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PHL100Y1 Lecture Notes - Umberto Eco, Socratic Questioning, Cephalus


Course Code
Mark Kingwell

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Lecture 2: Sept 15th /09
Basic Mechanism: Elenchus
1.General definition requested (not instances)
2.Definition offered
3.Definition fails > counter-example or similar objection
4.Improve definition offered
5.Conceptual relations queried: Is conditional relation
osufficient (good)
onecessary (better)
oBoth (best)
6.Chemical formula is the same as the conceptual relation sufficient and necessary
7.Repeat as necessary
8.Philosophical definition found: general category independent standard
Ex. Platos dialogue Euthyphro asked what a pious action is; Euthyphro replies A pious act is what the gods
Possible Objections:
1. Counter-example: theres at least one act the gods love that does not appear to be pious
o(being loved by the gods does not seem a sufficient condition of piety)
It is not enough
Sufficiency is not present
2. Disagreement: the gods seem to love different things at different times
o(being loved by the gods does not seem to be a necessary conditions of piety)

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Not a stable category
Necessary condition not present
3. Ignorance: we cannot know what the gods love
oWhat they love is beyond us
4. Conceptual priority: is a pious act pious because the gods love it, or do they love it because it is
5. Independent standard needed, with stated sufficient and necessary conditions of piety, or confusion
will reign
oNo philosophical definition only the destruction of Euthyphro
1.Socrates v. Plato?
2.Why Plato?
Cf. Umberto eco on Thucydides’ Peloponnesian wars – the Athenians invade Melos
FORCE: Making them do something
PERSUASION: Reason behind the force
SEDUCTION: The seducer brings you over
Republic Book 1:
The basic Socratic assertion: The unexamined life is not worth living”
The basic Socratic question: What is the life worth living?”
The scene: Piraeus, port of Athens, on the street Do you see how many we are?” then in the house of
Polemarchus and Cephalus, his father
Plato wanted to see how the people perform the festival flaming torches on horseback (the spectacle instead of
the Religious purpose < two may be pulled apart)
Cephalus: Householder and older male presence

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Mad masters of desire (Thought of as something of an enemy)
Afterlife bargain (cf. Pascals Wager)
oGood time to observe religious disciplines in case there is an afterlife
Honesty and freedom from debt
oHonest with every man and leaves with no debts
He says that when a man reached old age, he begins to think of all injustices he has done in his life,
and begins to worry about dying and being punished for them
J1 (331c): Pre-reflective Definition:
Counterexample: sword < tell the truth and pay back what is owed>
J2 (331e): Formal Definition:
No content – no critical purpose in actual context of the world
Excessive abstraction: no critical purchase
Craft analogy (‘craft’ = techne)
Virtue is a practice; every practice is a form of knowledge or know-how
o(The kind of knowledge used to get things done)
J3 (332d): Aristocratic Definition:
1.Problems of end (‘end’ or purpose in life or anything = telos)
2.Knowledge of the good
Lecture 3: Sept 17th/09
Sidebar: Socrates on moral psychology (NB v. PLATO)
Virtue is a form of knowledge
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