Philosophy Midterm Study Note
Monday, 12 December
Large Gym, North and South Ends
Benson Building, 320 Huron Street (south of Harbord St.), 2 Floor.
Short Answer Questions: identify the philosopher associated with the term or phrase, and explain
its meaning briefly.
APOLOGY AND CRITO- Socrates
Socrates was distinctive in ways:
1. Socratic Irony
2. Socratic Ignorance
Socrates always maintained that he did not know anything, or that the only thing he
knew was that he knew nothing, or that he knew nothing of value, or that he knows
what he does not know (which is most things or at least most important things).
3. Socratic Method(elenchus)
A method to cross-examine Socrates beliefs on moral matters and to judge their
soundness, or annoying random people on their moral virtues for fun!
4. Weakness of will
Where one knows better and does worse, desire overpowering a persons will to do
Socrates seems to have held that knowledge is not only necessary for virtue but also
sufficient for it, which led him to deny the reality of weakness of will and related
5. Socrates held that morality is impersonal and complete, that is, it makes no special
exceptions (impersonality) and can demand anything of you (completeness).
6. Rational enterprise
What Socrates hold as morality, based on principles that need to stand up to
examination and argument.
Socrates Three Moral Principles:
Principle of Justice- one must not do injustice (its wrong to do injustice, do wrong& treat
people wrongly), pretty self explanatory.
Principle of Just Action-one must not do injustice, even for injustice received(revenge is
bad) Principle of Just Agreements- one should keep arguments, provided they are just if
someone asks you to hold their machete, it would be just for you to return them. However,
if the person returns stumbling drunk, it wouldnt be right to return the machete.
He contradicts himself because he violates his own principles and that of the law. He says, I
have held it for a long time and still hold it(49e). So in terms of the speech of laws he will abide
by the laws when he is in prison but didnt do so when asked to arrest Leon of Salamis. Then he
violates The Principle of Just Agreements and Actions because he would choose to act against
the courts gag order.
The early accusations
Socrates studies things in the sky and below the earth
Socrates makes the worse argument appear the better
Socrates teaches these same things to others
Judical Gag Order:
Socrates doesnt believe what the question is saying he believes. Socrates believes in following
only when they are coherent with the 3 principles stated in the Crito.
Critos Moral Arguments
Socrates death will be a loss for Crito and the other disciples, and hence it is natural for
them to do all they can to avoid this loss
Crito and the others run the risk of getting a bad reputation if it seems that they did not
get Socrates out when they could well have done so
That Socrates should not be concerned about possible repercussions from his escape,
because they are willing to take the risk
If Socrates refuses to escape he will be implicitly endorsing the judges verdict, and
indeed would be doing to himself what his enemies would do to him
Socrates will be acting irresponsibly and be betraying his sons by not being around to
look after them
The divided line is Platos metaphysical/epistemological hierarchy.
There are 4 epistemological levels:
2. Beliefs about physical things
3. Abstract/mathematical knowledge
4. Philosophical understanding, Which correspond to 4 metaphysical levels:
2. Physical objects
3. Abstract and mathematical objects
4. The Forms
The Divided Line: One of the examples Plato tells in order to tell the readers
something about the forms. In this case, the divided line is showing where the
form actually is. So according to the line the form is in the intelligible ream with
the mathematical knowledge while the others: images and opinions are in the
Justice is to speak the truth and to pay ones debts. Against this, Socrates objects
that paying ones debts is not always just-hence Cephaluss definition is too
broad, including things that arent just.
Justice is to benefit ones friends and to harm ones enemies. Against this
Socrates argues that
1. justice would then be a useless craft
2. it is a craft that one may have without being just at all
3. it isnt clear who is a friend and who is an enemy, and even if the definition
were revised to take this into account, it still isnt just to harm anyone.
The Social Realist/Thrasymachus
Justice is the advantage of the stronger. This involves two separate theses:
1. The ruler rules for his own advantage.
2. Injustice is more profitable than justice.
Justice is not a virtue
Injustice is more profitable than justice, for a city as well as for an
The life of the unjust man is more profitable than the life of the just man
Three Kinds of Goods
1. those that are welcome for their own sakes (joy, harmless pleasures)
2. those that are welcome for their own sake and for their consequences (knowledge, health)
3. those that are welcome for their consequences alone (going to the dentist)
Three Arguments against justice 1. Injustice is the natural human condition; justice has been devised as a conventional means to
avoid the evil of suffering injustice, as a consequence of weakness. Hence there is no motive to
be just if one is powerful enough to not require such conventional protection.
2. The Ring of Gyges-Plato
How people will act when authority or rule is not enforced and the mean to
create injustice are given. Even when the person is a law abiding citizen, if given
the means will commit crimes.
3. Putting aside the good consequences of justice and the evil consequences of injustice, the life of
the totally unjust man is better than the life of the totally just man. Imagine a totally unjust man
who appears to all to be just, and a totally just man who appears to all unjust. This is to sharply
distinguish what is due to each in virtue of what each one is as opposed to how each one
appears to be. The totally unjust man, who appears unjust, will be whipped, stretched on the
rack, imprisoned, have his eyes burnt out, and, after suffering every kind of evil, he will be
impaled- whereas the totally unjust man will reap all the conventional rewards and pleasures
of life. It seems obvious that the life of the totally unjust man would be preferable.
Principle of Specialization- Plato
The members of society best fitted for the jobs are given them in order for
society to function properly.
Meritocratic principle(society of pigs): Basically that people do what they are best
at, as the Principle of Specializaiton, a meritocracy is based on merit, so if you
are good at making shoes, you are to be a shoe-maker.
Take a more flexible view of what counts as a need than previously. The increase
in population and in wealth and luxuries requires a new social class, not in the
Healthy Society, namely the Guardians. This class eventually divides into 2, the
warriors and the rulers.
a perfectly harmonious soul (the appetitive part is ruled by reason, but in
pursuing luxuries, you are solely being ruled by the appetitive part of your soul,
and thus, there is no real harmony)is one where all three parts accept that reason
So is a perfectly harmonious Feverish society, one where reason rules
(Philosopher king or something), possible? If it were, is it not possible for it to
avoid conflict, even while expanding? It doesn't need to always happen. As long
as it's possible though, haven't we shown that there won't always be conflict?
The challenge in producing a human guardian- someone completely loyal to
citizens and merciless toward outsiders.