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Plato Handout

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University of Ottawa
Daniel Kofman

Plato Jan. 15 Daniel Kofman 1. Basic structure of book: Gl &Ad challenge Soc to show that justice is intrinsic and instrumental good, and not just the reputation for being just. Interpreted to mean: is advantageous to the just person. So prove that just person with false reputation of being unjust is better off than unjust person with false reputation of being just. Gl &Ad: Instrumental advantage of justice: to avoid (anachronistically) Hobbes’war of all against all. But not intrinsic good (ring of Gyges). Beware: JuliaAnnas confuses instrumental view with consequentialism. Notice: Plato could have defended moral realism – it’s wrong to do injustice – independently of whether being really just is advantageous to just person. 2. Socrates’reply. 2.1 eudaimonia of the whole (holism). Whole-part analogy. Strong analogy (constrast with, say, 19 century organicism). Design of kallipolis – inaugurates tradition of utopia-building. Strauss/Bloom ideal standard theory. 2.2 Moral realism – tied to epistemological doctrine of the forms (Idée, Idea). Ideas versus copies, mimesis. Loving sights and sounds contrasted with philo-sophia. 476 – the beauty itself. Forms absolute, timeless, perfect. Particulars relative (to observer, and to context), ephemeral, imperfect. Episteme versus doxa. Cave analogy. General truths available to reason. Therefore possibility of theoretical knowledge justice. Abstract concepts – “the equal itself”. 2.3 In kallipolis, philo-sophers rule. So logistikon rules over epithumetikon and thumos. 2.4 All the deformations of the kallipolis: timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, tyranny: something other than logistikon rules in polis, therefore same in individual psyche. Book VIII. 2.5 Harmonia. Supervalue of order – in polis and psyche. Only when psyche is ruled by logistikon is individual eudaimonic. Tyrant
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