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Political Science
Ryan Balot

Study questions - Thucydides I Pol 200 - Balot Study questions for Thucydides, pp. 12-50 in the Woodruff translation. (1) What contrasts do the Corinthians draw between Athenians and Spartans in their speech on pp. 17-20? How are the characteristics of each city related to their respective political regimes? (2) What is the purpose of the Athenian speech at pp.21-25? How do the Athenians justify their empire? What does their speech teach us about justice as a feature of international relations? (3) After completing the assignment, re-read the speeches of Archidamus (pp.25-28) and the Periclean funeral oration (39-46) together. How does each figure represent the way of life of his people? What are the particular virtues of Sparta and Athens, according to Archidamus and Pericles? How does each speaker represent courage, in particular, as a virtue of his city? Why is courage a distinctively important virtue for each speaker to discuss? (4) What is the connection, if any, between Pericles Funeral Oration and Thucydides description of the plague (46-50), which follows the funeral oration? What are the most important elements of civic breakdown, as Thucydides represents them in his description of the plague? (5) Generally speaking, in this first reading assignment, how does Thucydides represent the relationship between democracy and empire? What sorts of institutions, rhetoric, passions, and principles are most important for Thucydides account of the Athenian democracy at war, and why? Study questions - Thucydides II Pol 200 - Balot o Study questions for Thucydides, pp. 52-58, 66-76, 89-95, 102-109, 111-123 in the Woodruff translation. (1) What are the implications of Pericles admission that Athenss empire is like a tyranny (p.55)? What sorts of constraint limit the free behavior of tyrants and tyrannical empires? (2) Does Thucydides offer any criticisms of Pericles or of Periclean Athens, despite his praise of this democratic leader in the middle of p.57? (3) How does Cleon differ from Pericles as a leader? Who is more persuasive - Diodotus or Cleon? Which speaker shows a fuller dedication to justice? (4) Read pp.89-95 particularly carefully. What, according to Thucydides, caused the civic disintegration at Corcyra? How does the civil war at Corcyra shed light, by contrast, on the political stability enjoyed by Periclean Athens? (5) How do the Athenian speakers at Melos differ from the Athenian speakers at Sparta? Has Athenian morality evolved over the course of the war? (6) Do any criticisms of Athenian democracy emerge from Thucydides representation of the Sicilian Debate (112-123)? When we read the Sicilian Debate, do we find that deliberative discourse at Athens has declined since the time of the debate between Cleon and Diodotus? Study questions 3 - Plato Republic I Pol 200- Balot Study Questions for Platos Republic Book I. (1) What is the significance, if any, of the dramatic setting and the dramatic set-up of this dialogue? In general, you should think about why Plato chose to explore philosophical problems in the particular literary genre of dialogue (he did not, for example, write treatises - but why not?). (2) What is problematic, from Socrates point of view, about the accounts of justice offered by Cephalus and his son, Polemarchus? Where do their views of justice originate? Where, precisely, do they go wrong? (3) Starting on p. 7, Socrates begins to compare justice to a craft or art, the Greek term for which is techn. What are the points of similarity and difference between justice and the (other?) arts? Is Socrates analogy a useful one? (4) What are the three definitions of justice offered by Thrasymachus? Does Thrasymachus present a coherent philosophical thesis? Do his ideas about justice resemble those of any speakers in Thucydides History?
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