NSP 4153 Newman Reconstructing Aristotle Argument for Slaves and Natural Slaves Paper Research Paper Instructions
Description of Assignment
For the research paper, your assignment is to research and write an 8-10 page essay examining a course-wide theme.
Your paper must significantly engage with at least three primary sources assigned for this course, at least one of which must be a philosophical work (e.g., a work by Plato or Aristotle).
The choice of theme is up to you. You may write on a theme you have already addressed in a previous paper or the midterm exam, but if you do, your paper must very substantially expand on the work you have already done. (As a rough guideline, no more than 20% of the paper may consist of “recycled” writing from previous work.)
Your paper should articulate and defend a significant thesis related to your chosen theme. The thesis should be clearly stated at the end of the first paragraph of your paper.
Because this is a philosophy-focused interdisciplinary course, your essay should also demonstrate:
Because this is a research paper, we expect you to find and make use of at least six secondary sources that provide scholarly perspective on the primary sources you have chosen to work with. Peer-reviewed articles, books or book chapters, or encyclopedia articles are preferred; blogs, Wikipedia, and academic assistance websites (like Sparknotes) may be useful as starting points but do not qualify as scholarly sources (although you must still cite them if you quote or paraphrase from them). We strongly encourage you to make use of the Newman library’s electronic databases for the purpose of finding your sources.
This paper is due by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6.
oAn ability to evaluate a topic from both a literary/theatrical and a philosophical perspective, and
oAn ability to critically discuss and evaluate philosophical claims relating to the true, the just, or the beautiful as they arise in the course of your discussion.
Standards and Expectations
The successful paper will:
Be between 2,000 and 3,000 words, not including bibliography.
Be typed, double-spaced, use a standard 12-point font, and have 1-inch margins.
Consistently and correctly use a standard citation style (Turabian, MLA, or APA). Note that textual evidence should always be introduced and explained in your own words; avoid simply inserting a quote without making clear what its meaning and purpose is within your essay.
Provide a detailed, compelling, and well-supported argument in support of its thesis.
Start with an introduction that grabs the reader’s interest, clearly expresses the paper’s thesis, and lays out a logical, easy-to-follow organizational plan.
Follow the plan, developing the thesis in a clear, coherent, and well-supported manner.
End with a concise summary of the overall argument and a brief statement about its significance.
Throughout the process of researching and writing your paper, we encourage you to return continually to two main questions:
What claim am I attempting to defend (what is my thesis)?
Why should my reader accept my claim (what is my evidence)? NSP 4153: The “Ancient Quarrel”
Drama & Philosophy in the Golden Age of Greece
Tuesday and Thursday, 10:50 – 12:05
Jamey Findling, Philosophy
Hours: MW 11-12:30 (office); Sunday 4-6 (virtual)
316-942-4291 ext. 2309
Mark Mannette, Theatre
Hours: MTWR 10-11; MW 1-2:15
316-942-4291 ext. 2486
Then let this be our defense—now that we’ve returned to the topic of poetry—that, in
view of its nature, we had reason to banish it from the city earlier…. But in case we are
charged with a certain harshness and lack of sophistication, let’s also tell poetry that
there is an ancient quarrel between it and philosophy.
—Plato, Republic X, 607a-b
Over 2,400 years ago, Plato referred to what, even then, could already be called the “ancient quarrel”
between poetry and philosophy. Which has greater power? Which stands closer to the truth? Which
teaches better how one should live? The questions of beauty, truth, and the good remain as urgent today
as ever. Hence, this course will ask about what we can learn from ancient Greek literature and philosophy
about how to live well together. Together we will survey a wide range of ancient Greek tragedy, comedy,
and philosophy in order to raise fundamental questions and glean lasting insights about the possibilities
and challenges of human life.
More broadly, this course is offered as a philosophy-focused capstone course in the Newman Studies
Program in the area of the Human Story. According to the university catalog, the “human story is told by
people, about people. It encompasses all aspects of human existence: biological, personal, social. We
explore this story through analysis, narration, and reflection. We live in community, organizing our world
through relationships and social institutions. As thinking, feeling individuals, we understand the past,
present, and future through stories. Stories reveal us to ourselves as biological entities, particular
individuals, and as members of a larger social whole.”
All students will obtain copies of the following texts and bring them to class on the days they are to be
Carson, An Oresteia (Faber and Faber) [Carson]
Lefkowitz and Romm, The Greek Plays (Modern Library) [GP]
Lombardo, The Essential Homer (Hackett) [EH]
West & West, Four Texts on Socrates (Cornell) [West]
Aristotle, Poetics (Oxford World’s Classics) [Oxford]
Plato, Symposium (Hackett)
The following additional titles (as well as others, t.b.a.) will be made available via Canvas:
Euripides, Iphigenia at Aulis
Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes
The successful student will consider and be able to discuss, both orally and in writing, relevant aspects of
the following questions drawn from the Human Story area of the NSP:
How have historians and social scientists tried to understand the world around them?
