Topics for Essay #1

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Choose one topic to write about in an essay of 5 to 7 paragraphs due Monday, March 31.The questions are to get you thinking. You do not need to answer all of the suggested questions. I am open to your own ideas for topics as well.

Plato’s cave as a metaphor for good government
Through his allegory of the cave, what point is Plato trying to make about the best leaders? What qualities, according to Plato, should the ideal ruler have? Can you think of any examples of such a ruler in the world today or in history? Do you think it would be possible to have more leaders like the ones Plato describes?

Plato’s cave as a metaphor for the world
What do you think of Plato’s idea that limiting ourselves to sensory knowledge of the material world is like being imprisoned in a dark cave? Do you share his idea of the limitations of our senses? Do you agree with his idea that the ascent into the intellectual world is painful yet rewarding?

Plato’s Academy
How was Plato’s Academy like and unlike a school of today? (You might consider how, why and where it was founded, its methods and its students.) All in all, would you consider Plato’s Academy to be a better or worse environment for learning than a typical school of today? Why do you suppose the Academy endured for so many centuries?

Aristotle’s Insights
How was Aristotle’s way of investigating questions different from Plato and other earlier philosophers? How was his attitude towards the world different from Plato? Where do you find him admirable? Where might you find him to be mistaken?

Alexander as a Philosopher
Consider Plutarch’s claim that Alexander was a philosopher? Do you agree based on what you know of Alexander’s life? What might Socrates or Plato have to say to Alexander? Would they consider him a good leader?

Why is Alexander remembered?
Alexander the Great conquered much of the known world in only 13 years – a remarkable achievement. But his empire collapsed quite quickly after he died. Since his empire did not endure, what were his lasting achievements? Why is he remembered and studied today?