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Lecture 2

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Ronniede Sousa

Philosophy, Sex, and Feminism: - Emotions are the source of your moral convictions and values - The ironic thing is that the beliefs people hold most near and dear are the beliefs they generally think are universal and have nothing to do with their cultural backgrounds - What counts as sexual? - Our ideas of what is sexual are constantly subject to change depending on our own personal experiences and the context of the situation - The vocabulary of sex is generally made up of euphemisms and curse words - “Intercourse” generally refers to PIVMO, so this isn’t an adequate characterization of all types of sex - Religious words are also used as curse words in some cultures - Sexual words as curse words today are no longer nearly as taboo as they were even ten years ago - Intercourse is a word that has lost its original meaning – ex. Social intercourse, economic intercourse, but now it refers to PIVMO - Active verbs are usually attached to the man and passive verbs are usually attached to the woman - Can we keep method and doctrine apart? - Can you be a feminist philosopher? - If you’re a philosopher, that means your mind is completely open and you have no specific things you automatically believe in, but if you’re a feminist, you have certain things that you do believe in - But nobody is without some general beliefs, and people who are not feminists hold a lot of beliefs that may be false, and feminism consists of rejecting those beliefs instead of asserting specific beliefs - If one is a feminist, one holds certain beliefs, but if one is not a feminist, one also holds certain beliefs - Ex. Empiricists will attend to experience as well as to reason, and rationalists will attend to reason as well as to experience - These are doctrines, but they give rise to a methodology, which is the theory of what methods are appropriate, and empiricism and rationalism are doctrines which construct methodologies, but these methodologies don’t necessarily lead to specific beliefs - A feminist’s attention is guided by the fact of discrimination and oppression of women and intersex and the rejection of essentialism - The core of anti-essentialism: statistical differences don’t justify inferences about individuals - Most people are under the common part of these two extremes, ex. There is very little statistical difference between men and women, so making inferences on this fact is unreliable since the statistical possibility of this being a relevant factor is so slim - What has changed since Philosophy, Sex, and Feminism – the age of consent has been lowered to 16, although 18 for anal, and a 5 year close age exemption for 13-15 year olds - There is greater freedom to talk about sex and more discourse on homosexuality and female sexuality - There is a “gender x” designation in Australia and later this year in Germany Plato’s Symposium: - Socrates is known for his irony - He never wrote anything himself - He boasted that he didn’t know anything, but he was considered incredibly wise because he was the only person who realized he didn’t know anything - He might have been something of a mystic - He believed that no one does wrong knowingly, so when you do bad things, you mean to do the right thing but you make a mistake - He was condemned to suicide for corrupting the youth - He refused to go into exile and chose to stay and die out of respect for the law - Plato’s signature theory was the theory of forms, meaning that all physical things are just imperfect copies of perfect objects - Forms are the most real things that exist - Plato inadvertently discovered digitality - Analogy: the alphabet – when we copy a text, we don’t copy the shapes, but the intended string of letters - When you copy the alphabet, you’re copying the concept, not the physical drawing - Every copy you make of the letter a is really just an instance of the Platonic A - Digitality makes it easier to copy endlessly without error - But for Plato it stems from the thought that truly real things are unchangeable, and it explains what things of the same kind all have in common - It led Plato to disparage art as third-hand copying - It is used here to explain the strange idea of perfection that seems involved in love - Only what is eternal and unchanging is truly real to Plato - This implies that you can’t ever really learn anything new, since knowledge is really recollection - Meno’s paradox: you can’t ever learn anything new - If you already know it, how would you recognize it when you saw it? - Socrates showed him all the wrong answers, but he knew those answers were wrong, so how does he recognize the right answer when he sees it? - The boy doesn’t find the answer but recognizes it - Only a priori knowledge is like that, ex. For an empirical fact, he couldn’t do that; it works for geometry but it wouldn’t work for geography because people wouldn’t be able to pinpoint a place on the map from just “recognizing” it instead of figuring it out or learning it - For Plato the world is like mathematics and you already knew everything and are just recognizing it - The drinking party = love as intoxication - The speeches are supposed to be in praise of love, but they take some surprising twists - Here “normal” erotic sex is homosexual – this is the highest form of love - But there are constraints on its sexual and emotional expression, ie the love between a mature man and an adolescent boy - This type of love is not thought to exist between men and women - But there a lot of rules that apply to these relationships, ex. That there was no anal sex, but putting your penis between the thighs of a boy, and that the older man would be the active person getting pleasure while the younger man would be passive - The older man is the lover and the younger man is the loved one - All of the speeches capture something important about the concept of love - Phaedrus begins (in another dialogue, he argued that it’s better to be seduced by someone who doesn’t love you than by a lover because it’s all above board – sex is better without love because it is less complicated) - Phaedrus gives a conventional praise of love as a long-worshipped god - He says love makes you act well because you will be ashamed of being seen by your lover acting badly or suffering indignity - It’s not just a means to an end like you are trying to make your lover think well of you, but it matters to you that you be the best possible person you can be to them - Love makes yo
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