Essay #1: 2–3 pages (this means at least 2 full pages), with a descriptive title, citations in parenthetical format
Your assignment is to write an essay that analyzes certain aspects and passages of the text and draws upon that analysis to argue for your own original perspective. Choose one of the options below:
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1. On the one hand, all Socrates claims to know is that “human wisdom is worth little or nothing” (Apology 27), yet on the other, he claims to be a gift from the gods who shows people they ought to care for the best possible state of their soul. How do you understand this apparent contradiction? What is wisdom, exactly, for Socrates? What kind of wisdom does he seem to pursue, and does he really have it, in your view? What kind of knowledge does he claim to have and what kinds of knowledge does he claim not to have? What exactly is the benefit of this pursuit of wisdom? What does it offer exactly, do you think? Your analysis should be grounded in a discussion of a small handful of key passages or quotes from the text.
2. Is Socrates a teacher? What are the reasons Socrates gives when he says that he is not a teacher? Do we still have any reason to believe he is a teacher, despite what he says? Why or why not? Your analysis should be grounded in a discussion of a small handful of key passages or quotes from the text.
3. In the Apology, Socrates claims to question everyone who thinks they are wise, and then, if he thinks they are not wise, to point out that they are not (23b). Socrates takes nothing for granted, but questions everything, it seems. But then, in the Crito, even though Socrates maintains that his death sentence is not just, he says it would be better for him not to break the law but to obey it. How do you understand this apparent contradiction? Does his questioning only go up to a certain point, then, in your view? Is he wrong to accept his punishment without more protest? Is he right to accept it? If he is, how do you square his argument in the Crito with the type of person he seems to be in Apology? Your analysis should be grounded in a discussion of a small handful of key passages or quotes from the text.