Lecture 21 - Lecture 2: The Challenge of Thrasymachus...

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Lecture 2: The Challenge of Thrasymachus August 23, 2010
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REMINDERS Bring your iclicker and register it online at iclicker.com. Large lecture etiquette: I ask you to not use a laptop: it distracts me to see people watching their computer screen (surfing the web) and not paying attention in class. The lectures will all be on our Compass website. Attendance and participation will be recorded in both large lecture and discussion section. You fail the course if you miss half or more of the lectures and discussion sections. Check the SCHEDULE to see what readings should be done and when: I may not always announce this in class. Sign in sheet for lost, forgotten, broken iclickers.
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Background to the Republic The Republic is written by Plato and it is a dialogue between Socrates and several other people. Socrates is more or less the voice of Plato, so we can use the names Plato and Socrates interchangeably. Socrates was a real historical figure who was sentenced to death by majority vote of a jury of 500 Athenian citizens. He was Plato’s teacher. The Republic was written in 380 BC Plato was born in 429 BC and died in 348 BC. Plato founded the first university: The Academy (his student was Aristotle).
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Overall Conclusions The dialogue is intended to lead us to the following conclusions: 1. Justice as manifested in the person in a “harmony of soul” in which reason rules over the emotions and desires. 2. Justice as manifested in the society is the well-ordered and hierarchically arranged (aristocratic) city. 3. The just and morally good life is also the happiest life.
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How do we know (with certainty ) which actions are just/right and unjust/wrong? A. God tells us what is right and wrong. B. Feelings tell us what is right (e.g., via love or sympathy) and what is wrong (e.g., via shame or sorrow). C. Our reasoning capacity/intellect tells us what is right and what is wrong. D. We can never know right and wrong with certainty: there may not even be any such thing as right and wrong actions. E. Something else (?)
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Which actions are unjust (and therefore morally wrong)? A. Genocide B. Slavery C. Rape D. All of the above E. No action (including any of the above) is absolutely (all the time, under any circumstance) morally wrong.
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The Problem of the Dialogue We begin with Thrasymachus’ famous speech: This is identified at the top of the page of our book as the “Examination of Thrasymachus” in Book 1; Thrasymachus begins by demanding an answer to the question WHAT IS JUSTICE: “Give an answer yourself Socrates and tell us what you say THE JUST is. And do not tell me is it the right, the beneficial,
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Lecture 21 - Lecture 2: The Challenge of Thrasymachus...

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