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Philosophy Midterm

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University of Toronto St. George
Peter King

Philosophy Mid-Term Notes Socrates: Apology Summary:  Apology is an account of the speech Socrates makes at trial where he is being charge with: o Not recognizing the gods that are recognized by the state o Inventing new deities o Corrupting the youth  Socrates’ behaviour stems from a prophecy from Delphi that claimed he was the wisest of all men o Socrates recognizes his ignorance; his wisdom must stem from the fact he knows nothing  Socrates therefore must share his “wisdom” by exposing their false ignorance and question supposedly wise men (this activity gaining much admiration from Athenian youth) o “wise” people hated Socrates because of their embarrassment o Therefore he is on trial  3 main parts of the text: 1. The defence speech (the bulk of his defence and the justifications) 2. Penalty phase 3. Closing remarks Analysis:  Socrates is different from other Sages or Sophists o “what is x?”: question to inquire about the nature of a particular moral virtue o “Socratic Method”: cross-examinations of others in conversation about their beliefs to judge their soundness o “Socratic ignorance” Socrates maintained he did not know anything, or the only thing he knew was nothing, he knows he doesn’t know. o Knowledge is only necessary for virtue but is also sufficient for it (no such thing as weakness of will) o Morality is impersonal and complete, no exceptions (impersonality) and can demand anything of you (completeness) o Morality=rational enterprise: principles that stand up to argument  Socrates argues he acted properly based on 3 principles 1. It is shameful to disobey your superior, whether he be god or man 2. I am not afraid of what I don’t know 3. Its very ignorant to believe that one knows what one doesn’t know 4. I have no knowledge of the underworld (3)+(4): Socrates doesn’t know that death is evil and a bad thing for him (2) he should neither fear nor avoid death, if the other option is doing something bad (1) therefore he should act in accordance to Apollo’s demand given by the Oracle Socrates: The Crito Summary:  The imprisoned Socrates is visited by his friend Crito who has made arrangements to smuggle Socrates to exile  Socrates is willing to be executed so Crito attempts to convince him otherwise because: o Practical: Socrates’ death would look bad on his friends who did nothing to save him; Socrates should pay no attention to the financial aspect o Ethical: if he stayed he would be aiding his enemies in perusing their unjust accusations and thus would be acting unjustly himself; abandoning his sons  Socrates responds: o No one should pay attention to public opinion, only to the wise and expert o His friends should only be concerned with being good people and not with their reputation  Three Socratic Principles: Principle of Justice: one must not do injustice (wrong to do injustice, wrong, or treat people wrongly) Principle of the Just Action: one must not do injustice, even when it is recived Principle of Just Agreement: one should keep agreements, if they are just  Speech of the Laws: the social contract that exists between the laws and the citizen. One grows up around laws from birth, and shared their wealth. One can leave the laws by leaving Athens, however so long as you stay with them you are subject to them. The laws can be changed too. Since Socrates has never left Athens then he must be even more guilty. Plato- The Republic  What is Justice? How can we define it?  Plato wants to define justice in such a way that shows that justice is worthwhile in itself; ultimately leading to a definition that appeals to human psychology Chapter 1 Summary/Analysis:  Numerous definitions proposed by others: o Conventional morality (Cephalus): justice is to speak the truth and to pay one’s debts  “paying debts” is not always just o Tribal morality (Polemarchus): justice is to benefit one’s friends and not to harm one’s enemies  (i) justice is useless? (ii) why bother with justice anyway? (iii) who is a friend? o Thrasymachus (the social realist): Justice is the advantage of the stronger 1. The ruler rules for his own advantage 2. Injustice is more profitable than justice a. Justice is not a virtue b. Injustice is more profitable that justice for a city as well as an individual c. Life of the unjust is more profitable than the just  Socrates doesn’t agree Chapter 2 Summary/ Analysis  3 kinds of goods: 1. Those that are welcome for their own sake “harmless pleasures” 2. Those that are welcome for their own sake and for their consequence (knowledge and health) 3. Those that are welcome for their own consequences (dentist)  Why be moral? (Challenge by Glaucon and Adeimantus) 1. Injustice is a natural human condition devised as a conventional means to avoid the evil of injustice; a consequence of weakness 2. Ring of Gyges: no one is just willingly, anyone who acts justly does so under compulsion 3. the life of the totally unjust man is better than that of the just man. If you can merely appear to be just than you will live the ideal life.  Analogy between individual and society: a method for investigating the question of justice. A society can be just as can the individual. The construction-method allows for analysis and for normative conclusions (what should be done); build a city to find justice in the individual  Healthy society- needs and mutually interdependent production o The Principle of Specialization: Each person should do only the job in society which he or she is best suited.  Division of labour and the “meritocratic principle”  Feverish Society o New account of what a need is, the increase in population and in wealth and luxuries requires a new social class, Guardians (eventually divided in to warriors and rulers) Chapter 3 Summary  Formation of the guardians  Splitting the Guardians into Rulers and Auxiliaries o Universal Class: Plato’s view that the ruling class is a class whose interest is that of society as a whole  Ideology, Propaganda and the Noble Lie: o Myth of the Metalist: some people are born gold, others are born silver, the rest are borne bronze o Golden people deserve to rule over bronze (each person in their own deserved place)  Noble lie is a natural social convention and is not susceptible to change Chapter 4 Summary  Social Virtues (elimination method for locating justice) o Wisdom: found in society’s “sound judgement” about social matters (jurisdiction of the rulers) o Courage: found in area (i.e. the auxiliaries) of the city in charge of the preservation of beliefs about what is feared and what is not o Moderation: “harmony” or “orderliness” distributed throughout society about determining who should rule and who should be ruled  All individuals have all three parts of the soul, yet in different individuals the combinations of the three vary o The result are differences in morality within the population o Since the different components value different things, their respective jobs mirror which portion of the soul dominates  rationality=dominates the soul of the rulers  spirit=dominates the soul of the guardians  appetites=dominates the souls of the producers  the traditional virtues: 1. wisdom is part of the rational part of the soul 2. courage is the activity of the spirited part of the soul, regardless of pain or pleasure 3. moderateness is the harmony of all these parts 4. justice is each part of the soul respecting is proper place PROOF:  Principle of Opposites: the same will not do or suffer opposites, in regard to the same and towards the same, at the same time  Principle of the Relative: someone who is something are qualified; yet someone who is just themselves are simply individuals Republic 5 Summary  Platonic Forms: guarantee the objectivity and factuality of moral claims, and provide a basis of the claim that they are known by but a few. o There are moral facts o The moral facts can be known by us (moral knowledge) o Moral k
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