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Lecture 5

POL200Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Cephalus, Benefit Society, Socratic Dialogue


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL200Y1
Professor
Clifford Orwin
Lecture
5

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- Last time we left off ins a state of great perplexity
- We didt ko hat justie is at lal
- Not oied  Thasahuss aguets
- No one is happy
- At the egiig of Book , Glauo, Platos othe, pehaps the hief itelokato,
steps up with courage
o Courage associated ambition necessary for pursuing difficult philosophical
questions
o Well disoe that ouage, the kid of high spiits that people ae o ith,
are educated to become a virtue
o No oe is o ith a itue
o Introduction of Glaucon is different from Thrasymachus
o Thrasymachus sprung onto Socrates like a vicious lion
o Glaucon has his own qualities but they are different
o Thrasymachus was merely competitive
o On the other hand, Glaucon and Adeimantus wanted to deepen commitments to
justice by understanding it better
o These two are Athenian citizens differnet approach
- This difference is meant to mark difference in character
- Shorter dialogues Plato had always depicted Socrates as a philosopher who was ready
to discuss topics like courage, piety, justice, moderation, with anyone he came across
- He as a poisuous uestioe
- Tried to understtnd virtue
- Typiically, short Platonic dialogues end in a state of perplexity
- Socrates after this long discussion we must return to original question
o Thats hat e see at the ed of Bk  of the ‘peuli
o Now we are turning from the perplexity of the Socratic dialogue to a deeper and
more authrotiatarian ones, books 2-10
- Superdialogues
o Exposre things more deeply than traditional Socratic dialogues
o Importance of this difference captured by motivation of these interlockators
o Glaucon is still attracted to justice but still inundated by sophistical tasks on
justice
o Allowed to have a deeper account for justice in itself
o Plato ould e idiatig that thats the pupose of suh a philosophial
discussion to deepen the appreciation of those already attracted to virtues of
justice rather than to convince hardcore sceptics
o While Thrasymachus talks about pouring the argument into his soul
philosopher Socrates has too little in common with Thrasymachus
o They have a different motivation
- Glaucon look, everyone knows that those shabby arguments offered are not going to
convince everypn
o I want to restate case as best as I can from the point of a skeptic try to
convince me
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o Threefold classification of goods
Intrinsically good joy, happiness good ness consists simply in
experience of the thing itself
Good for its own sake and all by itself
Those that we desire intrinsically for its own sake and for its
consequences
For example, health
We want to be healthy for the sake of itself
But you can also cherish health for its consequences
Being healthy enables you to do shit
It has certain natural consequences you can live longer, run a
marathon
Those htings hold true whether people know that or not
Thats just a oseuee of eig health
Insturmentally good things
Things like bitter medicine #codeine
Nasty tasting medicine that you would not consume for its own
sake, but you know that it happens to lead reliably to desired
outcomes
Thats h ou see it as a good thig
o G and A want to know why Justice is intrinsically good apart from its
consequences
Two kinds of consequneces
Natural kind
o IF oue health, ou ill e able to live longer
The one that makes G and A indignant artificial consequences
o Pursuing justice because of a reputation you could earn
o When you pursue rewards to have a reputation for
something
o Only bc of the beliefs of others
o That really bothers the two brothers
o Glaucon, on the basis of the threefold classification, wants
to propose a challenge to Socrates story of origins
A kind of geneology of justice in order to explain,
from the point of view of a skeptic, why justice
might seem harmful
He offers an account of justice in which it is merely instrumentally
useful ad ediie that ou ouldt take fo its o sake
o Justcie could even be a necessary evil
o Keeping in mind, this is not what Glaucon actually believes
o This case, though, is the main account of human nature
that he wants Socrates to argue against
o Glaucon says that by nature, we strive to do injustice
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o Because you can enjoy the pleasurable life of a successful
tyrant
o If we naturally strive, we all strive to do injustice without
being punished, then a few of us might be successful
We might be oppressive,
However most of us will be oppressed
Most of us are weak and ineffectual
o Out of fear of being oppressed most people have gotten to getehr and advised
an arrangement to not harm one antoehr if others agree not to harm them
They want to aavoid being harmed or oppressed by strong individuals
That agreement gives rise to laws
Those laws embody what the weak call justice
Justice is just a name that we give to a certain strategy of self protection
employed by the weak in order to restrain aspiring tyrants
Eveyrone including the weak is driven by the lust to oppress others
Everyone has a tyrant in the soul
The system of justice, the strategy of the weak for self protection,
oppresses the strong fe i the ae of the eak, ho all it good
That system of course rules by law, and by a kind of indoctrination
- I patie, hoee, people eae justie ol eause the dot at to e
harmed!
o Because they are unwilling, law abiding citizens
o If the ee al, ouageous, ad itelliget eough, the the ould ust
oe the ods of these oetios ad ule oe othes as tats
o Why?
Power
Wealth
Status
- What is Glauos eidee that hua atue opeates that a?
o Glaucon offers a hypothetical story
The story of the Ring of Gyges
The story
If anyone whether strong or weak, whether just or unjust
acquired a ring of invisibility, then he would use those powers
the powers conferred by that ring to obtain honour, wealth,
sexual gratification, all sorts of things like that
He would become a happy, successful tyrant
Everyone has tyrannical desires at the bottom of their heart
Everyone believes that injustice is beneficial
In a sense, Glaucon is restating Thrasymachus
But is also capturing the ideals of Cephalus and Polemarchus
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