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HU 201 Notes for Midterm Exam, Team U

by: Vaishnavi Kothapalli

HU 201 Notes for Midterm Exam, Team U HU 201

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Vaishnavi Kothapalli

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- notes from Day 1 to today - covers all material that will be on the midterm exam - Topics include Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Epictetus, etc. - study guides provided for all readings (given by...
History of Western Ethics I
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Aristotle, Plato, platos apology, epictetus, handbook, Humanities, philosophy, Socrates
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This 27 page Study Guide was uploaded by Vaishnavi Kothapalli on Wednesday October 12, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to HU 201 at Boston University taught by Stoehr in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 53 views. For similar materials see History of Western Ethics I in Humanities at Boston University.


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Date Created: 10/12/16
Discussion - September 8, 2016 I. What is Humanities? a. It is the study of human beings b. 3 major parts i. The Arts ii. Philosophy – can be justified, but not through science; no right or wrong answer; up to the individual to decide what to believe in; more personal and open to interpretation 1. Ethics – what’s the difference b/w right and wrong? Are there any universal truths good for everyone? Are those truths relevant one specific culture or for all? Are you a good or bad or excellent person? How do you become an excellent person? How your habits form your character? 1) Ethical Theory – study great thinkers and how you can make yourself a better person to live your life in a justified way (i.e. Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche) 2) Applied Ethics/Moral dilemma – all about the application to your daily life (i.e. Solving roommate problems or figuring out how to vote on a gun control issue) i. Moral dilemma – a situation in which a rational person finds it difficult to choose a clear course of action due to an inner conflict between competing values/beliefs iii. Religion/Spirituality ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --- Lecture - September 12, 2016 I. Ancient “Greece” th a. “Greece” was not a unified empire until Alexander the Great came along (4 c. BCE) i. Aristotle was the teacher of Alexander ii. Aristotle’s teacher: Plato iii. Plato’s teacher: Socrates II. Mycenaean Age (12 c. BCE) a. Heroic ideal – model of virtue/arête i. “Striving for virtue” – like greatness as a person; personal excellence; very high standards ii. Hero refers to adult, free male citizens iii. Ideal hero is someone who is physically strong, militarily cunning (warrior) b. Justice = advantage of the strongest i. They were defined by how strong they were at defending themselves ii. The mightiest warriors were the ones who got to set the rules c. Mycenae: strongest fortified town i. Scattered; steep mountains; water separating communities; homes built on hills ii. “impenetrable against assault” III. Trojan War a. “Greece” (Mycenaean) vs. Troy i. started b/c of Helen (the face that launched a thousand ships) b. Odysseus, Achilles, Agamemnon, Menelaus i. Menelaus was husband of Helen; King Agamemnon was his brother ii. Helen ran off with Prince of Troy, Paris iii. Two brothers launched war on Troy c. “Homeric Hero” i. Trojan Horse - historians don’t know if it was real or not IV. The “Dark Age” of Greece: Homer’s Epics a. Period of cultural decline b. Many of the great leaders perished or were lost at sea after Trojan War c. Homer wrote down great epics detailing Trojan war and its aftermath i. To inspire people; make them be great people again d. No standard of virtue V. Birth of the polis (ca. 9 c. BCE) a. Polis = city-state b. Had an urban center; more structured political community c. Two city-states emerged  Athens and Sparta VI. Persian Wars (ca. 490 and 480 BCE) a. Athens/Sparta vs. Persia b. Brought together the two most powerful Greek city-states i. Athens had strongest navy ii. Sparta had greatest army VII. Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE) a. Athens vs. Sparta b. Sparta became jealous of Athens for Athens’ navy and treasury c. Sparta won in the end VIII. Age of Pericles (5 c. BCE) – during the time Socrates was alive a. “Golden Age of Ancient Greece” i. Had several decades of peace; didn’t focus on only war b. Pericles (c. 495-429 BCE) i. Military, intellectual, and cultural excellence ii. Need to be a well rounded person c. Socratic hero replaces Homeric hero i. Socrates was executed by Athens, but still well loved by his students – Plato, his student, wrote 35 dialogues about him ii. Not a hero of physical strength, but of mind iii. Defined by intelligence, wisdom, and an appreciation for things that make you better on the inside IX. Socrates (470-399 BCE) a. No official “school” i. Liked to wander ii. Goal: to get younger people to realize that people didn’t always know what they claimed to say (ex. Just because they say they are very religious doesn’t mean they know what God wants) iii. Wanted people to think deep about themselves, mostly young males b. Never philosophized in writing; always verbally through everyday conversation X. Plato (427-347 BCE) a. Learned/studied from Socrates when Socrates was 60 b. The Academy i. Founded by Plato in Europe c. Primary written format: dialogue i. Conversation between two or more people ii. *Why did he primarily write in dialogue form? XI. Aristotle (384-322 BCE) a. Learned/studied from Plato when Plato was 60 b. The Lyceum nd i. 2 grade school founded by Aristotle c. Primary written format: lectures i. More abstract format than others d. Had very different ideas than the other two XII. The Socratic Ideal (Age of Pericles till Alexander) a. Humanism i. Belief that humans are the center of creation ii. Gods always depicted as human-like b. Pursuit of Virtue i. Defined by mind and intellectual courage c. Practicing Moderation i. Like the