Plato Notes - Complete

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Janice Stein

REPUBLIC OF PLATO 24/11/10 3:07 PM Character details:- SOCRATES: Socrates is remembered chiefly as a philosopher and the teacher of Plato, but he was also a citizen of Athens, and served the military as a hoplite during the Peloponnesian War. SENETENCED TO DEATH BY DRINKING POISON HEMLOCK. GLAUCON: born circa 445 BC) son of Ariston, was the philosopher Plato's older brother. introduced to the reader as a man who loves honor, sex, and luxury. POLEMARCHUS: was the son of Cephalus of Syracuse. He had two brothers, Lysias and Euthydemus, Plato's Republic is set at Polemarchus' house in the Piraeus, which was located next to their shield manufacturing store that employed 120 skilled slaves. ADEIMANTUS: WAS A COMMANDER AND LATER APPOINTED A GENERAL CEPHALUS: AN ORATOR; son of Lysanias from Syracuse (5th c.BC) , a wealthy metic and elderly arms manufacturer living in Athens who engages in dialogue with Socrates in Plato's Republic. He was the father of orator Lysias , philosopher Polemarchus and Euthydemus. THRACYMACHUS: Thrasymachus was a citizen of Chalcedon, on the Bosphorus. His career appears to have been spent as a sophist CLEITOPHON: CHArmANTIDES: ONE F THE SILENT OBSERVERS OF THE REPUBLIC CONVERSATION. EUTHYDEMUS: SON OF CEPHALUS LYSIAS: Greek orator. He was a metic (resident foreigner) in Athens, and as such he was forbidden to speak as a Roman citizen; all his speeches were delivered by others. He and his brother were seized by the ruling oligarchy. his brother was killed but Lysias escaped. He ranks with Antiphon as a writer of clear, simple prose of great effectiveness, and his style became one model for Attic Greek prose. NICERATUS: son of Nicias, commendable writer. Greece cities were smaller and more political. It was thought that the art of speaking/rhetoric was most important to be a success as a citizen and statesman. STUDY QUESTIONS FOR THE LECTURE OF JANUARY 7 (Republic, I, 327a - 334b ) 1. Look at a page of the Republic, any page. One character says one thing; another character says another; the work proceeds by means of a series of clashes. What familiar literary form does the Platonic dialogue resemble? How do we go about interpreting such a work, whose author never speaks directly to us in his own name, but instead provides us with a cast of characters each of whom presents his own take on the world? Freedom, to be intolerant is to commit a great sin. Discovering the ineffectual truth. In modernity we find itself above all alternatives. The focus is to explore theoretical alternatives b/w modernity and others. Plato is not a character in these dialogues. The truth is dramatic or dialectical. Dramatic and subtle. One of the characters socrates makes other characters very angry. Pay attention to Sophocles. The presentation of the human world is crucial in this drama. Understand these human interaction and the truth about it. Public things or affairs=THE REPUBLIC. Ordinarily republic mean form of government. But also politics in the sense of a way of life.cephalus is the father..what he says goes. Piety supports patriot. Those who can do, those who cant they talk about it according to cephalus. Why does sophocles spend his life talking. Cephalus is content with his life in old age in response to sophocles question. Wwould it be good if eros played no role in manss life at all ? nostaligia for his lost youth by cephalus. Classical thought aims higher than modern political thought and therefore aims for the beautiful rather than erotic. a good character and money is necessary for a good old age in response to Socrates old age rude question. Cephalus is not the greatest money maker. He is a little ashamed o admit the fear of punishment in the afterlife. He didnt even concern himself with justice before. The money consoles him against what lies beyond. This is the initial presentation of the problem of justice. It is practice only under duress. In fear of the evils inflicted by the gods. it Is not that justice is good for you but the divine punishment is bad. Socrates objection has no mention of the g Gods, the principle behind Socrates reformation. Although all truth telling to other has become dependent on justice. Polemarchus intervenes; in duty to stand by his father. Cephalus Heir, who understands justice as selfless loyalty. Can justice be defined in terms of self interests. Polemarchus seeks to defend cephalus position. 331 e-332 b. POLEMARCHES LEAVES THE GODS OUT OF THE COVERSATION AS WELL. He tries to explain justice on the basis of friendship. THERE ARE LIMITS TO EUALITY. Most of us believe in the equality of opportunity. Help those who helped us and harm those who harm usChristian context. In cephalus exchange there is a selfish concern. In polemarchus THEREI IS MORE CONCERN WITH FRIENDSHIP HE IS A MORE NOBLE SOLE THAN HIS FATHER. Cephalus uses money to atone for his sins. There is always a certain political dimension to justice. They both define justice with respect to self interest. Polemarchus tries to solve the dichotomy of jusice, with the friend and enemy distinctions. Socrates 332 c. autocraft a useful art rather than fine arts. Justice is understood as giving what is fitting. Justice must be based on a form of expertise. 332 e. not an adequate answer by polemarchus w.r.t warfare. And in peacetime, justice is useful when money is useless. Justice is viewed as a glorified security guard hired at minimum wage. Ultimately polemarchus answers wont stand Socrates scrutiny. 333 e. contradiction in the robber comment. It takes a thief to catch a thief. Justice is an art therefore unidentifiable. Crazy dialogues! Even Plato understands how crazy these dialogues are. In book one there will be three definitions of justice. We usually call justice rather than an art, its a virtue, a moral disposition. The just man maybe a simple righteous person, knowledge and intention lie behind a righteous man. So it must and must not be an art. 2. The settings of Platonic dialogues are important. The discussion reported in the Republic takes place in the Piraeus, the seaport of Athens. Youve all heard what seaports are like. You may even have visited one, perhaps even as a drunken sailor. Is this the appropriate setting for a discussion of the meaning of justice? Dont such discussions belong in universities? 3. There are some conversations in which we participate willingly, and others that are forced upon us. Does Socrates submit to this one willingly or unwillingly? Did not intend to spend the day in the conversation. 320b. stronger and unreasonable; polemarchus. Philosopher kings was the major forms of regime rules. In the real world philosophers wishes are easily brushed aside. Socrates seems powerless at the beginning of the conversation. Power and wisdom. The greatest innovation of all; philosophy was created over the great waters and ports. New goddess inauguration in Venice festival. 4. To hear old Cephalus tell it, he and Socrates have a lot in common. In particular, they both like to talk. Do they have as much in common as Cephalus supposes? If Cephalus enjoys talking so much, why does he leave the discussion almost before it gets started? 5. The discussion between Socrates and Cephalus is brief, but no too brief to teach us something important about justice. Namely? 6. Polemarchus presents himself to the departing Cephalus as the heir of his father's argument about justice. Is the position that he takes up the same one that Cephalus has laid down? 7. What is going on in the early stages of the discussion with Polemarchus? Somehow Socrates makes the assumption that justice must be an art, like plumbing or shoemaking. Why would anyone assume this? In fact, however, neither he nor Polemarchus can identify this presumed art of justice. Why cant they? 8. The Athenians came to hate Socrates, finally putting him to death. Do you think that you could come to hate him too?
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