Write a critical/analytic essay of 900 to 1,200 words answering one of the prompts below:
- Halfway through Euthyphro, the character Euthyphro proposes a definition of ‘Piety’ according to which piety is what’s loved by all the gods (Euthyphro, Line 9e). In response Socrates says that this is not a definition of ‘Piety’ but rather merely one of its qualities: “…you have told me an affect or quality of it, that the pious has the quality of being loved by the gods, but you have not yet told me what the pious is” (Lines 11a-b). What does Euthyphro mean by ‘what’s loved by all the gods’ and why does he think this is a good definition of ‘Piety’? Do you agree with Socrates that Euthyphro’s definition is not really a definition? Explain and defend your answer.
- In Phaedo Socrates argues that “what we call learning is recollection” (Phaedo, Lines 72e- 78b). What does Plato’s Socrates mean by ‘recollection’ and what is his argument for learning being nothing but recollection? Is his argument a good one? Explain and defend your answer.
- Aristotle rejects Plato’s theory of the Forms. But he nevertheless thinks “form” is what makes a thing what it is (i.e. makes it a substance): “Plainly we are seeking the cause. And this is the essence (= form), which in some cases is the end, e.g. perhaps in the case of a house or a bed, and in some cases is the first mover; for this also is a cause” (Metaphysics, Book VII, Chapter 17). What does Aristotle mean by a thing’s ‘form’ or ‘essence’, and how does this differ from what Plato meant by ‘Form’? Do you agree with Aristotle that everything has a form/essence which makes it what it is? Explain and defend your answer.
- Anselm argued that since God is that than which no greater can be conceived, God must exist (Proslogion, chapters 1-5). This is called an Ontological Argument for God’s existence. What does Anselm mean by ‘that than which no greater can be conceived’ and why does he think God’s existence follows from this? Do you think Anselm’s argument for God’s existence is a good one? Explain and defend your answer.