PLS 371, Exam #1, Fall 2013
I. Class Introduction
a. Three Key Questions:
i. What is political philosophy and why should we study it?:
1. Political philosophy is a field defined by the single question, “How
should we live?” Which then asks, “What is the best way of life?” and,
“What is happiness?”
a. There are different ways of life a human can lead because the
human is an animal that is not bound by instinct and can then
choose a path for themself.
b. How can we live?:
i. Heathenist: the good life is a pleasurable one. Life is just
a series of sensations that we must make as pleasant as
ii. The good life is one of power or status.
iii. The good life is in righteousness.
iv. The good life is in material ownership.
ii. Why should we study Plato in particular?:
1. Three Key Reasons:
a. Plato is the first philosopher for which we possess full works.
i. Every philosophic work that follows is at its core a
response to the works of Plato.
b. Oldest is the best.
c. The society in which Plato founds his philosophical views is one
that is not plagued by our modern life views and prejudices.
Plato’s world is a better starting off point for thought.
2. Plato asks, “What is the good [in life]?”
iii. Why should we study Plato’s political philosophy only as he expresses it in The
1. Books such as The Republic are to be read over the course of time.
Because at the time of its writing there were so few books, they were
written carefully and slowly with the intention that they be read in the
2. The Republic is meant to function like the Bible; it is to be something to
live by and to be a companion to its reader.
3. It needs to be read slowly because it is a very difficult book to process
II. Plato’s, The Republic: Book I, Section I [Cephalus]
i. Cephalus: a rich, well-respected elder in the city. Represents the attitude of an
old established business man. ii. Cephalus: the wealth in old age provides a man the liberty of always telling the
truth and repaying his debts.
1. A man may achieve the good life and justice with wealth and old age.
iii. Cephalus: Justice maybe be defined as telling the truth and paying one’s debts
and telling the truth.
iv. Socrates argues against Cephalus’ definition:
1. Borrowing a weapon from a friend when he is sound of mind, and then
returning it to him in a state of madness.
a. Telling the truth and repaying one’s debts isn’t always just.
III. Plato’s, The Republic: Book I, Section II [Polemarchus]
i. Polemarchus: son of Cephalus, represents the attitude of an ambitious young