Write an essay on History of Ancient Philosophy
Write an essay on History of Ancient Philosophy. Your essays should NOT contain lengthy quotations from Plato (or anyone else), an introduction, a conclusion, footnotes, or other paraphernalia of the standard college term paper. You should avoid long, complicated sentences in favor of shorter, clearer ones. You should also avoid using any sort of jargon. You should cite the texts of the Republic and the Nicomachean Ethics by the numbers and letters in the margins of your
translation. Remember: PROOFREAD YOUR ESSAY. Your essay should not contain typos or errors in grammar or syntax.
Write on this 2 topics.
(1) At the beginning of Book 7 of the Republic Socrates describes an image of prisoners in a cave that is supposed to illustrate, as he says, “the effect of education and of the lack of it on our nature” (514A). Glaucon tells Socrates: “It’s a strange image you’re describing, and strange prisoners.” Socrates responds: “They’re like us.” (515A).
First, describe the condition of the prisoners in the cave, and explain as clearly as you can how, according to Socrates, they are like Socrates, Glaucon, or any of us.
Second, the education given to those in the ideal city who are to become rulers is supposed to result in their liberation from the cave. Try to say as clearly as you can what the difference is between a prisoner in the cave and someone who escapes from the cave as a result of being given the sort of education that qualifies someone for ruling in the ideal city. What does the person outside of the cave know that the prisoner in the cave does not? Why is that knowledge relevant to ruling in the ideal city?
Third, Socrates says that the city will compel those who make it out of the cave to return to the cave and rule in the city (520A-E). Why must those outside the cave be compelled to return to the cave and rule the city? And why is it just for the city to compel them to do so?
(2) Aristotle writes that “the good and the ‘well’ is thought to reside in the function” (Nicomachean Ethics Book 1, 1097b26-27).
First, explain as clearly as you can what Aristotle takes to be the connection between something’s function and that thing being a good instance of its kind. What is it that makes a knife or a car or a computer a good knife, car, or computer?
Second, explain why Aristotle thinks he can identify what happiness or the chief good is by identifying the function of a human being. (Hint: Aristotle takes the good human being — the human being who is a good instance of its kind — to be the happy human being.)
Third, explain as clearly as you can what Aristotle thinks happiness is. What does he think the human function is, and why does he think it (rather than something else) is the human function? And why does Aristotle think that happiness
requires virtue? Why, that is, does he say that happiness must be an activity exhibiting or in accordance with virtue (1098a16-18)?
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