tutorial 1 - PHIL 105-04 22 February 2011 P1. In Gorgias,...

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PHIL 105-04 22 February 2011 P1. In Gorgias , Socrates criticizes orators and tyrants, implying that both are unintelligent. In addition, he claims oratory is a type of flattery. Although his argument seems harsh and unfair, Socrates came to the conclusion that orators and tyrants are unintelligent for a particular reason. According to Socrates, by definition, “having power” means something that is good for the one who has power. It is from this definition that he develops the argument that orators and tyrants should be held in no regard and, in fact, have the least power of anyone in the city. Socrates justifies his argument by saying orators and tyrants “do just about nothing they want to, though they certainly do whatever they see most fit to do” (466e). The act of doing what seems best at times requires no intelligence, hence Socrates’ accusation that orators and tyrants are unintelligent. I think that, in order for the two to be seen as truly powerful in the eyes of Socrates, orators and tyrants would need to act in such ways which seem to meet their own needs and desires. P2. In the digression, Socrates begins to discuss with Polus why people do certain things. Do people do things because they want to be involved in the act of doing a particular thing, or do people do things for the benefit of the result? Socrates argues that he believes, in most cases, people do things simply for the sake of doing them. He gives the examples that people take medicine to be healthy and seafarers endure dangerous voyages to make income. However, Socrates does not assume that people never want to do the means but only the end. Instead, it seems to me that he justifies the act of doing
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bad deeds by saying people do them for the sake of results. Socrates believes the result of any action a person does, whether they want to do it or not, is better than the action itself. The result often benefits a large number of people, which justifies knowingly doing a bad deed such as putting a person to death or exiling someone from a city. Socrates does not say that people never want to do the means but only the end, but instead justifies bad deeds by saying they are examples of when people do not particularly want to do the means. M1. Socrates argues for the claim that orators and tyrants have no power by means of the following argument: 1. If orators and tyrants do what seems best without intelligence, it is bad for them. 2. Power is good for the one who has it. 3. Therefore, if orators and tyrants do what is bad for them, they don’t have power. Socrates’ argument that orators and tyrants have no power stems from his own personal definition of power. Socrates defines power as something that is good for the one in power. He points out that, at times, both orators and tyrants may make decisions based on what they think is best without actually knowing. For example, tyrants may make the decision to exile a particular human being because it seems best to do so at the
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tutorial 1 - PHIL 105-04 22 February 2011 P1. In Gorgias,...

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