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Lecture 3

POLI 231 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Orthopraxy

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 231
Arash Abizadeh

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Lecture 3: Apology & Crito
1. Figure of Socrates
-Why no writing? why not public speeches?
Socrates views that there is a relationship between language and knowledge
He doesn't do any of them because they are meant for large audiences and you
cant tailor your language for everyone without changing some of the knowledge
you want to convey
In public speeches, the speaker is more inclined to try and flatter the audience
instead of telling the full truth about the knowledge they want to convey
The speaker also tries to make his speeches more pleasant which gives difficulty
in conveying at the same time all the knowledge you want to say.
2. Problems with large public forums: books & speeches
a. Appropriateness
- The writer/speaker needs to stay appropriate in what he has to say to conform
with the whole audience
b. Flattery
- The writer/speaker has pressure to please the audience which deforms his
primary motive for the book/speech
c. Justice vs Politics
- Talking about justice can sometimes go against the politics that rules over the
people which will cause trouble as it is considered going against societies
-He says “In the forum of politics, the just person will perish” which shows that
there is a conflict between ethics and politics.
4. The Philosophical life
a. Search for wisdom / truth + live life of justice / virtue
- Socrates finds most knowledge through dialogues and debates with other people
- He rather live the life of justice rather then following the laws and this is shown
when he was almost put to death for disobeying an order during the rule of the 30
tyrants. He did the just decision which was to not imprison who he was told to
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imprison and therefore was sentenced to death which he escaped narrowly when
the tyrants were taken out of power.
b. Authority: rational critical scrutiny
i. constituted political laws
- Socrates questions philosophically and moral the reason for
every law in the political regime of Athens and you question
their justification for those laws and traditions
ii. accepted religious beliefs
-Socrates as well questions religion and the beliefs tied to
religion. The reason why people believe in such ways and the
justification for those religious laws that rule men and women.
c. Tension b/w Apology & Crito?
- On one side, in apology, Socrates talks about what the just thing is to do
and how that is the highest authority for him. He says that doing the just
things is always the answer even if it means breaking the law which he
has done twice now.
- One the other side in Crito, he is given the opportunity to escape his
unjust sentence but decides not to as he states that breaking the law would
be immoral since it goes against societies benefits. This contradicts what
he previously said about doing the just thing even if it means breaking the
1. Official Accusation (19b): injustice b/c: (23b, 24c) Two reasons for his trial:
a. Impiety: Disbelief in gods of city
- He was presenting atheist thoughts, questioning god and his rules over mankind
b. Corrupts the young
-He was corrupting the youth with his way of questioning everything especially
laws and obligations they had. The society deemed that it would make the youth
less obedient since they would start reasoning like Socrates
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