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PHILOS 1B03 Lecture Notes - Socratic Dialogue, Reductionism

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Stefan Rodde

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Philosophy Lecture ...6?
Essay-> topics will be posted this evening. :D !
Civil Disobedience and the Law
We looked at Mills and Rawls to talk about liberty and justice. Starting today we're going to look at
particular issues.
The first is Civil Disobedience and the Law.
Why do people disobey the law?
For many people, the law commands resepct. It has an authority simply in being the law. We may
disagree with it, feel there is osmething wqrong with it, or try to break it, but it is generally not
something people tkae lightly.
-immediate personal gain
many people break the law
-> belief that the law is wrong, in search for justice.
because they think that hte law is unjust
-because they think that an unjust has been misapplied.
If we decide the only way to change the law is to disobey it, then we may feel we have to.
This is what we often think about when we discuss civil disobedience
because they think that a just law has been misapplied
sometimes people disobey legal officials because they feel that the law has been misapplied. In
Birmingham, Alabama, the city officials refused to allow Martin Luther King on public grounds
on the basis that he would cause a public disturbance.
Plato: the Crito doing a Socratic dialogue. Plato takes a very extreme position on this issue. It is never
permissable to break the law, even when the law is unjust or misapplied.
Socrates -> who we only know through Plato- frequently claimed that he doesn't posses any special
knowledge. “I know one thing, that I know nothing.”
Socrates would go up to well-respected individuals and ask them questions. Like, “What is justice?” he
would publicly humiliate them in one way by engaging in dialogues. He made a lot of enemies, and in
399BCE was tried for impiety and corrupting the youth of Athens, and was executed.
The Crito is supposed to be what occurs in prison two nights before he is to be executed.
Crito is an old friend of Socrates. They've been friends since their youth. Crito tries to break Socrates
out of prison.
Why Socrates Should Escape
If Socrates doesn't escape:
- Crito will lose a valuable friend
Crito's reputation will be tarnished.
Socrates' Enemies will be pleased.
Socrates' sons will be orphans.
Moral Ground Rules
Socrates will only be swayed by argument. -> logical fallacies will not be allowed
The only type of argument that Socrates will accept is one that shows escaping is the right thing
to do.
Against these motives, Socrates places reason. If it turns out hte best arguments support
escaping, he will escape. If not, he will stay.
Socrates offers three arguments for why he should not escape from prison. There are three
principles he appeals to: the principle of non-malefolence, the principle of piety, the principle of
Crito does not challenge any of these principles, jus continues.
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