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Week One Notes

by: Halsey Hazzard

Week One Notes CORE-UA 400 - 080

Halsey Hazzard
GPA 4.0
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About this Document

These notes cover the general course overview including key terms and logistical information, as well as the first part of Plato's Republic.
Texts and Ideas: On Liberation
Jini Watson
Class Notes
Plato, comparative literature, liberation, texts and ideas




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Halsey Hazzard on Wednesday February 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CORE-UA 400 - 080 at New York University taught by Jini Watson in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 16 views. For similar materials see Texts and Ideas: On Liberation in Education and Teacher Studies at New York University.

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Date Created: 02/24/16
Lecture Notes // January 25 2016 “The Texts and Ideas Experience” ­enduring texts/ideas that have shaped human thought (focus on primary sources) ­goal: to raise lifelong questions learn to engage with ideas, think critically/historically ­broadly organised wrt genre, culture, chronology, etc. ­> including subordinated voices in history ­prerequisite: open mind, curiosity, intellectual engagement  Structure of the Course ­lectures ­ looking @ texts/ideas, connections, NOT passive  ­recitation ­ close reading, discussion, group activities → TAs are primary contact, grade essays → powerpoints posted following week but will not be entire lectures OFFICE HOURS:  Watson: Mon 2­4, rm 314 224 Greene St Escobar: on 12:30­2:30 224 Greene St Reading Questions on Plato ­In the dialogue, what is the relationship between individual and society? ­What are the Guardians? ­What does Plato mean by “justice”? WHAT IS  LiBERATION: from Latin liberare (noun: libertas, freedom) ­implies change of state from “unfreedom” to freedom, agency, action This course aims to move away from Enlightenment ideas of individual choice and freedom and  instead focuses on collective liberation and ideas of bondage, slavery, and colonialism Moves chronologically from Plato and relationship of individual to society to → collective organising → sovereignty → national liberation → independence → violence KEY TERMS oppression ­ domination must come before liberation, context is important knowledge ­ you have to know what’s standing in the way of your freedom to achieve freedom civilization ­ very contentious term ­ what is it? whose idea of civilization is right? rights ­ often confused with liberation thanks to the Enlightenment history ­ different histories persist­why are some prioritised? important because past affects  today justice ­ addressed by many scholars­marx, wollstonecraft, especially wrt economic desire ­ relevant to discussion of personal freedom ­ can we free ourselves from desires? ­how individual desire relates to societal control, orderliness tyranny ­ “opposite of freedom” how tyranny is theorized as social relation, dialectic w liberation praxis ­ action, opposite of theory, marx: “practical philosophy” humanism  ­ how to rewrite terms of humanism, new society out of old education ­ access to education, forced education of “savages” collectivity ­ since ancients, freedom seen as having to do w community struggle ­ freedom is never voluntarily given by oppressor ­ it must be taken demanded Lecture Notes January 27 2016 *READING QUESTIONS FOR MONDAY* ­What is the cave allegory an allegory for? ­What is “justice in the soul”? 2 Notions of Freedom ­unencumberance from others ­dependence on everyone in a community Plato Background  lived 427 BCE ­ 397 BC  Student of Socrates (main figure of the majority of Plato’s works)  Athens at that time was particularly violent, unstable, war­ridden o transitioning to a money­based economy o Socrates executed by democratic Athenian state for corrupting the youth The Republic  composed around 37b5 BCE towards middle of Plato’s career  2 men trying to get Socrates to prove that people aren’t just trying to appear just  Sophists= travelling philosophers, thought people were motivated by self interest o Plato was not a fan ­ found them responsible for socrates’ death   form ­ dialogues, socratic method, tests stability of ideas  what is justice? ­ ethical behaviour, virtue, morals KEY TERMS justice ­ (Greek dikaiosyne) broader sense than we think of today­ goodness polis ­ sovereign city­state, not large; can also be taken to mean society soul ­ (Greek psuche) self or personality craft ­ (Greek techne) technical ability/vocation/sciences/trade Politeia ­ organization/public life of city (original greek title of The Republic) Organicism: idea that society is a sovereign whole and humans are parts, all are needed for  success. Opposite of Aggregate, where all parts are seen as separate Origins of Society a. mutual need b. division of labour/specialization First City: simple, vegetarian, communal, basic needs met Glaucon’s objection: only worthy of pigs as humans need more luxury Second City: luxurious, specialised trade Socrates’ objection: increased luxury will lead to war over land The Guardians (aka “Philosopher­Kings”) ­Three levels of Society ­ producers/wage workers ­ soldiers/auxiliaries ­ guardians/philosopher kings ­Guardians function as a ruling class  ­Temperament: “guard dogs” – friendly to owner, savage to enemies ­Must have philosophical education ­cannot be motivated by money  ­selected from childhood, raised specifically to be guardians with specialised education ­true meritocracy – not genetic – thought women could be guardians  Plato’s Ship of Fools  ­gist: if no one knows their role in life, chaos results ­analogy=you need political specialization w/ designated governing class According to Plato/ancients, ideal society does not start with rights and laws but with societal  organization—you can only be personally liberated if everyone plays their role Ideal city produces maximum happiness, because it has maximum justice Social life  individual function, craft Freedom: primacy of political and social organization No pre­political human life (political=social organization of collective life)


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