Philosophy of Human Nature

Alfred North Whitehead wrote: “The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato. I do not mean the systematic scheme of thought which scholars have doubtfully extracted from his writings. I allude to the wealth of general ideas scattered through them.” 1 Choose a single general idea or theme found in Plato’s writings and show how, either positively or negatively, three other of our philosophers develop it. The paper will be graded according to grammar and content. Papers with multiple grammatical, spelling, or other syntactical errors may be assigned a grade of “F.” No opportunities for rewriting or revising the paper will be given. Every page should have a page number. Cover pages are not necessary, but if there is one it isn’t numbered. In the two-hour exam period, answer the question in the form of an essay composed of paragraphs and grammatically correct English sentences (no bullet points or diagrams). Given time limitations, the introduction need not be elaborate. Be precise in your answers; avoid giving superfluous information. Please be careful to save your work. You may use a word-processing program and cut-and-paste your essay into Blackboard (be aware that formatting may not transfer). Where, in the question, “our philosophers” appears, it means the philosophers whose texts were assigned this semester. The essays must refer to each philosopher (though not necessarily each text) unless otherwise noted in the question. (Also, for purposes of the exam, you may assume Socrates and Plato are a single philosopher).

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