Pol200- Political theory Post moderns, think their understanding of progress is better than
Lecture 1- September 13/12 moderns- lost faith in modern progress (science, technology,
Republic political institutions)- Post modernist depends on a radicalization
Authority of modernity- what all these other authorities had in of modern thought (modern thought one step further)- accepts the
common- even Che Guevera was a representative of modernity- authority of modernity in a negative sense (to have refuted and
All 60s rebels recognized themselves as modern- criticized rest of defeated all previous ways of thought)- New skepticism (modern
the society for not being modern- what does it mean to undermine skepticism carried one step further)
authority? It means undermining the underlying faith in modernity Questioning Post modernity as much as we question modernity-
which is faith in progress- progress in understanding Modernity has its costs, balances off- the gains are worth the costs
Modernity is a process- modernity is a moving target- the faith that Basic fact today is that we are satisfied with modernity but do not
further is always better- what we lost and we continue to lose pales grasp with the ideas of it.
beside of what have gained and what we continue to gain with EG. Post- modern architecture.
modernity- this is the faith that we will question and with it Builds functional buildings yet reverses the modern style.
question the faith of modernity Left in Suspension
Not assuming that modernity is wrong- suggesting that we raise the
question of modernity Post- Modern is nervous about modernity and questions itself.
Carry on with modernity without really believing in it: Irony.
Instead of taking modernity for granted, we will try to gain some Is it possible that past thinkers understood more than the modern?
critical distance from modernity with the help of ancient thinkers Yes.
First study question: It is not modernity but rather post modernity Free us from modern prejudice - Instead of thinking modernity for
that is the hot talk in universities. What is postmodern? Why do granted
people today call themselves post -modern? Discontent with
modernity- Nervous about modernity to have lost confidence in it. Marxism lives on in a few countries by repression
Political modernity: liberalism (liberal democracy as a way of
To want to distance yourself of modernity somehow without life) and Marxism- Irony Marxist style- The Cold War is over and
having a real notion of anything else- To pretend that it‟s a virtue our side (liberal democracy) had won
to not believing that there is a real foundation or argument for what End of history thesis: the world will shift to a democratic idea
they are carrying (modern way of life)
Post modernity: represents a loss of faith in a specific truth- the Modern global economy is fragile and under challenge
truth that modernity has taken a stand. That is why it can be Mass media under strain as well
Liberal democratic west: we are cynical about our institutions
understood as a loss in faith in modernity. and our leaders and no longer confident that our way is THE way.
There is a reason why they are called post modern and don‟t go The mass media appears to be as much of curse than a blessing-
any futher in creating a new title. It‟s a loss in faith, not an Global environmental crisis- The continuous treat of nuclear war-
advancement in faith.
A twilight of modernity genetic engineering- We crave for the progress of science and fear
Presume and rests on the authority of modernity Appeal of malignant fundamentalism
If you have lost faith in modernity, there is nothing else you can This recoil against modernity doesn‟t confine to Islamic societies-
have faith in it is among Buddhist, Jews…
Vanquishes all modern as well as pre modern ideas and faith The Republic: What is justice Imitation of that activity of conversation is how Plato presents it.
First rule of reading Plato is to avoid patronizing- consider the Defines the dialogue is the exchange of views. Plato the author hidden
possibility that exactly where he disagrees with us, is where he‟s in the world of dialogue in which he presents his ideas.
right Weary of his theory due to the fate of Socrates who was put to
We approach different kinds of books with different expectations death by Athenians
What to we call the kind of work that Plato wrote: Dialogue When Plato conveys not a view but a collection of ideas. From
(conversation between two or more people)- written or literally Plato's point of view, there is no authoritative take on justice.
rendition of an oral form- what defines a dialogue is an exchange Differing viewpoints on Justice- they may all be correct.
of differing views (argument between or among different people) Interacting of human types of the question is a crucial question.
Plato only wrote dialogues none of which he himself is a character- Different types of human beings have different contributions to the
wants you to have a dialogue with yourself and not him just idea- therefore one much put all the pieces together to see the full
spouting information to us- we have to participate picture of justice.