Goldilocks’ principle ii. Trying to find the midpoint or balance; self-control; not living to excess d. Importance of Self-Knowledge i. Know thyself; a lot of introspection e. Rationalism (logos) i. Belief that rationality and reason is the most important aspect of who you are f. Symmetry and balance i. Balanced between extremes ii. Symmetry expresses balance iii. Ex. Temple of Athena and The Parthenon on the Acropolis ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --- Discussion - September 13, 2016 I. Euthyphro, Plato a. Setting: outside the courthouse at Athens b. Main Characters: Socrates and Euthyphro c. Why are they there? i. Euthyphro is prosecuting his father for killing one of their servants – that servant killed another servant; the father shot him and left him to die in a ditch ii. Socrates is being prosecuted by Meletus for corrupting the youth of Athens; he questions the traditional gods and makes up new gods d. Euthyphro demonstrates a great deal of hubris e. Socrates ask Euthyphro what piety is; he wants to get to the core of the destnition f. 1 definition i. It’s always pious to prosecute the wrongdoer; impious not to – referring to his father ii. Problem: this is just an example; not an actual definition; this is too narrow iii. Example vs. Universal definition iv. Zeus believes this is pious b/c he killed his own father as Zeus’ father ate his children g. 2 nddefinition i. What is dear to the gods is pious, what is not is impious 1. Piety  being loved by the gods ii. Problems 1. How do you know what is dear to the gods? 1) Gods are always disagreeing – different gods consider different things 2. It doesn’t say why they love it – the intrinsic quality iii. Why is this better than first? It is universal; not constrained by one example iv. Pg. 13 – is something pious b/c it is loved by the gods, or is it pious in itself? 1. Secondary/accidental property – ex. Telling someone your hair color when they ask you who you are; you can share it, but doesn’t add to the value at hand v. Socrates wants to get to the essence (eidos) of the idea 1. Wants to find the true nature of the idea h. 3 definition i. Pg. 15, above line 13 1. Piety and how it connects to justice (treating other people fairly; righteousness) ii. He brings up justice b/c of Euthyphro prosecuting his father and since he himself is defending himself in court iii. How are the two connected? 1. Piety <--> Justice? 1) Piety is a part of Justice 2) All things that are pious are just, but not all things that are just are pious 3) Difference? i. Piety is a form of justice that has to do with gods ii. Other acts deal with human beings 2. Fear <--> Shame? 1) Shame is a subset of all things that provoke fear 2) Not everything you fear are you shameful of i. Ex. poverty 3. Odd #’s <--> Even #’s in general 1) Odd numbers are a part of even numbers in general ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --- Discussion - September 15, 2016 I. Apology, Plato a. Pg. 34 – Socrates has this divine voice/conscience; he didn’t get involved in politics b/c of this voice b/c you can’t worry too much about how you act when you’re a politician II. Themes a. Conscience (noun) – feeling of morality; prevents you from doing bad things i. Conscious (verb) – awake, aware b. Virtue – personal excellence; very high standard ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --- Lecture - September 19, 2016 I. Euthyphro (continued) a. 3 definition i. “part of justice that is concerned with the care of the gods, while that part concerned with the care of humans is the remaining part of justice” (line 12e) ii. Piety = deals with gods ~ Rest of Justice = deals w/ humans iii. Socrates’ criticism? 1. The gods aren’t perfect, but they are supposed to be greater and smarter than human beings 2. They don’t need us to care for them; we don’t need to make the gods better  sacra religious statement 1) Ex. Horse breeder tends to horses in a way that benefits and improves them b. 4 definition i. piety = knowing how to sacrifice and pray ii. “piety would be a knowledge of how to give to, and beg from, the gods…”  “a sort of trading skill between gods and men” (14d-e) iii. Socrates’ objection? 1. By praying to and sacrificing to gods, you are pleasing them – not all gods are pleased by the same things (returned to 2 nd definition) 1) It doesn’t tell you the essence of it; it’s just a secondary property 2) Why is it pious? 2. Sacrifice is giving something to the gods, meaning we make them better 1) Returns back to 3 definition 2) We can’t make the gods better c. Socratic Method i. His method of asking questions ii. Believes to be a better person you have to recognize your ignorance of a subject 1. Socratic knowledge – idea of not knowing; ignorance d. Ending i. Socrates still doesn’t know what piety is; admits he is ignorant still ii. Believes that Euthyphro is wrong in prosecuting his father 1. While Euthyphro did admit he didn’t know what Socrates was saying sometimes, he’s still a know it all at the end and goes off to prosecute his father II. Apology, Plato a. Apologia – Greek; self-defense; justification of his life as a philosopher and not a pest b. Who is the jury? i. Representatives of the general population: 501 adult males - doesn’t include slaves, women, children c. Changing Forms of Athenian Political System i. Aristocracy 1. Favored the most by Plato and Socrates 2. Comes from a word meaning virtue 3. Rule by the best/most excellent/most virtuous 4. Leaders chosen based on education and how much they are willing to do for the community ii. Oligarchy 1. Rule by the few 2. Small group who typically exerts a lot of power iii. Tyranny 1. Rule by the one iv. Plutocracy 1. Governed by the rich and wealthy v. Democracy 1. The gov’t that put Socrates to death 2. Comes from Greek word nemos, means rule by the people 3. Problems 1) Some aren’t as educated enough to vote 2) Rule by the majority doesn’t always ensure you are making the right decision; just accepting what the majority of people are saying vi. Aristocracy  Oligarchy  Democracy  Aristocracy d. 1 set of accusations (older charges)? st i. He studies things