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Week 3 Journal
Socrates didn’t have a job – at least not one where he earned money. In the Apology he talks repeatedly about how poor he is. Apparently Socrates received welfare from the city of Athens, which may have been supplemented by wealthy friends that believed in Socrates’s philosophical mission. He wouldn’t have wanted a job, because he wanted to be free to serve his community through philosophy as he thought the gods had commanded him (Apology, 23b). But let’s imagine Socrates was applying for a job anyway. In fact, imagine Socrates was applying for your job – either the job you currently have or the job you hope to get after you graduate from college.
For this journal, write a job résumé and application cover letter for Socrates. Based on the way his character is portrayed in the assigned reading, come up with some creative ways to list any of Socrates’s experience and skills that might be relevant in today’s workforce, specifically in your area of employment.
Socrates might not really be qualified for your job, but that’s okay. Your goal is to imagine as many of his humanities-based skills as possible that are relevant in some way to your job.
Based on the Apology and Phaedo, write a one-page imaginary résumé for Socrates, listing at least ten humanities-based skills. Then write a two-page cover letter explaining a bit more about three or four of those skills. In the cover letter, say what job you are imagining Socrates applying for, and give evidence from the assigned reading to show that Socrates has some specific skills relevant to success in that job. Cite specific passages by Stephanus page (e.g., 57b, 17a, etc.). (See the Week 1 Resources tab for more information on how to cite sources in this class.)
Recommended Resources for this Assignment
The Ashford Career Services (Links to an external site.) website has many resources to help you create a résumé. You may wish to use their résumé template (Links to an external site.) or the Building and Optimizing a Modern Resume (Links to an external site.). The sample resume (Links to an external site.) for a stay-at-home parent can provide a helpful example of how to include skills and experience acquired from outside traditional employment.
Or, to take a completely different approach, you might consider writing a “skills-based résumé (Links to an external site.)”, which is uniquely suited to someone with a humanities background but not much job experience. This website (Links to an external site.) has a good list of relevant skills and how to describe them on a résumé. Finally, the Ashford Career Services website also has a handout on how to create a Cover Letter.
Required Resources
Readings
Plato. (n.d.). Selections from The Phaedo (Links to an external site.) (H. Tredennick, Trans.). Retrieved from http://www2.hawaii.edu/~freeman/courses/phil100/06.
%20Phaedo.pdf
· This dialogue represents the execution of the philosopher Socrates. In it Plato (the author) uses the character of Socrates to explore the possibility of the afterlife, as well as the nature of philosophy, and the meaning of life and death. This may be the most difficult reading in the course. It will definitely stretch you and help build your thinking muscles.
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Plato. (n.d.). Apology (Links to an external site.) (B. Jowett, Trans.). Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20171219202911/http://socrates.clarke.edu/aplg0100.htm
· The Apology is Plato’s fictional account of Socrates’s defense speech during his trial for “corrupting the youth.” The word “apology” means defense. The dialogue is not just Socrates’s defense of himself, it is also Plato’s defense of Socrates (since it was written after his death, as an attempt to rehabilitate Socrates’s reputation), and Plato’s defense of philosophy itself. Plato wants to convince you that “the unexamined life is not worth living” (Apology 38a). Accessibility Statement does not exist. Privacy Policy does not exist.
Multimedia
Horowitz, Damon. (2011). Philosophy in prison (Links to an external site.) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/damon_horowitz_philosophy_in_prison
· Horowitz teaches philosophy to inmates at San Quentin State Prison in California. In his TED Talk, he illustrates how philosophy can be relevant to the everyday lives of all people, even those serving life in prison. He also perfectly captures the essence of Socratic philosophy. Transcript available.
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Puschak. E. [Nerdwriter1]. (2015). Understanding art: The death of Socrates (Links to an external site.) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKhfFBbVtFg
· This video discusses the 1787 painting “The Death of Socrates,” by French artist Jacques-Louis David, which depicts one of the scenes from Plato’s Phaedo in this week’s required reading. Seeing the way David illustrates Plato’s philosophical ideas in his painting will help students understand Phaedo better while also learning a bit about 18th Century art.
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Žižek, Slavoj. (n.d.) The purpose of philosophy is to ask the right questions (Links to an external site.) [Video file]. Retrieved from http://bigthink.com/videos/the-purpose-of-philosophy-is-to-ask-the-right-questions
· Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek is perhaps the most famous philosopher alive today. He is one of the few contemporary philosophers to practice the sort of “public philosophy” Socrates believed in. Instead of hiding away in his university, Žižek writes and speaks for a general audience. In this short video clip, Žižek argues that we can’t solve a problem unless we learn to ask the right questions about it, and philosophy helps us learn to ask the right questions. Transcript available.
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Recommended Resources
Multimedia
Taylor, A. [Director] (2008) Examined life – Cornel West (Links to an external site.) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfD3X3f5C_w
· These are all the scenes with Cornel West from Examined Life, a full-length documentary featuring interviews with contemporary philosophers. In part, West discusses Plato’s Apology and Phaedo from this week’s Required Reading.

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