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Date Created: 09/08/14
Lecture One Plato and Athenian Democracy 595 BCESolon reforms Athenian Constitution 508 BCEMore reforms implemented by Cleisthenes 431 BCEPeloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta 427 BCEPlato Born 404 BCESpartan victory over Athens oligarchic coup Thirty Tyrants 403 BCEDemocracy restored Assembly Ekklesia Any adult male citizen could participate Typical attendance Approximately 10000 Assembly was quite powerful voted on legislation decisions to go to war elected some off1cials There was not really anything to check its power radical democracy Council of 500 Boule Responsible for daytoday administration of Athens Drafted proposals for the assembly to consider Members selected by random lottery from the citizenry Served one year term no one could serve more than twice Popular Courts Lawsuits could be brought against politicians remember the scheming oligarchs Jurors also selected by a lot from a jury pool No judges no lawyers Paid for their service Maj or Themes and Theses Justice requires everyone perform their natural role Action according to reason v slavishly following appetite Knowledge of what is good vs more opinions about what is good Thirty Tyrants After Sparta defeats Athens in 404 Sparta sponsors an oligarchic coup Tyrants disarm the populace and execute hundreds of prominent leaders Socrates is friends with members of the Thirty but falls out of favor Critias the leader of the Thirty is Plato s mother s cousin Charmides an associate of the Thirty is Plato s uncle Setting for the Dialogue Socrates and Glaucon are detained by Polemarchus return to house of Polemarchus and his father Cephalus Polemarchus was killed by the Thirty Tyrants His brother Lysias helped to fund and arm the democratic resistance What did Plato think of the Thirty Allegedly initially enthusiastic but quickly became disillusioned Signi cance of the Setting Reference to civil strife between democratic and oligarchic factions Reference to con ict between Athens and Sparta and Athenians defeat Neither Athenian democracy nor Spartan oligarchy is just The Challenges From Thrasymachus and Glaucon The strongerruling authorities The ruling authorities make laws in their own interest So behaving justly obeying the laws is good for the stronger Whatever laws the rules enact it is just for their subjects to comply with these commands The rules enact laws that they believe are for their own good but they are fallible Athenian democracy is a radical democracy A democracy makes democratic laws Ring of Gyges Why be just For the sake of good reputation and rewardsavoiding punishment For its own sake as well as for its possibly beneficial consequences