POL200Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Glaucon, Cross-Examination, Thought Experiment
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Lecture 7 – Plato 6 and 7
- Unity and Disunity
- Third wave of criticism?
- Knowledge vs. Opinion
- Criticism of Contemporary Philosophers
Unity and Disunity:
- Recall Wave Two:
oThe city that has only one individual: a pain in the finger is felt by the entire individual.
oThe goodness of civic unity? – Extending it to the people’s emotional responses to the
different things that happen.
oBlamed for not having “the correct emotional response”: A political leader blamed
another for taking pleasure in the advancement of the enemy troops. – Destructive?
oCivic life should be like the body in that it feels things the right way as a whole … (?)
- In this city, (a thought experiment) all reasons for ascension would disappear. “What about
lawsuits and mutual accusations …”
- 466b: Even though the lives of guardians are not normal, they are supported by the city, and
the victory they gained is the good of the city, which is greater than those of Olympic
athletes, for the latter is only a personal victory.
- Socrates confronts those who believe in ordinary politics: He is cross examining the common
belief of what is unquestionably good.
- Recall: the eugenic programs and the noble lie – too far in terms of the devotion to the city.
- Unity vs. private life: What idea do you have in mind so that your city doesn’t fall victim to
the common conflicts that we know.
- The costs and benefits of private/family life as oppose to the city’s unity: more self-conscious
to the political unity. Ambiguity and trade-offs.
- The loss of family and sexual life…: Politics in the Socratic presentation in this dialogue is
defined by the ambiguities and trade-offs. The dialogue helps us to clarify things.
Third Wave: Warfare
- It is impossible to make war without domestic unity.
- Three main points:
oThe guardians/warriors (philosophers?) are expected to sacrifice themselves in exchange
for the safety of the city. The producing class is in no danger.
o468bd: Even sexual gratifications should be considered as awards for valor.
oNotice that Socrates, towards the end (470ad), does not question the distinction between
the Greeks and the barbarians (those who do not speak Greek): Greeks are naturally
friends to each other, and Greeks/barbarians are naturally enemies.
- Is patriotism necessary to creating a good city?
- Glaucon is like a transformed man: He does believe that civic devotion is indeed, best for the
individual. He really wants to create such a city in real life.
- 471c: all the things that were described should be good. He is ready to accept the abolition of
the nuclear family, the eugenics program…
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