in the heavens and below the earth – pg. 22, 1 paragraph, lines 18c-19c 1. Studying it scientifically, rather than looking to religious myths 2. Instead of referring to gods for creation and maintenance, he looks to science ii. He tries to make the worse argument better, and the better argument st worse – pg. 22, 1 paragraph, lines 18c-19c III. Pre-Socratic Philosophy a. Galileo and Copernicus heavily persecuted by the Church for believing in scientific ideas b. Anaximander (6 Century BCE) i. Early natural science ii. Origins of universe (4 basic elements) – earth, air, water, fire iii. Source of everything: The Apeiron 1. Greek term for chaos 2. Unbounded, formless  gained order from basic elements th th c. Heraclitus (6 -5 century BCE) i. “You cannot step twice into the same river” (“All is Flux”) 1. everything is always changing/fluctuating ii. emphasis on empirical evidence 1. what you experience from your senses th d. Parmenides (early 5 century BCE) i. True reality is unchanging (eternal) 1. Everything is permanent ii. “the One” 1. true reality 2. what’s really real is the unity of it all iii. reality vs. appearance 1. we know what’s real through our minds 2. what we see is just appearance iv. emphasis on reason over the senses 1. senses are deceiving you 2. mind > body ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --- Discussion - September 20, 2016 I. Socratic Irony – when a character or individual pretends they are ignorant when they are not a. Why does Socrates do that? i. Wants to test Euthyphro’s knowledge of piety ii. Wants to learn from Euthyphro II. Apology, Plato st a. 1 set of accusations (older charges)? st i. He studies things in the heavens and below the earth – pg. 22, 1 paragraph, lines 18c-19c 1. Studying it scientifically, rather than looking to religious myths 2. Instead of referring to gods for creation and maintenance, he looks to science ii. He tries to make the worse argument better, and the better argument st worse – pg. 22, 1 paragraph, lines 18c-19c 1. Wants to change people’s opinions 2. Truth vs. Persuasion (change someone’s opinion) 1) Ex. Lawyers, salesmen, advertising, public relations 3. Basically, being accused of being a sophist (teaching rhetoric) 1) Not asking for money 2) Not asking any questions b. 2 ndset of accusations (recent charges)? i. Corrupts the youth by not to believe the old traditional gods, but false gods III. Philosophy a. Comes from Greek terms, Philia (love or desire) and Sophia (knowledge or wisdom) b. Plato’s Socrates i. Plato portrays Socrates as a philosopher and not a sophist ii. Socrates was just trying to get at the truth of what the students know IV. Sophistry a. Definition: being a teacher of rhetoric; tries to get you to speak well b. Aristophanes’ Socrates i. The Clouds 1. Play that depicted Socrates as a sophist 2. “The Thinkery” 1) School that supposedly taught you rhetoric 2) Headmaster: Socrates – chief rhetorician 3. Goals: 1) Socrates is not a true philosopher; he can speak well and is a great rhetorician 2) Sophistry as dangerous i. We’re not exactly becoming better people just by talking better ii. Society thinks it’s smart, but not a fully functional society iii. People will only know how to convince other people, they won’t know how to do other things  society full of talkers iv. Right and wrong is subject to change; it’s not concrete anymore; no morals  social chaos v. People can start arguing and challenging things; no common morality or religion or culture V. Philosophy vs. Sophistry a. Philosophy: truth-seeking b. Sophistry: trying to change someone’s opinion ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --- Discussion - September 22, 2016 I. Apology and Crito a. Chaerephon & the Oracle at Delphi (Delphic oracle  Apollo) i. Apollo = God of war, sun, archery, music, poetry, reason, intelligence, order ii. Chaerephon asked oracle if there was anyone wiser than Socrates  they said no there’s not  Socrates is shocked that they said he was the wisest man in Athens, since he usually admits his ignorance  tries to find out why 1. They don’t like that he always asks so many questions iii. How does this connect with the story of the Delphic oracle? 1. iv. Why does Socrates try to find out why and go around questioning people? 1. Wisdom is recognizing you are not wise 2. He is the wisest in the sense that he is the one who admits he is not wise 3. It’s like a symbolic thing 4. He believes it is a part of his divine mission to show people they don’t know what they claim to know v. Relates to 1 set of charges b. Daimon - divine voice i. Root word for demonic ii. Socrates believes he has a divine voice in his head 1. Doesn’t tell him what to do, but what he should try to do 1) Known as conscience c. 2nd(later) set of charges  Meletus’ self-contradiction i. Corrupting the youth to not even believe in gods AND teaching about new gods 1. Claims to have a new voice in his head which could mean he is listening to a new god  impiety? ii. Meletus’ self-contradiction 1. He is believing in his own demi-gods (divine spirits; children of the gods), but not the old/traditional gods 1) How does he believe the children of the gods exist, but not the parent gods? 2. You can’t charge someone with believing in gods, when Socrates admits that he is an atheist (unbeliever in gods) d. Greatest human good i. Socrates believes it is the right thing to discuss virtue everyday 1. Won’t stop doing it 2. Thinks it is his divine mission to show other people he is wise e. Trial i. 501 people ii. Why were they so angry with him during trial? 