There are alternative ways of saying anything- rather than Social truth emerged from the social exchange of ideas of truth.
presenting his own thoughts, he presents us with alternative No given character is Plato's voice- they all are.
understandings of the matter under discussion- many views of the
Understand the characters and the clash, and you will understand
world – understanding of the world would be impoverished if it the world Plato presents. The whole of the world is the expression.
was not …
He never shows what he knows it is- Socrates believed he knew Socrates makes many characters puzzled and angry.
nothing therefore, Plato could say he knew nothing- never speaks The truth lies within the interaction. Implied by Plato's use of the
in his own names- shows characters who are drastically different dialogue form.
from one another- might not provide an answer Many features of life in 5th century Athens.
Try to avoid being reverential towards Socrates- we would not be Athens was the most powerful. Democracy.
able to understand the Republic if we ignore other characters Only men were citizens. Others were slaves or women.
Presentation of the human world as the interplay of different Plato is not writing about the 5th century beings, he's writing about
characters- it takes all kinds to make the human world- what help human beings behind the history.
to understand the human world is to understand these different The dialogue is about us
characters- Plato shows us an interaction among characters who
Humanity vs Society
each have questions that us human beings face (what is justice?) Many helpful notes in the book.
Translation and interpretive essay mark the importance of the Beginning of the dialogue matters- because everything in a
characters dialogue matters
Political philosophy Company of Socrates- Glaucon (Plato‟s brother) – Some argue that
Articulates the question of justice/the problem of justice
Makes the question/problem come alive his brothers represent Plato himself
Socrates and Glaucon intended to spend the day together- not plan
Doesn't provide the answer to spend it with the other characters- they cant refuse the others‟
Dialogue- a conversation between two people. invitation without causing problems- they bow to the will of
Speaking among or between people majority
This whole series of events achieves great significance when you
consider what is the institution for which that city is most notorious- Beginning of the Dialogue which demonstrates the Justice is somehow selfless while Eros is selfish
weakness of the philosopher kings- defeat of the reason world- Young age: Eros won over
instead of a conversation with Glaucon alone, he has to attend a Old age: justice wins over, fears that his youth led him to not being
conversation with a large group of people- setting of the Dialogue
just and tries to make up for lost time
is the port of the city (Piraeus) Cephalus enjoys being wealthy because he can pay off his debts-
They end up spending the day with the other characters and bow to repaying gods and men- now that he‟s old, he is full of terror about
the will of the majority not because it is wise or just but because the tales he heard about gods and punishments- gnawing fear of
they cannot overpower the majority. Socrates characterizes the what lies beyond death
decision politically Socrates questions this tolerance as credited to his wealth
Republic begins with the weakness of reason in political life
Cephalus doesn‟t deny it. He admits that money is necessary to
What is the Piraeus like? Interface between ideas help old age. It is necessary but sufficient as you still need good
Cephalus „ house- Cephalus is the unquestioned head of his family- character
what he says goes- sits in the center of the household having just Socrates ask Cephalus about the greatest benefit of wealth:
performed a sacrifice for the ancient gods that all Greeks 1) Due to having wealth, he could be a just man and not steal or
recognize- there is a difference between the inside of the house and
the outside world – His home is the island of tradition during an cheat
2) Money enables justice
era of change. Cephalus is happy to see Socrates 3) You can make amends for faults from youth as well as gods
Old age is only moderately troublesome- nostalgia for the loss of 4) Slightly ashamed to admit it but now that he is old, he fears the
his youth‟s pleasures stories of the after life
Cephalus believes that he and Socrates enjoy talking for the same Initial presentation of justice: justice is a burden- not something
reasons. However, their reasons for enjoying speech are which they naturally perceive as good for them- practiced under
completely different. Cephalus is old and can no longer enjoy
duress- practice justice which is itself burdensome and in that
physical pleasures; therefore his love for conversation has sense evil to avoid evils that you would receive from gods- without
increased. Those who can do, those who cant do it any longer- talk the gods, justice would make no sense- Cephalus fears that he has
about it. gotten away with injustices (he fears he will be punished by the
However, Socrates is not old, yet he already spends his time gods).
talking- for him talking is a way of life Socrates takes out the Gods from from the equation of justice
This arises the first question that Socrates asks Cephalus which is which is contrary to why everybody practices justice
how it feels to be old? Does justice make sense for human beings? What is justice?
