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the Republic, while
speaking to Thrasymachus, Socrates says, “we
must now examine the question, as we proposed to do before*, of whether just
people also live better and are happier than unjust ones…After all, the
argument concerns no ordinary topic, but the way we ought to live” (352d). Therefore, I pose to you as our last
essay topic of the semester: What is the way we ought to live? What is the
highest good for which our fleeting human lives are meant? Why?
writing this essay a second time, I want you to now think about this question
in light of all we have read from Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Thomas
Aquinas and I want you to critique your original response. How have these four
philosophers altered or sharpened your new response to this question? Does one
or more of them particularly shape your new response to and understanding of
this question? Do you still have questions that you do not think any of our
philosophers addressed? Consider what was insufficient or lacking from your
original response and what was good but needed to be explained or accounted for
This assignment is designed to help you and me see how much your
critical thinking skills and ability to think philosophically have developed
and sharpened over the course of the semester.
A successful essay will:
1. Specifically critique your original essay from
the beginning of the semester i.e. say what was logically incorrect and
philosophically incoherent about it and say what was logically correct and
philosophically coherent (insofar as it is applicable).
example, anyone who said everyone ought to live however they want, but people
should still all be nice to each other is logically incoherent because it
simultaneously claims that there is no highest good and no highest truth, but
that everyone should still adhere to a standard of goodness. That does not make
sense. If you want a coherent ethics, you need an absolute good and an absolute
2. Use at
least one of the
philosophers from class to critique the original essay response
3. Answer: What is your response now? Would
one of our philosophers criticize your new response. If so, why and what would
you say to him?
4. Answer: What questions remain for
you as we end this course?
Meet the minimum word count, be coherent, and grammatically correct