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PHIL exam notes.doc

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Philosophy Exam Notes on the Course Socrates The Apology Socrates different in seven ways o Notorious for pressing the What-is-X question, specifically to inquire into he nature of moral virtue (usually of a particular moral virtue) o The Socratic Method (elenchus) was to cross examine his interlocutors about their beliefs, usually on moral matters, to judge their soundness, often ended without definitive resolution Questions Meletus in Apology: Doesnt really matter if Socrates is the one corrupting the youth, Meletus needs to prove that he himself does not o Socratic Irony o 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) 23b: this man among you, mortals, is wisest who, like Socrates, understands that his wisdom is worthless The priestess at Delphi states that Socrates is the most wise of all Must prove that he is the wisest because the Gods wish him to (mission) Sent to Athenians to call them to account Wise in the sense that he knows that he doesnt know anything o Holds that knowledge is not only necessary for virtue but also sufficient for it, which led him to deny the reality of weakness of will o Held that morality is impersonal and complete, that is, it makes no special exceptions and can demand anything of you o Held that morality is a rational enterprise: it is based on principles that need to stand up to explanation and argument TWO IMPORTANT THINGS THAT COME OUT OF THE APOLOGY 1. The philosopher is like the Gadfly 2. The unexamined life is not worth living The Crito Critos moral arguments 1 o a) Socratess death will be a loss for Crito and the other disciples Hence it is natural for them to do all they can to avoid this loss o b) 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 have o c) Socrates should not be concerned about possible repercussions for his escape They are willing to take the risk o d) If Socrates refuses to escape he will be implicitly endorsing the judges verdict Be doing to himself what his enemies would do to him o e) Socrates will be acting irresponsibly and be betraying his sons by not being around to look after them Moral Methodology, or, How to Settle Moral Questions Three Socratic Moral Principles o Principle of Justice One must not do injustice That is, it is wrong to do injustice, or to do wrong, or to treat people wrongly o Principle of Just Action One must not do injustice, even for injustice received o Principle of Just Agreements One should keep agreements, provided they are just Socrates wants to know how to live with a brain o Easy to merely live (Crito) o But its not merely living, but living rightly When deciding to escape o Socrates says to think it through Think of some basic moral principles and see how they apply to the situation Moral philosophy Try to live life based on these principles Plato The Republic-Book 1 Cephalus (conventional morality) o Justice is to speak the truth and to pay ones debts Socrates objects that paying ones debts is not always just-hence Cephaluss definition is too broad, including things that arent just 2 Polemarchus (tribal morality) o Justice is to benefit ones friends and to harm ones enemies Socrates argues that Justice would then be a useless craft It is a craft that one may have without being just at all 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 (morally worsen) anyone Thrasymachus (social realist) o Justice is the advantage of the stronger. This involves two separate theses A: the ruler rules for his own advantage Justice is only a way for those in power to stay in power Why not look at the actual world and see how people use justice, not philosophically View to beat B: Injustice is more profitable justice B1: justice is not a virtue B2: Injustice is more profitable than justice, for a city as well as for an individual B3: the life of the unjust man is more profitable than the life of the just man The Republic-Book 2 Three kinds of goods o a) Those that are welcome for their own sake Joy and harmless pleasures o Those that are welcome for their own sake and for their consequences Knowledge and health Socrates classifies justice here o Those that are welcome for their consequences Going to the dentist Everyone else classifies justice here The Challenge of Glaucon and Adeimantus: Why be moral? Injustice is the natural human condition o Justice has been devised as a conventional means to avoid the evil of suffering injustice o As a consequence of weakness Weak unite together to avoid the consequences o Hence, there is no motive to be just if one is powerful enough to not require such conventional protection o Justice is present mainly because of the fear of getting caught 3 The Ring of Gyges o No one is just willingly o Anyone who acts justly does so under compulsion o In absence of compulsion or sanction, no one would willingly choose to be just The life of the totally unjust man is better than the life of the totally just man o Unjust man who appears to be totally just/ just man who appears totally unjust o What matters in life is perception o Totally just man, who appears unjust, will be: whipped, tortured stretched on the rack, imprisoned, have his eyes burnt out, and suffering every kind of evil, he will be impaled o Whereas the totally unjust man will reap all the conventional rewards and pleasures of life Building the Republic If we watch a society come into being in theory, we could also see where justice comes into being as well as injustice o Allows for normative conclusions about what is to be done o Control over model Healthy Society o Needs and mutually interdependent production o PRINCIPLE OF SPECIALIZATION Each person do the job which they are best suited more Meritocratic society No more than a society of pigs Feverish Society o Take a more flexible view of what counts as a need than previously The Republic-Book 3 Construction of Feverish Society=need for a Guardian class o Someone completely loyal to citizens and merciless towards outsiders o Mould character through education Right kind of education makes all the difference Split the Guardians into the Rulers and the Auxiliaries o Ideal of universal class Class whose interest is that of society as a whole Whether it is possible to create such a class 4
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