How have humans interacted with nature over time?
How have humans tried to understand their past?
In what ways have humans understood their relationship to other humans? How has this changed
What kinds of political, economic, and social systems have humans created?
To what degree do humans appear to be driven by common behaviors/interests/drives and to what
extent do human goals differ over time and place?
As this is a philosophy-enriched capstone course, successful students will also:
Evaluate a topic from two disciplinary perspectives.
Evaluate philosophical inquiry as it relates to the content.
Students will learn and be evaluated through a variety of academic work, including:
• Active participation in class discussion and activities, both written and oral (20%)
• A total of 15-20 pages of formal academic writing, including some shorter-format work
(reflection papers, text analyses) and one longer piece of writing involving research and the
development of a sustained argument
1. Short Paper 1 (on Homer and Plato) (3 pp.) (10%)
2. Short Paper 2 (on a theme from the Odyssey and/or Oresteia) (5-6 pp.) (15%)
3. Research Paper on a course-wide theme (8-10 pp.) (25%)
• A midterm exam (10%)
• At least two oral presentations (20%), including:
1. Debate: Working in small groups, students will take part in debates on topics relevant to
the texts being studied (e.g., Was Athens justified in executing Socrates? Was Orestes
justified in killing his mother to avenge her murder of his father? Should Creon have
shown leniency toward Antigone?).
2. Scene performance: Working in small groups, students will select, rehearse, and perform
scenes from texts studied in the course.
In essence, academic integrity just means being honest about your academic work. Students who
deliberately misrepresent their work, for example by plagiarizing, undermine the very nature and purpose
of an education. Barring significant mitigating circumstances, we will regard such individuals as having
by their actions voluntarily withdrawn from the learning community that is this class. Such students will
be ineligible to complete the course with a passing grade and will be reported to the Office of the Provost.
The university catalog has a detailed list of actions that constitute a violation of academic integrity; if you
are in doubt about anything related to this policy, please to not hesitate to contact us for clarification.
We want and expect students to attend class regularly. Consistent attendance benefits both you and your
classmates. In light of class discussion, we have decided not to have a specific attendance policy for this
course. However, we would like to point out that consistent attendance is a prerequisite for full
participation in the course, which is a significant part of your overall evaluation.
All readings are due on the day listed; adjustments are possible and will be announced in class.
Tuesday 1/14: Overview of Course
Thursday 1/16: Greek Gods and Goddesses
Tuesday 1/21: The Trojan War
Thursday 1/23: The Trojan War
Euripides, Iphigenia in Aulis [Canvas]
Selections from The Iliad [EH]
Tuesday 1/28: The Trojan War
Thursday 1/30: The Trojan War
Selections from The Iliad [EH]
Euripides, Trojan Women [GP]
Tuesday 2/4: Philosophy & Poetry
Thursday 2/6: Philosophy & Poetry
Selections from The Republic [Oxford]
Debate; Selections from The Republic [Oxford]
Tuesday 2/11: Philosophy & Poetry
Thursday 2/13: Oresteia
Discussion/Review; Short Paper 1 due
Aeschylus, Agamemnon [Carson]
Tuesday 2/18: Oresteia
Sophocles, Elektra [Carson]
Thursday 2/20: Oresteia [class starts at 10 a.m.] Euripides, Orestes [Carson]
Tuesday 2/25: Oresteia
Tuesday 3/3: Homecoming
Thursday 3/5: Homecoming
Selections from The Odyssey [EH]
Selections from The Odyssey [EH]
Tuesday 3/10: Thebes
Thursday 3/12: Thebes
Sophocles, Oedipus Rex [GP]
Sophocles, Antigone [GP]
Tuesday 3/24: Thebes
Thursday 3/26: Thebes
Debate; Sophocles, Antigone [GP];
Tuesday 3/31: Aristotle
Thursday 4/2: Aristotle
Aristotle, Poetics [Oxford]; Short Paper 2 due
Aristotle, Poetics [Oxford]
Tuesday 4/7: Athens
Thursday 4/9: Athens
Aristophanes, The Clouds [West]
Plato, Apology [West]
Tuesday 4/14: Athens
Thursday 4/16: Athens
Aristophanes, Lysistrata [Canvas]
Tuesday 4/21: Develop projects
Thursday 4/23: Work on projects
Tuesday 4/28: Work on projects
Thursday 4/30: Work on projects
Research Paper due
Final Scene Presentations
Name: Andrey Rios
Professor: Dr. Findling and Dr. Mannette
Course: Ancient Quarrel
Fate and Free Will: Homer and Sophocles
In a majority of aspects concerning occurrences in our lives, we can agree that sometimes
forces that are beyond our control determine the fate our lives take. Having plans to do
something does not guarantee that you will be able to do what you are planning; for one reason
or another that one cannot explain sometimes, you may end up failing to do what you planned.