1. He wasn’t scared, didn’t grovel; thought he was arrogant iii. Found guilty and will be executed f. Reasons for not fearing death i. Socratic knowledge – don’t worry about it b/c it is foolish to fear something you don’t anything about 1. We don’t know exactly what will happen after death; you can’t fear what you don’t know; it’s 50/50 – but why spend time fearing it if it doesn’t really matter? ii. It could be a better thing 1. What Socrates thinks will happen after death (page 41, line 40d) 1) Death could just be like an eternal sleep – it would be better to have eternal sleep than go through all the suffering of becoming old 2) Could be a paradise where he could meet all the greatest minds of Athens iii. His voice didn’t tell him anything before/during his trial 1. If his divine voice said something, then he would know something is wrong iv. He’s going to die anyway  he’s 70 g. Reasons why Socrates will not choose exile i. He would be breaking the laws by doing so ii. The City of Athens birthed his parents, him, educated him, married him, etc. 1. The city is like a parent 2. Social Contract/Covenant iii. If he’s an enemy in Athens, he would be an enemy everywhere 1. He defied the laws in Athens  meaning he’s a lawbreaker h. Socrates’ reasons for not escaping i. If he goes away with his children, they lose their Athenian citizenship – if he doesn’t, he leaves them behind and won’t know what will happen to them  better that he face his punishment 1. Better to do the right thing than the wrong ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --- Lecture - September 26, 2016 I. Socrates and Plato a. Importance of dialogue in philosophizing i. Dialogue – conversation b/w three or more people b. Dialogue = dia + logos i. Dialogue = reasoning through something c. Possible reasons for Plato’s recurring use of the dialogue format? i. Reflects Socrates’ actual method 1. Captures/imitates Socrates way of philosophizing 1) Elenchus: cross-examination ii. Having different characters expresses different viewpoints, from that you can understand different aspects of the problem/issue 1. Makes the reader philosophize 2. Breaking the 4 wall – enter into dialogue iii. Makes philosophy more entertaining/engaging iv. Shows that philosophizing begins in everyday conversation and has value for everyday life v. Political reason? 1. According to some scholars, writing dialogues would prevent Plato from being charged with certain impious things 1) Plato never puts himself in his own dialogue 2) He can justify it by saying this is just an idea to get people thinking d. Crito, Plato i. What are the specific reasons that Socrates offers for refusing to escape from his impending execution? 1. **He has a special relationship to the city of Athens 1) Social Contract/Covenant – unwritten agreement i. How has he benefitted from state? 1. Athens approved of his birth, his life, his marriage, his kids, his parent’s marriage, his education – basically entire life 2. He was a hometown boy ii. He would be double-crossing state by leaving 2. If this was a bad thing, his Daimon (divine voice) would have told him not to go or to stop 3. Why execute me, I’m going to die anyway? 4. It would be worse to leave than stay 1) Would be a lawbreaker everywhere 2) It would be the right thing to stay 5. Escaping your punishment would confirm that he was guilty of his accusations 1) Concern about his future reputation 6. It would be foolish to escape death because he doesn’t know what it brings 1) Eternal sleep? 7. What the majority of people will think 1) The majority is not always right 2) Socrates – Let’s just worry about what the wise people say i. Was a proponent of aristocracy – letting the smartest rule II. Plato’s “Two Worlds” Theory a. Socrates’ search for universal definitions and ideas b. Plato argued that there exist… i. Transcendent forms 1. Non-physical, unchanging, eternal, universal ideas 2. Intellectual patterns ii. Highest Idea = Idea of the Good c. The World of Ideas vs. The Changing Physical World i. Ex. You can break or paint a physical chair, but you can’t break or paint the idea of a chair ii. You know the World of Ideas through your mind ~ You know the physical world through your five senses iii. Non-physical things don’t get older or change; the essence of it won’t change iv. Plato says everything can change in the real world, and if it changes it can’t express the essence of what it is 1. He believes what is really real is the world of ideas 1) Permanent, unchanging 2. Idea of a chair is more real than an actual chair 3. Ex. Law of gravity – an abstract pattern that helps you make sense of things 1) An idea that applies to all things that fall to the center 2) An intellectual pattern v. ***Aristotle only believes there is one world: the physical world, where ideas always existed ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --- Discussion (lecture continued) - September 27, 2016 I. Aristotle: “One World” theory a. Aristotle was a much more scientific thinker than Plato – much more tied to physical universe and nature b. Ideas (forms/patterns) are inherent in physical objects and their properties i. Patterns exist in the physical objects themselves 1. Plato believes the patterns exist in a reality other than the world we are in ii. There is no other reality than the world that surround us 1. Ex. the form/idea of a tree is in the tree, but not in some eternal realm of ideas 2. The law of gravity is a pattern that only exists in the motion of physical objects; not something separate from that motion 1) Plato – Law of gravity was an idea before the idea of human existence 2) Aristotle – law only exists when the object is in motion 3. Ex. Acorn grows into a big oak tree over time – Plato: acorn is expressing idea of oak tree and that idea of an oak tree is somewhere in a different world – Aristotle: the form/pattern (acorn to tree) is in the growth pattern of a tree iii. Human beings have the pattern of being human being in their pattern iv. Patterns exist in the physical objects themselves 1. Plato believes the patterns exist in a reality other than the world we are in v. Ideas can change and evolve vi. Aristotle’s most famous student was Alexander the Great II. Plato vs. Aristotle a. Plato i. Virtue/excellence = wisdom/knowledge 1. You can actually teach virtue to other people ii. “to know the Idea of the Good is to do the good” b. Aristotle i. But what if you know the right thing to do and yet continue to do the wrong thing? ii. Desires overcoming reason 1. Ex. Addictions iii. Choices >> habits >> character III. Plato: Highest Idea = Idea of the Good a. Idea of the Good = universal meaning of goodness b. To know every time what is good and bad c. Only way to become a truly good person is to become a philosopher and know the essence of things d. Aristotle doesn’t agree with this i. He believes the good is only found in human actions 1. Everyone had a different idea of what good should be 1) Thinks that the ultimate goal in life is happiness ii. There are so many different versions of good things in the world, there cannot be a general definition for all of them 1. Ex. Good places, good people, good pets, good moments, good views, etc. