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PHIL 1100 Final: Final Exam Notes on all Philosophers

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PHIL 1100
Henry Jackman

Finals Review Socrates Plato’s Apology - Socrates did try to show the jury that the charges against him were false, he did nothing to try to win their sympathy or plead for their mercy - Socrates makes it clear that sticking to his own moral principles is more important to him than proposing the sort of punishment that would allow him to escape his trial with his life - Socrates will argue that virtue itself is one of those things (the clearest way to show that you take something to be the most important thing in your life is to be willing to die for it) that we would be willing to die for o Virtue trumps our fear of death - Death is not a bad thing (no reason to fear death  two reasons not to fear death) 1. A) my orcacle warns me against any action that would have bad consequences for me B) my oracle didn’t warn me against defending myself as I did C) having defended myself as I did has my death as a consequence D) Therefore, death cannot be something bad for me 2. A) Death is either like an endless deep sleep or involves an afterlife B) there is no reason for anyone to fear anything like an endless deep sleep C) there is no reason for the just to fear the afterlife D) Therefore, there is no reason for the just to fear death The good person cannot be harmed in life either - “No evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death” o What this really means is that things that are traditionally viewed as evil (death, disease, poverty, etc.) are not really evil at all o The only thing that can really hurt us are things that damage the soul  injustice The examined life - Life does have a purpose, someone who does not examine their lives will not find that purpose, and so someone who does not examine their lives will not have a life that is worth living Plato’s Crito - Crito (Socrates’ friends) gives Socrates a number of reasons for escaping his execution, mainly that (1) Socrates would save his own life, (2) Socrates would be able to bring up his own children, many of whom were still young, (3) his friends would miss him, and most people would think ill of them for not arranging his escape o Socrates is not persuaded by these reasons, thinking that (1) death is not to be feared as much as injustice, (2) his children would be better off growing up at citizens in Athens than they would following him in exile, and (3) public opinion does no one any real harm or good Socrates’ main reasons for not escaping is that the thinks doing so would be unjust and that it is never correct to act unjustly 1. Escaping would harm the city 2. The city is like a parent 3. Escaping is like harming a parent 4. Harming a parent is unjust 5. Escaping would be unjust 6. Unjust actions corrupt the soul 7. Escaping would corrupt one’s soul 8. Life is worthless with a corrupted body 9. The soul is more important than the body 10. Life is worthless with a corrupted soul 11. The life of an escapee is worthless 12. It is better to die than escape Epictetus and Stoicism - The promotion of the agent’s own good o There is no sense in which you should sacrifice your own good to promote the good of others o Rather, the view is that if you recognize what your own good really is, you will see that there is no conflict between promoting your own ends and supporting the common good - Epictetus focused more on ethics o We ought not to lie o “Remove aversion from all things that are not in our control, and transfer it to things contrary to…. What is in our control” ▪ If that is too much, we should at least “totally suppress desire: for, if you desire any of things which are not in your own control, you must necessarily be disappointed” o If we want to avoid disappointment (which comes from a mismatch between what we want and what actually happens), Epictetus advice is “don’t demand that things happen as you wish, but wish that they happen as they do happen” ▪ It is foolish to want things beyond your control o The ‘external’ things that we should learn to be indifferent towards include wealth, fame, honour, and even the well being of our loved ones ▪ By tailoring our desires this way, we can attain true freedom since we come to have control over the things we want One can attain such perfection by engaging in the three related disciplines: 1. The discipline of desire: where we train ourselves only to want what is in our control 2. The discipline of action: where we train ourselves only to act in ‘accordance with nature’ and not be moved by passions that have not yet be eliminated through the other disciplines 3. The discipline of assent: where we come to view things as they are, and thus recognize apparent evils like health and wealth as ultimately indifferent and not to be valued in themselves Epicurus • Egoistic Hedonism o We only look for pleasure in life o All that we do is with the end game of seeking our own pleasure. o For example, if you are donating to charity, which is "selfless" an epicurean would see it as a goal of gaining your own pleasure o He may also believe that when you do good, it is with yourself in mind, such as if you do good to end up in heaven, or for good karma, it is still self-serving • He also believes that to secure the most pleasure in life, look at the long term pleasure more than the immediate gratification o For example, he would believe that while, yes, drinking wine is pleasurable, and thus a good thing, the pain that comes from it, such as hangovers, liver damage, embarrassment, etc., are greater, and thus if you want a life more pleasurable, you should avoid such behavior • Also important to note, Epicurus did not belief in an afterlife, however he did still believe that death is something that should not be feared o 1. We should only fear that which causes us to suffer. o 2. Everyone is either alive or dead. o 3. Death doesn't produce suffering in the living, since they have not yet died. o 4. Death doesn't produce suffering in the dead, since they don't experience anything at all. o 5. Death causes suffering for neither the living nor the dead. (From 3 & 4.) o 6. Death doesn't cause suffering for anyone. (From 2 & 5.) 