Cephalus believes that he shows himself in a good light by the act Socrates refutation
that he tolerates old age as well as he does. He thinks it shows he Fear of punishment by the gods is ignored by Socrates in his
has a good characters as he does not complain definition of justice
Eros (sexual love or desire) is the most important theme in the
Socrates‟ objection to Cephalus is challenging the society itself
Republic We expect the practice of justice to be beneficial to others not
Ambiguity of loss of Eros- it is not sweet, but moderately harmful
troublesome We don‟t give the truth to everybody
It is as much a dialogue about eros as it is about justice
Longing and justice All laws, respect of others and private property becomes Polemarchus understands justice as selfless loyalty and without
conditional on other things- if you state the principle on those realizing it, he expects a return for it
terms you see that justice requires discernment- Polemarchus doesn‟t restore gods to the conversation
What is most people and not just madmen not make good use of His correction is to reinterpret what is owed as the fitting
their property and their truth: then not only justice not require us to Reinterprets the person who something is owed as a friend
give them these things but to withhold it from them- justice is Friends owe it to friends to do them good and nothing bad
always conditional on doing good things- cant practice it unless Justice as the fitting
you know what is good So far, friends owe it to friends to do them some good and nothing
None of us really accept law or convention as a sufficient basis for
Our dealing with enemies: to them we have to do bad
New principle, profoundly subversive principle- what if the law Friends: good – Enemies: ill from us
does the bad job of distributing the truth and property We help those who help us and hinder those who hinder us
Polemarchus comes to the defense of Cephalus and gives him an
honorable way to leave the conversation- selfless or self- interested He begins to see the art or craft that is identified with justice
act? This will become the central issue between Socrates and Art as in tradesmen and not artist
Realm of useful rather than the fine
Polemarchus- extent of which we understand justice as selfish or We don‟t usually think of justice as an art
self interested Why an art? Justice should accomplish something that is to give
Lecture 2- September 20, 12
Significance of Socrtes objection to Cephalus what is fitting for something
The whole of the subsequent comes from this objection To give or do what is fitting requires some form of knowledge
Implicitly Cephalus understood justice as telling the truth and Justice must be some form of knowledge and therefore, the just
man must be an artisan
returning to people what is owed to them Does it make sense?
Cephalus‟ understanding of justice is ordinary
We expect our practice of justice to be helpful to others not So what about the just man? What is his domain? What does he
harmful provide the fitting for?
Justice is telling the truth and returning to one what is owed except Polemarchus: friends and enemies give the template for what is
when it might be harmful to that person Socrates: this does not make sense because what your friend needs
This means that justice becomes depended on something else is something particular, what he needs is not the just man but
Socrates: what if most people and not just mad men make bad use
of truth or property? something particular- there is always something more fitting than
It‟s not small thing, to know what is truly good for human being justice to provide to a friend
332e- Polemarchus: specific domain in which the relevant art is the
and our self art of justice? War is the specific domain that calls for justice
If we don‟t know what is good for us and hence cant make good Why does he believe war is the specific domain? War seems to be
use of our property, does…
Do you think it‟s a coincidence that the best city that would come the perfect way to help a friend and harm an enemy
out of this conversation entails a … “All for one, and one for all”
There‟s nothing random about Polemarchus‟ answer- it is revealing
Cephalus retreats to his traditions, giving sacrifice for the same and powerful but is it adequate?
gods that Socrates has put out of conversation Problem with Polemarchus‟ argument: there is an art war, at a time Next stage of the argument: do you know who your friends are?
of war, a general or soldier would be more fitting than a just man- Seeing who your friends really are
also in war time, you don‟t necessarily do just things If the person who you harm is actually a good man, then harming
Socrates: for what is justice is useful in peacetime? Polemarchus him would be injustice
answer that justice would be useful in peacetime for contracts and The man who seems to be good and truly is good is a friend while
businesses the person who seems bad and is bad must be harm
Socrates: every use of money and business, requires an expertise- Two problems:
therefore, business consultants are not really experts in justice 1) Who is a really good person versus a person who seems good?
