Paper Assignment on Apology & Crito
Be sure to follow all the guidelines in How to Write Philosophy Papers except use Endnotes, not footnotes.
Cover page: Print...
Length: See syllabus.
Margins: One inch (1") top, bottom, left, right.
Print: Dark, clean, easy-to-read font, pitch size 12.
Pages: The cover page should be considered (but NOT labeled) page zero. After that page, number each page sequentially in Arabic numerals: 1, 2, etc.
Italics: All titles of works (dialogues, books, etc.) must be italicized. All transliterated Greek words must be italicized, e.g. logos, elenchus. Do NOT underline anything in your paper.
Line spacing: Double space between lines EXCEPT for all direct quotations that are longer than three (3) lines.
Sentences in your paper which you copy verbatim from some other published source (e.g. a book) must be set inside double quotation marks (“...”). All quotations longer than three (3) lines must be SINGLE spaced and set in indented, block paragraphs without quotation marks, left AND right justified. (The single spaced, indented format serves the function of quotation marks.) The first direct quotation must be immediately followed by the proper FULL CITATION. After that, direct quotations should be abbreviated (e.g. Readings, p. 185, Crito 49b).
Every idea or statement that comes from another text that you include in your paper MUST have a reference. For example, if you want to write “In his defense, Socrates says that hardly anything his accusers said in their prosecuting speech was true,” then you would include immediately after this sentence the Stephanus number reference which, in this case, would be “(Apology 17a).”
A FULL CITATION includes the source from which the quotation is taken, the page number within that source, and the Stephanus number if the quotation is from a Platonic dialogue (e.g. Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy from Thales to Aristotle, edited by S. M. Cohen et al., Hackett Publishing Co., 4th ed., 2011, p. 166, Apol. 29c). It looks tidier to have full citations in endnotes. Limit citations within the body of your text to Stephanus number references and page numbers.
In your introductory paragraph, first state the problem you intend to address. Second, clearly state the THESIS which you will argue for. The thesis statement must begin: “In this paper I will argue that...” or “My thesis is that...” so that it is crystal clear to the reader exactly what your thesis is.
In the body of your paper, first argue for your thesis by presenting solid evidence for it. Evidence includes carefully interpreted quotations and reasoned substantiation for all controversial assertions you make in the paper. Imagine you are trying to convince someone who is skeptical about your thesis. What considerations support to your thesis? Second, discuss the toughest objections to your thesis an intelligent person could raise. Third, respond intelligently to those tough objections. Your intelligent responses to the objections may lead you to modify your thesis. That is perfectly okay. A more refined, more carefully qualified thesis is better than an overly simplistic thesis.
In the very brief concluding paragraph, don’t repeat your thesis and don’t praise your own arguments. Instead, very briefly describe the culmination of your inquiry.
In the Apology (29c-d) Socrates says he would refuse to obey the Athenian court if they were to acquit him on the condition that he cease philosophizing. In the Crito, on the other hand, Socrates repeatedly insists on complete obedience to the city of Athens and its laws. Present your own interpretation of these two apparently opposed positions. Is it a real contradiction for Socrates to refuse to escape from prison in the Crito and thus willingly submit himself to execution, while in the Apology insisting that it is his duty to continue to philosophize despite the disapproval of the Athenian law court? Or is this a merely apparent conflict that can be resolved and read as consistent? Carefully examine and interpret the relevant texts of both dialogues and develop your own position on this problem. First, present arguments to support the interpretation that you think (not feel!) is best. Second, discuss what a smart person who disagreed with your claims could raise as objections to your arguments for your position. Third, RESPOND intelligently to those objections.
Copyright © 2012 William O. Stephens