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --- Discussion - September 29, 2016 I. Telos + Logos = Teleology a. Aristotle is a much more scientific thinker than Plato i. All living things have an internal goal  telos ii. Look at function or essence of what you’re looking at b. Teleology = study of goals or purposes c. Ultimate goal of human beings i. Pursuit of Happiness – eudaimonia (good and divine) 1. We’re striving to be gods ii. Aristotle says happiness is too important to be equated with pleasure 1. Pleasure = bodily desires (sex, food, etc.) 2. Pleasure is very short term satisfaction that will lead to more and more desires 3. His definition: an activity that you have to earn 1) To satisfy your soul 2) Must be a rational person with the goal of happiness in mind 3) Has to be in accordance with virtue or excellence 4) it is not a time thing; you have to gauge happiness over your entire life II. Aristotle’s critique of Plato’s Idea of the Good a. There are so many definitions of good that we can’t find a universal definition for it i. Even if there were, they would be so abstract and hard to understand b. “To know the Idea of the Good, is to do the good” – Aristotle says people have moral weaknesses and don’t always do the right thing i. Plato’s defense to an alcoholic who keeps drinking even though he knows it’s wrong – he doesn’t actually know its wrong since he’s not a philosopher c. Not everyone is a philosopher i. Even if you were, that doesn’t mean they are excellent III. Aristotle: moral weakness (akrasia) a. Idea that you know what the right thing to do, but your desires overwhelm the mind ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --- October 3, 2016 – Lecture (absent) I. Aristotle a. Established the natural sciences i. Classification – genus/species ii. Teleology (telos + logos) iii. Emphasized empirical knowledge b. Founded the study of logic c. Nichomachean Ethics d. Metaphysics i. Above the physical reality e. Poetics f. Politics II. Types of Virtue a. Intellectual Virtue i. Theoretical Wisdom 1. Understanding unchanging things 2. Ex. Law of Nature ii. Practical Wisdom 1. “Street smarts” – things that change depending on the situation 2. How to get to your goal b. Ethical Virtue i. Choices  habits  character  virtue III. Aristotle’s “Golden Mean” a. Aims at the relative midpoint between extremes (vices) b. Hit the “bull’s eye” c. Extremes = deficiency and excess d. “relative” = proportional (“geometric”) e. “Arithmetic” mean i. have to fit everyone’s situation 1. geometry: sizes and radii are different 2. midpoint is dependent on the individual and their situation ii. Not completely arithmetic  arithmetic never changes iii. Contextual/situational ethics f. Plato’s absolutist ethics i. Depends on the person and their context/situation ii. Ex. Might take courage to face great danger in war or to just talk in front of a big word if you are shy  different for everyone iii. Plato’s absolutist ethics  Aristotle thinks it is too rigid; life changes, people change iv. Plato’s highest idea = Idea of the Good IV. Examples of the Golden Mean a. Cowardice vs. courage vs. recklessness b. Stingy vs. generosity vs. wastefulness i. Knowing how to spend your money c. Insensitivity vs. moderation (temperance) vs. self-indulgence d. Apathy vs. mildness vs. short temper e. Obsequiousness vs. friendliness vs. grouchiness i. Obsequiousness = someone who is always fawning for attention or following others ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --- October 4, 2016 – Discussion - Epictetus’ Handbook I. Death of the Ancient Greek Empire a. Never unified till Alexander came in i. Brought all polis’ into one large empire b. Did not survive after Alexander’s death; crumbled II. Death of Alexander the Great (356-323 CE) a. Died mysteriously III. Roman Republic  Roman Empire a. Rome used to be a representative democracy b. Julius Caesar appointed as perpetual emperor (44 BCE) c. 500-year rule until the rise of the Byzantine Empire i. Byzantium  Constantinople (first emperor) 1. Western half of Roman Empire ii. Start of “the Middle Ages” IV. Height of Roman Empire’s power a. Material and military success b. Importance of Roman Law i. Like a religion ii. Only way to keep everyone unified and united iii. Became central principle to Roman empire c. But, also height of moral crisis in Rome i. No great moral leaders (role models) ii. Corrupt/decadent or weak emperors 1. Ex. Caligula, Claudius, Nero V. Stoicism (Greek and Roman) a. Founder: Zeno of Citium (Greek) i. You can always be a virtuous person even in midst of pain b. School: “the Stoa” (Stoa Poikile) i. = the painted porch c. Philosophy as a kind of therapy i. To feel healed and as a whole person d. Stoic model: Socrates i. Refers to the Crito ii. Socrates is passionate about wisdom and virtue iii. Be passionate about the right things VI. Epictetus (c. 50-130 CE) a. Greek-Roman i. Born in Greek colony, which eventually became a Roman colony b. Sold into slavery as a child c. Bodyguard under Emperor Nero d. Studied under Greek Stoicism e. Like a reverse of Romanticism VII. Selective apathy or detachment (apatheia) a. Learn to tune out what disturbs you b. Reason vs. desire VIII. Highest good = serenity a. Aristotle thinks you should always be struggling for happiness i. No pain, no game b. Epictetus says to avoid struggle as much as possible and be serene and calm i. Goal is to maintain serenity c. “Some things are in our control, and some of them are not” – Handbook d. What is up to us? e. What is not up to us?  