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Lecture 2

CAST 2010 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Dalai Lama, Glaucon, Selective Perception


Department
Canadian Studies
Course Code
CAST 2010
Professor
Mancuso Rebecca
Lecture
2

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Ignorance is bliss
- Most choose not to plug in
- Counts against both hedonism and desire satisfaction views of happiness
- So either
- There are more important things in life than happiness, or
- Happiness is something other than the above
Nozick's view
- There is more to life than happiness
- Happiness is satisfaction with one's life
- But, a life needs to contain certain things in order for it to be worthy of being happy or
satisfied about
- What kind of things?
- Autonomy
- Authenticity
- Genuine relationships
Authenticity
- What is you specify to the machine ‘and make me believe it’s authentic’
- What we want is a life and a self that happiness is a fitting response to, and then give it
that response
Genuine relationships
- Can you have genuine relationships in the machine?
- What about avatars?
- Sex robots?
Autonomy
- The ability to control or direct one’s life
- Can’t unplug from the machine once committed
- Question, are we ever truly autonomous?
- Most of our lives are out of our own control
- Parents
- Financial environment (youth)
- Part of world we are born in
- So, how important is autonomy really to our lives?
What is a good life for a human being like?
Nozick's answer
- Authenticity
- Genuine relationships
- Autonomy
- Having these desires satisfied is a necessary condition of a good life
Plato and Aristotle
- The purpose of a life, it’s telos (end at which it aims) is to live it well.
- Both thought that there are strong connections between living a good life, a happy life,
and a virtuous life.
- Infact, without virtue, you can not live a good life.
- But disagreed on what the nature and role of happiness are
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Virtue, Purpose, and excellence
- What makes something excellent?
- Eg. a can opener
- Performs it’s function properly
- What makes a human excellence? (excellence=arete)
- religious/biological
- Other fxns?
Plato's Views On Happiness
- In republic, the views of Glaucon
- Contrasts to the virtuous person who has a terrible life to the vicious one who seems to
have it all
- Which would you prefer?
- :Ring of Gyges’ story
- Socrates- the virtuous life is better. Why?
- It transforms the person
Virtue and the soul
- What is the virtuous person like>
- Three parts to the soul, reason, spirit, and appetites
- Is a well ordered soul
- Reason governs decisions
- Spirits assist reasons through emotions
- Apetits moving us through our wants and needs
Character Types
- Knowingly, tyrannical, democratic
- Kingly is the most virtuous
- Analogous to types of states or societies
Plato on virtue and happiness
- Necessary unnecessary wants
- For plato, the the happy life is one led by the virtuous person
- The virtuous person ie one whose soul or psyche has achieved a harmonious balance or
relationship between those three parts
- Reason directs spirits which in turn controls appetite
- When this fails to happen, disharmony, unhappiness
- The person who is led by their appetites for material wealth
Aristotle's view
- Plato's two extremes- Jesus,or the wolf of wall street
- Truly virtuous and truly viscous
- Is there a happy medium? ‘Happy
- Aristotle tries to take account of both the views of the wise and many
- Happiness (eudaimonia) a full flourishing of one’s entire human nature as a person
- What are human persons like?
- Rational and political
- Political being in the sense that being member of a polis
- A good member of the polis has certain virtues
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- Rational in the sense of development and using their rational capacity to its fullest
- Ideal life would be one spent in abstract
The virtuous person
- Has the best sort of character
- Formed through habituation during their life
- When a situation arises, knows what the good is and will exercise the appropriate virtue
- Compassion, bravery, honesty
- Finds it pleasurable to do so
The vicious person
- Has the worst sort of character
- Formed through habituation during their life
- When a situation arises, knows what is good and will choose the vice
- Hard-heartedness, cowardliness, dishonesty
- Finds it pleasurable to do so
The incontinent person
- Knows what good is, but can't bring themselves to do it
The complete life
- Best life is a complete one
- In the same sense of being a whole one (a single good day does not make a whole good
summer)
- And also the sense of having all the essential elements
- Actively engaged in living
Read theories epictetus 301
Problems
- Is this achievable for the vast majority of people?
- Does it put happiness beyond our reach?
- Aristotle and plato both see happiness as flourishing as a human being; the final end or
telos of human life
- What if there isn't one?
Martha Nussbaum’s capabilities theory
- We all face challenges, struggles, or problems in life. It is simply a part of life.
- To flourish is to be able to meet and overcome these challenges
- In order to do this, we have certain capabilities, and functioning well is the proper
actualization of these capabilities
- Know the list of ten capabilities on (224-5)
- A happy (eudaimonism) person is someone who functions well in all these areas
- Eg. we all have the capability to experience and express emotions
- We can do this in both good and bad ways happiness or flourishing iv=involves doing
this in good ways
Richard Kraut’s Criticisms
- Plato, aristotle, and nussbaum are too rigid in what happens is; universal standards for
all humans
- Individuals have different capabilities, limitations
- What is appropriate for one person is not for the other
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