Philosophy (3rd year university)

Write a 4-6 page essay-style answer to one of the following questions:

Question I: Platos Euthyphro

What is piety, according to Euthyphro? Select one of Euthyphros answers to this question. On what grounds does Socrates reject the answer youve selected? Defend Euthyphros answer. (Note: for Question I, you should treat i) Piety is what the gods love; and ii) Piety is what all the gods love as distinct answers to Socrates question.)

This assignment involves three tasks:

Task 1

First, interpret Euthyphros answer. What are its key terms, and what does each key term mean? What does piety turn out to consist in, in Euthyphros view? Explain what support (if any) Euthyphro provides for his answer.   

Task 2

Explain in detail Socrates objection to the answer you outlined in Task 1. Why is Euthyphros answer unsatisfactory, in Socrates view? Outline whatever assumptions you take to underlie Socrates objection. For example, does Socrates make certain presuppositions about what a correct answer to his question will look like? Explain. 

Task 3

Imagine you are present for the conversation depicted in the Euthyphro. How would you defend Euthyphros answer from the objection you outlined in Task 2? Develop what you take to be the strongest original defence of Euthyphros answer. For example, do you doubt one of the Socratic presuppositions (if any) you outlined in Task 2? (Note: a mere rehearsal of an argument you find in the dialogue itself will not count as original.)

Question II: Platos Protagoras

According to Socrates in the Protagoras, it is often the case that great statesmen like Pericles have children who are mediocre in politics. Why does this fact support the view that political virtue cannot be taught, in Socrates view? Discuss Protagoras reply at 324d-328d. Does this reply succeed in answering Socrates challenge, in your view? Explain.

This assignment involves three tasks:

Task 1

Discuss the key observations you take Socrates to be making about great statesmen like Pericles. What support do these observations provide for the claim that political virtue isnt teachable, according to Socrates? Your job for Task 1 is to explain in your own words how Socrates uses the example of Pericles et al to support his skepticism about the teachability of political virtue.

Task 2

Reconstruct Protagoras reply to the challenge you outlined in Task 1. How does Protagoras undertake to overcome Socrates doubts that political virtue can be taught? For example, does Protagoras dispute Socrates observations about statesmen like Pericles? Or does he grant these observations, but proceed to argue that they nevertheless fail to support Socrates position that political virtue isnt teachable? Your job here is to outline Protagoras strategy for deflecting Socrates objection.

Task 3

Evaluate the argumentative strategy you outlined in Task 2. Begin by stating clearly and precisely your verdict as to the success of Protagoras strategy. Next, explain the criterion youre appealing to. What standard must Protagoras defence meet if it is to count as a success, in your view? Finally, explain in your own words why you think Protagoras either succeeds or fails in meeting that standard. Your job here is to explain why you are or are not satisfied with Protagoras case, and to defend this verdict.

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 its a technical term. Explain it.

Use direct quotations (i.e. ____) only on those rare occasions when you want to call attention to the authors 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 Platos dialogues using Stephanus numbers (e.g. 434a; 435a-436b). If you have any questions about citations, ask the instructor.


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