In time of peace, when we need something guarded or kept safe, do Polemarchus, a person who is loyal- Socrates‟ understanding of
we turn to the just man? You turn to a security agent a good human being is further from ordinary things and what it
There is an art of guarding or keeping something seems on the surface
If justice is not an art, then it‟s not up to the task of guarding 2) See recording
anymore than it is up to the task of war... Polemarchus‟ version of justice radiates from him- justified in
Inability to find the art of justice- find the domain or situation helping his friends and harming his enemies
where justice is the greatest art Would make justice self centered
For the sake of the argument, Socrates proceeds with the notion Just man would never harm anyone
that justice is identical with the art of guarding, the problem: if Virtue of human being is justice to harm a human being
justice was identical with the art of guarding, it could also be would mean to make him more unjust
identical with the art of stealing because art is an form of Could one make someone unjust through the practice of justice
knowledge and it is neutral- it could serve both ways
The just person must never harm anyone
Conclusion (334a-b)- the just man as it seems comes to light as a Lecture 3- September 27,12
form of robber…certain art of stealing Art of craft or expertise used by Socrates as the model of expert
Polemarchus cant refute Socrates but still believes that justice is knowledge – will come throughout the book- the city of speech
helping friends and harming enemies itself is used in a technical fashion as part of a dialectic in order to
You cant refute Socrates – you feel like you have been had define justice through words
Justice as an art: that art is unidentifiable and even if we could Socrates returned to the logic of techne (expertise)
identify it, just like any art, it would have to be just and unjust and An art is concerned with the benefit of the rule - whether it makes
therefore justice would become both just and unjust sense and whether it captures the world as we know it- all artisans
Takeaway: justice isn‟t an art- what do we usually say it is? therefore rulers as a species of artisans are concerned with the
Justice is a virtue (a character trait)- is a virtue the same as an art? advantage of their clients
What distinguishes a good man from others is his intention Not so true because artisans are as much concerned with their own
Just man is a simple man not one with a PhD or another craft who advantage as much as the advantage of their clients
pretends he knows something Thrasymachus‟ speech 345b-e
Doesn‟t a just man know that it‟s better to be just than unjust? Thrasymachus is so provoked by Socrates that he blurts it all out-
Justice depending on knowledge- if we agree that justice consists everyday and all the time one should do injustice… (see book)
in doing good and if we do, it cant be that we can be just without Thrasymachus tries to go away after giving this speech- Socrates
knowing what good is and how to accomplish it? and others make him stay Socrates: whether justice or injustice compromise the greatest good talk to it about something noble)- explore he issue of the
Both agree that the issue in pursuing something in life is about superiority of justice to injustice or vice verse in three arguments
what‟s in it for you- looking out for yourself but that justice is Socrates praises Thrasymachus‟ sincerity- this sincerity would
better for oneself than injustice-Socrates‟ realism present a challenge to Socrates- most people would say that
Artisanship- art of wage earning practicing injustice would be ignoble but to their own advantage-
The shepherd also practices the wage earner and that is his own Socrates wants to know how he would be able to separate the noble
good from the good?
Each of the particular arts aims only at the good of its objects- for Doesn‟t the noble speak of the higher part of one‟s soul- good for
this very reason; every artisan practices the wage earning art oneself to act nobly- halfway house between wanting to be good
and noble on one hand and saying that one has to be just on the
Ruling is for the benefit of the rule other hand
The issue: the most profitable way of art- doesn‟t make sense to Thrasymachus: injustice is noble and is good – unconventional
just emphasize his one form of art opinion- important: he has declared himself as someone who
Tension between all the other arts which is selfless and the wage would present himself as someone who talks about things which
are questionable in public
earner which is selfish- second concern might be more important Socrates:
than the benefit of the rule- people look out for themselves (when
they practice this wage earning art)- model of the art the practice of 1) Just man is wise and good, the unjust man is ignorant and
which aims at no good other than the good of the practitioner bad- he gets to this conclusion by a poor argument which is
Socrates may have defeated Thrasymachus but only by conceding very tactical- a conventional argument made by naïve men-
most of the argument to him shows Thrasymachus for being so unconventional and for
being so imprudent- Dialectic is comprised of faulty or
Short side discussion between Socrates and Glaucon: by having sloppy arguments but also shows us the different human
Glaucon speak here, Plato reminds us that that Thrasymachus types and to show us more about the human situation- learn
earned his wage by teaching to students just like Glaucon- almost
always the wages of ruling don‟t appear to the good man- not more than seeing logic as a mathematical equation-
concerned so much with what the Thrasymachian ruler is Whether those who seek knowledge are just or unjust?
