Phil. 3383 Fall 2006

Dr. Cynthia Freeland


Unit Two Paper Topics: Socrates and Plato


  1. The Soul

Give a summary of some of Plato’s central beliefs about the soul. Use evidence from as many of the assigned readings as you can (but you are not expected to cover the Timaeus in this paper). What points does he share with various presocratic thinkers? What advances does Plato make over the presocratic theories of soul? What do you see as the primary limitations or problems in Plato’s account of the soul?


  1. Forms

What are Forms, exactly, and why does Plato believe in them?  Do you think it is correct to say that Plato’s theory of the cosmos combines aspects of Parmenidean and Heraclitean metaphysics? Explain. What are some problems with the theory of forms?


  1. Virtue

How does Plato use Socrates as a character to present his own views about the good life? Use several different dialogues to comment on this point and be sure to discuss how virtue is defined and obtained. You must discuss the Republic if you choose this topic.



Choose one topic. Focus on the philosophical issues and not on extraneous information such as biographical details. Use quotations from the text. Papers are due October 17th, 2006. Late papers will be marked down in proportion to how late they are.  The paper should be 3-4 pages long. Formal footnotes are not needed for references to works in our text; simply cite them by title and the marginal Stephanus numbers (guess at it). Use footnotes for all other citations, and remember, do not plagiarize! Paraphrasing is also plagiarizing. If you paraphrase material from another source or website, you must also provide the citation.