so basically this is like a book that i have to read and explain a passage regarding three questions from the book.
10 pages, double-spaced, twelve-point font.
In Book VI of Plato’s Republic, Socrates asks Adeimantus to imagine a ship on which
“…sailors are quarreling with one another about captaincy. Each of them thinks that
he should captain the ship, even though he has not yet learned the craft and cannot
name his teacher or a time when he was learning it. Indeed, they go further and
claim that it cannot be taught at all, and are even ready to cut to pieces anyone who
says it can. They are always crowding around the ship owner himself, pleading with
him, and doing everything possible to get him to turn the rudder over to them. And
sometimes, if they fail to persuade him and others succeed, they execute those
others or throw them overboard. Then, having disabled their noble ship owner with
mandragora or drink in some other way, they rule the ship, use up its cargo drinking
and feasting, and make the sort of voyage you would expect of such people. In
addition, they praise anyone who is clever at persuading or forcing the ship owner
to let them rule, calling him a ‘sailor’, a ‘skilled captain’, and ‘an expert about ships’
while dismissing anyone else as a good-for-nothing. They do not understand that a
true captain must pay attention to the seasons of the year, the sky, the stars, the
winds, and all that pertains to his craft if he is really going to be expert at ruling a
ship. As for how he is going to become captain of the ship, whether people want him
to or not, they do not think it possible to acquire the craft or practice of doing this at
the same time as the craft of captaincy. When that is what is happening onboard
ships, don’t you think that a true captain would be sure to be called a ‘stargazer’, a
‘useless babbler’, and a ‘good-for-nothing’ by those who sail in ships so governed”,
Your essay must answer the following three questions:
1. What is Plato describing and criticizing in this passage, and how does he do
2. How does this passage reflect and support Plato’s broader argument in the
Republic about the link between rightful political authority and
3. What do you think about Plato’s argument(s) for that link? Is Plato
persuasive on the connection between rightful political authority and
knowledge/expertise? If so, why; if not, why not?
As a rough guideline, you should spend 2/3 of your essay answering questions 1 and
2 (description and textual interpretation), and 1/3 on question 3(analysis).
This is not a research essay—you are discouraged from consulting secondary
literature and compiling a large bibliography. Instead, closely and carefully read
Plato’s Republic and then, drawing upon our lectures and classroom discussions,
formulate and defend your own conclusions about key aspects of Plato’s political
You may use any referencing style (M.L.A, Harvard, Chicago, etc..) provided that
such use is consistent and makes clear which edition/passages of the Republic you
are referencing and/or citing.
You are strongly encouraged to quote directly from the Republic to reinforce your
interpretive and argumentative claims. If you are attributing a particular belief or
idea to Plato, be sure to provide evidence for that attribution.
You are strongly encouraged to email and/or meet with your Instructor (well in
advance of the deadline) to discuss the style, substance, and strategy for your paper.
I am also happy to read drafts of completed papers prior to the deadline on a first
come first-served basis. While I will not assign provisional grades in such cases, I
will give constructive criticism and formative feedback to be taken into account
before a revised version is submitted through UMLearn