Final Study Guide
Final Study Guide PHIL 110H
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Rene Descartes (1596-1650) The Father of Modern Philosophy Tradition and the MiddleAges Before the Reformation,philosophy tied to theology. Philosophical inquiry conducted in the context of Scripture and tradition. The Fracturing of the Christian tradition (Reformation 1517) Descartes:Search for knowledge that is certain and indubitable. Foundationalism Proposition that is certain and indubitable serves as the foundation of scientia (knowledge as a science) Through correct inferences,certainty and indubitability is preserved to what is inferred. Knowledge is achieved modo geometrico. Hyperbolic Doubt The method through which we arrive at knowledge that cannot be doubted God as an evil,systematic deceiver. What hyperbolic doubt reveals I cannot doubt that I am being deceived. “I think,therefore I am.” What hyperbolic doubt reveals I cannot doubt that I am being deceived. “I think,therefore I am.” I have direct access to my mental processes. I also have direct access to my ideas. I cannot be deceived about my thinking and the contents of my thought. Meditation on the ball of wax What is there in the wax that is so clearly comprehended? “Certainly nothing that I reached with the senses–for while everything having to do with taste,smell,sight,touch,and hearing has changed,the same piece of wax remains.p.161. Meditation on the ball of wax I grasp what the wax most truly is only with my mind. I have never had a sensory grasp of what the wax is. My grasp of the wax is the result of a purely mental inspection (162). This reveals that what I am most truly is a mind that understands and makes judgments. I am a thinking thing (163). …if I happen to look out my window and see men walking in the street,it is no less really see,except hats and coats that could be covering robots? Yet I judge that there are men in the street. Thus I comprehend with my judgment,which is in my mind, objects that I once believed to see with my eyes. (162). Three faculties Sensation Understanding Imagination The meditation on the ball of wax reveals that your grasp of the wax is due not to sensation,but to judgment,and hence to the understanding,or one’s rational capacities. This is what you most truly are,a mind,that is,a thinking thing. Rationalism Descartes is a Rationalist. Emphasis on the importance of innate ideas for understanding that which most truly is. The human understanding already contains a certain content (innate ideas),for instance,the ideas of God,the soul,and world. Rationalism Descartes is a Rationalist. Emphasis on the importance of innate ideas for understanding that which most truly is. Understanding comes with a certain content (innate ideas), for instance,the ideas of God,the soul,and world. Through analysis of these a priori innate ideas,a great deal of metaphysical knowledge can be gained. The understanding also operates in certain ways allowing us to make correct inferences. Empiricism Over against the rationalists,we have the empiricists such as Locke and Hume. Locke: the mind is a“tabula rasa,”or blank slate containing no innate ideas. All our knowledge comes through the senses. We do,however,have the capacity to compare ideas that come through the senses. Problematic Idealism I have direct access to my ideas. How do these ideas come to be in me? Problematic Idealism The ideas in my mind are caused by things outside the mind that resemble them. Is this a valid inference? Problematic Idealism We have no access to the things outside the mind. Hence we cannot compare whether the things outside the mind“match up”with our ideas. We have no way of knowing if there are in fact,things outside the mind that are the causes to our ideas. Hence,we do not have a warrant in assuming that those things exist,and are the causes of our ideas. Judgment and Problematic Idealism Our concern is with correct judgments. Ideas cannot really be false (164):I have direct access to the ideas before my mind,for instance,I know that I have the idea of a pink elephant before me. Judgment and Problematic Idealism Our concern is with correct judgments. Ideas cannot really be false (164):I have direct access to the ideas before my mind,for instance,I know that I have the idea of a pink elephant before me. Only judgments can be false. While you may know that you have the idea of a pink elephant before your mind,the question is: are you justified in claiming that there really is a pink elephant before you? Problem is how to justify the judgment:there is an X outside of me that corresponds to the idea before my mind. This remains an open question,and this is problematic idealism. “The first and foremost of the errors that I find in my judgment is that of assuming that the ideas in me have a similarity or conformity to things outside of me”(164) Why Prove God’ s Existence? We prove God’s existence in order to allay our doubts that we are being systematically deceived. If we can show that God exists,we can rest assured there is no evil demon. Ideas as Modifications of the Mind We can think of ideas as mere modifications of our thought. We are thinking things,or thinking substances. Substances have different states,or changes that they undergo. There are about 100 thoughts of the number 1 in this room. Insofar as we take an idea as a modification of the mind,all ideas have the same degree of reality. One idea will not be greater,or lesser than another. Ideas as Intentional Objects We can think of our ideas as directed to certain objects. “Different ideas present different things to me”(164). Descartes will call these ideas as well. These objects (ideas) are