2 pages essay | English homework help

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Topic:  For your first paper, you will basically write about whether you think Socrates is truly guilty of the charges made against him, particularly the charge that he corrupts the youth. 

     In Plato’s Apology one of the main accusations made against him is that he “makes the weaker argument stronger.”  That is, Socrates is guilty of arguing against traditionally held beliefs in favor of new, unusual ones, and this is what is really behind the official charge that he corrupts the youth.  This activity of questioning beliefs is at the heart of philosophy, then and now.  In the Apology, Socrates explains and defends his way of life-the life of a philosopher-and concludes that “the unexamined life is not worth living.”  The philosopher’s life, then, is the examined life. 


For your first paper, you will draw evidence from the Apology to do the following. 


1.     Summarize Socrates’ main points of defense.  This should consist of two parts:

A.     Summarize Socrates’ explanation of his activity of questioning others, what he means when he says that he is wisest of all, and why he thinks “the unexamined life is not worth living.” 

B.     Identify the premises and conclusion of one of the arguments that he uses to show Meletus, his accuser, that the official charge of corrupting the youth of Athens doesn’t hold up.  These arguments are from 24c to 28b (pages 37-31)


2.     Evaluate Socrates’ defense.  Provide reasons (premises) to show whether or not you think Socrates does a good job of defending himself.  More specifically, does his explanation of his activity and his argument with Meletus show that he is a corrupting influence and is guilty of “making the weaker argument stronger”?



Structure & Formatting: 


1.     Structure: 


A paper of this sort has three basic parts:


Introduction:  where you give the reader an outline of what to expect in the paper.  This is where your thesis statement should be made clear.  Avoid any unnecessary opening statements (e.g. “since the beginning of time…”)


Body:  where you do what you say you will do in the introduction.


Conclusion:  where you sum up what you have done in the paper. 


Thesis Statement:  This is a crucial part of your paper, for it outlines what you will argue in the body of your paper.  The thesis unifies all the detailed work you do in the body of the paper in that everything you discuss in your paper should aim, ultimately, at proving your thesis. 


Example of an introduction and thesis:  In the Apology, Socrates defends his philosophical activity of questioning others by explaining why he does this and why he thinks this is a life worth living.  While he is certainly not guilty of teaching others how to debate, his argument with Meletus shows him arguing unfairly.  Therefore, he is still guilty of the charge of using trickery to confuse people and this could corrupt the youth especially.   


2.     Formatting:


·      Font should be Times New Roman, size 12.

·      Paper should be double spaced

·      Length:  500-700 words (there are roughly 300 words per page in this format).

·      Be sure to include a word count at the end of your paper. 

·      No need for a bibliography, since you should only use the Apology. 

·      When you quote or cite a passage from the text, reference either the margin page number/letter or the page number in the Grube translation:


Socrates concludes that “the unexamined life is not worth living” (38a) OR (p. 39)


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