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Tutor profile: Lauren M.

Lauren M.
Philosophy MA Student

Questions

Subject: Greek

TutorMe
Question:

What are the principal parts of the verb διδἀσκω?

Lauren M.
Answer:

διδάσκω, διδάξω, ἐδἰδαξα, δεδἰδαχα, δεδἰδαγμαι, ἐδιδἀχθην

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

What is the best way to structure a philosophical or, more generally, a persuasive essay?

Lauren M.
Answer:

There are several useful ways of structuring a philosophical essay. As a rule of thumb, structure your essay in a way that makes your points and arguments come across clearly. I find that the best way to do this is to begin with a short introduction presenting the topic/problem and explicitly stating what you will be arguing in the paper. The next part of the paper should be exposition of relevant points, whether that is a summary of the problem you are trying to solve or a presentation of the main points and rationale of an argument that you will later object to. (The nature of your exposition will depend on your paper!) Next, present your argument, clearly and concisely. It is best to keep this section of your paper focused by not getting caught up in too many tangential points or presenting multiple objections. Finally, end the paper with a conclusion that summarizes the main points and moves of your paper and, if applicable, points to future work that can be done on that topic.

Subject: Philosophy

TutorMe
Question:

How does Plato characterize knowledge in Book V of the Republic?

Lauren M.
Answer:

According to what is referred to as the "Lovers of Sights and Sounds" passage, knowledge is a "power" that is "set over what is, as it is." A power, according to Plato, is a sort of cognitive capacity that allows someone with that power to "do what they are able to do" (477c). For example, sight is a power that allows someone to see. In the same way, knowledge is a capacity that allows someone to know. When Plato says that knowledge is set over what is, he is referring to the proper objects of knowledge. Since knowledge is infallible, according to Plato, it cannot have as its object an item that will cause the person to make a mistake in cognition. For example, an object of knowledge cannot be something that is beautiful at one time and not beautiful at another because then, when the person judges the object to be beautiful, she will be making a cognitive mistake because the object is beautiful only in a qualified sense, or, to use Plato's language, it is both beautiful and not beautiful. Instead, someone can only have knowledge of an infallible item, something that always is what it is and never changes. Thus, to continue with the above example, someone can only have knowledge of what is beautiful in an unqualified sense, or beautiful itself by itself. The paradigmatic objects of knowledge for Plato, or what count as "what is," are the Forms. Since the Forms are unchanging and eternal, one can never make a mistake when they judge, for example, that the Form of Beauty is beautiful. Therefore, knowledge, for Plato, seems to be a capacity to know items that can never anything other than what they are, such as the Forms. This, at least, is the traditional reading of the Lovers of Sights and Sounds passage, but it raises many issues and is contested by some scholars.

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