Plato, sample thesis statements


Your paper ought to be centered around giving support for a thesis. This thesis should be based on the material we've studied in the class, but the paper should not just be exposition of what the people we've studied have said, but should contain arguments for your own views that take as their starting point the arguments we've looked at in class.

These are just samples; you may argue for one of these if you wish, but you aren't restricted to them. Another good place to look is in the list of reading response papers; they give a decent list of topics we've studied and suggestions about things you might want to argue about.


In this paper, I will argue that Socrates' depiction of the 'return to the cave' is inconsistent with his insistence that it's always in your self-interest to be a just person.

In this paper, I will argue against Kraut: the Form of the Good is important to Plato's metaphysics, but irrelevant to his defense of the intrinsic goodness of justice as a state of the soul.

In this paper, I will argue that Sachs is right that Socrates' argument in books II-IV of the Republic is fallacious.

In this paper, I will argue that Plato has not shown that justice is an intrinsic good.

In this paper, I will argue that Socrates in right when he thinks that the only thing that matters of happiness is the health of your soul, but that (contra Socrates) worse people are able to harm the soul of a better person.

In this paper, I will argue that Socrates' ideal philosophers would be wise, but they’d nonetheless be terrible at ruling a state well.

In this paper, I will argue that Taylor is right: Plato’s Republic doesn’t allow for personal autonomy, and therefore it cannot make its citizens truly happy.

In this paper, I will argue that Clitophpn is right to charge that Socrates is hindrance to people who are already eager to learn what the virtues are.

In this paper, I will argue that Clitophon shows that it’s a mistake to analogize justice with crafts such as medicine.

In this paper, I will argue that Socrates is correct when he says that the virtues are unified: in order to have any one of them, you must have them all.

In this paper, I will argue that Polus could (and should) have been able to maintain his thesis that it is worse to suffer injustice but more shameful to commit injustice.

In this paper, I will argue that Callicles' attempts to appeal to nature to support his distinction between 'natural' and 'conventional' justice fail.

In this paper, I will argue that Socrates' use of an afterlife myth at the end of the Gorgias is an example of using the sort of shameful oratory he condemns.

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