? Why does this comparison present a problem for Socrates in the Phaedo? How does Socrates respond to Simmias’ challenge? Is Socrates’ response convincing, in your view? Explain.This assignment involves three tasks:Task 1Explain in detail Simmias’ conception of the soul as a harmony or attunement. What are the relevant similarities between a harmony and the soul, on this picture? How does Simmias’ comparison present a problem for Socrates in the Phaedo? In other words, why can’t Socrates simply accept Simmias’ comparison? Explain.Task 2In the Phaedo, Socrates gives four distinct reasons to doubt Simmias’ conception of the soul as a harmony or attunement. Discuss two of these reasons. Why does Socrates doubt that Simmias’ conception of the soul is apt? Your job here is to explain whatever two reasons you selected as thoroughly as you can.Task 3Finally, your job here is to focus on one of the reasons you discussed in Task 2, and to develop a response to it on Simmias’ behalf. Imagine that you are a participant in the dialogue. How would you come to Simmias’ defense, if you had to? For example, do you think that one of Socrates’ reasons relies on an error or a confusion of some kind? If so, then explain the error or confusion as thoroughly as you can.Question II: Plato’s Republic, Book 2In Book 2 of the Republic, Glaucon argues that everyone who practices justice does so “unwillingly” (358c). In your view, what does Glaucon mean by this? How does Glaucon support this part of his position? Reconstruct Glaucon’s case with numbered premises. Does his argument succeed, in your view? Explain. This assignment involves three tasks:Task 1First, interpret Glaucon’s thesis, explaining its key terms. In particular, what does Glaucon mean by “justice”? And what does he mean by the term “unwillingly”? Defend your interpretation with textual evidence. Task 2Begin by reconstructing the argument found at 359b-360d. Number your premises, stating them as clearly as you can. Make sure to list only those premises you take to be essential for generating the conclusion. The conclusion of the argument should also be clear in your reconstruction. Next, identify what support (if any) you find in the text for each of the premises. What reasons does Glaucon give on behalf of each of the premises in question? Where you find support for the premises to be lacking, provide whatever defence you can for the under-supported premise(s). For clarity’s sake, make sure to refer to the premises according to the numbering you supplied earlier in Task 2.Task 3Finally, you should evaluate Glaucon’s case. Is Glaucon’s argument persuasive, in your view? Do you think it relies on a dubious premise? If so, then identify the premise in question by the numbering you supplied in Task 2. For example, maybe you think Glaucon’s case relies on a questionable thought experiment. If so, then explain where you think the thought experiment goes wrong. On the other hand, maybe you think Glaucon’s argument is sound. If so, then you should develop what you take to be the strongest objection to Glaucon’s argument, and then explain why you think the objection fails. Question III: Plato’s Republic, Book 4According to Socrates in the Republic, how many parts does the soul have, and what are the natures of these parts? What is his method for proving that the soul has precisely this many parts? Develop what you take to be the strongest objection to Socrates’ division of the soul.This assignment involves three tasks:Task 1For Task 1, explain Socrates’ conception of the soul and its parts. What distinguishes each of the soul’s parts? What human motivations do the soul’s parts represent, respectively? Your job here is to outline the model of the soul that Socrates will go on to generate.Task 2Explain Socrates’ method for dividing the soul into parts. To what general principle does Socrates appeal in justifying this method? Next, explain how Socrates applies this method so as to generate the division of soul you outlined in Task 1. What specific cases does Socrates use to prove that the putative parts of soul are in fact distinct?Task 3Develop what you take to be the strongest objection to Socrates’ division of soul. Be sure to make clear the precise character of your objection. For example, do you object to Socrates’ method for dividing the soul (as you explained it in Task 2)? If so, explain as thoroughly as you can your reasons for rejecting this method. Alternatively, maybe you approve of Socrates’ method of division, but you also worry that he is misapplying this method when he divides the soul. If so, then explain as thoroughly as you can where you think Socrates is misapplying his method.Some Instructions:Assignments must be written in 12 pt. font and double-spaced, with one-inch margins and numbered pages. Make sure that your name and student number appear at the top of the first page. Title pages are not necessary.Your introductory paragraph must include a clear thesis statement. A thesis statement has two main components: i) A clear statement of the position you will take in the paper; and ii) a brief, clear outline of the case you will make in support of that position.Make sure to explain any technical terms you use. What constitutes a technical term? Ask yourself the following question: ‘Would a friend of mine who has never taken a philosophy course readily understand what the term means?’ If the answer is no, then it’s a technical term. Explain it.Use direct quotations (i.e. “____”) only on those rare occasions when you want to call attention to the author’s precise wording. Otherwise, explain the reading in your own words and cite accordingly in parentheses or footnotes.Any standard citation style (e.g. APA, MLA, Chicago) is acceptable, but please remain consistent in your paper. Make sure to give citations for Plato’s dialogues using Stephanus numbers (e.g. 434a; 435a-436b). If you have any questions about citations, ask the instructor. 

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