Question

Who was Plato, when and where did he live?What influence has Plato had on the intellectual traditions of the West?

  1. Explain the story of the ring of Gyges, in Book II.
  2. What happens to a person's character when given the opportunity to work in secret?
  3. According to Plato what are necessities?  [Describe and list them.]
  4. What is division of labor?  Why does Plato think it is so important?
  5. Explain the role of the merchant in society.
  6. Explain the function of money in society.
  7. What type of society is fevered and swollen, and why?  
  8. Describe what happens when a state (society) develops a taste for luxury, but then grows and grows until its own land is not enough.
  9. In Book X, the discussion changes to questions of right and wrong.  Explain "The Vision of Er."  Who is Er?  What happens to him?  
  10. Explain how readers should interpret the Vision of Er. (See question 16 below.)
  11. How do you think stories like Er's influenced Christianity which came along 300 years later?
  12. Can you see why early Christians really liked the teachings of Plato?  Explain your feelings on this.  Be specific.
  13. From a Business point of view, can you see why the vision of Er and religions such as Christianity might conflict with the ideas that greed is good, that society should seek to be prosperous, that want more from life is better than a life of sacrifice?  Explain your feelings on this.  Do not use fuzzy logic or hazy definitions. Be specific.
  14. Dialogue is a writing style often used by philosophers in Antiquity.  It is very important for students to understand that persons in dialogues are not necessarily real.   The philosophic truth is not that this or that person lived.  Personalities are manufactured to convey truth, they are not the truth themselves.  Places too are not necessarily real.  Atlantis appears in several dialogues of Plato, but there is no evidence that he or any other ancient philosopher ever thought of Atlantis as a real place.  It was a utopian ideal, meant to provide a topic for comparison to the real world, it was not real itself.   With this in mind, discuss in your own words which parts of this dialogue are meant to be literal, and which are purely figurative.  
  15. Explain what value there is (if any) in having students read figurative literature.
  16. What happens to human thinking about the purpose of life if there is no such thing as a soul, and an after life?
  17. Does the purpose of life have any bearing on human attitudes about Business?  How?
  18. Can you see how ideas about business might be influenced by an all-seeing god?  How?
  19. Can you see how ideas about business might be influenced by fear of an afterlife?  Remember, the afterlife (assuming there is one) is not necessarily a good place, in some superstitions it is a terrible place, a hell.  How would this impact greed for profits, avarice, and even things like ambition?
  20. If afterlives and all-seeing gods are purely figurative (see question 16) what then happens to ambition, greed for profits and avarice?

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