Study Questions and Suggested Essay Topics
Why is it significant that Nicias, Laches, and Socrates are all distinguished as warriors on the battlefield?
Are there times within the dialogue that Plato seems to be making reference to the death of Socrates and criticizing his convictions?
Is Socrates's demand that the men come to a universal definition of courage ever reached? Might it be that the reason the men failed is that courage cannot be defined in a way that applies to every single situation that one might say is courageous?
Is there any evidence within the text of the Laches of later trends of Plato's thought, such as the theory of ideal forms?
Does it seem at times in the dialogue that any of the characters fail to make distinctions between general terms? For example, it frequently appears that the terms virtue, knowledge, and wisdom are often used interchangeably with one another, despite the fact that they are used to support each other in arguments.
Despite the fact that Socrates never gives his own opinion, might it be that his questions force his interlocutors into their positions? Do you think that, if left alone, Nicias and Laches could have come to a consensus about the meaning of courage?
Is there any way to pull apart the voices of Socrates and Plato in this dialogue? Can one tell if the philosophy of one is taking precedence over the other?
How does the Socratic practice of elenchus work in the Laches? Recall a clear example in the text with which you might illustrate the method.
Can you discern Socrates's attitude towards the sophists? Where might Socrates say that their chief mistake concerning enquiry into knowledge lies?
Who is considered to be the father of Western philosophy? Socrates or Plato? What role might the other be said to have played?
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