Philosophy Study Guide I

Philosophy Study Guide I - Philosophy 103 & 104 Exam...

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Exam Study Questions Introduction to the Course 1. Answer each of the following: i) What is Socratic ignorance? The ability to acknowledge that you are ignorant and do not know everything that there’s to know, even if you dedicate your life to that particular discipline. ii) Explain why Socrates undertook to question important people in Athens. An oracle, described in The Apology that there was no man wiser than Socrates. Socrates decided to go on a quest to find the top politicians, poets, judges, priests, and others and ask them about what the definition or purposes of their professional lives were. iii) Explain what he discovered. He discovered that no one could answer his questions. So he concluded that he was indeed the wisest, because at least he could accept that he was truly “ignorant.” iv) Explain the method that he used. He used a dialectic method, later named after him – The Socratic Method—which takes a certain hypothesis, elaborated by a list of smaller admissions or truths, and proves a contradiction. This denies the hypothesis as being considered true. He used this to see if the top officials and artists of Athens knew their stuff or not. v) In Problems from Philosophy, Rachels summarizes the three reasons Socrates offered for remaining in Athens and accepting his death sentence, rather than escaping. Rachels argues that none of Socrates’ reasons were good ones. Give a clear, accurate sketch of Socrates’ three reasons, and explain why Rachels maintains that none of these reasons are persuasive. Destroying the State Socrates basically argues that if he disobeys the law then he will also destroy the state. If laws and legal judgments were not taken seriously, then who is to say that they won’t be destroyed by anyone else? The whole city can not continue to exist and will be turned upside down. Rachels rights that we have “an extensive, but not unlimited obligation to obey the law.” This may be the “rare exception” that calls for disobedience. State and one’s parents Socrates uses an analogy between how you should respect the wishes of your parents with that of the “Laws and Constitution of Athens.” So when he was told his sentence, he justified his obedience with this analogy. Rachels argues that our obligation to obey the law cannot belike our obligation to obey our parents because, as adults, we are not obligated to obey our parents. We must obey our parents when we are young because we lack judgment. As we mature, however, we learn to think for ourselves, and
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our relation to them changes. Although we may continue to owe our parents gratitude and respect, we no longer owe them obedience. An adult who still “obeys his parents” as if he were 12 years old is a sad case. So, Rachels argues, this argument is also weak. Social Contract
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Philosophy Study Guide I - Philosophy 103 & 104 Exam...

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