The Nature of Philosophy

This assignment consists of a short essay question, and some short logic questions. The main intent of these questions is to ensure that you have a sound grasp of the fundamentals of the material presented in this unit. The logic questions are intended to draw on some important logical concepts that will be relevant throughout the course. Although an understanding of basic logic terminology and argumentation is important in this course, logic for its own sake is not the focus of this course. As such, the short essay question should attract most of your attention with this assignment. There is a 3 to 4 page (1000 words) limit for the short essay question. As with all the short essay questions you will address in this course, Im not so concerned with whether you agree with a particular author or not. The quality of your answer is based on your exposition of the competing positions, your comparative analysis of those positions and, lastly, your argument in support of the position you defend.

As with all the assignments in this course, the short essay question is not designed to be a research question. There is no requirement to get material from external sources such as other authors, or reference websites, who have summarized, or criticized, the authors you are dealing with. In effect, including such material defeats your purpose in completing your essay because you are essentially telling me what some other person thought about the material you should be explaining and assessing. If you make reference to sources external to the course readings it will be detrimental to your mark. In some cases, I may ask you to re-work and submit your assignment. The point of your essay is to formulate the course material and develop your critical response. You can do this by working with the course material and developing your own ideas about the issue. The essay is simply your opportunity to set that out in paper.

QUESTIONS: (The total possible mark for this assignment is 100 marks.)
Short Essay Question The Nature of Philosophy  (80 marks)
In Apology, Socrates refers to himself, metaphorically, as a gadfly to Athenian society. He uses this metaphor, in part, in arguing for his assertion that the unexamined life is not worth living. Explain how this metaphor is considered to be characteristic of the discipline of philosophy. Specifically, explain how it justifies what our course readings refer to as the conceptual analysis, and the constructive, tasks of contemporary philosophy. Is Socrates conclusion that the unexamined life is not worth living still relevant in todays society? Provide an argument in support of your response.


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