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Study Guide Questions for Introduction to Philosophy: Plato

1) What does the word philosophy literally mean?
What is the goal of philosophy and why?

2) Euthyphro: Why doesn’t Socrates accept Euthyphro’s third definition of piety, “that what all the gods love is pious and holy, and the opposite which they all hate, impious.” (9)

3) Republic Book I: According to Polemarchus what is justice?
What are the counter arguments Socrates makes against Polemarchus’ position?

4) Republic Book I: According to Thrasymachus what is justice?
What are the counter arguments Socrates makes against Thrasymachus’ position?

5) Republic Book I: What is justice?
In what way is justice a strength?

6) Republic Book II: What is the original cause of community? I.e., Why do human beings come together to form a community?

7) Republic Book IV: What are the three parts of the soul?
Name them and describe each one’s function.

8) Republic Book IV: Be able to describe what each of the following virtues are in both the soul and the city.
a. Wisdom
b. Courage
c. Moderation/Temperance
d. Justice

9) Republic Book VI: What is Socrates’ description of how vision works in “The Metaphor of the Sun”?
How does this relate to understanding?
Given what wisdom looks like in the life of the city, what is the political importance of this theory?

10) Republic Book VII: What is the source of knowledge? i.e. What makes understanding possible in both “The Metaphor of the Sun” and the “Allegory of the Cave”?

11) Republic Book VII: In the allegory of the cave, what do the shadows on the cave wall represent?
What’s the political importance of this theory?

12) Republic Book VII: Explain the “allegory of the cave”, particularly with reference to its political importance.
Who should rule and why?
What is their right to ruler-ship based on? I.e., What would make them the best ruler for the city?

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1) What does the word philosophy literally mean? What is the goal of philosophy and why?
The word “philosophy” literally means “love of wisdom.” A philosopher literally is a lover of philosophy. The goal of philosophy is to think about, and to reflect on the big questions. While it is a goal of philosophy to find answers to difficult questions, it is also the goal of philosophy to think about preconceived beliefs we have about the world, God, morality, art, truth, and to ask questions in return. Philosophy also questions its own definition, and the question, “What does philosophy mean” is also a philosophical question. Philosophers seek to articulate ideas in a clear manner, and try to justify their position through argument....
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