7. We shouldn't fear Death. (From 1 & 6.) • Epicurus four Maxims: o Don’t fear god • Fear of divine punishment can cause anxiety, and thus spoil the happiness of their lives. • This can be avoided if one comes to believe that the gods don’t care about what we do, and thus we have no reason to fear o Don’t fear death • Death itself, i.e. your non-existence, is not fearful, but what is fearful is the dying • Pragmatic reasons ▪ Fearing death causes you grief and interferes with your life ▪ Leads to a less enjoyable life so stop fearing • Epistemic Reasons ▪ Relates to the truth or falseness of the argument ▪ Death is the succession of life, therefore you cannot die while living ▪ In order to suffer, there needs to be a living subject to give experience, further if your dead, you are not living, therefore there is no living subject to experience o The good is easy to get • Believes our natural desires (basic food and shelter) are easy to get • If we remove our desires for such things (wealth, fame, etc.) we can be just as happy without them as those who have them, and thus save ourselves trouble, as we only desire this limited range of things o The bad is easy to endure • If it lasts for a long time, it can be low intensity • If it is of high intensity pain, it is usually brief JUSTICE • Epicurus takes justice to be a set of rules generated to maximize our collectivepleasures • living unjustly causes mental anguish, making life unpleasable and undesirable. If you live justly, you are living without pain and turmoil and achieving the ultimate goal of pleasure • Furthermore, it is not the getting caught that affects us, it is living knowing we have acted unjustly, and the fear of being caught that reduces our pleasure and happiness in life and causes anxiety • Is pleasure really our ultimate good? • Nozick's experience machine o A machine that allows us to experience any pleasure we want in life; we can also set the machine so we would not know that these experiences were not real. Would we be willing to live our whole lives plugged into the machine, where we could also experience the setbacks, etc. o He wouldn’t hook up to the machine, believes it would be "a kind of suicide" o There are other things we value then just pleasure and experiencing pleasure, it is also doing things. Nagel • Three problems regarding death which he argues against; o what you don’t know can’t hurt you • the only way a person can be subjected to unpleasant experiences is if they have knowledge of what is going on • Nagel argues by stating: adverse things can happen to a person even if the person is not aware of said things happening ▪ I.e. it is not the finding out, but rather the act of being betrayed that is harmful/unkind ▪ If someone cheats on you, whether or not you know it, it is still bad. It is not bad because you found out, it is bad because of the action o who actually suffers after a death • The potential person that was deprived of future possibilities has been harmed o whether there is symmetry between a posthumous and prenatal state • You can't want to be born earlier, but can ask to die later, under certain circumstances • Being born 10 years earlier would not equivocate to living 10 years longer • that positive experiences cannot be taken away from someone who is prenatal because they have yet to exist and attain these goods, whereas someone posthumous has now lost the attainability of goods Aristotle ‘Happiness’ as the primary goal - Believed there are some things which are intrinsically good, that is, that we choose for their own sake - The ‘ultimate’ goal of all action is happiness, since even things that we choose for their own sake, we also choose for the sake of happiness (happiness is a ‘complete’ good) o Eudaimonia (Greek term for “happiness”, translates directly to “well-being”) has associations that are less purely psychological - The difference between Aristotle’s conception of happiness and ours is perhaps at its clearest when we consider whether we judge a life to be a success or failure, and in this respect, the fortunes of one’s descendants can clearly affect how successful one’s life was o One’s ‘happiness’ can be affected by events even after death ▪ i.e. early physicists, radiation researchers died (Hiroshima & nuclear bomb), however, their legacy affects the future • benefits i.e. radiation dye to discover diseases in the body, radiotherapy for cancer o These events happened after the scientist’s death, but their “legacy”, whether or not they have a “good” life can be affected after their death Happiness and Human Function - Wealth, for instance, is something we desire for the sake of acquiring other things (like pleasure and honour), and so not a realistic candidate for what our ultimate goal is (that is, it is primarily an instrumental rather than an intrinsic good, and thus not a candidate for what the ultimate good is Aristotle takes the three most serious candidates for the ultimate good to be (1) pleasure, (2) honour, and (3) wisdom Aristotle thinks that, we, as people, must have a function that distinguishes us from all other things (just like how a chair has the function to be sat upon and that function is what distinguishes it from other pieces of furniture) - He thinks what distinguishes us from everything else is our ability to reason  “rational animals” o