OXFORD TUTORIALS

GBT 2 Study Questions

5. Republic; I-II 367e *Paper 1 due*

1. How does Socrates refute the first definition of justice (i.e. to speak truth and pay your debts)?

2. Socrates is often held up as a great advocate of reason. Doesn’t his continual refutation of proposed answers show that he is really not interested in finding a reasonable explanation for the various questions he asks?

3. What is the second attempted definition of justice?

4. How does Socrates come to the ironical conclusion that "justice is not good for much"? (333)

5. Explain Thrasymachus’ definition of justice.

6. What does Socrates teach Thrasymachus using the pilot example?

7. How do Socrates’ and Thrasymachus’ views on the role of the shepherd differ? (345)

8. How does Socrates’ bring Thrasymachus to the point where he admits that "neither arts nor governments provide for their own interests"? (346)

9. What is an "end"? Explain with your own examples. (352)

10. What is the example of Gyges supposed to prove?


6. Republic; II 367e-IV 427c

1. Explain Socrates statement that Justice can be a virtue of an individual as well as the State. (369)

2. Explain the advantages to the division of labor described in 369.

3. What is the cause of war? 373

4. What modern terms would correspond to Plato’s terms "gymnastics" and "music"?

5. Why does the Guardian need both gymnastics and music?

6. Why should the stories of Hesiod be banned? 378

7. Why must the story of Achilles embassy be censured?

8. On what grounds did Aesclepius dispense his medicines?

9. Why must a judge not be young? 409

10. What happens when an education is lacking in either gymnastics or music?

11. What is the audacious fiction that Plato recommends telling the people in order to make them more loyal citizens?

12. Why must the Guardians have no personal property?

13. At the beginning of book IV, how does Socrates answer the objection that his extreme laws make the lives of his subjects miserable?

14. Why will poor cities triumph over the rich?


7. Republic; IV 427d-VI 502c

1. How is the just man like the just State? (435)

2. What three elements in the State correspond to three elements in man?

3. Why will the just man be at peace with himself? (443)

4. How can marriages be beneficial to the State? (459)

5. Why does Socrates’ argue that men and women should receive substantially the same education?

6. Why does Socrates think children should be spectators of war?

7. Most of what Plato says has some plausibilty. Why do you think so much of what he recommends for family life is simply absurd and odd?

8. Why are some of Socrates’ ideas called "waves?"

9. What is the answer to the question, "Who then are the true philosophers?"? (475)

10. Explain the point Socrates makes with the analogy of the mutinous ship.


8. Republic; VI502d-VII

1. Explain the analogy comparing the relation between the sun and sight with that between the Good and the soul. (508)

2. Draw the "divided line" and label each section appropriately.  Describe your diagram. (510)

3. Draw the "cave."  Describe your drawing. (511)

4. How does the cave resemble man’s ignorance?


9. Republic; VIII-IX

1. Plato describes the progressive decline of governments from aristocracy (the most perfect form of government) to tyranny.  Summarize the stages (oligarchy, democracy, etc.).

2. What reasons does Plato give as to why a government progresses from one stage to the next.

3. In section 544, Socrates states that "governments vary as the dispositions of men vary." Explain what Socrates means by that.

4. Why do timocratic rulers not allow philosophers to rule? 547

5. Describe the disposition of the timocratic man.

6. Why is it that in a oligarchy if you are not rich, you are pauper?

7. Describe the causes behind the development of the oligarchic man from a timocratic upbringing. 553

8. How do democratic men come to disrespect oligarchic men?

9. Describe the causes behind the development of the democratic man from an oligarchic upbringing. 561

10. Socrates asks of a democracy, "in such a State, can liberty have any limit?" As Christians, do we have an answer to this question? 562

11. How does the "people’s protector" become a ruthless tyrant? 565


10. Republic; X

1. How is a painter similar to a mirror?

2. How is the maker of a bed also only an imitator?

3. Why is God the "real maker of a real bed?"

4. Why does Plato consider Homer of no use to the State?

5. Are you convinced by Plato’s arguments regarding the effects of watching theater? Why or why not? 606

6. Why is their "ancient war" between philosophy and poetry? 607

7. Explain Plato’s argument for the immortality of the soul.

8. Has Plato given a solution to the problem put forward by the story of Gyges’ ring?

9. Why does Plato end the Republic with the tale of Er?