Phil 10100-01 Part1

Phil 10100-01 Part1 - Phil 10100 01 Introduction to...

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1 Phil 10100 01 Introduction to Philosophy Spring 2008 Part I Professor Marian David Friday Sections with TAs
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2 Readings for Thursday, January 17 Plato: Meno Introduction Margin 70-80d
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4 Raphael The School of Athens Plato, left Aristotle, right
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5 Plato (428-348 BC): Meno Can virtue be taught, or is it the result of practice, or is it innate? What is virtue? What is the nature of virtue? Socratic method: You thought you knew, but it turns out you didn’t. Results in a state of perplexity.
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6 The question “What is virtue?” asks for a definition of virtue. Virtue is just used as an example. First part of dialogue (margin 70-80d) isn’t really about ethics , it’s about methodology : How to formulate definitions accurately. Methodology is concerned with the right/best way of conducting inquiry.
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7 Definitions, adequacy conditions for A definition of X should be given in terms that are clearer than X should not contain superfluous material should not confuse X with instances of X ! should cover all but only cases of X !! should not be circular: X should not be used or presupposed in the definition of X !! Examples: Mathematics/Geometry—others?
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8 Primacy of Definitions Socrates implies that every inquiry about X ought to begin with the question: What is X? Every inquiry about X ought to begin with a definition of X. Note: – A “What is X?”-question (a definition of X) is existence neutral : it doesn’t presuppose the existence of instances of X. Is Socrates’ thesis about the primacy of definitions plausible? Everyday life? Science?
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9 Readings for Tue, Jan 22 No new readings required, but suggested: – Rest of Meno
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10 Plato (428-348 BC)
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11 Plato’s Theory of Forms (cf. Meno 72, 74d) Definition of X is about a form ( eidos, idea): the form of X which is common to all and only the things that are X. The problem of “The one and the many”: There are many Xs, they are all different; but in some sense they “are” also one: each is an X. Plato says: – A person is virtuous because she participates in the form of virtue; – What makes all the different bees bees is that they all participate in the one form of beehood.
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Platonic Forms are abstract objects, not in space or time are unchangeable cannot be known through sense perception can only be known through the intellect concrete things are what they are because they participate in forms Platonic forms are models/ideals Are there really such things? Debate is still going on. Note how Plato makes the intellect special: it is the faculty by which we access the realm of forms: intellectual intuition. The Greek definition of being human: Humans are rational animals.
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Phil 10100-01 Part1 - Phil 10100 01 Introduction to...

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