Phil. 3383, Fall 2006

Dr. Cynthia Freeland


Unit One Paper Topics: Presocratics


Directions: Choose one topic. Aim at 3-4 pages in length. Please consult the Writing Tips. You may cite readings from the presocratics in the course text simply by page number and/or fragment number. If you have used another source, please include that source in your citation list. Remember, do not plagiarize!


  1. Parmenides’ Challenge

Explain in detail what the challenge was that was posed by Parmenides in his poem on “The Way of Truth” for subsequent philosophers. Then describe at least one response to this challenge, and assess how successful it was.


  1. Soul

Consider this claim: “Soul should not be a topic in natural philosophy. It does not belong to science because it is not a natural phenomenon and it does not belong to philosophy because it is not subject to rational explanation.” True or false? How would some of the presocratics have responded?   Whose theory of soul do you consider the best, and why?


  1. Materialism

Consider various materials that were alleged to be the fundamental explanatory principle(s) of the cosmos by various presocratics, and assess which material account of the cosmos was most successful and why.  Did natural philosophy make progress during the presocratic period? Why or why not? Explain.


Due September 14th. Late papers will be marked down.

No papers accepted more than one week late.