concerned with- he did not have to submit to a rule worse than The Sophist might take advantage of his own students- or that in
presenting his speech on tyranny he spill the beans in front of
himself- Glaucon concerned with the good man and justice as a everyone and any ruler would not do that, would pretend that
noble calling but he is also self interested- Glaucon is a mixture of
Polemarchus (concern for the good man) and the Thrasmachyan justice is a good thing and not speak of tyranny with such power as
element (self interested) he is more complex than those two Thrasymachus did – Thrasymachus cant himself become a tyrant
characters and therefore, he‟s just a teacher- Thrasymachus is proud of his
At this point the conversation takes a strange turn- why is it knowledge and of teaching someone become a tyrant- he sees that
strange? Socrates and Thrasymachus take up from the beginning means (teaching) as more important than ruling itself – these are
the reasons why Thrasymachus ends up agreeing with Socrates‟
whether justice is superior to injustice (Thrasymachus: injustice argument-
more profitable and better than justice, it is wise, and fairer than
justice, just man is a simpleton and is naïve)- This is strange He shows that he cares about public opinion- look at passage by
because usually people don‟t praise injustice as admirable (don‟t Bloom Socrates ends up making highly questionable arguments but if This tells us very important about human life and how justice
Thrasymachus did not feel defeated, he would not have continued figures in human life Sophist (teacher of rhetoric) is himself
to agree confused about justice
Characters matter in this dialogue: the kind of arguments each Experience that Sophist has is very much different than that of the
character makes reflects the kinds of people they are philosopher
Thrasymachus‟ character presents a contradiction- on one hand he Fascinating for Glaucon- potential student of the Sophist-
presents his art as a means to injustice, but rather than keeping his philosopher defeats the Sophist on the level of rhetoric- defeating
art to himself, he goes around teaching it… He presents his art as a the Sophist at his own game- philosopher defeating the Sophist as a
means to gain but prides himself for his reputation of art.. he‟d better Sophist than the actual Sophist
rather be wise than called a tyrant even though what he teaches is
Glaucon and Adeimentus- these two the main interlocutors
tyranny – knowledge more important than tyranny- he is known as Life has become deeply problematic- come to Socrates with real
what we today call an Intellectual [someone who makes his living questions will not settle on nothing but a genuine answer
by his thought, concerned in making his living with his reputation Plato himself was trying to understand what justice was as he was
than by learning the truth, knowledge as a means but prides writing the Republic
himself as a knower, someone whose mind is on sale, yet he prides
himself of his intellectual integrity, someone whose soul is divided Glaucon (from the cities wealthiest class, always most courageous
in everything, shows this courage here on the level of intellect,
in a way that Socrates soul is not (theory and practice one and the wouldn‟t accept Thrasymachus‟ giving up)- familiar with
same, a philosophical life, practice of theory)] Thrasymacus‟ view but doennt endorse it- lot to be said for
Shows the contradiction in the souls of people like Thrasymachus]- injustice, wants to say that on behalf of injustice in a more radical
Socrates uses this against Thrasymachus to outdo him- Socrates way than Thrasymachus so that Socrates would give a better
defeats him without refuting him, Socrates arguments only serve to defense for why justice is better than injustice- wished that
deepen our doubts about justice- further than ever from a clear
sense of what justice is? End of book I, he admits that without someone would refute this case for injustice, by no means certain
that someone could- he really wants to know what justice is- how
knowing what justice is, we cannot know whether it‟s a virtue and orderly his beginning is: presents Socrates with a classification of
whether the one who has it is happy or unhappy three types of goods (what justice is in these groups)
Socrates wanted to have a conversation with Glaucon and now he Socrates responds with the second option: finest kind which is
will hear from a very agitated Glaucon- this dialogue with justice good both for itself and its consequences- not Glaucon‟s view
with begins from the Piraus to Athens is a more comprehensive
treatment of justice because now he has heard from everyone in the Begins his classification with the good that is…lists the goods in
descending order- how this comes in his character with what‟s
book good in itself rather than its consequences- why would he rank
Art in the strict sense (benefit of the person whom the art something as good in itself?
provides)- art of wage earning (self earning) Glaucon wants a pure good-nothing mercenary about it, not
Socrates silences without refuting Thrasymachus- he shoes that tarnished by any ulterior motive, he is an idealist in this way but
this teacher of rhertoric is someone who is divided that his pride is
that the life of pleasure is important to him too
not well founded- defeats him with very idealistic assumptions Glaucon appeals from convention to nature- considers what the
about justice building blocks in men‟s nature is that leads it to society as being
Justice thus represents a reversible natural order of things Justice is the conspiracy of the weaker to the stronger- its about There are ways to get around the Gods- Example: Cephalus who
doing what we don‟t want to do succumbed to Eros now he has to pay for it before he dies and buy
1) Most people act just