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Lecture 2

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University of Toronto St. George
De Sousa

th Lecture 2 – September 18 , 2013 Summary of Week 1 Some characterizations of philosophy - Contrasts and affinities: science, religion, literature - Unsettled methods; questions and questions - Vision change through argument; nothing is sacred Applying philosophy to sex raises standard questions - Including the relation of normative to factual questions - And the problem of the right approach to values and norms How to read (philosophy) Three domains of sex: dimorphism, Eros, politics - All are contested; all arouse dangerous emotions Philosophy, Sex and Feminism (i) what counts as ``sexual`` - Scenario 1: a woman is manipulating another’s vagina - Scenario 1: a man is watching other men paly football - Now add o in 1 the woman is a gynecologist examining a patient o in 2 the man is enjoying detailed sexual fantasises about the players that he is watching o in 1 the gynecologist is also the patients lover o and what is the whole scene is on a movie set o and it’s part of a pornographic movie being filmed o with more knowledge about context judgement changes (ii) Some more themes to be stressed - the language of sex: o the vocabulary of sex: euphemisms (a nice way of talking about something) and course words o intercourse as PIVMO: not an adequate characterization o Religion and sex provide same type of shock value with vocabulary o Words can use their genuine meaning - can we keep Method and Doctrine apart - no one is without belief even if it is rejecting beliefs rather than asserting beliefs - a guiding principle can provide a heuristic: o an empiricist will attend will attend to experience as well as reason - knowledge: reason or experience - methodology: the theory f what methods are appropriate - Plato : one of the first rationalist - a feminist’s attention will be guided by: o the fact of discrimination and oppression of women and intersex o fact/value: rejecting essentialism have a defining characteristics that is essential (without which you are no longer that thing) (certain characteristics that belong to women and don’t belong to men): a certain group (because you are a woman) - the core of anti-essentialism: statistical differences don’t justify inferences about individuals Love in Plato’s Symposium Background about Plato - Wrote in 4 C. BC. Teacher of Aristotle - Socrates is in most of his dialogues; famous for o Never writing anything; just talked, using irony o Boasting that he knew nothing, and was the wisest man in the world (knowing that you don’t know is the first step to genuine wisdom) o Perhaps something of a mystic o Believed that no one does wrong knowingly (suggests that when you do bad things its some sort of mistake) o Was condemned to suicide for corrupting youth o Chose to stay and die, in tribute to the law Plato’s own signature theory - The theory of forms: all physical things are just imperfect copies of perfect objects - Plato (inadvertently) discovered: digitally - Analogy: the alphabet. When we copy a text, we don’t copy shapes but the intended string of letters The Symposium - Note the indirection we’re getting it all third hand: its art - Drinking party: cf. love as intoxication - Speeches are supposed to be in praise of love, but take surprising twists - Here normal erotic sex is homosexual (mature man and adolescent boy – the best kind of love) but there are constraints on its sexual and emotional expression - No anal penetration - Older the active and the younger the submissive The string of speeches - Each adds something to the complex picture of love (each has a different perspective on love) o Phaedrus begins (in another dialogue, he argues that it’s better to be seduced by someone who doesn’t love you than by a lover, because its all above board) (sex is better without love) Phaedrus’s contribution to the phenomenology of love Praise o love as a long worshipped god, with three observations 1. Love makes you act well, because ashamed of being seen by your lover acting badly or suffering indignity o Be the best possible person you can be in the face of love o (Moral: ban heterosexuals from the army?) 2. Love makes you want to sacrifice yourself o Love over self 3. It’s better to love than to be loved o Because loving changes us, motivates us, being love doesn’t o Being loved doesn’t make you a different or better person but loving does Pausanias: Phaedrus has left out the bad stuff - This could mean: for a single end, means can be fair or foul - If loving gives you a goal (something you really want) this may be that you want you to love me - Acting well so that you are more lovable - Try to mislead deceive or manipulate a person to love you (illegitimate love) - If love implies an end or goal you may pursue it in a good way or by foul means - Love makes people behave badly or well - But P insists on 2 different kinds of love governed by 2 Aphrodite: love and lust, soul and body (puritan model) o Confusion on the two o May be taken from the same o Lust can be felt even for women - True love between men and boys is alone worthy o in pursuit of his love the custom of mankind allows him any strange things, which philosophy would bitterly censure if they were done form any motive of interest or wish for power o Even if bad motives from love come from true love than its ok because you were in love o Justification for bad behaviour (justify bad means to acquire good love - But base love is focused on pleasure and advantage - Issue of using someone as a means o Through intercourse by some sense the other person is a means towards an ends (serving your purposes) (using one another in pursuit of an end)(when it is ok to use someone else as a means?) Spirit-Body duality is pervasive in history - Plato thought the soul divided into 3 parts: desiring/appetite(attributed to the body), rational/thinking and emotional/spirited (can take side of the desire or rational part)
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