by: Plato

Suggested Essay Topics

Socrates speaks of our relationship with the gods as being similar to a master-slave relationship, where the gods are the most perfect of masters. He also speaks of the soul as imprisoned within the body, and that death should be looked forward to as a release from this prison. If the gods are such good masters, why do they imprison our souls in this way? Can these two analogies be reconciled?

Give as clear an interpretation as you can of the Argument from Opposites, and explain how it is meant to show that the soul coheres after death. What problems are there with this argument, and is there any way to satisfactorily reconcile them?

What does Socrates mean in saying that the Form of Equality is equal? What problems might crop up from this assertion, and how do you think Plato could answer them?

Socrates provides four different arguments for the immortality of the soul. Which of them do you find the most convincing, and why? How much faith does Socrates seem to place in each one?

Evaluate Simmias' and Cebes' objections to Socrates' theories. Which of them do you think has the stronger objection? Do you think either one of them is stronger than Socrates' own theories or the replies he gives them?

What reasons are there for and against thinking that the soul is like the attunement of a musical instrument? How do the arguments for and against differ? Which do you find more convincing?

Explain the difference between material explanation and teleological explanation. What is each kind of explanation capable of accounting for? In what way does Anaxagoras provide material explanations, and in what way does he provide teleological explanations?