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Boethius CP 1.docx

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Mark Kingwell

Boethius CP 1-3 - in 476 AD, the barbarians invaded Rome and proposed the last emperor and replaced him with a king - the gods were clever enough to leave the institutional structure as it was and only changing the administrative structure - most forms of the Roman structures existed when Boethius was born - he came from an distinguished family; father was an official consultant - Boethius was very powerful - accounts differ, but Boethius got on the wrong side of the government and he was accused of high treason and was thrown into prison where he awaited execution in the year 523 AD - he was confident that he was released because of his status but he was killed - while he was under arrest, he read the Consolation of Philosophy - the Consolation of Philosophy opens up with the prisoner is trying to find consolation with art and poetry - a woman appears and Boethius doesn't recognize philosophy; she is Lady Philosophy - the correct way to console oneself is through philosophy - the prisoner is going to killed, and he has got a problem that doesn't seem to be a philosophical problem - in Book 1, prose 4, the prisoner enunciates a clear philosophical problem; the problem of desert: why don't people get what they deserve? - the wicked go unrewarded and the good not getting anywhere - the complaint is about injustice and unfairness: he doesn't deserve this - why don't people get what they deserve? Boethius wants an answer or consolation - you can console people in cognitive ways: sometimes what you know or believe can direct your happiness or lack thereof - Boethius' explicit claim: philosophy can actually give you consolation of some of the greatest problems that humankind faces - Boethius thinks that what people get seems strongly independent of their merit; fortune seems to be random and d
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