External i. Body (diseases/illnesses, height, gender, aging & death) ii. Material possessions (money and wealth) iii. Reputations (others’ opinion and judgements) iv. Weather and natural disasters ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --- October 6, 2016 - Discussion I. Highest good = Serenity a. What is up to us? (pg. 11 in Handbook)  Internal i. Opinions, Beliefs, Judgements ii. Impulses/desires 1. You can even overcome addiction if you use your reason iii. Aversions (opposite of desires) iv. Attitude II. How to achieve serenity? a. Detach yourself emotionally from certain things b. “Let it be” c. be apathetic towards external things d. Your life will be a lot more serene if you have some sense of religion i. Wants you to have a general conception of what a higher power would look like 1. Atheist = doesn’t believe in a god/gods 2. Agnostic = skeptic of gods ii. Can you live an ethical and virtuous life without believing in religion? 1. Empathy can lead to same conclusions as religion can get you to III. Religion a. He believes the gods are higher powers who arranged everything perfectly b. Religious faith helps us to cope with suffering c. Belief in Divine Providence i. Idea that everything happens for a reason ii. The gods have a plan d. Pg. 21 – about piety – believe in gods who arrange the world justly i. Things you can’t control – leave it to the gods ii. Things you can control – concentrate on it to make it better e. Death is inevitable – try to detach yourself emotionally from the sphere i. Fragment #3 on pg. 12 – like tough love; if you can’t change the past, then don’t worry about it ii. Fragment #11 on pg. 14 – don’t mourn over things given to you from the gods; not your personal property iii. Fragment # 5 STUDY GUIDE FOR ARISTOTLE’S NICOMACHEAN ETHICS (BOOKS ONE & TWO) NOTE: One or more of the options for your second paper assignment this semester will ask you to look back at Aristotle’s ethical philosophy. For example, one option may ask you to have a close look at Book Eight that deals with three different types of friendship. For this paper option, you will be asked to apply Aristotle’s distinctions among different types of friendship to characters in Hesse’s novel Siddhartha. Another option may ask you to have a close look at the different examples of Aristotle’s Golden Mean (in Book Four) and apply those to the character of Siddhartha. So be sure to hang on to your copy of the Nicomachean Ethics! Key terms/ideas from your required Aristotle readings and from our lectures and classes on Aristotle (know how to define or explain these): 1. Teleology as the study of the highest goods/goals in life 2. Aristotle’s definition of “happiness” as the highest good/goal in human life 4. The “Golden Mean” as the general type or form of different virtues 5. Examples of virtues in the form of the Golden Mean: bravery (courage) temperance (moderation) generosity mildness (the mean related to anger) truthfulness wit (wittiness) friendliness 6. Moral choices, habits, and moral character (know what they mean and how they connect to each other in the pursuit of virtue and happiness) 7. The distinction between intellectual virtue and ethical (moral) virtue. 8. The distinction between theoretical wisdom and practical wisdom and how practical wisdom plays a role in the pursuit of virtue and happiness. Study guide questions for the required readings from the Hackett edition (translated by Terence Irwin): BOOK ONE : Read all of Book One and know the following: Section 1.1: Explain the notion of the “highest good” (or highest goal/telos of human life). Section 1.2: Know why the highest field of learning( “ruling science”) is political science (of which the study of ethics is a branch). Section 1.3: Why does Aristotle say that very young people do not make good students of ethics? Section 1.4: Know the reasons why common (everyday) beliefs about the highest good are inadequate, and especially those that equate the highest good with pleasure, honor (reputation), and money- making. Also for Section 1.4, be able to explain the reasons why Aristotle rejects Plato’s emphasis on some absolute, universal Idea of the Good that Plato thinks is necessary for living a virtuous life. Section 1.5: Know Aristotle’s definition of happiness (eudaimonia) as the complete highest good of human life, plus be able to explain his reasons for defining “happiness” in the way he does. Sections 1.7-1.8: Even though, according to Aristotle, happiness requires a life of virtue (involving the development of our inner moral character), he believes nonetheless that external goods (money, shelter, food, etc.) as well as good fortune (good luck) are not entirely irrelevant to a happy life. Explain why, given what he says in these sections. BOOK TWO: Read all of Book Two and know the following: Section 2.1: Know how virtue (in relation to the development of our moral character) is attained (and especially in contrast to Plato, who equates virtue with wisdom or knowledge and who equates a virtuous life with the life of a philosopher). Section 2.2: Know the reasons why virtue is not merely a feeling/emotion. And be able to explain Aristotelian virtue in terms of the “Golden Mean” (an intermediate state between two extremes). Finally, what are Aristotle’s reasons why this ethical mean is not a “numerical” mean but rather a “mean relative to us.” Section 2.3: Here Aristotle describes briefly the ways in which the Golden Mean is applicable in terms of different virtues. Be able to explain what he says about the virtues (means) of bravery (courage), temperance (moderation), generosity, mildness (the mean related to anger), truthfulness, wit (wittiness), and friendliness. In each case, why is the given virtue a good example of the Golden Mean and what are the extremes in each case? STUDY GUIDE – PLATO.  Humanities, Team U, Fall 2016, Prof. Stoehr Questions on Plato’s   Euthyphro: Piety (pious) vs. Impiety (impious) SEE HU DISCUSSION NOTES FOR MORE INFORMATION 1. What is the first definition of piety that Euthyphro offers, as related to the  reason for his upcoming court trial?  What is the defect of this first definition,  according to Socrates, especially in light of their search for a definition?  