The assignment is the answering of 10 questions pertaining to Hellenistic
Philosophy. We do not have a textbook, but we have been given a series of readings that I will provide. Each question requires an answer that is about a paragraph long, but there is no total length requirement so I just guessed that 5 pages will be about the correct length. We are not supposed to use outside sources to find the answers so there is no need for any sort of references or quotes outside of the papers that have been provided to us. I don't know if this assignment is the kind of thing that can be done here so if not let me know.
This is the official assignment:
PART ONE: INSTRUCTIONS
1.) This examination consists of ten questions, all of which are taken from the “Outlines” that I have sending you during the semester.
2.) Please bear in mind that these “outlines” are devoid of “content.” As I have pointed out on several occasions, they are lists of topics that have been covered during the class meetings, and they are intended as a “check list” of sorts against which you can examine your notes to insure that your notes cover the relevant material. Hence, they are not to be regarded as a “primary source” for your answers; for that you need to refer to your notes and the readings.
3.) For each of the questions, you should provide a brief paragraph (4 or so sentences) that address the question. While brief, your answers should be focused and as thorough as spaced permits. In other words, you need to think carefully about your response and get right to the main point ??"precision counts.
4.) DO NOT CONSULT OUTSIDE SOURCES: First, this is not a book report. This is intended as an opportunity for you to think about the course as a whole. Second, I am interested in what you think, not some secondary source. Third, this being a Research University, much of the material of the course has yet to become available in the usual places you might look.
5.) Don’t like the grade? I’ll be happy to explain it, but here are some reasons NOT to appeal the grade:
a. “I put a lot of effort into the class.”
b. “Other people put in less effort/attended less, and they got a better grade.”
c. This grade lowered my gpa by (x) points, and I need (x + y) in order to (insert reason here).
d. “I feel I deserve an “A” ( or “B” or whatever)
e. “It wasn’t clear what you were looking for” [see 2 and 3 above].
I am confident that, with a little reflection, you can see why none of the above are legitimate reasons for appealing a grade or expecting a change of grade.
6.) Avoid excessive stress; take an occasional break from studying, and remember that what you actually learn is, in the long run, more important than grades and gpa’s ??"though I do take grading seriously (been doing it even before you were born; quite likely even before your parents were married), and I am aware that it is not something to be taken lightly. Rest assured that I am as convinced as you that fairness counts for a lot.
7.) Have a good summer, and if I don’t have the pleasure of your company again, I wish that the years treat you well and that life gives you what you are seeking from it.
8.) Please re-read 1-7 above
PART TWO: THE TEN QUESTIOS
1.) What is the nature of Hellenistic
“anxiety”? Why might one think it is a rational approach to life?
2.) What is the relevance of Democritus to Epicureanism? What is the relevance of Heraclitus to Stoicism? How does Skepticism differ in this regard from both Epicureanism and Stoicism?
3.) How does Plotinus’ “hierarchical ontology” differ from that of the metaphysical views of the Epicureans, Stoics, and Skeptics?
4.) What is the contrast between a “metaphysics of substance (Epicureanism) and a “metaphysics of process” (Stoicism).
5.) Why does Epicurus say that “Death is nothing to us”?
6.) What does Epictetus say about the death of infants and loved ones? What is the most charitable interpretation that one can give to these sort of seemingly harsh remarks?
7.) What is the “classical model of knowledge”? On what grounds does the Skeptic reject it (hint: what bothers them about the nature of “justification” in the “classical model”)?
8.) Why does the Skeptic regard Skepticism as a good thing, i.e. how does it lead to “tranquility”?
9.) Why does Plotinus regard “The One” such that there is, strictly speaking, no “name” that can be given to it (hint: the relation of “naming” and “duality”). How does the ascent to “The One” overcome the “anxiety” of the human condition in the world of the senses?
10. ) Is the Hellenistic
pursuit of “tranquility” worth the price? What is that price? Why or why not do you think that the attainment of that “tranquility” is worth the price?
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