University of Phoenix Aristotles Doctrine of Mean & Virtue Ethics Philosophy Question

The sources from my class are below and i attached a document about my intructions, the reading of Anselm and aquinas and also will attach an essay example

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Aristotle’s doctrine of mean…

Length: Approximately 750words
Instructions: Write a short essay on ONE of the topics below.
Be sure to address each part of the topic/question.
Your essay should be clearly organized and written in paragraph form.
The only sources you need to consult are our course readings (Blackboard reading materials,
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the Nagel textbook), and other any relevant course
materials. For in-text citations, cite sources simply by identifying them (e.g. ‘Nagel, p. 14’ or
No separate ‘References’ page is required for these sources. If you use any additional sources
(but this is not necessary), these must be listed on a separate ‘References’ page. Remember
that ‘Wikipedia’ should not be used as a source for your essay.
In keeping with the college’s academic policies, plagiarized essays will receive a grade of ‘0’.
Evaluation: See rubric posted separately on Blackboard.
Topic 1 Aquinas & Anselm (two medieval Christian philosophers) try to prove God’s existence.
Describe their respective ‘proofs’. Do you think that God’s existence is the kind of thing that can
be definitively proved (or disproved)? Why or why not?
Topic 2 Explain virtue ethics and, specifically, Aristotle’s ‘doctrine of the mean.’ Is there practical
value to his theory (i.e. do you think it could be usefully applied to a person’s life)? Discuss with
specific examples.
Topic 3 Peter Singer maintains that we have moral obligations to help just as we have moral
obligations not to harm. Explain his argument supporting this claim (referring to specific issues).
Briefly evaluate his argument, i.e. discuss whether you think it is a strong argument (and why or
why not)?
B. Smith (123456789)
GHUM 1189
Professor Jeff Brown
Bubba Smith (123456789)
Oct. 15, 2017
Essay Topic:
Describe the accusations against Socrates in the Apology and explain how he defends himself
against those accusations. Are there examples of Socratic irony and dialectic evident in the
dialogue? Does Socrates offer a strong defense? Do the points he raises have any significance
for our times? Explain.
Socrates’ ‘Apology’
Socrates is a person who “forever changed how philosophy itself was to be conceived”
(SEP). Plato’s dialogue the Apology is a documentation of the trial of Socrates in Athens in 399
B.C. There are several charges made against Socrates and he does his best to defend himself
against the charges. Actually, he doesn’t ‘apologize’ at all. The dialogue’s title is the
‘Apology’, but Socrates isn’t sorry at all. That’s connected to Socrates using irony and also the
dialectic method. In this essay, I will examine Socrates’ trial and his strong defense of himself.
Also, I will argue that a lot of what Socrates says in the dialogue is significant for us in our
current times.
There are several charges against Socrates in his trial. In his speech, Socrates states the
main charges. First comes the accusation by Meletus, who charges that Socrates is “guilty of
wrongdoing” (19b) because he studies lofty, pointless things in the cosmos, and “makes the
worse into the stronger argument,” (19c) and teaches this kind of thing to other people.
Basically, Socrates here is accused of being a sophist. The sophists were travelling teachers who
were paid to teach people to win arguments, no matter what was really right. They had a very
B. Smith (123456789)
bad image in ancient Greece. This claim is connected to the other even more serious charge that
“Socrates is guilty of corrupting the young and of not believing in the gods in whom the city
believes, but in new spiritual things” (24b-c).
Socrates defends himself against both claims by using his famous dialectical method, and
also by using irony in his argument about how he lives his life as a philosopher. First, he states
that all of his questioning of people is based on the Delphic Oracle’s declaration that “no one
was wiser” than Socrates (21a). This confused Socrates, who assumed this was some kind of
riddle from the Oracle. There is a feeling of irony in Socrates’ claiming this. He went around
examining the ‘knowledge’ of supposed wise men so that he could refute the Oracle’s
pronouncement. When Socrates questioned people, it always turned out that they didn’t know
the things they claimed to, and as a result, Socrates became ‘unpopular’ and ‘disliked’. Socrates
ironic conclusion is that his ‘wisdom’ is: “I do not think I know what I do not know” (21e).
In the same way, Socrates questions his accuser – Miletus – and makes Miletus realize
that he doesn’t really know what he is accusing Socrates of. For example, questioning Miletus,
Socrates leads him to the absurd conclusion that everyone except Socrates corrupts the youth.
Also, when addressing the charge that Socrates does not believe in the Gods of the state, Miletus
ends up contradicting himself (27b) by asserting that Socrates does and does not believe in the
gods. Socrates combines dialectic with irony, questioning the other person while maintaining
that he (Socrates) is just trying to learn from them.
Socrates offers a very strong defense of what it means to be a philosopher and to live an
examined life. Some might say that his defense is not so strong because in the end he doesn’t get
himself acquitted of the charges: they find him guilty and he dies. That doesn’t seem like a very
successful defense. But his defense isn’t to save himself; it’s to vindicate a philosophical life.
B. Smith (123456789)
He maintains that “it is the great good for a man to discuss virtue every day” and that “the
unexamined life in not worth living” (38a). This is what he defends, and he defends it very well.
It shows that Socrates is committed to rational thought and inquiry, and that it’s most important
to look inward and examine “the state of the human soul” (Week 2 Slides).
This is very relevant for our times. In the movie Examined Life, the contemporary
philosopher Cornell West describes philosophy as “dialogue in the face of dogmatism,” which is
what Socrates represented. This was important in ancient Greece, but it is just as important now.
It’s also the kind of activity that Russell talks about in “The Value of Philosophy” where he
argues that philosophy is important “for the sake of the questions themselves” (Russell, p. 12).
If there are not people asking these questions, then no one is searching for truth and fighting
injustice in the world. The world at present if full of ignorance and leaders who act like they
know things when actually they are frauds and don’t know anything. In this kind of world, being
‘Socratic’ and questioning dogma and sophistry is more important than ever (hopefully it won’t
get you killed, but in some places, unfortunately, it might still).
In conclusion, it should be clear from what Socrates argues in his non-apologetic
‘apology’ that a person who examines their life is trying to be a good person and also trying to
find truth, rather than just accept dogmatism and the unthinking beliefs of authority and people
who assume they know everything and everyone should just follow what they say. Socrates
defense of the philosophical life is a very strong answer to the charges against him.

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