The pious thing is to do what he is doing right now by prosecuting the  wrongdoer (his father)  It is impious not to prosecute  Socrates: this is just an example; he wants a general definition 2. What is the second definition of piety that Euthyphro offers and why is it better than the first?  Then explain how Socrates criticizes that definition, particularly in light of certain mythical stories about the gods. i. What is dear to the gods is pious, what is not is impious 1. Piety  being loved by the gods ii. Problems 1. How do you know what is dear to the gods? 1) Gods are always disagreeing – different gods consider different things 2. It doesn’t say why they love it – the intrinsic quality iii. Why is this better than first? It is universal; not constrained by one example iv. Pg. 13 – is something pious b/c it is loved by the gods, or is it pious in itself? 1. Secondary/accidental property – ex. Telling someone your hair color when they ask you who you are; you can share it, but doesn’t add to the value at hand v. Socrates wants to get to the essence (eidos) of the idea 3. How does Socrates amend Euthyphro’s second definition of piety so as to  avoid the problem?   [Hint: Socrates refers here to “all the gods”]  Socrates say that whatever the gods agree on is what is considered to be  holy – it is more general that way 4. Socrates then asks a crucial question:  Is the pious [the holy] being loved by  the gods because it is pious, or is it pious [holy] because it is loved by the  gods?  What does Socrates mean by this?  What is he getting at?  Socrates  goes into a very complex explanation of what he means by the above  statement in the next few pages.  What is he trying to say that will show  Euthyphro that he has not yet offered an adequate definition of piety?    He means… do you only like that puppy because puppies are adorable, or is the puppy adorable because it is loved by you?  This is just an example; it doesn’t add any value to the actual essence of  piety 5. Socrates quotes from a poet (Stasinus) concerning fear and shame in order  to make a point about the relationship between piety and justice.  What is the  basic point that he makes about fear and reverence, and how does this point  relate to the connection between piety and justice?  [Hint: Socrates also uses  the analogy of odd numbers in relation to the idea of all types of numbers.] b. Pg. 15, above line 13 i. Piety and how it connects to justice (treating other people fairly; righteousness) c. He brings up justice b/c of Euthyphro prosecuting his father and since he himself is defending himself in court d. How are the two connected? i. Piety <--> Justice? 1. Piety is a part of Justice 2. All things that are pious are just, but not all things that are just are pious 3. Difference? 1) Piety is a form of justice that has to do with gods 2) Other acts deal with human beings ii. Fear <--> Shame? 1. Shame is a subset of all things that provoke fear 2. Not everything you fear are you shameful of 1) Ex. poverty iii. Odd #’s <--> Even #’s in general 1. Odd numbers are a part of even numbers in general 6. Euthyphro offers a third definition by saying that piety is a “part of” justice that  involves our “attending” (or, in other translations, “caring for”) the gods.  What  is the problem that Socrates raises in relation to Euthyphro’s use of the  phrase “attending to” when it is applied to humans and gods?  [Hint:  Socrates relies here upon the analogy of caring for dogs and horses.] 7. Do you think that Euthyphro has reached a satisfactory definition of piety by  the end of the dialogue?  Has he learned anything from his dialogue with  Socrates?  Explain. Questions on Plato’s   Apology: 1. The term “apology” comes from a Greek root word meaning “a justification or  defense”.  In the Apology, and also in the Crito, Socrates is attempting to  justify his life as a philosopher and thus to defend the need for philosophy.   Against which specific charges is Socrates defending himself?  What are the  older or “first class of” accusations against him, those charges that have been around for a long time?  [Hint: they have to do with “heaven” and “earth” and  different kinds of “causes.”]  And what are the more recent or “second class  of” accusations (as represented by the specific charges of Meletus)?    He is charged with not recognizing the gods recognized by the state, inventing new deities, and corrupting the youth of Athens 2. What is the significance of the story of Chaerephon’s visit to the Oracle of the  God of Delphi?  In which specific way is Socrates wise, according to his own  words?  And what was Socrates’ “mission” after hearing the words of the  Oracle at Delphi?  3. Socrates begins to question Meletus concerning the education of the youth.   What, according to Meletus, improves the youth?   And what is the ridiculous  conclusion to which Meletus’ accusation leads after Socrates asks him about  those who do improve the youth? 4. Socrates then debates Meletus concerning the charge that Socrates teaches  the youth not to believe in the official gods of Athens.  How does Socrates  refute that accusation by way of his belief in “spirits” (or “spiritual  agencies”/”demi­gods”)?  In sum, why is Meletus’ charge confused and even  self­contradictory? 5. Socrates states: “And I think that what I am going to say will do you good .. I  would have you know, that if you kill such a one as I am, you will injure  yourselves more than you will injure me.  Meletus and Anytus [Socrates’  accusers] will not injure me: they can not; for it is not in the nature of things  that a bad man should injure a better [person] than himself … And now,  Athenians, I am not going to argue for my own sake, as you may think, but for yours …”   What does Socrates mean when he says that his accusers will injure  themselves more than they will injure him, even if they should kill him?  Would you agree with the idea that a “bad” or immoral person can never injure a  person who is better or more virtuous/excellent?  What does Socrates really  mean here by the idea of “injury”? In this same section he refers to himself as a “gadfly” (or pest).  