Plato's The Republic Concept Notes.docx

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Department
Political Science
Course
POLS 214
Professor
Lawrence Murphy
Semester
Fall

Description
Platos The Republic Concept Notes Physis Natural philosophers were the precursors to modern scientists They applied philosophy to nature in order to derive knowledge and truths from the natural world Natural philosophy was essentially modern science before the advent of scientific method Natural philosophers viewed the world as being divided into two realms Nomos order and convention and Physis nature and chaos Physis was the term that natural philosophers used for natural things that remain constant and come into being on their own Physis relates to universal knowledge and truths such as honor thy father and mother Natural philosophers believed that it is possible to develop knowledge relating to physis because there are patterns governing it and that it remains constant In contemporary terms physis corresponds to universal truths or rules and many modern philisophers question whether certain issues such as justice are in fact universal and belong in the realm of Physis or are they merely convention and depend entirely on the eye of the beholder and belong in the realm of Nomos As such Physis in Platonic terms relates to the efforts of Socrates in convincing other characters in the dialogue that there are in fact universal truths and that certain paths in life in particular the just life spent in pursuit of the good will always be better than the unjust lifeNomos Natural philosophers were the precursors to modern scientists They applied philosophy to nature in order to derive knowledge and truths from the natural world Natural philosophy was essentially modern science before the advent of scientific method Natural philosophers viewed the world as being divided into two realms Nomos order and convention and Physis nature and chaos Nomos was the term that natural philosophers used for unwritten laws and convention that govern and which are not universal They believed knowledge of convention is not possible because it is subjective and there are no patterns which govern it In societal terms Nomos intones that there is nothing absolute but rather everything is relative relative to a given society relative to a family and relative to an individual Natural philosophers did not believe it was possible to gain knowledge of things that fell under Nomos for the reason that they always changed and were different depending on the point of view of the beholder In Platonic terms Nomos was the other side of the coin from Physis in that the efforts of Socrates in convincing other characters in the dialogue that there are in fact universal truths and there are also things that merely appear to be universal truths that are in fact just convention and can be dismissed for example the wisdom of the poets such as Homer which in truth dont make any sense at all and should not be followed Techne Allegory In the first book of the republic Socrates is discussing with Polemarchus what he believes justice to be Socrates asks Polemarchus what the craft or techne in greek create for all arts or crafts have a product that they produce Continuing on Socrates asserts that because Justice is an art like all other arts it must operate according to rational principles These rational principles he refers to are logical things such as we know if someone is skilled at the art of shoe making if he can make shoes that fit Continuing with the shoe maker analogy the rational principles of being a skilled shoe maker is because the shoe maker knows how to make quality shoes and those skills are of course teachable Socrates asserts that the rational principles that govern all arts are in fact teachable and therefore the rational principles governing justice are teachable Most importantly Socrates explains that arts are always good What he means by this is that arts are only performed with the good of the object of the
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