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Political Science
Course Code
Clifford Orwin
Study Guide

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Pol200 to MARCH 29 2012
- St. Agustin lived in 5thC. in North Africa
- Mamonidies lived in Islamic spain
- Iben Rouch wiring in Spain Arabic
- They bring multiculturalism
- Why are we still reading these old book? our political institutions are tied to these traditions
o It’s like a family tree (born in Athens)
- In all these texts, it’s possible to read from a gender perspective
- Central notion of rationalism and reason
Lecture Outline 1
Intellectual Context: Why do we start with the Greeks?
a) Ionian revolution:
- Culture etc has moved from east to west
- They wrote in Greek they were Greek, but it was east of Greece, they expect the world to be
- Ionia into Greece now how should we live our lives?
- They asked questions in a particular way not clearly
o They were interested in physicist questions the way the world worked, its physical
o Convinced humans can understand that order (cosmos)
o You need to know about history /stories
o But, it creates a world that is riddled with arbitrariness
o They tried to explain the world in rational terms
o But they didn’t reject divinity – just rejected the pagan approach
o Humans can understand the world and THUS control their own destiny/make it less
- They were philosophers
- They moved to ethics and politic questions
- Throughout Plato, it’s an understanding of the pagan system?
- Socrates was accused of investigating things in heaven and earth aka being an Ionian because
the way they approached the world challenged the pagan ways
- Rational account of the universe (cosmos)
- What is philosophy? What is the Western philosophical tradition?
b) Socrates/Plato:
- Rational account of the good life (polis)
- Fusion of ethics and politics
- It’s tied to using reason – rationality and applying human reason to the problem of the world
- Being a good person was connected to living in a good society ethics and poiltics
Historical Context
a) Periclean Age
- Success of democracy

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- (Democratic reform in Athens began by direct democracy citizens had to do something - all
citizens were expected to participate! 508)
- First challenge the democratic regime had to face was Persia
- Persia marched into Greece they cave! But Athens decided to resist the Persian invasion
Marathon=(490) and beat Darius and then Salanes= 480 beat Zurkses
- It elevates Athens everyone’s looking at them to be leader of the Greek world
o Athens is greedy, so the alliances become lopsided,
o Athens becomes centres of culture
- Athens was major power for 100 yrs, the demo reforms come in and by 404 Athens is defeated,
b) Peloponnesian War
- Failure of democracy corrupt politicians, mobs, bad decisions z
- Athens loses the war because it fucked its allies with lopsided relationships
- The period of 100 yrs created art, literature etc which lasted till today
- They fall to Sparta
- He grew up in the worst time (plagues, terrible politicians) (Socrates)
- A democratic regime arrests Socrates, tries, and executes him
- Socrates and the Sophists
- Socrates never wrote anything
- He’s primarily a character in Plato’s dialogue
- He was a teacher he had students
- Why was he a Sophist?
o If you were a citizen with money, when you got to college, you went there for
democratic politics you had to persuade people it was learning how to persuade and
argue all sorts of topics
o Sophists = traveling professors who would teach persuasion and argument to their
o Sophist= art of clever argument clever = making weak seem strong
o In Socrates trial, he was accused of making weak arguments seem strong
o He wasn’t a Sophist –
o 1- he never took any money/ fees
o 2-didn’t teach ppl the skills to succeed in politics – he taught ppl to seek truth no matter
what and never back down challenge authority
o 3-he claimed he was never teaching anything ‘just wanted to know what you know’
- Central dilemma of the Republic if you like the truth, you will not like politics
- Socrates and Plato relationship
- When you read the book, is it Plato or Socrates speaking?
o You can look at it as Socrates not being a person
- Socratic vs. Platonic view Socrates is not the same philosopher as Plato

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o Socrates spent his life trying to better people, challenge things, etc more reflective,
think more, rid rationalities practical wanted to make people better people “why did
you say that” etc – moralist
o Plato est. a school, wrote dialogues with full metaphysics philosopher
- Socratic irony- book 1 has lots of it
o When Socrates says “I don’t know anything” – “you tell me” – it turns out the person
who he claims to have knowledge, doesn’t have knowledge –
o He sets u on a path which will get you to know something, if you think you know nothing
- Socratic elenchus- common in book 1
o A form of argumentation that’s irritating
o Someone starts with a premise but they end up coming to a conclusion that’s opposite
to what they initially thought
o Logical type of argument that tries to show the person who puts forward the premise is
confused, and lack of knowledge is exposed
- Platonic dialogue
o Book is constructed by Plato
o He’s communicating his philosophical ideas through a structure?
o Socrates is a pious person
o Every sentence has a point
What is The Republic about?
- Education
- Laws etc. shape people
- People are different depending on the society they live in
- Justice
- Offers a view of an ideal city
- Achieving a certain balance within the just world world
- Philosophy
- A life dedicated to truth
- How to pursue the truth and the obstacles getting to the truth main obstacle is politics itself
- The scene is set
- Views of Justice:
- Cephalus- an older man on his way out
o Justice is honesty in word and deed
o Conclude: Socrates isn’t rude to him, he’s respectful of him –
Means the view that he’s putting forward isn’t threatening Athens,
Important for Plato and Socrates to distance themselves from certain
conservatisms / distance themselves
- Polemarchus Cephalus’s son, wants career in Politics
o Justice is helping friends and harming enemies
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