What does  Socrates take to be his chief purpose in life?  How can “being a gadfly” be a  good thing for Athens?  And how does his self­chosen “profession” as a  “gadfly” help to explain why so many are now accusing him?  How does his  “profession” or “mission” help to explain why he would never quit  philosophizing with others? 6. Socrates then speaks of his divine “oracle” or “sign” (i.e., an inner voice that  he called his “daimon”).  How does his “daimon” serve to help him?  And  given what this voice specifically tells him, how does it help to explain why  Socrates never chose to engage in a public political life but chose rather to  converse with people in private? 7. It was an element of Athenian justice to have the convicted person propose  his own punishment.  What does Socrates propose as his punishment?   Why?  Why does Socrates not opt for exile in a foreign city?   8. In his speech concerning his own punishment, what does Socrates say “the  greatest good of man” is?  How does that help to explain why Socrates will  not pledge to remain silent or to abstain from philosophy? 9. In the last few pages of this dialogue, Socrates gives a stirring and powerful  speech to his friends after having been convicted and sentenced.  What are  the several different reasons that Socrates gives for not fearing death?  Questions on Plato’s   Crito: In this dialogue, Crito visits Socrates just before the elderly teacher of the  Athenian youth is about to be executed.  Crito arrives to persuade Socrates to  escape his execution with the help of a circle of friends and admirers.  Yet  Socrates says that he needs to know whether escaping his punishment is the  right thing to do or not.  As clearly and concisely as possible, give the specific  reasons and arguments that Socrates offers throughout the dialogue in justifying  his refusal to escape.  (You might also include here the reasons given at the end  of “The Apology” for not needing to fear death.)   Here are some specific questions to help you in finding those reasons: How does Socrates’ age (he is around 70) serve as one reason? What does Socrates say about “the opinion of the many” (i.e., public opinion) as  well as the opinions of the “wise” and the “unwise”?  How does all of this serve as another reason why he chooses not to escape and save himself – especially if  doing so would ultimately be an “injustice”? As Socrates suspects, some of his friends might argue that he should do wrong  to his city of Athens (by escaping) if his city did him wrong (by convicting him and sentencing him to execution).  But what does Socrates have to say about righting a wrong with another wrong?  Pay special attention here to what he has to say  about his view of the proper relationship between an individual and his/her  community or city (what the ancient Greeks called a “polis.”)  Imagining what “the laws” would have to say, Socrates discusses a certain kind of “agreement” (like a “covenant” or “contract”).  What kind of an “agreement” is he talking about here?   What are the specific reasons why Socrates thinks that he should feel bound by  such an agreement? If Socrates were to choose to escape and go into exile in a foreign country/city,  what might be the possible consequences for him and his children? STUDY GUIDE FOR EPICTETUS’ HANDBOOK HU 201, Team U, Fall 2016, Prof. Stoehr Key ideas and principles (be able to explain in the context of Epictetus’ philosophy) Philosophy as therapy Serenity Selective apathy (apatheia) toward externals Internal vs. External Divine Providence Act “in accordance with nature” Selected essential quotes from the Handbook (be able to explain in the context of Epictetus’ philosophy) (given below with Fragment #’s from the book) “Some things are up to us and some are not up to us. Our opinions are up to us, and our impulses, desires, aversions – in short, whatever is our own doing. Our bodies are not up to us, nor are our possessions, our reputations, or our public offices, or, that is, whatever is not our own doing.” (#1) “What upsets people is not things themselves but their judgments about the things. For example, death is nothing dreadful (or else it would have appeared dreadful to Socrates), but instead the judgment about death that it is dreadful – that is dreadful.” (#5) “Do not seek to have events happen as you want them to, but instead want them to happen as they do happen, and your life will go well.” (#8) “Never say about anything, ‘I have lost it’, but instead, ‘I have given it back’.” (#11) “Remember that you are an actor in a play, which is as the playwright wants it to be: short if he wants it short, long if he wants it long … What is yours is to play the assigned part well. But to choose it belongs to someone else.” (#17) “For if the really good things are up to us, neither envy nor jealousy has a place, and you yourself will want neither to be a general or a magistrate or a consul, but to be free. And there is one road to this: despising what is not up to us.” (#19) “If it ever happens that you turn outward to want to please another person, certainly you have lost your plan in life.” (#23) “Just as a target is not set up to be missed, in the same way nothing bad by nature happens in the world.” (#27) “For each action, consider what leads up to it and what follows it, and approach it in light of that.” (#29) “The most important aspect of piety towards the gods is certainly both to have correct beliefs about them, as beings that arrange the universe well and justly, and to set yourself to obey them and acquiesce in everything that happens and to follow it willingly ….” (#31) “Socrates became fully perfect in this way, by not paying attention to anything but his reason in everything that he met with.” (#51) Other questions about the reading: Fragment #7: Explain the metaphor Epictetus uses here in terms of stopping on shore while on a voyage. How does advise us to behave while on shore? And who is “the captain”? Fragment #15: How does Epictetus advise us to behave while at a dinner banquet


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