Plato’s Republic – Book 1

 This assignment will require you to (1) analyze an argument as presented in an assigned text, and (2) make an argument of your own for why that particular argument is important for an overall understanding of the text. Each paper should meet the following criteria: Papers should be 5-6 pages (not counting the works cited page), double-spaced, with 1” margins, 12pt Times New Roman font, and saved in a .doc, docx., or .pdf file format. All papers must be turned in using Canvas. No paper or emailed submissions will be accepted. Begin by selecting a passage from the assigned text (e.g., Plato’s Republic, Epictetus’ Handbook, etc.) that (1) clearly makes an argument, (2) touches on one of the main themes of that text, and (3) is a manageable size (i.e., it includes a conclusion and several premises). In the body of your paper, cite two different secondary sources that offer additional information about your chosen passage or additional background information about the philosopher and their work. Appropriate secondary sources include: (1) a physical book or encyclopedia article from the Collin College Library, (2) a journal article found using the library’s JSTOR database (log-in to Cougarweb), choose the library tab, choose “Find Articles in Databases,” then choose JSTOR), or (3) the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. No other secondary sources are acceptable for this assignment. Use MLA formatting and MLA parenthetical citation format. If you need help with MLA formatting, see or visit the Collin College Writing Center. Your paper should include all of the following numbered and labeled sections: (1) Thesis statement. An introductory paragraph that includes only one sentence: your thesis statement. Your thesis statement should (a) be a single sentence, (b) be grammatically and thematically clear, (c) make a claim about how your selected passage contributes to an understanding of one of the text’s main themes, and (d) offer reasons in support of that claim. Your thesis statement should capture your paper’s argument in a single sentence. (Approximate length: 1 sentence) (2) Historical Background. A section that provides historical and biographical information about your chosen text’s author (e.g., Plato, Epictetus, Descartes). Who is your philosopher? When and where did they live? What are their major books? What kind of training did they have? What were the major events in their lives? (Approximate length: 3/4 page) (3) Philosophical Background. A section that provides general information about the philosophical ideas that are most important to your text’s author. What were the main philosophical contributions made by your philosopher? What topics and questions interested them most? What other philosophers or schools of philosophy influenced them? What were their major published works? What are the central philosophical themes of the particular text (e.g., Plato’s Apology, Epictetus’ Handbook, Descartes’ Meditations) that you are writing about? Identify two or three of these main themes. (Approximate length: 3/4 page) (4) Selected Passage. A section that cites, in full, the passage that you have selected from the text for analysis. Also, supply context for this passage: from which section of the text is your passage taken? What question is it addressing? (Approximate length: ½ page) (5) Standard Format. A section that analyzes the argument made in your selected passage and presents the results of that analysis in the “standard format.” Identify the argument’s premises and conclusion. Number each element of the argument. Present each element of the argument on a separate line as a complete sentence. Place the conclusion last and mark it with a “therefore.” (Approximate length: ½ page) (6) Analysis. A section that explains how each of the premises in the argument connects with the other premises and, ultimately, leads to the stated conclusion. Define any key words or terms used in the argument. Evaluate the strength of the argument. Are its premises reliable? Is the conclusion persuasive? (Approximate length: ½ page) (7) Main Themes. A section that examines the contribution made by this particular argument to an understanding of one of the text’s main themes. What are the text’s overarching themes? To which theme does this passage contribute? How does understanding this particular argument help us to understand that main theme? What, in general, can we learn from this passage about this philosopher and their work? (Approximate length: ½ page) (8) Comparison. A section that gives an example of something from contemporary pop culture (e.g., a scene from a movie or TV show, a song, a book, a commercial, etc.) that touches on the same theme as the argument made in your selected passage. Make a detailed comparison that explicitly states how the two are similar or dissimilar. (Approximate length: ½ page) (9) Conclusion. A concluding paragraph that includes only one sentence. This sentence should: (a) make a claim about how others might benefit from understanding the argument made in your selected passage, and (b) offer reasons in support of that claim. (10) Works Cited. A Works Cited page that is formatted MLA style and minimally include full bibliographical information for three cited sources: the primary text (e.g., Plato’s Apology, Epictetus’ Handbook, Descartes’ Meditations) and two secondary texts.