PHL105Y5 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Hexis, Practical Reason, Begging The Question
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1. The ‘good’ of a human being is his functioning well as a man,
2. To function well as a man in the city state is to be a successful citizen,
3. To be a successful citizen is to impress in the assembly and law courts,
4. To succeed there it is necessary to conform to the prevailing conventions as to what is just, right and fitting.
5. Each state has its own conventions on these matters.
6. What one must do therefore is to study prevailing conventions and learn to adapt one’s self to them, so as to
mould one’s hearers successfully.
7. This is the craft, the skill, which it is the business and the virtue of a sophist to teach.
8.It is a presupposition of this teaching that there is no criterion of virtue, as such, apart from
& No criterion of justice as such, apart from the dominant practice of each particular city.
Socrates’ view is that no special instruction is required to participate in the assembly, unlike instruction that is required for
jobs, (ie. ship-building) so therefore virtue, or civic virtue, cannot be taught.
Protagoras disagrees, telling the story of the distribution of qualities amongst the animals in which humans, being
not blessed with many physical attributes, gave us practical wisdom such as fire. Zeus then distributed justice and
respect amongst the proliferating communities, ordered a law to maintains social norms.
oPunishment oriented towards the future, to alter future behavior. Instills in them the qualities of justice
and piety, confers civil virtue. Citizens can be changed for the better.
oCivic virtue is gained through living with the family, the education system, and then the community as a
oVirtue is indeed teachable, because the social and political system is based on the fact that virtue can be
oProblem with his argument, he is presupposing that virtue is teachable, uses that to argue that it is.
As opposed to the professions, who should not all claim to be experts; no one should claim to be unjust. In the
assembly, one must at least pretend to be just. Socrates argues that one must have at least a bit of justice, or one is
not human. This is because of what Zeus did.
oIs it possible that some citizens are not human? Or that they aren’t “perfect” in justice?
oIf degrees of justice exist, one must pretend to be perfect.
In terms of degrees of virtue:
oAbsolute qualifications: being full; being consistent; being preganant.
oNon-absolute (relative) qualifications: being tall/short; cold/hot.
Is being just, or being good, absolute or relative?
Afflictions or evils, not of the moral kind, are things which cause illness or pain. Nobody is punished due to these
evils, for they have their source in nature or bad luck.
When one is trained, the blame all on the self.
Not living virtuously within society is an evil.
Parent does his best.
Seeee audio. Got tired.
Socratic Arguments for Identity of the Virtues
Socrates counters Protagoras by challenging his idea of virtue.
Justice and piety are unities:
1) Justice is a particular thing (330c).
2) Justice, itself, is just, not unjust.
3) Piety is a particular thing.
4) Piety is pious, not impious (330d).
5) Justice is pious, not impious (331b).
6) Piety is just, not unjust.
7) Hence, justice is the same as pious, or nearly the same, and vice versa.
8) Hence, justice is like piety, and vice versa.
That two things share attributes does not mean that they are similar.
Wisdom and temperance are unities:
1) Folly is the opposite of wisdom (332a).
2) Correct and beneficial action = temperate action.
3) People act temperately by virtue of temperance.
4) Those who act incorrectly, act foolishly and are not temperate.
5) Hence, folly is the opposite of temperance. (332b).
6) Whatever is done in the opposite way is done though the agency of its opposite (through the agency of
the opposite quality).
7) For each thing there is one and only one opposite, not many.
8) Therefore, either is it not the case that:
a.Everything has an opposite.
b. It is not the case that wisdom is distinct from temperance.
If (b), then it is also not the case that both of them are parts of virtue like parts of a face.
Courage and wisdom are unities:
1) The courageous are the confident (tharralous), eager (atimos) to approach what most people fear (349e).
2) Virtue is a fine of honorable thing, wholly so, in the highest degree. Hence, courage is wholly fine or
honorable to the highest degree.
3) Divers go into the well with confidence because of their knowledge (350a). Similarly, those who go into
4) Those who have relevant knowledge are more confident than those who have no knowledge and are more
confident after they have learned than before (350a5).
5) Confidence is often produced from knowledge (from 3 &4).
6) Confidence can be produced by ignorance.
7) But, not all confidence is courage:
a.Those who lack the knowledge of all such occupations but are yet confident in each of them are too
b. Those who are confident without knowledge are madmen.
c.If confidence equals courage, courage would be base and not noble. In this case, courage would not
be a desirable quality, (Contrary to 2)
d. Therefore, those who are confident without knowledge are not courageous.
8) The wise are confident.
9) The confident are courageous.
10) Therefore, wisdom is the same as courage.
Confidence + Knowledge = Courage.
Facts vs. Values
Moral facts grounded by descriptive facts.
In terms of applying adjectives, one must first know the subject. (Good/Bad, such as a ‘large mouse or a small
Knowing the object requires knowing the function and the desired function. (Fire hose, a good fire hose: puts out
fire quickly, material, size)
Accepting criteria for success for one’s self involves accepting rights and responsibilities based on that criteria.
oAre there descriptions of human/rational beings we cannot reject?
oCan we have a standard of evaluation or criteria of excellence for human beings? (Like a fire hose)
If so, then there are moral facts.
Looking at Ancient Virtue Ethics.
Plato and Aristotle address issues involving ‘virtue’.
What is virtue? Piety?
What is the relationship between virtue and living well?
How does virtue as a notion relate to virtue as an action?
oLooked at ‘virtues’.
What composes a virtue? Who benefits from virtuous actions? Can it be taught?
See Plato’s bio.
Different kinds of education according to Plato:
oCraft: Learn from an X to become an X.
oLearn from X to become skilled at something. (Liberal education)
Sophists taught rhetoric.
Law and Will
looking for foundational principle of morality.
Kant insists that everything, including rational beings, have a conception of laws.
Unlike unrational beings, we have the ability to understand and comprehend laws.
Rational beings can choose whether or not to be bound, can act knowingly in accordance with
The capacity to act according to principle is found in the will.
Will is practical reason: the ability to choose what is right.
Sorts of Wills:
Perfect, holy will: absolutely good.
Reason and inclination come to the same thing,
Inclination is subjective, reason is objective.
“Ought” would be out of place, it is already in place, no imperatives needed.
Subjective does not necessarily follow objective.
Not naturally driven to follow the law.
Kant's Central notion: Categorical Imperative
Categorical Imperative commands without conditions.
There is only one categorical imperative, just different ways to formulate it.
Command without conditions
Abstract from everything empirical,
Makes no reference to the consequences of actions, (unlike Mill)
Are independent of inclinations,
Capable of inspiring respect.
Consists of categorical imperatives that must be obeyed for their own sake.