Assignment 2

for the week of September 6


By Wednesday, September 6:

·         Read TTT, chapter 2 up to page 45

·         Read the biographical information on Plato on pages 1-2 of Cahn.

·         Read the Meno on pages 3-20 of Cahn.


By Monday, September 11:

·         Read TTT, rest of chapter 2

·         Read the biographical information on Aristotle on page 176 of Cahn.

·         Read the first two pages of Categories, through “Differences Between...” on page 179.

·         In Physics, read “Cause and Chance” on page 186, until the section “Luck and Chance” on page 187.

·         In Metaphysics, read from “The Platonists Have the Wrong Conception of a Universal Science,” on page 217, through “The Relation of Platonic Forms to Their Essences” on page 222.

Homework assignment 2

1.        In the dialogue, Meno suggests that virtue might be defined as the desire for beautiful things. How does Socrates refute this? Don’t just paraphrase his words; try to give a clear simplification of the argument. (M)

2.        Why does Meno say that Socrates is like the “broad torpedo fish”? (S)

3.        In the Meno, Socrates considers the proposition that men cannot seek what they do not already know. Does he agree or disagree? Explain. (M)

4.        TTT, page 42, study question 1. (M)

5.        TTT, page 42, study question 3. (S)

6.        TTT, study question  4 on page 43. (M)

7.        TTT, study question  1 on page 52. (M)

8.        TTT, study question  1 on page 61. (S)

9.        TTT, study question  3 on page 61. (S)

10.     TTT, study question  5 on page 61. (S)

Thought questions

1.        Characterize the following branches of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics.

2.        In the excerpt from The Problems of Philosophy that you read, Russell distinguishes between two forms of the question “do things exist?” What are they? Which one does he answer, and how?

3.        Name three of the presocratic philosophers we discussed in class, and for each, name at least one of his doctrines.

4.        Outline the biographical details of the lives of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

5.        In Plato’s dialogue, how does Socrates know that Meno “is handsome and still has lovers”?

6.        What is Socrates’ definition of color?

7.        TTT, study question 2  on pages 42.

8.        Summarize the differences between Plato’s and Aristotle’s views of knowledge. What are Aristotle’s criticisms of Plato’s philosophy, and how does his own theory avoid them?

1.        Give some examples to illustrate Aristotle’s four causes.