before the mind. They are what you intend when you think the thought,or they are the object of that thought. Ideas as Intentional Objects We can think of our ideas as directed to certain objects. “Different ideas present different things to me”(164). Descartes will call these ideas as well. These objects (ideas) are before the mind. They are what you intend when you think the thought,or they are the object of that thought. When we speak of the objects of thought in this way,it makes sense to say that one object of thought is greater than another. For instance,the number three is greater than the number two. Presentational Reality The presentational reality of idea concerns the reality of the object of thought to which an idea is directed. Certain ideas will have greater presentational reality than others. The idea of maximal goodness has greater presentational reality than the idea of a finite idea of goodness. Formal Reality The reality that a thing has in virtue of its actual existence. “Rather,we should think that each idea contains one particular presentational reality which it must get from a cause having at least as much formal reality as the idea has presentational reality”(165). Reality By this we do not mean the existence of something. Reality has to do with the“whatness”of a thing. Reality comes in degrees. Argument # 1 for God’ s Existence We should think that each idea contains one particular presentational reality which it must get from a cause having at least as much formal reality as the idea has presentational reality. Argument # 1 for God’ s Existence We should think that each idea contains one particular presentational reality which it must get from a cause having at least as much formal reality as the idea has presentational reality. If we suppose that something is in the idea,but not in its cause,we must suppose that something has come from nothing (165). Nihil ex nihil fit. What is a true idea? A true idea is not an arbitrarily constructed concept. Example of an arbitrarily constructed concept: a unicorn. Here we unite the idea of a horse with that of a horn. What is a true idea? A true idea is not an arbitrarily constructed concept. Example of an arbitrarily constructed concept: a unicorn. Here we unite the idea of a horse with that of a horn. There is no necessary connection between the idea of the horse and the idea of the horn. The idea of the horse does not imply the idea of the horn. True Ideas True ideas“have their own fixed and immutable natures.” Truths about arithmetic,geometry and pure mathematics depend upon true ideas. True ideas True ideas“have their own fixed and immutable natures.” Truths about arithmetic,geometry and pure mathematics depend upon true ideas. I can demonstrate various propositions about the triangle,for instance,that the sum of its angles is equal to the sum of two right angles. These propositions are true in virtue of the nature of the triangle itself. True Ideas Propositions that can be derived from a true idea are not derived from the definition of the idea alone. Propositions derived from the true idea are not true in virtue of conceptual analysis. True Ideas Propositions that can be derived from a true idea are not derived from the definition of the idea alone. Propositions derived from the true idea are not true in virtue of conceptual analysis. Judgments concerning true ideas are true in virtue of the nature of the intentional object before the mind. These intentional objects have immutable natures. Triangles,for instance,have a given nature in virtue of the three dimensional space in which they are constructed. Analytic a priori truths Judgments about true ideas are not analytic a priori truths. Analytic a priori truths are true by definition. They are true in virtue of concept containment:the predicate of the judgment is already contained in the subject concept. We ascertain the truth of such judgments through an analysis of concepts. Synthetic judgments In a synthetic judgment,the predicate is not contained in the subject concept. The predicate adds new information;it is ampliative. Synthetic judgments In a synthetic judgment,the predicate is not contained in the subject concept. The predicate adds new information;it is ampliative. A synthetic judgment is true in virtue of some third thing in virtue of which the subject and predicate are conjoined. This third thing is the object of the judgment,in which subject and predicate are conjoined All empirical judgments are synthetic. True ideas and synthetic judgments We can think of a true idea as a third thing in virtue of which we can make synthetic a priori judgments. Because the judgments about true ideas follow necessarily from the essence of the object of that idea,these judgments are also a priori. Essence and Existence Essence has to do with the whatness of something. Existence has to do with that it is. Essence and Existence Essence has to do with the whatness of something. Existence has to do with that it is. When we think of finite things,we can separate their essence from their existence. We cannot separate God’s essence from God’s existence. But,when I pay more attention,it’s clear that I can no more separate God’s existence from His essence than I can separate the essence of the triangle from its angles equaling two right angles,or the idea of a mountain from the idea of a valley. It is no less a contradiction to think that God (the supremely perfect being) lacks existence (a perfection) than to think that a mountain lacks a valley (173). Essence and Existence We can separate essence from existence when we think of finite things. This means we can have the idea of something without also