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Plato Apology

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Victoria Wohl

nd April 02 , 2012 • internal divisions • dangerous but afraid of extremes can rip polis apart • nearly did that at end of 5 century with oligarchic revolts • staged a coo wtih democracy • vioolence one way of division in community • project all of the difference onto one of hte individual, scape goat—made to bare the blame • part of ritual, real goat, in ancient mediteranaean, from old testament, sometimes goat often individual chosen to embody bad luck, made to represent bad luck for community and boundaries within community, good fortune and leansing bad fortunes, french theorist, rene gerrard, theory he thinks society use it to deal with difference, either hugely multicultural, or hugely unified, they find differences • always a threat, always danger difference will becomd hierarchy • localize diference in one group or individual symbolically exiled to unify group • nazi germany, stigmatize groups: jews, gypsies, homos, load all of their bad vibes, anxiety towards these groups and eeliminatign these groupd would eliminate all weakness • immigrant population always blamed • ancient literature, oediopus as scape goat, thebes struggling from plague and instead of being torn apart by internal crisis, it loads it all onto oedipus, banishes him, there goes all the problems • ostracisim in athens • ostraca—when pottery broke, used pot shards to ostrasize person, wrote on shard • voted every year to ostrasize, if there was vote to banish individual for 10 years • any individual who got more than 6000 votes, had to leave cities could come bavk after 10 no strings attached wit hno stigma • strange and primitive ritual • this is the way they dealt with prominence • when democracy came in, elites still competing, athens couldnt bare to have a tyrant, if one came too prominent, one old aristocrat sounded to ambitious, they could ostrasize them • reduce tyranny and civil war • city divided in constant civil war, remove one faction that will help • ostracism one way of dealing with political competition • alsebides agitated for ostracism • fixed it sometimes • plutarch talks of aristides the just, chatting to guy in front of him, voting to ostrasize aristides, says “he's sick of him being called the just” • basic theory behind ostracism is same as scape goat, take potential for division, get rid of them, community safe and pure • comedy a form of scape goating • cleon—kind of scape goat, aristophanes night • symbolic forms of scape goat as well as institutional form • end of pelop war, seemed to athenians good idea to get rid fo socrates • embodies otherness in midst of athenian city • dangerous otherness, and if rid of it they can save all internal descent • what made socrates so dangerous and such a good scape goat • what about ahtnenians couldnt tolerate his theeatening otherniess • why socrates hated? • Education left to fathers and lovers for young men • eduation of young men tied up wiht pederasty adn relationship with arostes • elite thing • limites to upper cclass • lover take you around sights of education in city • assembly—listen to speeches with ihm, and help aronomous to interpret them to see what was good and bada bout speech and to learn art of speaking, help him train teach him to ahve a beautiful bpdy to complement his mind, symposwium, man taught moderation, good manners, song, music and poetry critique, learn drinking games and song to test skills and wit • one on one, conservative, elitist, consolidated class dientity by bringing in new in group of elites, helped convert elite status into political clout • democracies make power in politics possible was education • learn it from elite erostes • one way of consolidating elite but perpetuating the power needed fro skill and dominance in athens • 430's, new kind of education, sophists • teachers of sophia—wisdom, in essence just a teacher of wisdom, travelling teachers, going city to city, offering lessons, take money for giving lesson, offering rhetorical training • learn rhetoric, learn how to succeed • sophists made learning available to anyone who could afford it • we'll teach anyone how to persuade, potentially subversive to hierarchy • kleon, not part of clique but wealthy, how does guy like tht rise to prominance • old days ouldnt • but sophists gave kinjd of education tht would allow him to get up to power • sophists had a negative connotation, suspicious of what tehy were teaching and how they taught it • used to know the teacher very well, cared about you deeply, father knows you, sure guy looking out for your best interest, totaly stranger teaching you, not for love but money • suspect places like sicily or macedonia • as soon as money involved cant tell if its for boys interest or their own • suspicious of lessons and men • sophists radical thinkers • know great texts from sophists, only little fragments • here there work fragmented by other writers works • moral relativism, everything relative, no good or evil • protagoras—man is the measure of all things • kind of anthropocentric universe, set ground for moral relativism, if man measure fo all things, then man can decide what is right and wrong, which is human law, can be changed, athenians anxious in same way we are toda • are there principle of right, for everyone regardless of culture • moral relativism that creates problems • what if ti endorses female mutilaiton etc • questions go right back to sophists • moral relativism, also idea that everything is jsut rhetoric, no truth, just convincability • gorgias—orator and sophists—nothign exists and if it did we couldnt know abou tit, all there is is logos—words, argument, reason, rhetoric • truth just what can be convinced • gorgias himself claimed he could teach students to make weaker argument stronger, sun not shining, etc • could argue both sides of issue on consecutive days convincing audience both ways • inconium to helen—sets out to prove counter intutive argument for greeks, that she was innocent and bares no blame • sophists offer power of speech but dont teach them how to use this pwoer for good • democracy ran on rhetoric, getting up in assembly and convincing demos • what are implicationos of sophistic education posed to democracy • all tyhese ideas about demogogues, ppl could persuade everyone for own needs, not cities • convince by point, how do you know if righ tor not • learnt from sophist if he can make a good speech or not • skilled speaker convince people of something that sounded good but was wrong • persuasive speech bu tnot true • warn jurors not to be persuaded by them • only admit that im eloguent if eleoquence means speaking the truth • opponents these 2 get dientagnled • sophists embody fear in public about speech, democracy runs off rhetoric what happens when truth and justice suffer • sophists dont advocate immorality • not immoral themselves but questioning, what makes morality, their student however not as deep thinkers as themselves, what happens is students turn philosophies into abd ends • good doesnt exist, its doing what you want and not gettign caught, if can argue out of it your in the right • thraschymacus—jsutice is whatever the stronger says it is, seems to be the students who put it to political ends • young man who learns from sophist that its just to beat you r own father • where sophists explore morality, students practicing them, a lot of scope for misuse, sophists accused of corrupting the youth, undermining traditional religion and morality • socrates himself always maintained that he was not a sophist, became a scape goat for everything sophists mistrusted • alludes that in fact beginning of apology, old accusers, my o
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