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Example Question #1 : Understanding Terminology Used To Describe Classical Nonfiction And Philosophy
Which of the following words could be used to describe Plato's metaphysical outlook?
The philosophy of Plato is known for many things. One of his most famous doctrines is the so-called theory of "Forms" or "Ideas." This refers to the notion that everything in the world "participates" in some kind of universal and separate Idea. Thus, we can only call this or that tree a "tree" because those various individual trees participate in the universal notion of "treeness."
This position is often called "extreme realism" because it supposes that our ideas are so real that they actually exist. It is like there is a kind of "heaven" (loosely speaking) in which the Ideas exist. A radically contrary position is sometimes named "nominalism", which indicates that there are no universal Ideas that are really "out in reality." Instead, a strictly "nominalist" position would state that universal ideas like "tree" and "dog" only exist because we give name to individual things.
Example Question #2 : Understanding Terminology Used To Describe Classical Nonfiction And Philosophy
Which of the following describes the kind of philosophy against which Socrates argued?
Throughout the writings of Plato, we are presented with an image of Socrates as a disputant, constantly arguing with a group of philosophers known as the "sophists." The word "sophist" actually comes from the same roots as "philosophy," though the meaning is interesting—and quite telling about what had so angered Socrates. "Philosophy" literally means "love of wisdom." A "sophist" is someone who appears to be wise—but in fact is not. This is quite the vexing issue for Socrates. There are people who have the appearance of wisdom but in fact are not. Thus, in many of the dialogues, he is presented as arguing against this kind of sophistry. It is also for this reason that he expresses concerns about people who make images and write poetry. Such people seem to be just like sophists—who make bad arguments appear like they are good ones.