thinking that such and such a thing actually exists. My understanding of the object of thought does not imply that I have to think of the thing as existing outside the mind. Second proof for Gods existence We have a true idea of God (the supremely perfect being). God has all perfections,for example,omnipotence,Omni benevolence,and omniscience. Second proof for Gods existence We have a true idea of God (the supremely perfect being). God has all perfections,for example,omnipotence,Omni benevolence,and omniscience. A perfection is any quality that would make a being better, and God has all perfections to the maximal degree. God’s essence implies God’s existence,just as the idea of a mountain implies the idea of a valley. If I have an idea of the most perfect being,I must think that this being exists. The analogy with the triangle In the case of the triangle,that the sum of its angles is equal to two right angles follows from other properties of the triangle. These properties follow from the nature of the space in which the triangle is constructed. Here we move from certain features of the triangle to other features of the triangle,all of which make up part of the essence. From essence to existence? But precisely how does God’s essence imply God’s existence? What property of God’s essence implies existence? If God’s essence implies God’s existence,this means that you cannot think God’s essence without also thinking God’s existence. This means:To think of God as not existing involves a contradiction. From essence to existence? Key is the thought that this is the most perfect being.A being that does not exist lacks a particular perfection,namely existence. If you do not think of the most perfect being as existing,then you are not thinking of the most perfect being. Anselm’ s proof for God’ s existence The fool has said in his heart“there is no God.” The fool has an idea of God,and understands it. God is that which nothing greater can be conceived. If the fool were to think of god (the greatest possible being) as not existing,he could think of a still greater being. Anselm’ s proof for God’ s existence The fool has said in his heart“there is no God.” The fool has an idea of God,and understands it. God is that which nothing greater can be conceived. If the fool were to think of god (the greatest possible being) as not existing,he could think of a still greater being. Consequently,he would not have really thought of the being, that than which nothing greater can be conceived. In order to think of the greatest possible being,you must think of it as existing. If you have a grasp of the essence of God,you immediately see that the essence implies existence. TheAnalogy with the triangle,again In the case of the triangle,that the sum of its angles is equal to two right angles follows from other properties of the triangle. What property of God does existence follow from? From essence to existence In one of his replies,Descartes answered that existence follows from God’s omnipotence. Because God is omnipotent,God is not a contingent being. Causal Contingency A being is contingent if its existence depends on a being that is distinct from it. All finite beings are contingent. For instance,all finite beings depend on causes that preexist them in the order of time. And each cause must itself have a cause,and so on. Ontological Contingency God not only creates all finite substances,but preserves them in their being. A being is ontologically contingent if it must continually be preserved by God in order for it to continue existing. All finite substances are contingent in that they depend on the divine preservation for their existence. From essence to existence Because God is omnipotent,God is not contingent. God’s omnipotence implies that no other being can limit God’s power in any way. No other being can cause God not to be. Because no other being can interfere with God’s being,God’s existence is eternal and necessary. God as causa sui. Confusions in this argument? Descartes as substance dualist There are two fundamental substances. These are: Res cogitans: I am a thinking thing,a thinking substance. The I think is simple,identical with itself,and unitary. The self also has free will. Descartes as substance dualist There are two fundamental substances. These are: Res cogitans: I am a thinking thing,a thinking substance. The I think is simple,identical with itself,and unitary. The self also has free will. Res extensa: Everything outside the mind is extended stuff. The res extensa is divisible into parts. It is measurable;its parts have magnitude,and this means they have extension in length,breath,depth. These object also have position and motion. Views of nature in the Rennaissance The world is filled with meaning. The earth is the center of the cosmos. The entire cosmos is reflective of human affairs. For example,the movements of the heavens reflect the world of human beings. Hence we have astrology. “As above,so belo.” Descartes transformation of nature The disenchantment of the world The real is the measurable,and the measurable is the real. Mathematization of nature. Descartes transformation of nature The disenchantment of the world The real is the measurable,and the measurable is the real. Mathematization of nature. Nature as deterministic:every event has a cause. These are efficient causes. Efficient causality is blind. Final causes play much less of a role. We can understand space in terms of a points on a Cartesian plane. There are no special places. The problem with substance dualism How can these two fundamentally distinct substances interact? In order for then to interact,there must be some similarity between them. According