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Plato Paper Topics
Papers should be 4 pages in length (normal font, regular margins). Reflection and analysis papers require that you express your own personal reaction to the topic. They should include an introduction, which gives the reader a clear sense of the purpose/aim/plan of your paper. Introductions should end with a statement of the main idea of the paper. You should then develop/defend your main idea in several body paragraphs. Each body paragraph should have one main idea that you develop with evidence and discussion. Body paragraphs should begin with your topic sentence (the main idea of the paragraph); you should then develop this idea with explanation/discussion/example/quotations from the text. The last sentence of each body paragraph should provide some transition to your next paragraph. Your conclusion should recap your main idea and also suggest possible new avenues for further reflection.
A good essay does not need to address each and every question within the prompt (though you’ll probably want to take up several of them in your essay). Take the questions as a jumping-off point for your own thinking in the topic. Remember, these essays should demonstrate your own sustained reflection on the topic, so give yourself some time to turn the issues over in your mind before you begin writing.
- Thrasymachus defines justice as “the advantage of the stronger” (338c). Explain this view. What does it mean? How does Plato refute this definition of justice? Is his refutation effective? Why or why not?
- Plato’s theory of Justice: Discuss and analyze the view of justice that emerges from the discussion between Plato and Glaucon. Why does Plato believe that it is better to look for justice in the city before looking for it in the soul? What is the view of justice espoused by Plato? Do you agree with the view of justice described in this conversation? Why or why not?
- Plato’s account of the philosopher: What is a philosopher, according to Plato? What makes a philosopher different from “lovers of seeing”? What does a philosopher know? Why should the philosopher rule the ideal city?
- Plato’s theory of Forms: What are the main features of the Theory of Forms? What is the difference between the visible and intelligible worlds? What is a form (or idea)? What is the relationship between the particular and the universal? What does it mean to say that the particular owes its very being (its existence) to the universal? How does the Idea of the Good fit into this theory? Why does Plato call the idea of the good “the greatest and most appropriate subject” (504d) for study?
- Plato’s Metaphysics, the Divided Line, and the Cave: The Allegory of the Cave illustrates several features of the Divided Line; it also dramatizes the education of the soul. Briefly describe the basic contours of the allegroy. What is its basic “plot”? Also, describe in detail the correspondences between the Divided Line and the Allegory of the Cave. How does the allegory also provide insight into Plato’s views on education?
- Plato on Poetry and Art: Analyze and evaluate Plato’s views on poetry and art. Why does he think the arts represent the very lowest kind of being? Why does Plato insist that art/poetry will be censored, and even banned, in the ideal city? What affect does poetry have on the soul, according to Plato? Is he correct? PLEASE UNDERSTAND THE QUESTION AND MAKE SURE YOU USE THE POWERPOINT ATTATCHED BELOW.