History of Social and Political Philosophy
History of Social and Political Philosophy PHIL 3713
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Verlie Spinka on Monday October 26, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to PHIL 3713 at University of Oklahoma taught by Zev Trachtenberg in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 14 views. For similar materials see /class/229308/phil-3713-university-of-oklahoma in PHIL-Philosophy at University of Oklahoma.
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Date Created: 10/26/15
I Wh A C II Wh A B C History of Social and Political Philosophy Fall 2007 Lecture on Plato Crito at s the issue Legitjlnacy l the moral basis of the state s authori 2 explains in moral terms why we ought to obey why obeying is the morally right thing to do Problem explored in the dialogue 1 There are other moral standards than the ones that justify the state 2 These might demand disobedience 3 So there might be a con ict between the obligation to obey and other moral obligations Socrates wants to argue there is no such con ict at s the situation Socrates convicted of impiety awaiting execution Crito stand in for Socrates friends offers to help him escape Argument is over rightness of escape l Crito argues it would be right 2 Socrates presents argument it would be wron a note he doesn t present this in his own voice but through the Laws b point is to get Crito to abandon his original view as w all the early dialogues Ill Start with arguments Crito uses to try to persuade Socrates to escape from prison A D Argues that it is morally right for Socrates to escape wrong for him to obey the law 1 note this is not just a prudential argument you can get away with it 2 rather this is a moral argument it is right for you to do this What are bases of moral case 1 Argument about sons re ects common sense decency 45d 2 general concern with opinions of others shame culture 45e That is Crito appeals to standards of morality that are stronger than political obligation obligation should give way before these concerns Note Crito is aware of how the world works and that the system is corrupt 1 reference to informers 44e 45a 2 reference to majority in icting harm 44d ie sees the state as an instrument of the majority which can use it to do wrong things In sum Crito seems to deny that there is anything morally special about the state hence no moral reason to obey it at least in this instance I hate the idea of causes and if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend I hope I should have the guts to betray my country EM Forster IV Socrates response A first move reject conunon morality in favor of morality of rational principle 1 rejects situational ethics ie the idea that now that he s in danger he should modify his principles 46b ff rejects appeal to majority ie common sense morality in favor of appeal to knowledge 47a 48b 3 4 5 B 1 V Key mo reasserts very counter intuitive principle always wrong to do harm 49a ff a this quite counter to common sense especially in that context b presents this as the basis of deliberation 49d c this presented as result of past discussions ie result of rational investigation thus Socrates speaking very much as an idealist posed against not just prudential thinking but also everyday morality so if there are higher moral standards to hold politics up against they come from somewhere else than commonly accepted morality see this in the Republic where Plato considers how the state can be run in accordance with such higher standards so burden is for Socrates to show that escaping would be doing a harm Basic argument for strict obedience to law a always wrong to do harm 49d b breaking a just agreement harms the other party 49e c escaping breaking a just agreement 50a 53a d tf escaping harming the city e tf escaping is wrong ve is iii focus on that A idea of just agreement 2 3 B que 1 2 3 C 1 Socrates just slips that idea in only later does he reveal his view that the idea of just agreement captures the moral relationship between individual and the ci can be tricky to keep track of the agreement idea in what follows stion at 50a is escaping breaking a just agreement Crito says he doesn t know Socrates puts following argument in the mouth of the Laws a not asserted in his own voice b designed to silence Crito which it does literally next to last line Laws argument definitional point the results of lawful procedures must be obeyed by everyone or the city would collapse 50b a law only works if it doesn t allow opt outs b free rider problem if one person gets away with violating law law loses force and city wouldn t function ie no exception to principle that city must be obeyed this is categorical objection a What if the city uses lawful procedures to do a substantive wrong b Does that not suggest that the agreement between the individual and the city is unjust If so breaking the agreement disobedience would be justified C C Response a note distinction at 50c two ways to construe the agreement between the individual and the city i as categorical must respect all the results of city s procedures ii as dependent on substantive agreement on justice of results b Laws argue for i see below c but notice raises idea that the individual has his own standard of justice according to which what the city does is wrong i Soc through Laws trying to reject this idea ii In Republic see another slant on this another way of rejecting individual standards of justice in favor of a single one 4 Three arguments that categorical agreement to obey city is just a Analogy to parents 50d 51b i city like a super parent a not on equal footing with parent ie no basis on which to justify harming them b moreso with city it is right that you obey it categorically c note idea that individual s standard of justice has no weight against city s ii idea is that you accept this authority just as you accept parent s ie have germ of consent here Right of voice 51b c 52a i have the right to try to persuade city that its actions are unjust ii unstated issues a assuming city is open to rational persuasion b if so then if one fails it means one s own interpretation is incorrect c but what if city irrationally rejects one s interpretation is that OK iii if one succeeds that means one is going along with the city s standard of justice after all Right of exit 51d 52b 53a i at maturity can reject the city s laws without penalty ii so continued residence indicates that one is accepting their rule iii nb this is the one case where idea of agreement makes most sense by not leaving you are expressing agreement with the condition of staying ie categorical acceptance of law Over all i expresses idea that one has consented to the deal the city offers ie nurturing and protection in return for categorical obedience ii consent explains why that agreement is just iii tf breaking the agreement is wrong tf escaping is wrong 5 points at end 53b end non political so won t address Vl Looking ahead A focus here has been on conunitment to procedures agree to be bound by results of procedures even if they produce substantively wrong results B In Republic consider how to ground political life on substantively correct conception of justice b V F V d V Legitimacy What is the moral basis of the state s authority 0 What makes it morally obligatory to obey the state 0 Are there other higher moral standards that supercede political onga on o Ie is there a conflict between political obligation and other sorts of moral obligations Crito argues it is morally right for Socrates to escape He appeals to standards of morality that are stronger than political obligation common decency shame culture EM Forster I hate the idea of causes and if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend I hope I should have the guts to betray my country Socrates responds in 3 phases First he rejects common sense morality in favor of rational principle it is always wrong to do harm Second he presents case that escaping would be doing a harm 1 always wrong to do harm 49d 2 breaking a just agreement harms the other party 49e 3 escaping breaking a just agreement 50a53a 4 tf escaping harming the city 5 tf escaping is wrong Key move is 3 defended by Laws not Socrates himselfl Categorical view the results of lawful procedures must be obeyed by everyone or the city would collapse 50b Objection what if the city uses lawful procedures to do a substantive wrong Response 3 arguments on behalf of categorical view i Analogy to parents ii Right of voice iii Right of exit These especially iii support the idea of consent to the categorical agreement that s what makes it just and breaking it wrong Third personal reasons won t consider
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