to Descartes,mind interacts with body through the pineal gland. Alternatives to dualism Idealism: there is only mind;the outer world is a projection of mind. Materialism: there is only matter,and mind is a mere epiphenomenon having no power of its own. What is most real is the brain and its chemical and electrical processes. + The Republic Justiceand its Consequences + What is Justice? Initial definitions: Justice is “to render every man his due.” Justice means doing good to friends and harm to enemies. + Socrate’s critique One can mistake an honest person for a rogue, and vice versa. And misjudge friends and enemies. Problem of reality and appearance. + Revision Justice is doing good to friends who are good, and harm to enemies who are wicked. + Critique Since justice is a peculiar human excellence, to harm a man is to make him less just. If so, then “the good are to make men bad by exercising their virtue.” + Thrasymachus Justice is the advantageof the stronger. Criticisms? + Socrates’ rejoinder to Thrasymachus Does the despot really know what is to his advantage? Socratesgets Thrasymachus to admit that rulers sometimes mistake their own best interests. Well, that amounts to admitting that it is right to do what is not to the interest of the rulers of the stronger party. They may unwittingly enjoin what is to their own disadvantage; and you say it is right for the others to do as they are told. In that case, their duty must be the opposite of what you said, because the weaker will have been ordered to do what is against the interest of the stronger (715). + Thrasymachus “Right”actually means what is good for someone else, and to be “just” means serving the interest of the strongerwho rules, at the cost of the subject who obeys; whereas injustice is just the reverse, asserting its authority over those innocents who are called just, so that they minister solely to their master’sadvantage and happiness, and not in the least degree to their own. Innocent as you are, Socrates, you must see that a just man always has the worst of it.” + Socrates’ rejoinder to Thrasymachus The application of justice is an art or craft, and a craft never profits the practitionerof the craft. (719). “No form of skill or authorityprovides for its own benefit…. Because if he is to do his work well, he will never, in his capacity of ruler, do, or commandothers to do, what is best for himself, but only what is best for the subject….” + Socrates’ rejoinder Justice is necessary for common action “Indeed without justice men cannot act together at all; it is not strictly true to speak of such people as ever having effected any strongaction in common. Had they been thoroughlyunjust, they could not have kept their hands off one another;they must have had some justice in them, enough to keep them from injuring one another” (721). + Socrates’ Rejoinder The virtues are excellences necessary to the functioningof some thing. “A thing’s function is the work that it alone can do” (722). “I am only asking, whether it is true of things with a function–eyes or ears or anythingelse–that there is always some specific virtue which enables them to work well; and if they are deprived of that virtue, they work badly. The soul itself has its virtues, that which enables it to work well. + Glaucon’s Challenge Some things are valued for their consequences only. Some things are valued for their own sake. Some things are valued both for their consequences and for their own sake. Given these distinctions, Glaucon demands to know “what each of them really is [justice and injustice], and what effect each has, in itself, on the soul that harbors it, when all rewards and consequences are left out of account. + Glaucon on common justice It is desirable to do wrong. But not desirable to suffer wrong. Social contract theory: “Consequently, when men have had a taste of both, those who have not the power to seize the advantageand escape the harm decide that they would be better off they made a compact neither to do wrong no to suffer it. Hence they began to make laws and covenants with one another; and whatever law they prescribed they called right” (724). Justice stands halfway between being able to do wrong with impunity and suffering wrong without the power to retaliate. + Glaucon on common justice People practice justice against the grain. Justice is like going to the dentist: an unfortunate necessity. No one would be just unless she had to. + Glaucon’s Experiment: The Ring of Gyges. + The Ring of Gyges How to judge between two lives: A. The individual with full license to do evil and a great reputation. (Has a very nice ring and is also very smart). Has “secured a spotless reputation for virtue while committing the blackest crimes” (724). B. The just person in simplicity and nobleness with a bad reputation. “He must be stripped of everything but justice, and denied every advantage the other enjoyed. Doing no wrong he must have the worst reputation for wrong-doing, to test whether his virtue is proof against all that comes of having a bad name” The just person will be “thrown into prison, scourged and racked, will have his eyes burned out, and, after every kind of torment, be impaled” (725). + The problem with status and stuff “There must, indeed, be no such seeming; for if his characterwere apparent, his reputationwould bring him honors and rewards, and then we should not know whether it was for their sake that he was just or for justice’s sake alone. He must be stripped of everything but justice, and denied every advantagethe other enjoyed. Doing no wrong, he must have the worst reputationfor wrong-doing, to test whether his virtue is proof against all that comes