Lecture 40 - Lecture 4: Finishing Glaucons Challenge,...

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Lecture 4: Finishing Glaucon’s Challenge, Forming the Ideal City, and Finding Justice Within It September 1, 2010
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Previously… We began to examine Glaucon’s restatement of Thrasymachus’s position. Glaucon challenges Plato to explain why JUSTICE is good in and of itself, why it is something we ought to love and try to embody even if it didn’t have good consequences for us. – Plato and Glaucon think that it does have necessarily good consequences for us. – However, because even the skeptic can agree that obeying morality has good consequences (for the weak person) the real difference between the two viewpoints is whether morality is good in and of itself. We examined the two competing origins of justice: Glaucon’s social contract to end the never ending self-interested violence and Plato’s social contract among mutually dependent, reciprocating persons. Glaucon social contract theory means to show that we only agree to (and create) justice for its consequences. Plato’s social contract story shows us as persons who form a society on the basis of a preexisting understanding and valuing of justice.
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Ring of Gyges Glaucon uses the following story to show that no one does justice for its own sake. A shepherd finds a magical ring that if he wears it and turns it towards himself, he becomes invisible. With that power and freedom from all consequences of his actions, he seduced the queen, killed the king, and took over the kingdom. Real lesson: No one is so incorruptible that he would stay on the path of justice (to not steal, rape and kill). Glaucon’s lesson: no one does justice willingly and when there are no consequences for injustice, then we would all do terrible things.
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What would you do if you had the ring of Gyges? A. I might do some illegal things, invasion of privacy, theft, etc., but I would not do terribly evil things like murder and genocide. B. I would set myself up to live like a king, and I would kill off or destroy those who threatened my luxurious life. C.
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This note was uploaded on 09/29/2010 for the course PHIL 105 taught by Professor Ruckgarber during the Fall '10 term at University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.

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Lecture 40 - Lecture 4: Finishing Glaucons Challenge,...

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