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University of California San Diego Philosophy Paper

University of California San Diego Philosophy Paper

Description

Prompts: Please choose one of these 8 options for the prompt

1: In the Philebus, Socrates at one point recalls an argument (which he ‘heard in a dream’ (Philebus 20b)) that shows that neither pleasure nor knowledge is the good. Explain Socrates’ argument for this claim, and either criticize it or defend it from an objection.

In ~2-3 paragraphs, explain Socrates’ argument that neither pleasure nor knowledge is the good, providing quotes and citations as necessary. 

In ~2-3 paragraphs, either criticize Socrates’ argument or defend it from an objection

2: The Phaedrus contains a discussion of the method of collection & division, and in class we discussed that a similar sort of method is used in the Philebus. Why do you think Plato believes that the use of this method is important to investigate pleasure and knowledge in the Philebus?

In ~2-3 paragraph, briefly explain what the method of collection and division consists in, drawing on both the Phaedrus and the Philebus, and explain the extent to which it is used in the Philebus to investigate pleasure and knowledge. 

In ~1-2 paragraphs, explain why you think Plato would think the use of such a method is valuable, drawing on the Philebus and/or the Phaedrus.

In ~2-3 paragraphs, explain whether or not you agree that the use of this method is valuable. 

  • 3: During the Four-Fold Division of everything that exists, Socrates argues that reason belongs in the class of the cause (Philebus 30d-e). Along the way, he claims that the universe has a soul that orders the universe by reason, and that the universe is not governed by random chance. 
  • In ~2-3 paragraphs explain how Socrates motivates his view that the universe has a soul that orders the universe through reason, citing the text as needed.

In ~2-3 paragraphs,  either criticize Socrates’ view or defend it from an objection.

4: In the Philebus Socrates argues that some anticipatory pleasures can be false. Explain what an anticipatory pleasure is and provide your own example of a false anticipatory pleasure. In the dialogue, Socrates and Protarchus initially disagree on whether false anticipatory pleasures are bad pleasures to have. Explain whether or not you think false anticipatory pleasures are also bad pleasures that people shouldn’t want to experience. 

In ~2-3 paragraphs, explain what Socrates thinks an anticipatory pleasure is, and the sense in which such pleasures can sometimes be false, citing the text as needed.

In ~1 paragraphs, go through and explain your own example of a false anticipatory pleasure. 

In ~2-3 paragraphs, explain why you think false anticipatory pleasures are bad pleasures OR explain why you think they are not bad pleasures. [You should refer your example from the last section]

  • 5:  In the Philebus, Socrates argues that there is a third kind of false pleasure that is even ‘falser’ than the first two he discusses (42c – 44a). Explain what sort of ‘pleasure’ Socrates has in mind, and either criticize Socrates’ view or defend it from an objection.

In 2-3 paragraphs, explain what Socrates has in mind when he claims that there is a third kind of false pleasure even ‘falser’ than the previous kinds discussed, citing the text as needed.

In 2-3 paragraphs, either criticize Socrates’ argument or defend it from an objection.

6: In the Philebus, Socrates argues that certain intense bodily pleasures are mixed with pain. Explain why Socrates thinks that such pleasures are mixed with pain, and give your own example of an intense pleasure that is mixed with pain. Do you think that intense pleasures that are mixed with pain are less desirable than pleasures that are not mixed with pain?

  • In 2-3 paragraphs, explain why Socrates thinks that certain intense bodily pleasures are mixed with pain, citing the text as needed.     

In 1-2 paragraphs, give your own example of an intense bodily pleasure that is mixed with pain.

In 2-3 paragraphs, explain whether or not you think intense pleasures that are mixed with pain are less desirable than pleasures that are not mixed with pain, solely because they are mixed with pain. Make sure to support your position with clear reasons. 

3: Even though it sounds unintuitive, Socrates argues that watching comedy can give rise to a mixture of pleasure and pain in our souls. Unfortunately, he does not work through a concrete example to make his point clear. Provide an example to support Socrates’ argument, and then criticize or defend Socrates’ argument. 

  • In ~2-3 paragraphs, explain how Socrates tries to show that those who enjoy comedies experience a mixture of pleasure and pain, citing the text as needed.

In ~1-2 paragraphs, provide a comedy example of comedy or humor in which we experience a mixture of pleasure and pain, and explain how it can support Socrates’ above argument. 

In ~2-3 paragraphs, either criticize or defend the view that watching comedy gives rise to a mixture of pleasure and pain. 

7: In the Philebus, Socrates describes several different kinds of knowledge that differ amongst each other in terms of precision, clarity, accuracy, and purity. Recall that the Gorgias made a distinction between forms of flattery (knacks) and crafts. In your view, how would flattery and craft, as discussed in the Gorgias, be classified within the Philebus’ division of different kinds of knowledge?

  • In 1-2 paragraphs, briefly explain how Socrates distinguishes different kinds of knowledge in the Philebus, focusing on those aspects needed for your later argument.
  • In 1-2 paragraphs, briefly explain the difference between flattery and craft in the Gorgias.

In 2-3 paragraphs, explain which kinds of knowledge, as described in the Philebus, you think flattery and craft respectively belong to, clearly explaining why you think they belong there.

8: At the end of the Philebus, Socrates and Protarchus rank pleasure and knowledge against each other, and determine that knowledge & reason are more closely related to the good than pleasure. Knowledge & reason win ‘3rd place’ in the competition for the good, while pleasure comes in last at 5th place. Explain why Socrates and Protarchus rank knowledge & reason more highly than pleasure at the end of the dialogue, and either criticize their reasoning or defend it from an objection.

In ~2-3 paragraphs, explain why Socrates and Protarchus rank knowledge & intelligence more highly than pleasure, citing the text as needed.

In ~2-3 paragraphs, either criticize Socrates and Protarchus’ reasoning or defend it from an objection.

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