of having a bad name; and under this lifelong imputationof wickedness, let him hold on his course of justice unwavering to the point of death” (725). + The problem with status and stuff Only if in our thought experiment the just person is stripped of all the consequences of justice (for instance, those that come with a reputation) can we be certain that the just individual persists in being just because she values it for its own sake and not for its consequences. Our thought experiment allows us the see whether justice can itself be an incentive to action; As Kant would later put it, we need to know whether it is possible to act not merely “in accordance with duty,” but “for the sake of duty.” + Glaucon and Adeimantus It is much better to seem just than to be just. If you have a reputationfor justice, this brings all sorts of social advantages. You can hold office, marry well, and become a partner in business. Will have lots of money to help friends and harm enemies. Will have lots of money to bribe the gods (Adeimantus). Wrongdoing, afterall, “may be absolved by means of sacrifices and agreeable performances” (726). + Adeimantus on moral motivation “He will know that, here and there, a man may refrainfrom wrong because it revolts some instinct he is graced with or because he has come to know the truth; no one else is virtuous of his own will; it is only lack of spirit or the infirmity of age or some other weakness that makes men condemn the iniquities they have not the strengthto practice. This is easily seen: give such a man the power, and he will be the first to use it to the utmost” (727). + The Big and the Small Letters “Imagine a rather short-sightedperson told to read an inscription in small letters from some way off. He would think it a godsend if the same inscriptionwas written up elsewhere on a bigger scale, so that he could first read the larger characters and then make out whether the smaller characterswere the same” (728). There is an analogy between justice in the state, and justice in the soul. + Three groups of people in the state Statecomes into existence “because no individual is self- sufficing”(729). Three kinds of persons in the state: Producers, shopkeepers, traders…. The Guardians The Rulers + Producers, shopkeepers, traders Mostly concerned with bodily needs and comforts. + The Guardians or Auxiliaries Full of zeal to do whatever it is they believe is for the good. Have the right temperament and the right education. Spirited disposition. Full of true belief. “Take the color of our institutionslike a dye” + Rulers Those full of zeal to do whatever they believe to be best for the commonwealth (733). Resists enchantments; Has Knowledge rather than just true belief. + Virtues of the state: Wisdom Rulers: Understand best possible conduct of the statein its internal and externalrelations. + Virtues of the State: Courage Power to preserve, in all circumstances, a conviction about that sort of things that it is right to be afraidof (735). + Virtues of the State: T emperance A kind of harmony The better part rules the worse The desires of the inferior multitudewill be controlled by the desires of the superior few. Governors and the governed agree on who is to rule (736). + Virtues of the State: Justice Everyone ought to perform the one functionin the community for which is nature has best suited him. This principle, or some form of it, is justice. “Justice admittedlymeans that a man should possess and concern himself with what properly belongs to him” (737). + The argument for parts of the soul “…the same thing cannot act in two opposite ways or be in two opposite statesat the same time, with respect to the same part of itself, and in relationto the same object. So if we find such contradictory actions or statesamong the elements concerned, we shall know that more than one must have been involved” (739). + The story of Leontius Donato Creti, Achilles Dragging the Corpse of Hector, ca. 1714. “There you are, curse you: feast yourselves on this lovely sight!” (741). + The three parts of the soul Appetitive Spirited part Reasoningpart Each of these parts has its characteristic desires + Appetite Desires having to do with food, drink, and sexual appetite (needs of the body and bodily appetite). These desires have to do with our animality Irrational Largest number of our desires stem from appetite + Spirited or honor loving part Seat of anger Desires stemming from the fact that we are social beings, desire for honors and recognitionfrom others. Desires stemming from our need to be perceived in certain ways by the others. Absorbs beliefs “like a dye,” that is believes things because everyone else does. Cares about defending the group and what it believes because its main concern is recognitionfrom other members of the group. + Reason loving part The reasoning part has desires of its own. This is the highest part of the soul, and only if this part of the soul “gets its fill of true realities” can the soul flourish. Desires to understand. The soul is virtuous if the reason loving part of the soul is in control. + The three parts of the soul + Justice in the soul “each part of his nature is exercising its proper function,or ruling or being ruled” (743). Each part receives its due. Reason must be in control. Differences from the understanding of the soul in the Phaedo. + Injustice in the soul The disordered soul exists when either appetite or spirit has enslaved the reason loving part. When the reason loving part is enslaved, it cannot get its “fill of true realities.” The unjust person is like a sieve: she can never be satisfied. The objects of appetiteand spirit can never satisfy the soul. + Has Socrates answered Glaucon’s challenge? What is justice? Can justice be desired for its own sake? The latter question drives Socratesto answer the question of what is justice in terms having to do with the interior structureof the soul itself. “But in reality justice, though evidently analogous to this principle, is not a matter of external behavior, but of the inward self and of attending to all that is, in the fullest sense, a man’s proper concern. The just man does not allow the several elements in his soul to usurp one another’s functions; he is indeed one who sets his house in order…by bringing in to tune those three parts…. Only when he has linked these parts in well- tempered harmony and has made himself one man instead of many will he go about whatever he may have to do….