Taking a look at history in ancient Greek, for example, most of the people who lived at that time
in history believed there were forces that were out of man’s control and also believed in fate.
That is if something is meant to be then fate will let it be. In analyzing the literature if the Greek,
it is clear that the people believed in an unseen being, the gods, who they believed were the ones
who determined a person’s fate and guided the lives of the people to a direction that they would
not possibly go at their own free will. Homer’s Odyssey and Sophocles’ Oedipus are the classic
examples of theorists that provide demonstrations of how fate directs the course of people’s lives
and explain the relationship between fate and free will. Evidence of fate is brought out in
Homer’s Odyssey, where a force that could be controlled held Odyssey captive for eight years,
and he couldn’t leave (Belle). The forces later decided when the time for him to leave had
arrived, and they let him go back to his country. This is proof that his actions and path were
directed by the gods. They are related in that while gods decide the path on which one must
follow, the person will follow the said path at their own free will as they cannot be forced.
In every tragedy that happens in the universe, there is a struggle between wanting to
control the destiny one is headed to and accepting the fate of the gods. This is a concept that the
classical theorists’ Odyssey and Sophocles share in addition to the fact that they both believe in
fate and how free will makes one follow that fate. Sophocles also agrees with Shakespeare that
choice and destiny control the direction of the life of humans. However, both of their theories
have perceptions of the specific times in history when they existed. The characters in Sophocles
eventually give up and surrender to their god provided destinies after rebelling against them. He
further provides that the harder an individual tries to escape their fate, the closer they get to
living that particular fate. The plays by Sophocles are aimed at providing warnings to people
against trying to fight against the fate that has already been written by the gods. They warn
against the pride that humans have in believing that the intervention by humans can be able to
alter the fate put in place by the gods. Shakespeare was a Christian, and his theory presents the
dilemma that humans face in trying to decide the choice between what is evil and what is good.
According to him, in the fight between fate and free will, it is highly probable that fate might be
the winner. However, if a man intends to be the master and director, and writer of his own
destiny, he will have to fight as much as necessary even to the death if he has to (ZHANG). The
difference between the point of view of Shakespeare and Sophocles is clear in that as Sophocles
advocates for people accepting their fate as decided by the gods, Shakespeare encourages people
to fight for the control of their destinies.
The actions and choices of human beings can help make a significant difference in the
world today. However, the choices of taking certain actions and making them success are highly
dependent on the influence one has over other people. Change is not something that can be made
by an individual person. However, there are some instances when an individual person can help
make a difference by influencing a large group of people into taking certain actions to influence
change in the world. However, it is all determined by the level of influence that person has over
certain people. For example, if a famous celebrity started an organization to raise funds for a
certain population of people hit by a Tsunami in order to establish new settlements for them,
there is a high likelihood that most of his fans will take part in the project at their own free will.
This is due to the influence this person of celebrity status has upon a large number of the
population. It is actions like this that can influence real change in the world creating a significant
difference in the lives of the people who need it the most, like in the case of the people affected
by the Tsunamis.
The situation on Ithaka in Odyssey presents evidence of the gender roles with regard to
the roles of women and men as they were established. The Ithaka was the society that was most
complex in the Odyssey and as such; it is the most relevant for discussing the aspects of gender
and how the roles of men were differentiated from the roles of women. Ithaka gets used because
it is a society that was described fully to represent the real world unlike the other society’s that
get described like Pylos and Sparta that had no elements of society as much as Ithaka did. War is
a theme that is constantly recurring in the Odyssey with men getting described as the warriors
and for one to prove that he is a man, one was supposed to engage in an activity that is warlike
like or prove himself in a real war (Gurd). The men were required to prove themselves as real
warriors by engaging in activities like incursions that are hostile and raiding of cattle. A noble
death for a man was considered to be one that happened in the field of battle or raiding and
invading towns. The status of a man in society was established by the success he had in the field
The position of women in the society in the Odyssey is such that they get positioned
everywhere and hold significant roles in the action, making it possible for the roles of the
different genders to be developed clearly. It is supposed that social conditions, i.e. the social
status held in society are ones that determined the roles of the genders in the society. The
aristocracy in ruling gets depicted by the different social classes that are held by the people in the
Odyssey. The roles of females and males in the Odyssey were distinguished clearly and defined
sharply in such a way that there were roles that were said to be exclusive to men like war and
poetry and others that were restricted to women like spinning and weaving. These aspects get
brought about when Telemakho tells Penelope, his mother, “Penelope, go back to your room and
occupy yourself with your own affairs, spinning and weaving,…poetry is a concern for men…”
he further adds a statement that implies that poetry is his concern on the basis that he is the head
of the house, bringing out the clear chauvinistic nature that existed in which men saw themselves
as superior to women and the only ones capable of leadership. By accepting the rebuke from
Telemakho, Penelope’s actions bring out the fact that there was respect for the divisions in
gender in an absolute way. This was in such a way that men were seen to be more powerful and
superior to women, and the women were, therefore, subject to the rules created by the men.
