a. What are the forms and what functions do they serve in Plato's philosophy? How are they related to knowledge, philosophical wisdom, and the right and duty to hold political power?
Study Guide for PHIL 302-001 Midterm
Last revised October 20, 2008
This may be modified as the midterm date approaches.
You may want to look at the current materials on the course website under "High-Priority Lectures" (especially items 2, 3, 6, 8-10), the "Dialogue on Knowledge and Reality" under "Dialogues," and the essay on Democritus under "More Materials by Dr. Garrett." See also the class handouts, Homer's Gods, Plato's Gods; Platonic Psychology, etc.
Date of Midterm: (Probably) Wednesday, October 22, class time.
Points assigned to Midterm: 44 points (of 200 for the semester)
I. Non-Essay Sections. Mostly matching.A. Match the idea, action, or description with the appropriate author, thinker, or character from a dialogue by Plato.
__ Rarefaction and condensation of air
__ People make gods in their own image
__ Tells a myth that tends to justify Athenian-style democracy
__ Tells of a magic ring that one uses to make himself invisible at will
__ Holds that the powerful person who lives by nature will not be tamed by the weak multitude
__ Philosopher who seems to have equated reality with a set of intelligible Forms, not with concrete individuals or appearances
__ An early atomist who was probably committed to determinism
__ Presents arguments as to why he should remain obedient to the state, even when it means acceptance of his own death sentence.
__ Philosopher who uses dialectic to refute indefensible accounts of the virtues
B. Match the natural philosopher with his basic causes--indicate whether they are material causes (M), efficient or moving causes (E), or neither (N)Thales, Anaximenes, Heraclitus, Democritus, Anaxagoras, EmpedoclesC. Match terms with definitions (views regarding knowledge and reality; folk theories)
EWAF, Nous, Love and Strife, Fire, Air, Water, atoms, infinitely divisible uniform stuffsessence (as in folk theory of)
intelligibility of the world (as in folk theory of)
D. Aristotelian termssphere of fixed starsE. Plato's theory of the soul.
forced (or unnatural) motion
material cause (as in the Physics)
primary substance (as in the Categories)
first principles of a science
potentiality - first actuality - second actuality
Greek terms: ousia, episteme1. Fill in. Chart on the parts of the soul as understood by Plato.a) the parts of the soul2. Write a short essay comparing the internal "politics" of the soul in two of the following: wise and just person, aggressive person, greedy person, self-indulgent person.
b) animal that represents the part in Rep. ix
c) feelings or activities directly based in the part
II. Possible Essay Questions: I will probably require two on the midterm. There will be choice among two or more options in each case. I may eliminate an option from the first group. Do not write an essay on a topic that largely overlaps with your first major paper in this or another Philosophy class this semester.
A. Natural Philosophy, Political Philosophy1. Describe the natural philosophy of Democritus. Possibe subtopics: Why is he considered a philosopher of nature? What are the ultimate causes to which he appeals? What are the characteristics of these ultimate causes? Is there need for a sort of non-being in Democritus' theory? Why? (Relate to the possibility of motion.) How does Democritus explain growth or coming to be? Passing away? Perception of external objects? Decision? Do atoms themselves have colors? Tastes? Size and shape? Explain. Will the human soul be immortal on this theory? Explain.B. Plato's theory of forms and Aristotle's World Picture
2. Some philosophers say that morality (=justice) is valuable for its own sake, even apart from beneficial consequences for those who are thought to be just. How does the story of the magic ring told by Glaucon in Plato's Republic challenge this view? Why does Glaucon first describe the origin of morality before telling the story of the ring?
3. The speeches of Protagoras (in Protagoras) and Callicles (in Gorgias) present two very different views of rightness or justice. Explain. Time permitting, briefly explain how these views differ from Plato's account of justice in Republic book IV.
4. How does Plato describe the conditions within the soul that make the soul wise? just (= "moral")? and courageous? Why, according to Plato, will the person who is virtuous also be happy. How is this account a response to Glaucon's challenge related to the story of the magic ring?
1. Integrate your answers to as many of these questions as possible into a coherent essay on Plato's philosophy, centering on his theory of forms. (Recommended background reading includes: VAP 143-54, 166-187, 235-253, and any webpages on Plato's philosophy that I composed and placed on the course website.)
Describe Aristotle's picture of the universe or world-order. Incorporate his notions of two different kinds of matter, referring to his views about their natural shapes, natural motions, corruptibility, etc. Are all celestial bodies visible? Where is the Sun? the Earth? What causes the motion of celestial bodies? How does it cause this motion? How did Copernicus' theory subvert what is arguably this theory's most basic feature?