(743). + Plato’s allegory of the cave https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTWwY8Ok5I0. + Plato’s Theory of Forms Logical Statements presuppose metaphysicalones. + Plato’s Theory of Forms Logical Statements presuppose metaphysicalones. There exists an incorporeal, immutable, intelligibleobject named for example, “Squareness” or “Beauty,” in which corporeal, mutable, sensible objects occasionally participate, and, when they do, are rightly called Square or Beautiful. “Each of the Forms exists, and it is in virtue of participating in them that other things are named after them” Phaedo. “You do not know how else each thing can come to be except by sharing in the particular reality in which it shares, and in these cases you do not know of any other causes of becoming two except by sharing in twoness” Phaedo. + Three Elements in the Relation of Participation Forms are immutable, incorporeal, divine; they cannot be known by sense experience, but only throughrecollection. + Three Elements in the Relation of Participation Forms are immutable, incorporeal, divine; they cannot be known by sense experience, but only throughrecollection. The individual persons and objects of ordinary experience, designatedby proper names and definitedescriptions + Three Elements in the Relation of Participation Forms are immutable, incorporeal, divine; they cannot be known by sense experience, but only throughrecollection. The individual persons and objects of ordinary experience, designatedby proper names and definitedescriptions The immanent characters(properties) of these individuals, designatedby adjectives, abstract nouns, and common nouns. These very same words also name Forms. Though closely connected, they are ontologically distinct. + The Relation of participation The theory asserts the following: “for any characterF, of any individual, x, there exists a homonymousForm, ø, and x is F (i.e., has the character, F) if, and only if, x participates in ø. + The Relation of Participation The theory asserts the following: “for any characterF, of any individual, x, there exists a homonymousForm, ø, and x is F (i.e., has the character, F) if, and only if, x participates in ø. Participationis a one way relationof ontologicaldependence between temporalthings and eternal Forms. Nothingcan exist in space and time with a definitecharacter, F, if there did not exist a corresponding ø. + The aitia Aitia = the because of something. Plato’saitia are logical ones. What makes an x a such and such? Why do we classify it as a such and such? Definition of a concept = the account of the essence of its form. + Aitia X is F in virtue of ø. Things are one by participating in unity, two in virtue of participating in the dyad. The answer to why 1 + 1 = 2 cannot by physical!! Answering why 1 + 1 = 2 must be extractedfrom “accountsof the essence” of the numbers one and two. + The Clever aitia Here we have relationsof entailments among the forms. “x is F because it participatesin W, and W, and entails ø. More elaborately: “x is F because, being G, it must participatein W, and since W entails ø, x must also participate in ø, and hence, x must be F. The form of Snow entails the form of cold. + Plato’s divided line Philosophy 110 INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY Socrates 469-399 BCE Primary interlocutor in Plato’s dialogues Never wrote anything himself Socrates “Gadfly” who questions the Athenians. Sentenced to death on charge of impiety in 399 BCE. La Mort de Socrates, 1787, Jacques Louis David. Biographical record Grows up in Periclean Athens. He himself leaves no record of his thought. We know of him through: Aristophanes The Clouds; his students Plato and Xenophon. Plato’s early dialogues of particular value for our knowledge of his teachings. Charges against Socrates Socrates is guilty of being a busybody Inquires into what is beneath the earth and in the sky Turns the weaker argument into the stronger, and teaches others to do the same. He is guilty of corrupting the young. He is an atheist. The Philosophy of Socrates Not very interested in the philosophy of Nature We should rather be interested in human problems What is the human being? The human being is his soul. Distinction between the body and the soul. One should look to this alone, “whenever he does something, whether his actions are just or unjust, the deeds of a good man or a bad one” (28c). The Nature of the Soul In the Orphic tradition (6th Century B.C.E.) Human soul is divine and immortal. Daimon is that which expiates its guilt. The Nature of the Soul In the Orphic tradition (6th Century B.C.E.) Human soul is divine and immortal. Daimon is that which expiates its guilt. Most important element of the soul is beneath the conscious realm. As such, it is unavailable for rational inspection. Most active when consciousness is weakened and fragmented. Each soul must, for a time, endure a “grievous cycle of successively bodily lives.” Asceticism Sacred rites The Nature of the Soul In the Orphic tradition (6th Century B.C.E.) Human soul is divine and immortal. Daimon is that which expiates its guilt. Most important element of the soul is beneath the conscious realm. As such, it is unavailable for rational inspection. Most active when consciousness is weakened and fragmented. Each soul must, for a time, endure a “grievous cycle of successively bodily lives.” Asceticism Sacred rites While Socrates influenced by Orphism and its emphasis on the soul, his philosophy has significant differences with it. Socrates on the soul Soul identified with conscious dimension of the self as it thinks and acts Reason is the source of our thinking and ethical activity. “…an unexamined life is no life for a human being to live…” (38a). Two Socratic dictums: 1) Know thyself. 2) Virtue is knowledge. Know Thyself Socrates concerned with how the soul can be the best possible (29e). Arête (virtue) is that which permits the soul to be good, to be what it ought to be. Know Thyself Socrates concerned with how the soul can be the best possible (29e). Arête (virtue) is that which permits the soul to be good, to be what it ought to be. Arête is science, or knowledge. It is the excellence of the conscious human being. This excellence can be known and discussed through reason. It is this knowledge which makes the soul what it ought to be, and brings it to completion. The virtues are principles. Virtue is knowledge Two fundamental mistakes: To treat that which is most important as if it is of less importance. To treat that which is of less importance as if it more important. “Shame on you, for setting the lowest value upon the most precious things, and for rating inferior ones more highly” (30a). “… all I do is to go about persuading you, young and old alike, not to care for your bodies or for your wealth so intensely as for the greatest possible well-being of your souls. It is not wealth I tell you that produces goodness; rather it is from goodness that wealth, and all other benefits for human beings, accrue to them in their private and public life.” (30a). Socrates on Evil Because virtue is knowledge, “no one does evil willingly.” Evil is the result of ignorance, intellectual error. To say that vice is involuntary means that it never brings the vicious man that on which his/her heart is really set. Evil always rests on a false estimation of goods. “Thus, if a man really knew as assured and certain truth, of which he can no more doubt than he can doubt of his own existence, that the so called ‘goods’ of the body and estate are as nothing compared with the good of the soul, and knew what the good of the soul was, nothing would tempt him to do evil.” from A. E. Taylor, Socrates. Socrates on harms The good man cannot be harmed. “…nothing can harm a good man, either in life or in death; nor are his fortunes neglected by the gods” (41d). Why does he say this? . Socratic Virtues Self-control Interior Liberty Autonomy All these virtues are fundamentally one. There is a single principle behind the manifestation of all true virtue. Distinction between “vulgar virtue” and “true virtue.” Self-control Enkráteia: Self-control, or moral self-mastery. Control in the presence of pleasure and pain In tiredness In the presence or urges and passions. It is the control over one’s sentient nature. Self-control Enkráteia: Self-control, or moral self-mastery. Control in the presence of pleasure and pain In tiredness In the presence of urges and passions. It is the control over one’s sentient nature. Makes the soul the ruler over the body; reason over the instincts. The absence of self-control allows the body and its instincts to rule and hence deprives a person of all virtue. The person then becomes like an animal. Liberty Enkráteia brings with it Eleuthería (Liberty). Not the freedom to choose. The liberty of the Logos, the capacity of reason to impose its own requirements on the body. Independence Enkráteia also brings with it Autarcheia: Independence from animal needs, the self- sufficiency of the human Logos. Independence Enkráteia also brings with it Autarcheia: Independence from animal needs, the self- sufficiency of the human Logos. Autonomy with respect to physical needs and impulses through the control of reason. Reason, or the psyche, is alone sufficient to achieve happiness. The person who abandons herself to the satisfactions of her desires and impulses is forced to depend on things, man, and on society… She requires everything that is difficult to obtain and becomes victimized by forces outside of her control. Socrates as eudaimonist Eudaimonea: happiness or flourishing. Philosophy of Socrates meant to teach persons how to be truly happy. Socrates as eudaimonist Eudaimonea: happiness or flourishing. Philosophy of Socrates meant to teach persons how to be truly happy. Happiness is given through the perfection of the soul and is now completely interiorized. It does not depend on things or on good fortune, but on the interior formation the logos can impart to the person. Eudaimonea Unhappiness does not come from the outside, but from within. It is for this reason that the good person cannot be harmed; the state of her soul is something completely within her control. Virtue is its own reward: this is eudaimonea, or happiness. Philosophy and the art of death From the Phaedo: “… the one aim of those who practice philosophy in the proper manner is to practice for dying and death” (64). “The philosopher frees the soul from association with the body” (65). “The soul reasons best when none of the senses trouble it” (65c) “What is most true is not