While the sphere of women was limited to spinning and weaving, men had a variety of spheres in
which they could participate in including war, poetry, weaponry and song, among other
In the household, the man was the head, making the entire household subordinate to him
in this case, Telemakho. Despite the fact that he is young and cannot exercise authority, still sees
himself as the head of the house, and despite Penelope being older and more able to lead, society
does not allow her to take that position because of her female gender. A man’s status further gets
defined by what he materially possesses. The dominance in politics was in men’s hands entirely
and based on the power that an individual personally possesses. The sphere of socialization for
women was limited to their home in which they could not leave without seeking permission. In
the Odyssey, both women and men work, although in activity spheres that are different from
each other. Rituals that were religious in nature were attended by both the women and men,
although men still took the lead when it came to religious activities like the sharing of the meal
that was sacrificial. The women stayed in the background exercising their participation by
making the cries of rituals when the ritual bull got killed. Worshipping of the gods was limited to
spheres of activity of the men. The Odyssey mentions women less when it comes to matters of
religion as they were restricted to activities that were domestic, in the households. The Odyssey
depicts a society where the values of men are dominant. Women held positions that were
subordinate and inferior, but that did not mean that they were beings who were inferior.
The Odyssey and Sophocles present different ways in which free will gets exercised even
when allowing fate to determine one’s future. While both plays present evidence of the fact that
no man is able to escape the god’s fate, they are also allowed to choose how to deal with the
issue of their destiny. Oedipus accepts his fate from the gods by committing suicide (Hiscock).
This was his way of punishing himself for the crimes he committed while Odysseus gives life
another chance and reunites with his family at home. The Odyssey sets out the clear contrast
between the roles of women in society and presents massive evidence of how the power of
women to act gets constrained. Fate is determined by the gods but a person exercises free will in
following that particular fate.
Belle, Marie-Alice. “Homer’s Odyssey.” (2018): 164-166. Retrieved from
Gurd, Sean. “Philology and Greek Literature.” (2017). Retrieved from
Hiscock, Matthew. “Sophoclean Suicide.” Classical Antiquity 37.1 (2018): 1-30.
ZHANG, Xuemei. “The Will Not in Bondage: An Interpretation of Free Will in Shakespeare’s
Pure Tragedies.” Studies in Literature and Language 12.1 (2016): 19-26. Retrieved from
Criticism About the Iliad by Socrates as Depicted by Pilato’s “The Republic”
Criticism About the Iliad by Socrates as Depicted by Pilato’s “The Republic”
When one approaches Homer’s works, (this holds for most of his great literature), the
main themes and the whole story are usually found in the opening lines. For the case of Iliad, this
can be shown even from the first word. However, this might not come out openly in all
translations from the original work in Greek. Homer talks about Achilles, and specifically his
anger. The Iliad takes place at the beginning of the 10th war in the 12th Century, the Trojan War.
The story here, is launched in the middle of things, alluding to the events that preceded the
current storyline. The book on Iliad provoked some thoughts from its audiences. Among the
audiences is Socrates. Plato through his literature “The Republic,” elaborates on the criticism of
Homer’s “The Iliad” criticized by Socrates. Socrates severely criticizes the ideas of Homer. He
has issues with the gods depicted in the Iliad. Plato is critical on the mythology of the Greek
literature. He goes ahead to propose a censorship system in an ideal city. According to Pilato,
myths are lies and a society should not be a victim of this propagation. This short paper, digs
deep on the criticism of Homer’s Iliad by Socrates based on Pilato’s “The Iliad.” The idea is to
check on what Socrates Idea was on the merits, and the whole concept brought out in the Iliad.
In the Republic, Pilato Wrote, “Whenever they tell a tale that plays false with the true
nature of gods and heroes… they are like painte…
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