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POLS 2900- Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 21 pages long!)


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POLS 2900
Professor
Stephen Newman
Study Guide
Midterm

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York
POLS 2900
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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POL 2900 Lecture 1 - September 07, 2017
Introduction
- Athens - political democracy
- Plato wrote dialogues -- it wasn’t conventional readings
- Philosophical arguments contained w/in
- Main character in Plato’s republic is Socrates who was Plato’s teacher
- One of Plato’s dialogue starts with Socrates and someone else saying that they’re
going down the pyres -- geographically it is down the hill from Athens, but there’s
also other means to this -- the dialogue descends first then it ascends
- Dialogue in Plato’s republic goes from opinion to knowledge
- The Socratic Method
- In Plato’s republic you can see the employment of the Socratic method
- The dialogue begins with a thinker who thought he was wise who held an
opinion about a certain thing
- Socrates challenged these opinions with questions, showing that the opinions
were invalid and why the thinker is not as wise as he thought he was
- Plato’s republic is not a linear text - it is a dialectical progression
- After finishing the ten books, we’re in a position to comprehend what Plato
means
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POL 2900 Lecture 2 - September 12, 2017
- Socrates is the central character in Plato’s Republic. There is no writing from him
personally - we know what we know only through Plato. Plato was Socrates student
- Socrates philosophizes in the marketplace by simply walking up to people who had a
reputation for wisdom, for knowing something and then he began to ask questions
- Socratic dialogues - Socrates would ask the “wise” people question and would lead
them to contradict themselves
- This was called the Socratic Eclectic - the kind of dialogue, an exchange of
view, and we see it on display in this dialogue - particularly in the first book
- Much of it consists of Socrates speaking at length - the other people in the
book ask short questions or give short responses as agreeing with what
Socrates says.
- The Republic was a late dialogue - wrote it late in his life, even though it
describes the early life.
- Socrates was put on trial - he was accused of corrupting the young, for introducing
new Gods in the city
- Ancient Greece was a religious state - there was no separation of state and
church, so he was accused of committing treason, and was found guilty and
was sentenced to death.
- The apology is Socrates’ trial - people believe that the apology is a pretty
good representation of what Socrates actually said during his trial; however
this is not true of the republic, Socrates is a character in the republic - the
ideas are of Plato rather than those of Socrates.
- Chief interlocutors - people who you engage in conversation with
- Glaucon and Adeimantus were Aristocrats
- Athens was a democracy with social classes - there were Aristocratic families
who formed the upper class social - the demos had full political rights
- There were approx 200 thousand citizens of which 20 thousand were
considered or had the status of being a citizen
- The others were women who had to stick to the house or were
children, or slaves. These people did not have a public role
outside the household. Slaves were people taken in war (the
non-Greeks) - the Ancient greeks looked down on Non-Greeks
because of differences in culture, language - saw them as
barbarians.
- There was tension in Athens between the Aristocrats and the ordinary people
- Occasionally the Aristocrats would get the upper hand and would be said that
it is Aristocracy
- There were 30 Aristocratic families to which Plato’s family had ties to. This
makes a difference in what Socrates has to say about Aristocracy and
Democracy
- Glaucon - seems like the main interlocutor in the conversation, however, this is
debatable.
- Polemarchus - He was a resident, a foreigner; became a philosopher and was
executed by the 30 Aristocratic families. He was also Cephalus’ son. He made his
living in Athens as a manufacturer of weapons. He was described as being at the
cusp of old age.
- Thrasymarchus
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