Final Exam

General instructions: The final exam consists of three parts; the first part consists of a few short identifications of some of the key terms we’ve discussed in this class. The second part consists a short essay, and the third part gives you a choice on which essay you wish to answer. The final exam will be due to me on Thursday, May 5 by 2:00 in the afternoon.  I will be in my office (Eastman Theater, 402) between 12:00 and 2:00 on that day; you can give me your exams then. You may also e-mail me your exam, and I will send you a confirmation e-mail. If you do not receive a confirmation e-mail you must assume that I have not received your exam. It is your responsibility to see to it that I get a copy of your exam.

I. Short identification (10 points each): for each of the following terms, write a 3-4 sentence identification.  Your purpose here is to identify the meaning of the term, explain its importance, and perhaps give an example that helps explain the term more fully.

  1. The Form of the Good (for Socrates
  2. Justice (for Socrates)
  3. Why should imitative art be banned from the ideal city?
  4. In the Allegory of the Cave, what does the process of ascending up the tunnel symbolize?

II. Short essay (2-3 pages; 30 points). Answer the following question:

Is Aristophanes’ critique of Socrates reasonable? Why or why not? For example, are his worries about the consequences of Socratic philosophy well-founded? Make sure you convey clearly what the critique is before you evaluate it.

III. Short essay (2-3 pages; 30 points). Answer ONE of the following questions:

  1. You are Meletus. Socrates’ supporters are taking you to task for bringing about the death of their hero. You need to defend your actions on some principled grounds. (You can, say, defend Athenian democracy against Socrates’ charges.) You may want to draw from the critiques raised in the “Clouds,” or from lectures, or construct your own. Make sure it is clear to your reader which Socratic position you are responding to?
  2. You are Thrasymachus.  You have just engaged in a dialogue with Socrates regarding the nature of justice (depicted in Book I of the Republic).  Although you have given up your position in the course of this dialogue, are you really convinced by Socrates’ arguments?  How might you be able to respond differently to Socrates’ critique of your position?
  3. Tom and Jack are both working as waiters in a restaurant. Both are relatively poor and need all of the money they earn in order to live a comfortable life.  Tom encourages Jack to cheat on his income taxes by refusing to report the income he gets from tips. “After all,” Tom says, “the tax code requiring the reporting of tips is just some rule that politicians passed in order to raise money to use for pork-barrel spending and corrupt government contracts. Besides, big corporations can use loopholes (or lobbying to change the tax code) to avoid paying taxes. And finally, just think how much you need this money, Jack. What good is being just in this case?”

Drawing on the conception of justice Socrates develops in the Republic, develop a response to Tom’s arguments.  How should we determine what Jack ought to do?

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