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Great Philosophers Notes Midterm Notes

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University of Ottawa
Francisco Gonzalez

Great Philosophers January 8, 2014 Chronological thder Plato - 4 Century B.C. Epictetus B.C. Aquinas 13 Century (Middle Ages) Descartes 1600s Kant 1700s Nietzsche 1800s Modern philosophy starts with Socrates & constant examination of self & others Plato • Dialogued, plays/dramas • Usually Socrates • Unique • Represents his view of philosophy • Open ended, continuous discourse • Athenian Court • Decide guilt or innocence • Decide penalty Epictetus • Self help manual • Practically oriented / applied • Philosophy is living well Aquinas • Father of the church (Roman Catholic) • Theologist • Proof of God by reason & thought • Going to be difficult to read/confusing • Objection/ Reply style o Question o Arguments For & Against o Opinion (Reply) o Arguments (His) o Addresses objections & disproves • 1 Philosophy professor Descartes • I voice (his) • Talking to himself (meditation) • Doubt everything to discover what he “knows” • “I think, therefore, I am" • Only certainty is he exists Kant • Philosophy professor • Revolutionized philosophy • Moral philosophy • Basis of moral judgment, not experience but reason • Completely objective or universal judgments • Technical treatises (difficult) Nietzsche • Genealogy = history / origins • How values have changed / developed • Disconnected observations What Is Philosophy? • Constantly redefining it / reinventing it Euthyphro January 10, 2014 • Socrates is on his way to trial for corrupting youth & impiety • Euthyphro is prosecuting his father for murder • Solidarity over being rejected by Athenians • Socrates asks for help in learning piety • Socrates is shocked over Euthyphro’s actions (common view) • Blood relatives are sacred, Euthyphro is violating, Athenians see as impious • His description is important o Very ambiguous o Victim labour servant/slave (not even a citizen) o Didn’t explicitly kill him o Servant murdered other slave o Father bound him, tossed in ditch, & sent a consultant to the Oracle of Delphi for word of God o Servant dies while waiting for response • Not just prosecuting for murder but doing it in an ambiguous situation • His altitude is very certainly right, clearly in the right, no grey, he knows best, very Black & White • **Socrates taken aback by certainty / confidence o Relates E wise to his prosecutor o Assumes his knowledge must be so vast e precise o Asks to teach him about piety o Surprised by certain & accurate knowledge of what's pious o Ask half sincere/half skeptical Piety is: 1. What I'm doing: to prosecute the wrongdoer, for any crime, for any criminal; to not prosecute is impious. • Objection: not giving a definition of piety. He wants a general definition that covers all acts not an example. 2. What is dear to the gods is pious, what is not is impious. • Objection: How do you know what is dear to the gods. o The gods disagree among themselves (doesn't necessarily agree with this but is common attitude). o States same action could turn out to be both pious & impious. o Argue about non-objective items (justice, good/bad, piety) 3. What is pious is what all the gods love, and opposite, what all the gods hate is impious. • Objection: Is it pious because they love it (only cause is loving it) or love it because it is pious (something about act that is inherently pious) o Question is of cause and effect (1 when the gods stop it is not longer pious, 2 when the gods stop it is still pious) 4. Piety is the part of justice that is concerned with the care of the gods while that concerned with the care of men is the rest. • Objection: Care of gods – suggests they’re inferior like horses o Then replaces care with service – we’re inferior o What work do they need us for o He couldn’t come up with an answer to what kind of work 5. Piety is pleasing the god through prayer & sacrifice. • Objection: What's pleasing is what is loved – already disputed. Apology January 15, 2014 What are his charges? (23d) 1. Corrupting the youth 2. Not believing in the gods of the city & believing in new gods ("but in other new spiritual things") o Ambiguous - which Socrates plays on. Defense • Responds to “unofficial charges" first o Rumours, opinions, prejudice against him • More important than actual accusers o Meletus, Aristophanes • Informal charges leads to formal charges 1. Studying things in the sky & below the earth o Prying into the gods affairs, not our business o Questioning the gods (impious) 2. Making the worse into the stronger argument o Being able to make a weak argument strong  Prevails, people take o Weak - untrue, ambiguous o Like a lawyer defending guilty  Just clever arguments to make stronger without trying to find truth o Ability to argue both sides  To argue what's false & make look true. Defense • Denies studying astronomy do etc. - just stereotype • Not a good orator/arguer - just speaks the truth o But claim to not be persuasive speaker is typical beg to clever speech • His defense is proof to being a sophist • Common reaction to Socrates fake humility was its fake • Argues that cause of hostility was that he went around questioning all types of people proving they didn't know what they're talking about in public. o Hostility, rumours & charges rose from anger about making them a fool Why? • Story of Oracle of Delphi - asked who was the wisest man, answer was Socrates • Try to prove all questioning, philosophy & arguing is in service to/obeying the gods • His reaction- can’t be right, looks for someone wiser • Questions people to find someone smarter/wiser • Essentially trying to prove gods wrong • Eventually admits oracle was right o He was wisest because he recognized that he has no knowledge • First instinct to refute oracle & tries to prove false o Only after he couldn't disprove it does he accept it • Claim that what he does as philosopher is work of gods, questioning & examining people is in service to gods • Socrates gives answer to last question of Euthyphro saying that the service we do for gods is what he does • View of impiety was asking too many Q's o Socrates saw this as piety • Oracle spoke for specific god - Apollo o Never speaks