SOCB42H3 Study Guide - Peitho, Doxa, Political Philosophy

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20 Apr 2012

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Philosophy and politics go way back to the time of the trial and condemnation of Socrates. Persuassion has been used in history
a lot to win political battles, but in the case of Socrates it did not prove to be that strong since he was not able to persuade the
judge of his innocence at the same time it was very effective in the case of Peitho, the Goddess of persuasion.
The spectacle of Socrates submitting his own doxa to the irresponsible opinions of the Athenians, and being outvoted by a
majority, made Plato despise opinions and yearn for absolute standards. Such standards, by which human deeds could be
judged and human thought could achieve some measure of reliability, from then on became the primary impulse of his political
Truth and opinion
The City was not a safe place for a philosopher at that time, since the people did not understand what Socrates was trying to
say and condemn him till the end Plato knew that after his death all of Socrates knowledge will go in waste and his knowledge
could only be saved by thinking within among selves and not following what all the citizens are.
Socrates knowledge was not the same as the knowledge of the Artists and poets of that time he was a philosopher. When Plato
claimed rulership for the philosopher because he alone could behold the idea of the good, the highest of the eternal essences,
he opposed the polls on two grounds: he first claimed that the philosopher's concern with eternal things did not put him at risk
of becoming a good-for-nothing, and, second, he asserted that these eternal things were even more "valuable" than they were
In the old tradition there were two kinds of Gods “The Good and the Beautiful” Plato picked up Good over Beauty and put it up
as the highest place in ideas and thinking. The reason he did this was because beauty is just something which shines but with
Goodness you can make human behaviour change and make human laws as well.
Socrates was the first philosopher not Plato who overstep the line drawn by the governments and high people at that time, his
death is a misunderstanding he never claimed to be a wise man. He always said the wisest of the man is the one who knows
that man cannot be wise.
The Tyrant of truth:
The conflict between the philosopher and the polis had come to a head because Socrates had made new demands on
philosophy precisely because he did not claim to be wise. And it is in this situation that Plato designed his Power of truth, in
which it is not what is temporally good, of which men can be persuaded, but eternal truth, of which men cannot be persuaded,
that is to rule the city.
Dialogue between friends
Socrates was trying to make friends with the people of Athens he was trying to spread the knowledge of wisedom and at the
same time was trying to attach people together in a bond of friendship and to construct a community which understand each
other. For Aristotle, friendship is higher than justice, because justice is no longer necessary between friends
The political element in friendship is that in the truthful dialogue each of the friends can understand the truth inherent in the
other's opinion. More than his friend as a person, one friend understands how and in what specific articulateness the common
world appears to the other, who as a person is forever unequal or different
Socrates always wanted every person to know him self inside out , he said It is better to be in disagreement with the whole
world than, being one, to be in disagreement with myself. It means you should know what the real truth is and always stand by
it. He also said” he be in agreement with himselfmeans don’t be confused.
What Socrates was driving at (and what Aristotle's theory of friendship explains more fully) is that living together with others
begins with living together with oneself. Socrates' teaching meant: only he who knows how to live with himself is fit to live with
Sometimes in the search to find truth with soo many opinions people get confuse which to accept and which to deny and are
sometimes left with no opinions and no facts. It is like the more deeper you go in the more harder it becomes to come out.
Philosophy, political philosophy like all its other branches, will never be able to deny its origin in thaumadzein, in the wonder at
that which is as it is. If philosophers, despite their necessary estrangement from the everyday life of human affairs, were ever
to arrive at a true political philosophy they would have to make the plurality of man, out of which arises the whole realm of
human affairs--in its grandeur and misery--the object of their thaumadzein. Biblically speaking, they would have to accept--as
they accept in speechless wonder the miracle of the universe, of man and of being--the miracle that God did not create Man,
but "male and female created He them." They would have to accept in something more than the resignation of human
weakness the fact that "it is not good for man to be alone."
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