Mid-Term Essay Assignment Ethics
DUE: October 8, 2014 before midnight
Normal, college-level expectations for essay-writing apply:
You need to have a thesis (stake a claim)--the more interesting, the better.
You need to argue in favor of that claim.
You need to provide evidential support for that argument (primarily from the texts that we have read and discussed)
And you need to present your ideas with the reader in mind, in a clear and compelling way.
Your paper should be no more than 1250 words long.
You need to submit your paper electronically, through the “turnitin” dropbox available on the course website (see the main menu for the dropbox link).
Answer ONE of the following questions, in a standard essay format.
1. What is the connection between moral goodness and “living a good life”?
Sokrates contends that these two things are necessarily linked together: in order to live a good life (happy, healthy, flourishing, etc.) you need to lead a morally good life. Explain why Sokrates believes that they are inseparable: what is a “good life” according to Sokrates, and what has it to do with moral goodness?
In your answer, you should also explain what Sokrates clearly thinks the answer is not: Sokrates arrives at his own answer by investigating and rejecting that answers of others, so try to explain what those rejected alternatives are.
2. In several of the Platonic dialogues that we have read, traditional moral notions such as piety and virtue are discussed. As R.E. Allen states it in his introduction to his translations of these dialogues (see the Plato text) Sokrates insists on the “What is it?” question regarding these moral notions. Sokrates insists upon a clear statement of the “essence” of piety, or of virtue, etc.
Why does Sokrates believe that this insistence upon a clear answer to the “What is it?” question is necessary? Euthyphro and Meno and the others try to give a satisfying answers, but their answers fail to satisfy Sokrates. What in general is the problem with the kinds of answers that they give, according to Sokrates?