of Apollo or believing in Apollo Response • Questions Meletus o Atheism o Spiritual things not in spirits etc. o Only proves Meletus doesn't know Missed lecture on January 17, 2014 January 22, 2014 Crito • In Socrates' prison, has been there awhile o Unusual, normally carried out right away  Religious ceremony - send ship to island on expedition, during this there can be no killing (including executions)  Ship is about to arrive • Crito comes in early morning, has to wait for Socrates to wake from peaceful sleep o Socrates accepted fate, has no fear of death • Crito tries to convince Socrates to escape o Guards bought off o Regardless Athenians wouldn't mind as long as he leaves o Would have accepted exile but Socrates didn't propose it • Crito wants him to get out quickly, Socrates wants to discuss arguments for & against • Socrates has a dream, he knows the ship is coming, and it will be the 3 day that he dies o Quotes Homer's The Iliad o Context: Achilles was going home & arriving in 3 days o Suggests that death is not to be feared, like going home • Line also indicates issue to be discussed o Might be good to go home, but also seen as giving up/failure, abandoning his friends • Crito suggests Socrates is betraying his friends & abandoning his mission/fight o Similar to situation in Iliad o Important because in Apology Socrates explicitly compares himself to Achilles o Crito makes the point that Achilles never accomplished his goal to go home & argues that Socrates should emulate that and fight • Crito is making his case to persuade him to escape o 3 main arguments 1. It is not just to allow himself to be killed 2. Abandoning his children/friends 3. Shameful for Socrates & his friends. • Shame very important in the Iliad • Argues that not all opinions should be valued o Care about good ones not bad ones o Respect opinions of people with knowledge (experts) only o Rejects opinion that people as a whole know what's good/bad/important • Should value the one who has knowledge o No expert on what's good/bad • At the end he says he can't think of any other words and “as far as he knows" he has to stay in prison • Argument on reflection that seems the best to me at the moment o Doesn’t have knowledge to act on • Most important thing is not life but the good life • Strange dialogue between "the law"/"the state" • Laws o I. Undermine the city by escaping o Essential for any city is for laws to be followed o Had a fair trial, if just you disagree then anarchy o Laws have to be obeyed regardless of personal belief  Once laws decided must be obeyed • In Apology very defiant, appeal to higher law, • Now being very deferred to state law January 24, 2014 Crito Cont'd... • Socrates argument that the law would have if he were to leave; the judgments of the court should be carried out whether or not you agree with them. ◦ If these judgments are not carried out, the laws become irrelevant and it would be anarchy ◦ The premise of this argument is that you're accepting that the judgment the jury made about Socrates is unjust, yet because it was still the judgments they made, it should be respected • It's one thing to disagree with the laws and try to change them is okay, but to disobey the laws is not okay • Civil disobedience: to disobey a law because we are not in agreement with it (apparently leads to anarchy) • So let's say that if Socrates breaking out of prison will do wrong to the city, he argues that in fairness, the city did wrong to him so he should have the right to have revenge ◦ But though Socrates admits this is an argument, he refuses to truly make it. ◦ "Never to do a wrong or return a wrong is right" -basically two wrongs don't make a right ◦ Crito accepts this claim so Socrates does not defend it ◦ Socrates challenges him and says if he doesn't accept this than to refute it and if not to continue listening • Furthers the case that he should not hurt the city because the laws of the city are like the parents; education, birth, upbringing is all due to the city. His parents are part of the city. Socrates owes everything to the city. (Page 51) ◦ Even if you accept the claim that the city is now doing harm to Socrates, the city argues that they have done so much good for him that he cannot do violence for one action of harmful behaviour ◦ "It is impious to bring violence against your mother or father" ▪ Remember Euthyphro prosecuting his own father; it is considered impious because he is bringing violence against his parent The laws are very concerned with piety • If Socrates does do harm on the city then it only proves that the city was just in sentencing him to death • One could argue that though he was raised in Athens and what not, it wasn't really his choice. So even if he owes the city a lot, he did not ask for it • The city strengthens their case by saying that he chose to live there when he grew up and he could have left if he thought the city and its legal system was so corrupt. The only time he left for the city was to fight for it and so that's a strong agreement that he wants to live there which commits him to respecting the laws of the city ◦ Not only did he choose to live there, but it is a democracy and it was open to him to try to persuade and change certain laws ◦ And if he could not change certain laws, he could have left then • Idea that time is limited - Socrates thinks if he had had more time he could have convinced them, if they had more time they could argue whether he should leave or not. ◦ But time is always limited Epictetus • Socrates is Epictetus's hero; states that Socrates should be a role model • What we wonder is if the Socrates Epictetus admires is the same one we've encountered ◦ They have some important differences despite their similarities • Epictetus did not write anything, like Socrates ◦ Series of excerpts from a longer text about Epictetus that was compiled by someone else based on his lectures • A fairly disorganized text, bounces to the points back and forth, no order to the numbered points ◦ Firstly because they're excerpts, they aren't one flow ◦ Epictetus comes back to the same point over and over again that gets varied in different ways but has the same basic theme/central point • What is the key t
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