contemplated through the body.” (65d) Philosophy and the art of death What is most true: the Just itself, the Beautiful itself, the Good. These are understood through thought (logos) alone. The senses give you the world of becoming and change; this is unreality. “…the body confuses the soul and does not allow it to acquire truth.” Only thought (the logos) lets you access the real. The body as a prison, or jail The body fills us with wants, desires, fears, and all sorts of illusions. Only the body and its desires cause wars, civil discord, etc. The soul can be “dragged by the body to things that are never the same, and the soul itself strays and is confused and dizzy, as if it were drunk, insofar as it is in contact with that kind of thing.” (79c) “Every pleasure or pain provides another nail to rivet the soul to the body and weld them together” (83d) The work of philosophy The moral task: freeing oneself from the desires of the body, and the identification of oneself with the body. Identifying oneself with the immortal soul, instead. What happens to those who identify with the body? The epistemological task: Coming to understand the world through reason, or logos, instead of the through the senses. Because every pleasure or pain provides, as it were, another nail to rivet the soul to the body and to weld them together. It makes the soul corporeal, so that it believes that truth is what the body says it is. As it shares the beliefs and delights of the body, I think it inevitably comes to share its beliefs and manner of life…. (83d). The Socratic method As discussed by Socrates in the Phaedo: Anaxagoras could not discover truth about things through direct inspection of the things themselves. We are perhaps better off by examining the statements or theories about the things through the logos. …I feared that my soul would be altogether blinded if I looked at things with my eyes and tried to grasp them with each of my senses. So I thought I must take refuge in discussions and investigate the truth of things by means of words. Phaedo, 110a. The Socratic method Procedure: Begin with some proposition that seems to be true. This is the initial hypothesis. Proceeds to ask: what must follow if this is admitted? Deduction of the consequences that follow upon the hypothesis. The Socratic method Procedure: Begin with some proposition that seems to be true. This is the initial hypothesis. Proceeds to ask: what must follow if this is admitted? Deduction of the consequences that follow upon the hypothesis. If the hypothesis is taken as true, then whatever follows from it must be taken to be true. But if what follows is false, then the hypothesis is also false. The Socratic method What consequences follow from the hypothesis, and the question of whether the hypothesis is itself true are two questions that must be kept distinct. Preliminary acceptance of an hypothesis to see what follows from it. However, I started in this manner: taking as my hypothesis in each case the theory that seemed to me the most compelling, I would consider as true, about cause and everything else, whatever agreed with this, and as untrue, whatever did not agree. Phaedo, 100a The Socratic method Truth is a coherent system. Because it is such a coherent system, we can move beyond the direct method of the Ionian physicists, which led nowhere, and the method of studying the statements, or theories. The Socratic method Truth is a coherent system. Because it is such a coherent system, we can move beyond the direct method of the Ionian physicists, which led nowhere, and the method of studying the statements, or theories. Direct method of the Ionian physicists: similar to the erroneous method of Bacon, who assumed that facts are there to draw a theory from. Sound method of Newton: the facts are there to test the theory by. The Socratic method Plato and his Academy: “A hypothesis which saves the appearances” = technical name for a scientific theory that clearly accounts for all the relevant facts. The appearances are the facts as observed, and to save them is to account for them in a coherent way. We can see how this idea developed from the Socratic method. The Socratic method Dialectic, or the method of conversation Truth must be reached by means of dialogue, or debate. There are two arguments for every case. Critical confrontation of two theories or rival interpretations. Socratic elenchus: form of cross examination or refutation. Kant 4/22/16 Principles: rules for the determination of the causality of the will; intentional o Hypothetical Imperatives If you want to achieve x, do x If you will the end, you must will the means. o Categorical Imperatives 1. Subjective practical principles: maxims Describe the principle in accordance with which you have chosen to act. Example: when in need of money, beg, borrow, or steel. Will contain an end, and the kinds means employed to achieve that end. Have only subjective validity 2. Objective practical principles: Laws Objective validity Valid for all rational agent Categorical Imperative Nature o Acting in accordance with laws Govern physical processes Intentionality o Acting in accordance with the idea of laws Here you have an idea of law (Rules of conduct) You choose whether to act in accordance with it or not Divine will o Practical reason infallibly determines the will Human, finite will: The will also exposed to subjective conditions. Human beings have subjectively conditional o Bodily needs (appetite) o Needs for recognition (honor loving part). Social beings The determining of such a will in accordance with objective law is necessitation o Imperatives commands
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