Cl36Sp08L3_Dial+Rp1_Ab - CLASSICS 36: L ECTURE THREE R...

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C LASSICS 36: L ECTURE T HREE R EPUBLIC B OOK 1 1. Why did Plato write dialogues? Literary traditions in philosophic writing 1.1 Not untypical for Plato’s philosophic predecessors to use literary forms rather than unadorned prose. In general, treatise-style adopted for more technical subjects like cosmology, and even then not necessarily; poetry, fable, or “gnomic” (= proverbial) prose thought more suitable for the topic of how one should live. Ethics is (i) inherently vaguer and less securable (ii) seeks a broader audience (iii) tends to combine analysis with desire to motivate towards good life. 1.2 Plato not the first to write philosophic dialogues; a widespread practice among the followers of Socrates, hence the label “Socratic dialogue”; apart from Plato's, only Xenophon's survive entire. Inspired by Socrates’ habits of philosophic discussion? But note that the aims of a fictional conversation with Socrates as dramatic character need not coincide with the aims of the historical Socrates in his actual conversations. 2. The Republic (Rp.) is constructed around an argument that the just life is also the happiest life 2.1 Contrast those moral philosophers (e.g. Kant) for whom happiness is irrelevant to morality 2.2 Note that “happiness” here (Gk: eudaimonia ) involves doing well rather than just feeling good. To be “happy” is to be truly successful, and this makes you feel good. 3.
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Cl36Sp08L3_Dial+Rp1_Ab - CLASSICS 36: L ECTURE THREE R...

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