possible topics for the second humi 20 paper

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1. Both the Symposium and Plato’s Republic lay out a vision for the role of philosopher’s and philosophy in society. Analyze the role of the philosopher in these two texts. Do they overlap in any serious ways or are they distinctly different? Both texts locate the philosopher within a broader context. What are these contexts and how do they connect with philosophy in both contexts?

2. Aristotle’s notion of ethics in the Nichomachean Ethics seems to directly conflict with Plato’s ethical ideas as they are presented in the Republic. How do the two men view the nature of ethics? How do their understandings differ and what kinds of arguments to they make to support their positions?

3.The Hellenistic world that developed after the death of Alexander was a world full of change and innovation, of new ideas and beliefs entering into the Greek world. Focusing on two of the philosophical schools of the period (stoicism, skepticism, cynicism, epicureanism), compare the approach of the two systems to dealing with life’s uncertainties. What are the potential advantages and disadvantages of these schools?

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