plato apology

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1) What does Socrates mean by living an examined life? Or an unexamined life? Do you agree? What does living an examined life mean to you? Defend your position.

2) Socrates says that it is unwise to fear death for two main reasons; one is ethical, the other epistemic. He claims that living a “good life” is more important than living a long life (the ethical objection) and that we don’t know what death is really like, so fearing it is “thinking you know when you do not know” (the epistemic objection). Do you agree or disagree with these objections? Pick ONE of these two objections and either critique or defend it.

The Symposium

1) Pick one of the speeches in praise of Love (Eros) from the dialogue, and either critique or defend it using concrete examples to make your case. You can also add your own contribution(s) to the speech if you think that it could be improved or altered to make it a stronger, more philosophically sound account of Eros (feel free to draw from the other speeches in the dialogue when you do this).

2) Get creative and write your own speech in praise of (or in condemnation of) Love. Feel free to borrow elements from the speeches and class discussions that we’ve had on the topic, but be sure to make it your own and defend your position against possible objections.

“The Allegory of the Cave”

1) Although we did not read the actual “Allegory,” we discussed it extensively in class. It is a powerful metaphor with many layers. One element to the story involves the deception of the prisoners in the cave by puppet masters projecting shadows on the cave wall. Plato was most likely alluding to the politicians of his day with this metaphor, but who are the modern day “puppet masters”? The media, organized religion, public schooling, politicians, advertising? Pick a “puppet master,” and write an essay exploring, through examples, the way in which information, facts, and truth are presented to the general public in a deceptive manner–thereby distorting our view of reality. Don’t get carried away here with your assertions, though: use concrete evidence and examples to support your claims.

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