Assignment Questions for Euthyphro by Plato

Week 1                                   Reading Questions for Euthyphro by Plato

  1. Socrates claims that he wants to become Euthyphro’s pupil. What does Socrates say are his reasons for wanting to do so?
  2. Socrates poses the question whether “the pious” is loved by the gods because it is pious, or whether the pious is the pious because it is loved by the gods. What does he mean by this question? Which examples does he use to make his meaning clear?
  3. What is wrong with thinking of prayer and sacrifice as a kind of business relationship between humans and gods? How does this attempt at a definition bring the argument back in a circle to where it began?

Week 2                                   Reading Questions for Apology by Plato

  1. What is the accusation brought by the new accusers, as represented by Meletus?
  1. In what way is the fear of death a false wisdom?
  1. Socrates claims that his ‘punishment’ should consist in a reward for his divine service to the Athenian community. What does he suggest as his sentence, and in what way has he been God’s gift to Athens?

Week 3                                    Reading Questions for Meno by Plato

  1. Which question must be answered before Socrates can know whether virtue can be taught?
  1. What is wrong with defining ‘shape’ as ‘that which always follows colour’? How does the exchange between Socrates and Meno on this point help us to understand the characteristics of a Philosophical definition?
  1. In what way does the slave boy benefit from Socrates’ confusing geometry problem, i.e., what is the benefit of being ‘shocked by the torpedo fish’?
  1. After seemingly proving that virtue can be taught, Socrates changes gears and argues against this conclusion. Why does he doubt that virtue can be taught?
  1. In what way are true opinions like the statues of Daedalus? What makes knowledge any different than true opinion?

Week 4                                   Reading Questions for The Principles… (Conway), Chapters I-IV

  1. Why can’t God have passions?
  1. How does the infinity of God’s goodness prove the infinity of time? Briefly explain Conway’s argument in II.S4.
  1. Which analogy does Conway use to show that God can move all creatures without the deity itself being moved?
  1. Why can’t creatures be equal to Christ?

Week 5                                   Reading Questions for The Principles (Conway), Chapters V-VI

  1. Which two kinds of rest seem to lack motion?
  1. If individual essences of things were mutable, how would this undermine the possibility of objective truths?
  1. In the most general sense of the term Species, how many total species are there (how many kinds of Being are there)?
  1. Why does Conway say that all thoughts are masculine and feminine?

Week 6                                   Reading Questions for The Principles (Conway), Chapters VII-VIII

  1. Why can’t there be any such thing as dead matter?
  1. What is the basis of all love?
  1. How does the example of the ship’s helmsman help to explain the origin of sin?

Week 7                                   Reading Questions for The Principles… Chapter IX

  1. Conway agrees with Hobbes on what point?
  1. Motion/action is not a substance, but rather what?
  1. What is the difference between material and virtual extension?

Week 8                                   Research Questions for Existentialism is a Humanism (Sartre) Pages 17-42

  1. What is the belief that Christian and atheistic existentialists hold in common? How does the example of the paper knife help to explain this belief?
  1. What does Sartre mean by anguish?
  1. Explain the problem of interpretation. How does the example of Sartre’s student help to illustrate this problem?
  1. What is the existentialist meaning of despair?

Week 10                     Reading Questions for Existentialism is a Humanism (Sartre), pages 42-72

  1. Sartre claims that there is no such thing as human nature, rather, there is a human what?
  1. How is morality like art?
  1. According to Sartre, existentialism must be what if it is to be sincere?
  1. Why does Naville say that there is “one world and one world only?” Explain how this view differs from Sartre’s existentialism.

Week 11                                 Reading Questions for The Ethics of Ambiguity (de Beauvoir), Chapter 1

  1. Why do the terms useful and useless not have a meaning prior to human choices?
  1. What is “the idea that defines all humanism”?
  1. Why is existentialism the only Philosophy that really has a place for Ethics? Explain the problem that all other Ethics run into.

Week 12                                 Reading Questions for The Ethics of Ambiguity (de Beauvoir), Chapter 2

  1. In what way is the world of childhood a serious world?
  1. What is the truth manifested by nihilism?
  1. How does the adventurer relate to others?
  1. Briefly explain de Beauvoir’s argument that my freedom requires the freedom of others.

Week 13                                 Reading Questions for The Ethics of Ambiguity (de Beauvoir), Chapter 3, Sections 1 & 2

  1. In what way does the aesthetic attitude mistakenly treat the present in the same way that it treats the past?
  1. What defines a situation of oppression?
  1. Why can oppression not defend itself by claiming to be useful?

Week 14                                 Reading Questions for The Ethics of Ambiguity (de Beauvoir), Chapter 3, Section 3 & 4

  1. What is the paradox of action undertaken to liberate others?
  1. How does the smile of a child expose the lie of oppression?
  1. The formula “the end justifies the means” says what about the relationship of the present to the future?
  1. Why can an “objective” philosophy not escape the same practical attitude of a subjective one?

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