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Chapter 1-4

GVPT 241 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1-4: Condottieri, P200, Parrhesia

Government and Politics
Course Code
GVPT 241

of 24
1) A kind of Philosophy
2) A kind political science
3) A tradition
4) A special approach to language
Ignorance vs. bullshit (not caring about the truth) vs. lie
Bullshitters are out to impress to con that he knows about stuff that he is bullshitting.
We are habituated to bullshit – orwell
1) Dying metaphor: achilles’ heel. Overused metaphor
2) Operators (verbal false limbs) : to be subjected to, to be traduced, it produces verbose and
clunky lines. Profundity.
3) Pretentious Diction: intimates the listener,
4) Meaningless Words: humanization, galvanization, (where euphemism comes in to play.)
Collateral damage: dead civilians. Error of knowingness
- Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in
- Never use a long word where a short one will do.
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
- Never use the passive where you can use the active.
- Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an
everyday English equivalent.
- Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous
Normative: How should I live? How ought we to live together?
Piety: narrower sense: knowledge of “what is pleasing the gods at prayer and sacrifice”
Piety: broader sense: a kind of justice, that which involves just acknowledgement of the sources
of our existence and progress through life. That which sustains “both private houses and public
affairs of state.” (14b)
Socrates and Euthyphro; prosecuting his own dad for murder.
Rule of fathers: patriarchic
Prosecuting and brining your own father to the trial is considered odd. Since a father is
considered a central part of a household.
Socrates wants Euthyphro to define piety: (5d)
An essentialist definition: the essence of X is a single characteristic (or set of characteristics) that
(i) all Xs share and (ii) which makes them Xs.
II. 1 The first attempt: Euthyphro thinks what he is doing is pious; brining the wrongdoers to
justice regardless of the defendants’ relationship to the prosecutor. Not prosecuting is impious
He gave an ostensive definition
Ostensive vs. Essentialist definition (singles out properties that a thing shares, and explain why
they are false)
II.2 second attempt: What is dear to the gods is pious, what is not is impious
Which god is the right god to refer the piety? Polytheistic vs. monotheistic
Same action can be both pious and impious.
It contradicts itself.
The Law of Non-Contradiction
II.3 The third attempt
Euthyphro: “I would certainly say that the pious is what all the gods love, and the opposite, what
all the gods hate, is the impious.” (9e)
What he does is strictly disagreed piously by gods.
Picked the property that everything shares, but couldn’t explain the second part (why it is what it
Problem with the attempt: Euthyphro paradox”
: is the pious being loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is being loved
by the gods?
Loved by gods. (11b)
11.4 the fourth attempt:
Euthyphro: the godly and pious is the part of the just that is concerned with the care off the gods,
while that concerned with the care of men is the remaining part of justice (12e)
Socratic Questioning: repeated questioning and invocating
Care: reverence to gods, honor to gods, pleasing. They are all dear to gods
If what piety is dear to god, what he is doing is impious.
Circularity: repeated of wrong things
Euthyphro Paradox.
Plato’s Apology:
I. Polis (Athens)
1. Doxa: share customary beliefs that made Athenians more cooperative.
2. The Rhetor: rhetoric/persuasion. Needed an individual to sway the thousands of
people to pay attention to a particular subject.
3. The Sophist: people who teach how to make a weak argument into a strong
Apologia: in Greek, defense. Not the same with English apology.
II. The Charges:
1. Informal/Reputational (19b-19c) :contemplate about sky and earth (?); worse into
strong argument; he teaches it to others for money
Idle thing to do; when there is something more important things to do for the
2. Formal
3. Socrates denies the first charge; he denies that he teaches people how to make a
weak argument into a strong one. He does not charge people.
III. Socratic Wisdom
1. The Oracle Story: oracle of Adelphi; no man is wiser than Socrates. Knowing
what you do not know is wise, instead of pretending you know something that
you clearly do not know.
2. Politician (public figure): Socrates starts to interrogate these politicians like he
interrogated Euthyphro. He embarrasses the politician.
3. Justified True Belief; you have to have a belief in something if you know
something; your belief needs to be true; justified in holding those beliefs.
4. The Practice of Wisdom; He knows something (wicked and shameful to do
Figure out what all premises steps are
What order the premises belong in
What conclusion they lead to
The Apology of Socrates
I. The formal charges
1. Corrupting the youth
2. Novel gods (heterodoxy)
II. Socrates’ Defense:
1. The Corruption Argument
2. The Atheism Argument
III. Philosophy as a Way of Life
1. The Argument Concerning Death