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Plato did not have a word for freedom in the sense of "free will.” Yet the concept emerges in his writing, and always as a power of separation or opposition….


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Plato did not have a word for freedom in the sense of “free will.” Yet the concept emerges in his writing, and always as a power of separation or opposition.
What does freedom separate from?What does freedom oppose? These questions could be your starting point.
Your paper will be divided into three sections, each at least a page long.You will choose three of the following four topics, devoting a section to each topic. Copy the section-title and then proceed with your discussion.

Freedom in the Apology
Possible questions to answer:
How does Socrates’ attitude toward death, wealth, and power disclose his freedom?How does his role as gadfly testify to his freedom?
Crucial reading: 29c-31b.
Freedom in the Phaedo
Possible questions to answer:
Can freedom be defined as the power to separate from and oppose the body and its desires; society and its ideologies?Are we free if the only cause or reason for what we do is our bones, muscles, neurons, etc.? Why or why not?
Crucial reading: 64a-70e; 91c-95a; 97c-99d

Freedom in the Symposium
What does Diotima mean by “a slavish and illiberal devotion to the individual loveliness of a single person or institution.”How does the Platonic lover escape this slavery?
Crucial reading:the page provided in class.
Freedom in “The Parable of the Cave”
How can this be the story of OUR liberation?What does it mean to say that, in order to be free, we must get out of the cave (=the body, society, time/space, etc.)
Crucial reading:the page provided in class.

IF YOU PREFER…
…You may write about just TWO of the above texts, and write a third section on FREEDOM in one of the following:
Borges, “The Garden of Forking Paths.”
Descartes, Meditations (especially Meditation IV).
Augustine, Confessions.The pages provided in class.
The three sections of your paper should fit together.That is, your essay should develop coherently, each paragraph building on the last. The aim is to say something good about freedom and philosophy. Stay focused on THE MAIN THING you want to say.
Give yourself time to write more than one draft.The best sentence in your first draft could be the thesis of your second.

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