Final Plato – Assessment Options

Congrats! Having already written a critique, you have the priviledge of choosing your own final assessment for Plato. You can choose a standard, analytical close-reading, an essay that incorporates examples from the contemporary world, or your very own Socratic dialogue, in which you address your own concerns about the world, belief, and reason.

Click below for a full description of each option, including a new rubric for the Socratic Dialogue. Both essays (Options 1 & 2) will be scored according to the standard rubric for analytical papers, as seen on your critiques.

A partial draft (2+ pages) is due for peer editing on Monday, 11/21.

The final draft is due Monday, 11/28, the day we come back from Thanksgiving break. Email me with any questions before then!

Final Assessment – Plato

Option 1: Analytical Paper (Close-reading) 

This paper is more traditional (along the same lines as the critiques you’ve already written this semester). In such a paper, you should follow the standard format of an essay, including an introduction, thesis, analytical body paragraphs, and conclusion. Grades for this paper will follow the same rubric as your critiques.

Some ideas for your theses:

  • Select one text, and form a thesis about the ways in which Plato/Socrates show a flawed argument in any one dialogue. A complete thesis will generally explain the flaws of the argument; use your body paragraphs to “poke holes” in Socrates’s points, using quotes and analysis of the text.
  • Compare & contrast 2 different dialogues; form a thesis that specifically explains the evolution of Plato’s philosophy. Be sure you don’t form a thesis that is too “factual” – your thesis should show your own interpretations! Consider the way Socrates speaks, how he treats his interlocutors, the structure of the dialogues, and the conclusions he draws in both.
  • Form a thesis of your choice – just consult me first.

Option 2: Analytical Paper (Contemporary Application)

This paper is also analytical – and will follow the same structure/rubric – but allows you to form opinions about today’s world and draw on real-life examples to prove your thesis. Choose any one dialogue and, for your thesis, decide whether or not you believe Socrates’s arguments are applicable or useful in today’s society. A complete thesis will provide a general explanation as to why these ideas do or do not apply to the present-day world.  Beware of getting too general when you talk about today’s world – discuss specific issues, and if you don’t feel you know enough about those issues, consult newspapers, etc.

  • Warning: Standard rules about pronoun use still apply – resist the urge to use a general “we” or describe “our” society.

Option 3: Formal Socratic Dialogue

Unlike your partner dialogues, this assignment requires you alone to compose a Socratic dialogue. And feel free to address contemporary problems & ideas! Remember, Plato didn’t simply record conversations Socrates once had; he structures his dialogues to illustrate a certain opinion/philosophy. You must:

  • Choose a central question or idea to debate, like Plato does in each dialogue.
  • Structure your dialogue according to the Platonic format, as outlined in your class notes. (You may divide it into “sections,” like your book does, if this helps you).
  • Create a fictional interlocutor whose opinions your “Socrates” disproves throughout the dialogue.
  • Advice: Start with a general idea of where you want to end up – the answer to your question that you want Socrates to come up with at the end of the dialogue.

Socratic Dialogue: Rubric

______ Dialogue Structure/Organization (30)

  • Contains an introduction in which the characters meet, ask a question, and propose a hypothesis
  • Socrates questions his interlocutor and repeatedly proves his points wrong. A complete dialogue should contain at least 3 different points for discussion (i.e. three “sections”)
  • Socrates and his interlocutor reach some sort of Socratic conclusion at the end of the dialogue.

______ Topic Development (50)

  • Central question is unique and inquires about the nature of a particular idea/value in society.
  • Central question is relevant throughout the entire dialogue.
  • Topic is well-developed, including many follow-up questions and concrete examples from both speakers. Paper should be at least 4 typed pages.
  • The concluding remarks address the same question and articulate an answer to it.

______Communication/Conventions (20)

  • Proofreading with attention to: spelling, capitalization, grammar/punctuation, etc.
  • Dialogue flows from one line to another in a logical way; avoids abrupt and confusing transitions.
  • Avoids awkward or vague language that interferes with comprehension.
  • MLA heading, size 12 font, and double spacing.

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