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by: Elizabeth Kaur

PHILOLecture2 PHI 001

Elizabeth Kaur

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Second Lecture
Intro to Philosophy
George Mattey
Class Notes
philosophy, George Mattey
25 ?




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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Elizabeth Kaur on Sunday January 31, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PHI 001 at University of California - Davis taught by George Mattey in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 9 views. For similar materials see Intro to Philosophy in PHIL-Philosophy at University of California - Davis.

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Date Created: 01/31/16
Lecture 2 The First Principle • Our first text will be from Plato and centered around his teacher Socrates (469-399 BC). • Before Socrates (and during his life) the main outlines of philosophical inquiry had begun to take shape. • The main question posed by the pre-Socratic philosophers was metaphysical: – What is the first principle (arche¯ = greek word for principle) of all reality? • The question itself can be understood in two main ways: or two main questions: – What is the material of which all things are composed? ∗ Water (Thales) said all is made of water ∗Air (Anaximenes) ∗ Fire (Heraclitus) in terms of energy. think of the universe of a great plane of energy. ∗ Solid, shaped atoms (Leucippus, Democritus) the view that the world is made of very tiny particles that are joined in various ways to make the macro objects that make up the world. what happened during the renaissance was the rediscovery of atomism. – What is responsible for the organization of all things? What is the principle of organization? ∗ Number (Pythagoras) Closer to this view today because of the great importance of mathematics in our world today. ∗ Mind (Anaxagoras) “Mind is what organizes the world.” Unity and Plurality • The search for a first principle of all things is at bottom a search for a unified explanation of a plurality of things. You’re taking many and you’re trying to find one that corresponds. You have things that are organized in different ways and you’re looking for one principle of organization. Looking for unity in plurality. •An alternative approach, taken by Parmenides, is to deny that there is any plurality at all. “We don’t have to find unity in plurality because there isn’t any.” •According to Parmenides, all that is, is one (metaphysical monism). He was the extreme of monism. “This is not the truth. this is only opinion. The truth is that there is only one. Everything that exists is just a simple thing.” ~ monism There is one thing. OR There is one kind of things. • His student, Zeno of Elea, proposed several famous paradoxes to support Parmenides’s monism. • Zeno used a distinctive argument form, reductio ad absurdum, that has been widely used by philosophers ever since. –Assume that opposite of a thesis is true. ex. assume that there is motion – Show that a contradiction or absurdity follows from the assumption. ex. if there is motion, then something absurd follows from that – Conclude that the opposite of the assumed thesis is false, in which case thesis itself is true. ex. there’s no motion because the point that there is motion is false Thesis: I can move from where I am standing to this table. Zeno: Okay, if you can, then you must have been able to get half way there.And half of the distance left.And so on and so forth. So there must always be a distance. So you never really get there because there is always some distance between you and the table. Zeno thought that motion was just an illusion. Plato and Socrates • Most of the writings of Plato (427-347 BC) consist of dialogues between Socrates and various residents of and travelers toAthens. Plato wrote his philosophies through Socrates. • In most of the dialogues, the words of Socrates apparently reflect the thoughts of Plato. Scholars says that much of what Socrates says is what Plato thought. • One of Plato’s chief concerns was with the metaphysical question of the basis of unity among a plurality of things. Plato was concerned with unity and plurality. How in this wildly diverse world we can find unifying principles. • This is the key issue in his early “Socratic” dialogue Euthyphro. Euthyphro is an attempt to find and raise the question of a unifying principle by Socrates He never really comes to a conclusion. Some skeptics take Socrates as a model because he’s tearing stuff apart. The Form There seems to be similarity between objects. They constitute a “kind”. • We commonly think that distinct objects, acts, etc. (what we will call “things”) are of the same kind: – Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Tiger Woods, are all people. – Observing religious holidays, making sacrifices, behaving virtuously, are all pious acts. • Plato’s philosophical thesis was that things fall under the same kind because there is something “the same and alike” in every one of them. Socrates thought the different sorts of activities that we count as pious are all one of kind because there is something “the same and alike” in every one of them. Ex. Desks. We call them desks because there is something the same and alike in all of them. There is a place to sit and a place to write. • The form is what “makes” things the kind of things they are. • Whether a thing falls under a kind depends on whether it has the form. The form is what things of a certain kind have in common. • Plato produced a philosophical theory of forms in general. Wants to find a form of a form. What unifies forms? • In the Euthyphro, Plato is concerned with the specific problem of finding the form for one kind of thing, the pious act. What makes sacrificing a lamb and visiting a temple on a holy day, what makes these things holy and pious? Why isn’t building a house or making a dinner pious? The Case of Piety Euthyphro - is the priest. In a dialogue, he is doing something peculiar. He is prosecuting his father for murder. Socrates meets Euthyphro on the steps of the court house and questions his prosecution of his father. Euthyphro says no, it was a servant.Aservant had murdered another servant. My father caught the guy and threw him in a ditch. He went to get consul but by the time he got back the servant was dead. So the father committed a wrongful act of murder. Socrates asked why he was prosecuting and he said it was the pious thing to do. Socrates questions how he knows it’s the pious thing to do. He says, I am a priest; priests know what is pious. Socrates says well then, tell me what piety is, what makes a pious act pious. Euthyphro says a pious act is what I’m doing. Socrates says that’s not good enough. That’s just an example (first bullet). • (1) One does not describe the form of piety by merely listing pious acts. •Any description of the form of piety must at a minimum give a necessary and sufficient condition for an act to be pious: – (Necessary condition): For any act x, if x is pious, then x satisfies the condition, Acondition that must be met if it is going to be pious. Piety must involve the gods. ex. desk must provide a surface for writing – (Sufficient condition): For any act x, if x satisfies the condition, then x is pious. ex. – (Necessary and sufficient condition): For any act x, x is pious if and only if x satisfies the condition. An object is a desk if and only if • Euthyphro’s thesis is that “being loved by the gods” is a necessary and sufficient condition for the piety of an act, and being hated by the gods is necessary and sufficient for the impiety of an act. If it is loved by the gods, it is pious. If it is pious, it is loved by the gods. – For any act x, x is pious if and only if x is loved by the gods. – For any act x, x is impious if and only if x is hated by the gods. AProblem with the Proposal • Socrates notes that there is anger and hostility in disagreements between the gods. • Euthyphro agrees that the only subjects of disagreement that could provoke such a reaction would be what is: – Just or unjust something that they fought about in greek mythology – Good or bad – Beautiful or ugly • If god x thinks that an act is just and god y thinks it is unjust, god x will love it and god y will hate it. Is it now both pious and impious? Socrates wants a single standard. So it can’t be both. • Gods in fact disagree over which acts are just. • It follows from Euthyphro’s conditions that such acts are both pious and impious, which is absurd. Piety is loved by the gods but that’s absurd because some gods love something which other gods hate. • So, the conditions given by Euthyphro are not sufficient for the piety or impiety of an act. ARevised Proposal • Euthyphro chooses to give up the claim that being loved by “the gods” is a sufficient condition for being a pious action, since there are conflicts in what the gods love and hate. • His new description of piety is “being loved by all the gods.” – For any act x, x is pious if and only if x is loved by all the gods. • Socrates allows that being loved by all the gods is “the same and alike in every [pious] action.” • But this condition is said by Socrates to be only a “quality” that is shared by all pious acts. • The shared quality is not the form of piety, because the form must explain what makes a pious act pious. Anew condition is introduced. The form has to tell us that makes a pious act pious. • Thus, merely providing necessary and sufficient conditions for pious acts is not a sufficient account of the nature of piety. Basically the question would be, why is it loved by all of the gods? An Explanatory Deficiency • Why does Socrates claim that being loved by all the gods does not make a pious act pious? • Socrates’s argument depends on a general principle: –Anything that is loved is loved because of a feature it has that makes it lovable. The gods don’t just love something. There is something about them that makes it a kind of thing that the gods would love. • So, if all the gods love a pious act, it is because there is something about the act that makes it loveable. • If being pious is what makes a pious act loveable to all the gods, then the fact that all the gods love it cannot explain why the pious act is pious; such an explanation would be “circular.” • So, we must look for some feature of the act other than piety to explain why a pious act is loveable, and hence why the gods love it. • In that case, we cannot explain what piety is merely by the quality of pious acts that they are loved by all the gods. In a sense, you would be putting the cart before the horse. What Makes a PiousAct Pious? • Following a suggestion of Socrates, Euthyphro takes piety to fall under the more general kind, “the just.” – Piety is the part of the just that concerns the care of the gods. • This account of piety remedies the problem with the proposal that what is pious is what is loved by all the gods: – It shows what makes a pious act pious, without appealing to piety itself – It explains why all the gods love a pious act, since they all love the just • Socrates attempts to refute the account by claiming that the gods cannot be cared for: – The gods cannot be benefitted by a pious act, since they cannot be made better – The gods are not served by a pious act, since they need no help in attaining their ends • Socrates’s conclusion is that there is no part of the just that concerns the care of the gods, so this attempt to explain what makes a pious act pious fails. Offering a lamb, doesn’t help the gods or make them better. AFinalAttempt atAccounting for Piety • Euthyphro takes a last stab at giving an account of what makes pious acts pious. • He proposes that pious acts are acts which are performed on the basis of piety. • Piety itself is knowledge of how to give to, and beg from, the gods. • Like the last one, this account would show what makes a pious act pious. • It would also explain why the gods love a pious act, i.e., the act is lovable because it is performed in the proper way. You make the sacrifice in accordance to the ritual. You worship at the temple.And if you do them in the right way, then the gods will love the pious act. Objections to the FinalAttempt • Socrates has two objections to the account of piety as knowledge of how to give to, and beg from, the gods. • The first objection is similar in its structure to the objection to the previous account of piety. 1. To give correctly is to satisfy needs 2. But the gods have no needs to satisfy 3. So, there is no correct way to give to the gods, and so no knowledge of how to give to the gods • The second objection focuses on what it would be to give to, and beg from, the gods properly. 1. To give to, and beg from, the gods properly is to act in a way that is loved by all the gods 2. So, a pious act is one which is performed in such a way as is loved by all the gods 3. But being performed in a way such as is loved by all the gods does not explain what makes a pious act pious 4. So, being performed based on knowledge of how to give to, and beg from, the gods is not the form of piety Must the Loved be Lovable? • Euthyphro yielded to all of Socrates’s objections, but he did not have to. • He might have rejected Socrates’s general principle that something is loved only because of some feature it has that makes it lovable. • Thus, he could have held that pious acts are loved by the gods simply because they are inclined to love them. • Then the fact that the gods find the acts pleasing can explain why they are pious: that is just what it means to be pious. • Socrates might object that the gods would then be guilty of acting arbitrarily by loving something without having a reason for loving it (or even that they could not do so). •And Euthyphro might reply that as gods, they do not have to have a reason for doing what they do. Maybe they (Gods) don’t have to have a reason. Maybe they just love it. Philosophical theses There has to be a form that is responsible for the thing that is the form ex. Propoerty of being round What is it they all have something in common All rounds are such that they have a circumference and same radius all around the circumference Pretty objective ex. Piety Is piety objective? In different religions, different gods count different things as being pious Euthyphro says that pious is what is loved by all gods


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