Lesson Progress
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  • What is most striking to you about the differences between education in Sparta and Athens in the fifth century?
  • In your understanding, is the ultimate goal of education in twenty-first-century America the development and prosperity of the individual? Of the state? Of the church?
  • In your opinion, what ought to be the ultimate goal of education? Why?
  • Should the primary purpose of education be viewed as developing individuals as holistic human beings or as training them for specific tasks in society?
  • In your opinion, who should be the primary provider of education? Why? What are the challenges or disadvantages of choosing the state? Of parents?
  • How is the notion of arête similar to and/or different from the way in which we conceive of virtue? Of excellence?
  • We often ask children what they want to be when they grow up. We expect answers like “a fireman,” “a doctor,” or “a ballerina,” rather than answers like “brave,” “virtuous,” or “caring.” In what sense is this a reflection of our cultural understanding of the purpose of education and learning?
  • How is the influence of the sophist mindset manifest in our culture today?
  • In what ways are the assumptions of contemporary educational thought and practice similar to those of Athens during Plato’s life? Does our educational system produce “sophists” who are trained to speak persuasively and “succeed” in society but who lack wisdom and virtue?