Plato an socrates
PROBLEM: Samuel Taylor Coleridge reportedly claimed “Every man is born an Aristotelian or a Platonist.” Raphael in his painting “School of Athens” presented Plato and Aristotle as gesturing in opposite directions suggesting a fundamental contrast between the two thinkers. Yet in antiquity and still today others argue against such a contrast and opposition, claiming that there is a harmony between Plato and Aristotle in many or even most of the key theories. So is Aristotle an anti-Platonist or merely a rogue Platonist? Must we choose between Plato and Aristotle as Coleridge suggests, or is there common ground, at least in some areas of their philosophy?
ASSIGNMENT: Think about these questions and develop a clear position on this rather controversial topic. Focus on Aristotle’s theoretical philosophy (nature, psychology, epistemology, metaphysics, cosmology). Do NOT write on his Practical (Ethics & Politics) or Productive Sciences (Rhetoric & Poetics). Your task is to argue and defend your position (thesis) and indicate the short-comings of the alternative stances (anti-theses) on this topic. This is NOT merely a compare and contrast essay. It is a persuasive essay and your objective is to convince the reader of the plausibility of your thesis (as articulated in your thesis statement). Support your thesis with clear reasoning and textual evidence.
SUGGESTIONS: Define your terms; don’t be too broad. A sharp, focused argument in favor of a specific claim is best. The essay should demonstrate a significant understanding of the assigned readings. Outside sources are not required but may strengthen the essay. However, this is NOT a research paper – it is a persuasive/argumentative essay. Citations (required) to Stephanus page (numbers/letters in margins) for Plato and Bekker page numbers for Aristotle.
Retrieving the ancients book by David Roochnik
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