The human virtues let us perform our function well Happiness and external goods Aristotle describes the types of goods that go into a good life into three categories, the goods of the body, the goods of the soul and what he calls ‘external’ goods (things like wealth, family, etc.) - Aristotle claims “[happiness] needs the external goods as well; for it is impossible, or not easy, to do noble acts without the proper equipment… and there are some things the lack of which takes the luster from happiness… for the man who is very ugly in appearance or ill-born is not very likely to be happy” o External goods, while important, are never enough on their own to make our life a good one - Aristotle thinks that if we are unlucky, we won’t have a good life, no matter how good we are - Virtue may not be sufficient to make a life a good one, but it is still necessary for it o You can be virtuous but not happy, but you can’t be happy without being virtuous Happiness and pleasure - Aristotle stresses some things are found to be pleasant which are not ‘by nature’ pleasant o Our pleasure often conflicts because we often find pleasurable things which are not ‘by nature’ pleasant o Bad pleasures are still pleasurable to the people who enjoy them (people who ‘know better’ will avoid such pleasures - Aristotle makes a point similar to Nozick that there are certain lives that we would reject (in this case the life of someone with the intellect of a child) even if that life promised more pleasure than ours o There may be disagreements between people about what pleasures are really good, and Aristotle suggests that the properly functioning person should be the standard in such cases Happiness and virtue - Aristotle’s conception of happiness involves activity of the soul in accordance with virtue, since virtue, on its own, isn’t enough to make a life good - Aristotle takes the type of virtue relevant to happiness to be the virtues of the soul rather than the body - The soul can be characterized as having three parts o 1. The ‘vegetative’ soul: this is a type of soul that is found in all living creatures, and is thus non-rational and is just concerned purely with biological functions (breathing, growth, etc.) o 2. The ‘appetitive’ soul: this is an ‘irrational’ element of the soul that is tied to our appetites and desires and it can be responsive to reasons in the way that the vegetative soul can’t. This part of the soul can listen to the rational element ▪ Moral virtues like courage, liberality o 3. The reasoning soul: this is the type of soul that we share with the divine and not with the rest of the animal kingdom ▪ Intellectual virtues like understanding and practical wisdom - The virtues of the soul are distinguished in terms of the parts of the soul that they are related to, and so virtue too is distinguished into different forms such as intellectual, moral, and philosophic wisdom Happiness, reason, & contemplation - Aristotle concludes that a ‘life of reason’ will be the happiest one o Advantages of a life of reason include “the excellence of reason” and being the “most self-sufficient” - Aristotle claims that contemplation is an activity done alone for its own sake (since it’s a loved activity) o The pleasures of reason and contemplation tend to be the most durable and long lasting o The life of contemplation seems best connected to the human function 1. The best and pleasantest life for anything is that which fills its proper function 2. The life of reason fills the proper function of man 3. The life of reason is the best and pleasantest for man 4. The life of reason is the happiest for man Aristotle argues that the life of reason and contemplation will be the happiest, since the Gods are the happiest of us all, and contemplation is what is most characteristic of their own lives 1. The Gods live a life of contemplation 2. The Gods live the happiest life 3. The life of contemplation is the most Godlike 4. The life of contemplation will be the happiest Aristotle’s conclusion seems to follow from his conception of humans as ‘rational animals’ Marx • Creative work is what makes us distinctly human. It is essential to having a meaningful life • Four types of alienation o Alienation from the product of work, things we produce • Workers do not get to see the final product • The product of the labor is separate from ourselves o Alienation from the act of production • is at home when he is not working, and when he is working he is not at home. His work ... is forced labor. It is therefore not the satisfaction of a need, but only a means for satisfying needs external to it • Work is a means to other ends, not to an end itself (we work for the sake of other things, not for its own sake) o Alienation from our species being • Alienation from our humanity • "In degrading spontaneous activity, free activity, to the level of a means, alienated labor makes man's species life a means for his physical existence" In other words, our essence becomes a mere means for our existence o Alienation from other people • that man's species being is alienated from him means that one man is alienated from another, just as each of them is alienated from human nature • if society were arranged differently (that is, according to his conception of communism)1 , a meaningful life might be possible for everyone. • I.e. aria works at science centre, and is thus alienated from the other departments Hume • Suicide is sometimes permissible • In his time, large religious influence on society • His essays, on suicide, aim was to "restore men to their native liberty, by examining all the common arguments against Suicide, and showing that that action may be free from every imputation of guilt or blame" • While Hume was an atheist, he assumed the beliefs of others • If suicide is criminal, it must be a