Week 4 Lecture NoteLast WeekBook IV-VI •Just city and Just man•3 waves of criticism•Women guardians•Holding women and children in common•Whether the regime is possible•Philosopher kings•Theory of the forms (ideas)This Week•Book VI, VII•The form of the good•The divided line•The allegory of the cave•Book VIII, IX•4 types of unjust cities and unjust souls•Criticism of democracyI.Book 6 (503a), 7How the saviors of our constitution will come to be in the city•By having philosophers as the rulers.•Then, what are the subjects that they should study?•The most important thing to learn is “the form of the good” The form of the good•Last week, Plato’s distinction between knowledge and opinion1
Knowledge -It concerns what is (The essence of something, the form/idea of something).-Intelligible, but not visible(We can learn the form of beauty using our intelligence.)Opinion-It concerns appearance (Whatwe can find in the sensible world).-Visible, but not intelligible (We can have an opinion that the scenery of the Grand Canyon is beautiful using our senses.)The analogy of the form of the good and the sunThe form of the good- Preside over the intelligible realm- The form of the good is not intelligence itself, but the cause of knowledge and truth and also an objectof knowledge (It means we can also learn the form of the good). - The form of the good makes possible what is in the intelligible realm, and it is superior to what is.The sun- Preside over the sensible realm- The sun is not sight itself, but the cause of sight and an object of sight (It means the sun can be seen)- The sun makes possible growth and generation in the sensible world.How do we know the form of the good?-Socrates’s divided line (509d-511e)2
The differences between thought (dianoia) and understanding (noesis)1) Thoughts•It falls under the category of the intelligible. But we have to use hypothesis to obtain the knowledge. •For instance, when we study geometry, we use the images of figures, let’s say, by drawing a red triangle on a paper. •When we study the triangle, we obtain knowledge not on the particular yellow triangle that we draw but the triangle itself—you know something about triangle now, no matter it is red, yellow, small, or big. But the knowledge on triangles does not tell as knowledge on circles.2) Understanding•Understanding does not rely on hypothesis, such as drawing an image of a figure.•Then, how do we obtain knowledge on the forms? “Reason itself grasps by the power of dialectic” (511c). •What differentiate understanding from thoughts is its ability to be free from the hypothesis. According to Plato, dialectic is the only method that allows one to use understanding (noesis) and move on to a first principle (arche).