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Category Archive for 'Roots of Western Thought 2012'

Welcome to 2014

This blog will be where we store our papers from PHIL 303  (WPJ) and PHIL 315 (Roots).  Older Roots papers regarding Homer’s Odyssey and Plato’s Republic are below; you are encouraged to read them, as well as my comments, in order to see what type of work is appropriate for these courses.

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In Book X of The Republic Socrates criticizes poetry and Plato would imply that the criticism would extend to all other art forms. Socrates explains that art is basically imitations of objects and he offers the example of a couch which is painted or imitated by the painter but originally designed by the carpenter (597a). […]

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When the Odyssey opens with a meeting of the gods, Homer presents the first philosophical question of the poem. “Ah how shameless…” Zeus rails against the humans. “From us alone, they say, come all their miseries, yes,/ but they themselves, with their own reckless ways,/ compound their pains beyond their proper share (Book 1, 37-40).” […]

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In Book Ten of the Republic, the argument seems to be that the perfect city would be better off without poetry. Socrates and Glaucon discuss the concept of the decent man and how poetry, emotion, and calculation affect his soul. The ideas expressed in this discussion could very easily be mapped onto the experiences that […]

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In Book VIII, Socrates mapped out the digression of the city from the best regime into the worst, and he also showed how the citizens in those regimes reflected a similar digression. “Therefore, if there are five arrangements of cities, there would also be five for the soul of private men”, and it could be […]

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In Book IX, Socrates and Adeimantus analyze the link between desires and the tyrant while implying that the tyrant is imprisoned by his own emotional issues. He divides the desires into three: “money-loving part…victory-loving part… wisdom-loving part” (9.581a-b). Socrates explains the origin of a tyrant to help the audience understand his family life, reasons for […]

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The man has many layers to his nature. Each human being has room for growth, but each human being also has desires that may corrupt the soul and the way of life. The manipulation of these desires is what separates one man from another. The ability to separate oneself from others depends upon one’s own […]

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In book X of The Republic, one can see many previously discussed issues coming back to fulfillment. Art, which played a role in earlier cities, is brought up again and evaluated in depth. The question of whether art is good for the city arises and many arguments are made for the artificiality and potential danger […]

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Throughout The Republic, the idea of philosophers being the supremely knowledgeable members of society is presented by Homer and further supported by Socrates. There is no doubt about the intellectual power that philosophers in the ideal city possess. However, in Book X, Glaucon asks Socrates to explain the idea of imitation and how it so […]

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Book V at first glance appears to promote the idea of women as Guardians, however Plato simultaneously also presents arguments which accede that women would be less befitting to their male counterparts. This begs the question as to what exactly is Plato’s agenda in finally discussing half of the population. By including women into the […]

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