transgression to god, our neighbour (other humans), or myself • These are not adequate • Duty to god o Suicide is impious only if its impious to alter the period of your life o If it is impious to alter the period of your life, medicine is impious o Taking medicine is not impious o It isn't impious to alter the period of your life o Suicide is not impious • Duty to Neighbour o Gives the example of a man captured by enemies who will give up secrets under torture • Duty to Ourselves o Hthat the horror of death meant that the choice of death itself would not be chosen through minor reasons and rationale. o He did believe that there were situations where suicide was not only permissible, but part of a duty to ourselves, such as when was challenged by “age, sickness, or misfortune” Schopenhauer • Main point :tates that every feeling of satisfaction consists of freedom from pain • Suffering of the world o Has a pessimistic point of view o "Unless suffering is the direct and immediate object of life, our existence must entirely fail of its aim" o Believes the longer you live, on the whole, you will see life as a disappointment o Animals appear to enjoy a happier destiny then man for a number of reasons • Human life is dominated by anxiety of our future death • Animals don’t care what other animals think of them • Animals don’t get bored, humans do, which is a downright scourge(sucks) • The Vanity of existence o Our time in the universe, in the grand scheme of things, is vanishingly small • On suicide and the will to live o If will is the underlying substance in existence, and existence is structured by suffering, the best way to minimize suffering is resisting the will to live. Basically, if will is the main point to existence, and existence is measured in suffering, the best way to minimize suffering is stop willing to live o However, he doesn’t think trying to end our life is an acceptable way of denying the will to live because suicide stops the attainment of the highest moral aim, s a real release from this world of misery, it substitutes one that is merely apparent" • Contemplation and the Transcendental view of life o Rather than giving up on life, we should live with intellect. o While will is pervasive and common, each of us has a unique intellect, and it is this that should be nurtured o A life lived according to the intellect is not only more admirable and unique, but will be less subjected to sufferings of the world. Nietzsche • Intellectual conscience and the teacher of the "purpose of existence" o Most people lack an "intellectual conscience" • We believe things without wondering either we believe these things, why and whether there is actually any reason to think the things we believe in are true • It applies to our entire world view, not only political, religious, etc. • I.e. we may assume that our belief system is true as it lets us "get by," since if it works, it must be at least largely true o Nietzsche argues that life is not an argument, and the conditions of life may include error • Just because a belief is adaptive (meaning it lets us act more effectively) it does not follow that the belief is true o We need to believe in a reason to live • Even if life is meaningless, the belief of such can be devastating • "man must from time to time believe he knows why he exists; his race cannot thrive without a periodic trust in life – without faith in the reason in life!" o Usually, attempts to make sense of the world are overthrown, as the order over the world that they impose is not the worlds own • The death of God o Previously, there were different ways in which we attempted to believe in some higher power, be it god, zeus, etc. with difference conceptions of what god is like o With the scientific world, the belief in god was not replaced with a belief in a new "god" but rather with a faith that the universe is "Godless" o The Madman notes that we have killed god. • Not that god "existed" but rather we killed the world that was structured by our belief in god, and that belief has been lost • Nietzsche points out that even as atheists, they still view the world in "theological" terms, where life has a purpose, the universe is ordered, etc. • The 'Death of God' should force us to take a hard look at what justifies, among other things, our moral framework. Our moral practice doesn't simply fade away when you give up the theoretical picture that purportedly justifies it because, according to Nietzsche, the justification we give for many of our practices doesn't actually explain why we engage in it. • The Herd Instinct and the slave revolt in morality o Wherever we encounter a morality, we find an evaluation and ranking of human drives and actions. These evaluations and rankings are always the expression of the needs of a community and herd: that which benefits it the most. o As what is in the best interest varies from herd to herd, what counts as morality varies as well o Nietzsche argues 2 sorts of morality • The positive "master" morality that came naturally to the conquering warrior classes, and the reactive "slave" morality that developed among the people who had been conquered • master morality works with the intuitive characteristics of 'good' and 'bad' with the 'good' properties being those that were manifestly desirable to members of the conquering class, i.e. good looks, wealth, etc. the 'bad' was just the opposite of the good, i.e. the ugly, the weak • slaves, who were 'bad' according to this original moral system, turned it on its head, arguing that their cruel masters were 'evil' and so that they (being the opposite of their masters), must be 'good'. o The slave morality is the one that dominated Europe in Nietzsche’s time, and he thinks that this has a produced a 'slav
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