Phil. 26:  First Essay Exam                


Procedure:  This exam consists of two parts:  an essay and 3 short answer questions.  These two parts should be word processed and stapled together, putting your name on the first page of the completed exam paper.  Do not the essay exam into any sort of folder.  Place the completed exam into the Lock Box which is outside my office (Mendocino 3024) or slide it under my office door or hand it to the Philosophy department secretary (Mendocino 3000) by the due at 12 PM in the afternoon of the day specified on the syllabus.  NO LATE EXAMS OR LATE PARTS OF THE EXAM WILL BE ACCEPTED. 


Part 1: Answer each part of this question.  Do not include extraneous information.  Follow the guidelines for writing philosophy papers.  Otherwise, you will lose 15 points at the outset.  The essay should be about 2 ½ to 3 pages.  It is worth 70 points. 


            Construct a well-organized essay, answering ONLY the following questions: 

a.         In what specific way does Socrates defend himself against the charge of impiety, the charge of not believing in the gods in which the city believes? That is, what does Socrates get Meletus to agree to and by what steps does Socrates show that Meletus’ subsequent agreements contradict his initial agreement? 

b.         What reason is there for saying that Socrates’ cross-examination of Meletus on the charge of impiety fails to address directly the charge against him?

c.         How does Socrates’ specific argument against Meletus contribute to his defense?

d.         Do you think Socrates’ general way of defending himself (not just against the charge of impiety but in general) was a good one? 


Part II:  Answer each part of the three following questions.  This part of the exam is worth 30 points and each answer should be no more than a paragraph.


1.         What does the Delphi oracle proclaim?  Why does Socrates find what it proclaims surprising? How does he “test” the oracle?  What does he finally decide the Oracle must mean?

2.         Examine carefully the use Plato makes of analogical reasoning in Phaedo beginning at 103c (1st para. top of right hand column p. 27 of your text.) in order to show that the soul is immortal.

a.         What are 5 cases that Plato mentions as examples of things that do not admit a property that is opposite to a property that the thing in question has or “brings along with it,” to use Plato’s metaphor for an essential property of an item, like the number 2.

b.         What is the generalization that Plato draws from these cases?

c.         What is the case to which Plato applies this generalization and what is the property that the thing mentioned in this case does not admit?

3.         What role does the relative mean play in Aristotle’s account of how people become virtuous (good)?  Give examples of the relative mean.  How does the notion of a relative mean operate in the activity of a craftsperson (like a doctor or a trainer or a shoemaker)?



Format for the essay in Part I:

1.      Open your discussion by restating the question, saying which part of the question you will discuss first, which part second, and so on.  Answer the parts of the question in the order in which are posed.

2.      Use quotes from the text to substantiate, illustrate, or amplify what you are saying.  Put in the parentheses the page number of the text where the quote can be found.  Be sure to quote accurately.  Also, make sure that the content and the grammar of the quote properly fit into the context of the sentence into which you put the quoted material.

3.      Use the first person when you give and defend your opinion in (d) of the question.  Use the present tense when explaining what Socrates says and does, since Socrates’ opinions are considered relevant today.

4.      Connect your paragraphs in a logical way, even if that means that you have say something like “Having discussed x, I will now consider y,” where “x” and “y” stand for different parts of the question. 

5.      Close with a paragraph that summarizes your entire discussion.  That is, repeat the parts of the question, saying that you have answered each part.

6.      Use a dictionary to look up words whose meaning or spelling you are unsure of and pay attention to word usage, sentence structure, consistency in verb tenses, and subject-predicate agreement.  You will be marked down for poor spelling and grammar in addition to the 15 points you will use if you do not follow this format.

7.      Bibliography or footnotes are not required unless you consult outside sources.  Please consult the plagiarism rules in the syllabus because any kind of cheating will earn you an F in the course.