Debate class section.

Our debate over gun control will include the following questions:

  1. Would more gun control increase the safety of Americans?
  2. Can the government legally restrict individual ownership? (Second Amendment)
  3. Should the government ban the use of semiautomatic weapons?


The first quest of the year, over ancient Greek philosophy, will be on Wednesday, September 20.

The notes are available for your review here and the test will cover the foundations of philosophy, Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, and Epicurus.

The test will include a short answer section and paragraph responses.

The paragraphs will come from this list of topics:

  1. Which system of governance and personal choice of profession seems to be the most just: today’s system or the one proposed by Plato (the Republic)? Explain why, using details from Plato’s position.
  2. Define the Doctrine of the Mean and provide an example of its application. Don’t use any examples we’ve discussed in class.
  3. Using your insight and the work of Epicurus and Aristotle, explain what makes an ideal friendship and how friendships can be different.
  4. Explain the meaning of the Allegory of the Cave. What did Plato hope to illustrate about the human condition and wisdom.
  5. Explain how Socrates believed we best learn. Discuss his belief in elenchus and the importance of self-education.


For our first debate, we’ll debate gun control. These will be the questions:

  1. Should the federal government ban “assault weapons”?
  2. Would increased gun control decrease gun violence and/or crime?
  3. Does the Second Amendment permit increased gun control?
  4. Does gun ownership increase personal safety?


  1. Explain Camus’s Myth of Sisyphus and explain how it applies to modern life. What does he say about our existence and how can we resist?
  1. Explain what Jean Paul Sartre meant when he criticized living in mauvais foi (bad faith). What is this bad faith, and how can we live our lives with authenticity? Be specific to Sartre.
  2. Explain Kierkegaard’s conception of faith. Why did he believe it was an existential act?
  1. How, according to Simone de Beauvoir, does society oppress womyn constructing a myth of feminine nature? What are the components of the myth and how does it oppress womyn?
  2. Explain why Nietzsche believed that one could lead a life worth eternal recurrence if one acted as the ubermensch.
  3. Defend or refute Malraux’s idea that art was the path by which humans could resist their fate and the uncaring universe.