Morality and Power

Friday (yesterday) we covered the rambling opening to Republic and the first salvos between Socrates and Thrasmychus. Once again, unlike the three-year-old comp anthologies, which always seem dated, my classes dug into the two-millennium-old debates about morality and power with a vengeance. As C.S. Lewis promises, the students have found this stuff, thus far, for the most part, delightful.

Within a few minutes each section helped me diagram the basic difference between Socrates’ position and Thrasmychus’: For the latter, morality is a tool by which the strong make the weak work the strong’s benefit. For the former, morality is the strong working for the benefit of the week. (Incidentally, I did better Friday at having two distinct conversations.) In both classes, we found Socrates’ account more logical but could generate more cases of Thrasmychus’ bearing out.

As we keep cooking through this, I’ve got to remember to set time aside early for writing instruction; I ran out of time on Friday. Already, having marked only ten papers up, I can tell that I’m going to have to do some instruction on independent and dependent clauses. No surprises there; such is the stuff of the early weeks of FYC.

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