Importance of the Argument

I am having second thoughts about my essay now that it's due date has arrived. I chose to write about the argument of forms because that perplexed me the most and I don't think I am capable of writing a short essay on all the arguments posed throughout Phaedo. While re-reading the dialogue, I noticed that Socrates did not thoroughly define the theory of forms before Crito, Cebes, and Simmias agreed with him. Perhaps Plato didn't think that Socrates needed to explain himself because he thought so highly of his teacher.

The Institute on Religion and Public Life

Here is a link to an article written by the President of Theopolis Institute, Peter Leithart, that touches base on some of the points discussed during Monday's scheduled class period.

The learning teacher: role of ambiguity in education

Also, here is a link to a relatively short article written a few years ago by Dr. Gilbert S. Suzawa that I thought was interesting.


Ambiguity seemed like a hot-button topic during last Monday's class. The ambiguity of teaching seems to come from an individual's ability to perceive concepts differently depending on who their teacher is and what is being taught. Plato's character, Socrates, seems to avoid the ambiguity of difficult concepts such as justice and virtue by attempting to speak the language of the discourse community that surrounds him. Plato provides Socrates with literary tools that allow his audience to use personal experiences as a basis for the concepts they are attempting to define. I made the analogy for teaching virtue (or concepts such as love, friendship, etc.) as teaching a language in Monday's class because although one can be taught how to spell a word, I believe that only through practice and experience can one learn how to apply it.

The Big Picture

I am guilty of possibly looking too deep into Plato's written works in an attempt to challenge multiple perceptions. Correct me if I am wrong, but could the overall theme of the majority of Plato's works be expressing the superficial and constricting elements of definitions? Every dialogue thus far has made me reconsider concepts such as justice and friendship as well as proven how difficult it is to do so.

Redfield's Unpublished Perception

I really enjoyed reading James Redfield's translation of Plato's dialogue, Meno. I found that Redfield was able to explain himself through a process that I can't seem to apply in class. However, he also brought up several points that I had not considered. For example, I understood Redfield's translation on page CL-iii-13 "...virtue, he [Socrates] says, is between the teachable and the unteachable because it is between knowledge and ignorance, because it is right opinion." Though on the following page Redfield claims that virtue is acquired by magic and I would like someone else's perspective on what he thinks magic is. Does that mean virtue may be an illusion?

Plato's Socrates

I am intrigued by how beautiful Plato made Socrates. Plato did say that the Socrates in his dialogues was made out to be young and beautiful. Why does Plato create an opposite of his historically ugly and elderly mentor? I think that Plato understood societies shallow misconception of true beauty. Plato used a rhetoric that painted an ideal picture for his audience which captured their attention. This image gave Plato an opportunity to educate on some of Socrates most complex philosophical theories. The arguments throughout the dialogues thus far, both the good and the bad, have nevertheless given Socrates a God-like image. If only everyone could be as calm about drinking Hemlock as Socrates...