PH 101 Introduction to Philosophy Towson UniversitySpring 2018 K.A. WilsonTopic Selections for First PaperThe student will write approx. 1000 words, either on one of the topics below or on an alternate one that has been approved in advance by me. Every paper must have a thesis and give evidence of thoughtful consideration of themes from readings presented in the course. Use of standard written English is expected. The first paper is due Friday, March 12th, 2018 (or any time before that).1. Read Aristophanes’ The Clouds. It is available online at least two translations, one at Project Gutenberg (http://www.qutenbero.orq/files/2562/2562-h/2562-h.htm) and a more modern one put online by its author (htto://johnstoniatexts.x1Ohost.com/aristophanes/cloudshtml.html). you may also, of course, find it in the library. Compare and contrast the picture of Socrates in the play with the picture of him we get from the Plato dialogues we read for class. Are they recognizably the same person? Is Aristophanes’ version the one the Athenians were trying to execute? (Would such a man deserve it?) Etc. Your essay should give evidence of the fact that you have read The Clouds (not to mention the two dialogues we discussed in class!) — in fact, you should write the essay, like any essay about particular texts, as if the audience were an intelligent stranger who may not have read those texts. Your synopses and quotes in the paper must provide all the context for whatever conclusions you draw.2. Read a dialogue of Plato besides Meno & Apology. Crib:, which begins in our text on p. 512, is a good choice; however, there are many other possibilities, readily available online in older translations and easily obtainable in the library as well. These include Ion, Lysis, Laches, and Gorgias. (But DON’T choose any of the other Plato excerpts from our text, as they aren’t complete dialogues) Compare and contrast your chosen dialogue with Meno. Consider subject matter, themes, Socrates’ method, the sort of conclusion arrived at, etc. Your essay should give evidence of the fact that you have read whichever dialogue you choose (not to mention Meno)— in fact, you should write the essay, like any essay about particular texts, as if the audience were an intelligent stranger who may not have read those texts. Your synopses & quotes in the paper must provide all the context for whatever conclusions you draw.3. Can you think of an individual in today’s society (either U.S., or global) who is a Socratic gadfly? Choose one and defend him or her as a kind of modern-day Socrates, referring to the Platonic texts we’ve read for support. Note that this should be a specific individual that people have heard of, NOT a generic class of people (“high school teachers”), and NOT someone from your personal life (“my high school govemment teacher”) whom it is unlikely I will have heard of. Also note that I am fully aware of which famous person’s name comes up first when you Google “modem-day Socrates”. You may write about that person, but don’t just rely on some five-year-old Time magazine article as your source.4. You may suggest an alternate topic. Obviously, the general subject is Socrates/Plato and the role of philosophers in society.
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