TheNatureofPhilosophy - Unit 1E - The Nature of Philosophy...

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Unformatted text preview: Unit 1E - The Nature of Philosophy – Lecture: Plato’s Republic – E. Clark – February 21, 2011 Books I & II • • • • • • Asks the question essentially “What is justice? (331c) A definition: “to give each what is owed to him” – conventional justice (331e) The rejection of conventional justice. (335e) Thrasymachus’s challenge: it is better be unjust if one can (cf. 348) Socrates’s answer: psychic justice (352a; 353e) Socrates method of answering the question and the challenge: justice in the city (369) Book V I. Ideal versus the approximate (472b-c; Cf. 476c) A. Is a just man “like justice itself” or is it that he “comes close to it as possible and participates in it”? Here we have a hint at what will prove to be a very important idea for Plato, namely there are the things themselves, e.g., justice in this case, which just things can more or less resemble. B. Asks what makes a state less than ideally just. Answer: Lack of philosopher-kings (473d). This fills out the analogy that the city is to the soul. Unless reason rules the soul, there will be little justice in the human being. II. Nature of a philosopher (475b-476b). RQ #1 A. Lover of “the whole” of wisdom; comprehensive wisdom. B. Lover of a “sight of truth” C. Contrasted with a lover of sights and sounds (beautiful things); loves beauty itself. III. Knowledge and its objects versus opinion and its objects (476c-479). RQ #2 A. Knowledge – the thing itself vs. Opinion – the likeness (476c). B. Knowledge is of what “completely is” (477) C. Ignorance is of “what is in no way” (Ff. 477) D. There are things that are in between “to be” and “not to be” E. Knowledge and opinion are distinct “powers” (477b and c). F. What some power is is determined by what it is “set over” (477d) G. Opinion cannot be set over what is not. (478b) H. Opinion, therefore, is set over neither what is nor what is not. (478c) I. The argument: Opinion is in between knowledge and ignorance and therefore, the objects of opinion are in between being and not-being. 1. Sensible, particular things both are and are not. (479) 2. Knowledge is of things that are “always the same in every respect” J. Philosophers see the things themselves. (480) IV. Plato’s Theory of the Forms (eidos): A. Universal versus particular. B. Stability: eternal and immutable. C. Only things able to be known. D. Gave rise to an ongoing debate in philosophy that continues today (the problem of universals). Unit 1E - The Nature of Philosophy – Lecture: Plato’s Republic – E. Clark – February 21, 2011 Book VI V. Reiteration of their purpose: to distinguish the just from the unjust life. (484a-b) VI. Discerning who are the ‘true’ Philosophers: A. Distinction: Eternal and immutable in all respects vs. many and variable in every way. B. Blindness with respect to “what is” and the “most true”. C. To rule the state according to order, repair, and maintain the state according to the laws of beauty, goodness, and justice. And are not those who are verily and indeed wanting in the knowledge of the true being of each thing, and who have in their souls no clear pattern, and are unable as with a painter's eye to look at the absolute truth and to that original to repair, and having perfect vision of the other world to order the laws about beauty, goodness, justice in this, if not already ordered, and to guard and preserve the order of them --are not such persons, I ask, simply blind? (484d – trans. Benjamin Jowett) VII. Qualities of the philosopher needs in order to have knowledge. A. Quality #1: Lovers of “being that always is” rather than the “coming to be and decaying” (485b) B. Quality #2: Renounce impediments to learning. (485b) C. Quality #3: Never intentionally receive falsehood. (485c) D. Quality #4: Temperate, not covetous. (485d-e) E. Quality #5: Courage. (486b) F. Quality #6: Just, gentle, easy to associate with. (486b) G. Quality #7: Love of learning and memory – a focused mind. (486c to d) H. Quality #8: Well-ordered mind and graceful mind. (486d) VIII. Adeimantus’s objection: philosophers are rather vicious and useless. (487b-d) RQ #3 A. Socrates’s parable of the sailors: the ones who have knowledge are most able to be the captain, not those who most want to be the captain. (488-489) 1. Their uselessness is the fault of “those who do not make use of them.” (489b) 2. Those who are fit to rule do not seek to rule. (489c) B. Useless: their pursuits are not those that are of much interest to the rest of the world. C. Vicious: there are many who merely profess philosophy for their own gain. (cf. 489d) IX. Sources of corruption (490e-491b) A. Greater aptitudes, greater potential for corruption due to unsuitable conditions. (491d) 1. Wanted: the right sort of education needed to perceive being. 2. What is that sort of education? A correct training in virtue. (491e-492). 3. This requires a certain detachment from the culture (492a-e; cf. the Apology). B. Two cultural dangers for the gifted: 1. The good qualities of a person attract many who wish to benefit, so they flatter— whence comes pride and conceit. (494b and c) 2. Social status and the goods of life. (494c to d) C. The bad condition: unless he works like a slave to know the truth of the nature of things, he will be a slave the multiplicity of appearances instead. (494d to e; cf. 490b) Unit 1E - The Nature of Philosophy – Lecture: Plato’s Republic – E. Clark – February 21, 2011 "…the breaking down of a unified vision into a faceted vision of things. We come to see the world, as it were, less like men and more like houseflies."1 "Add to the equation the use of images both in image-driven media and in marketing. You go from man to beast."2 Objects of Cognition Stages of Cognition X. Analogy of the Divided Line: knowledge of the nature, essence or being of things— especially the Good. RQ #4 Knowledge NOESIS DIONOIA Understanding, Rational Intuition Thinking, Reasoning, Inferring Opinion PISTIS EIKASIA Believing, Opining, Common Judging Imagining, Sensory Perceiving Intelligible Realm The Forms: Principles of Reasoning: Visible Realm Originals of the Images: images: Beauty itself Justice itself Natural things like animals and plants, and manufactured things like tables and chairs The Good Hypotheses Mathematical objects like numbers, equations and formulas Geometric figures and theorems Likeness Shadows Reflections Representations Likeness Likeness • • 1 The use of principles of reasoning as ‘first principles’ or starting places to demonstrate a conclusion, and they draw geometrical figures (e.g., circles), to make inferences about the mathematical objects. (510b to d) Treating principles of reason as hypotheses that lead up to the genuine first principles of all things, namely the forms, ultimately reaching the form of the Good, and then, grasping the forms, increase in knowledge without hypotheses. (511b to c) From David Warren, “Eye of the Fly,” accessed online, February 19, 2011, at 2 Comment on the preceding quotation from Alex Plato, January 29, 2011. Unit 1E - The Nature of Philosophy – Lecture: Plato’s Republic – E. Clark – February 21, 2011 Book VII XI. The Allegory of the Cave A. Purpose of the allegory is to illustrate two points: (514a) 1. The effect of education on the soul. 2. The lack of it in our nature. B. Our natural state: 1. Think the ‘shadows’ are the real (‘true’) things. (515c) 2. A note about ‘true’: this is a second sense of truth, namely that something is more true in being more fully what it is (e.g., ‘true friend’); read as ‘genuine’. 3. ‘Artifacts’ – are these the real things? C. Experience of Education: 1. First reaction: confusion. (515d) 2. Second reaction: disbelief. (515d) 3. Third reaction: pain and irritation. (515e) 4. Fourth reaction: incapacity/incompetence. (516) 5. Fifth reaction: happiness and pity. (516c) D. Progression of education: 1. Below: Shadows  Artifacts  2. Above: Images  the Things Themselves  the Sun E. Results of education: 1. Love of truth over honor and possession. (551d) 2. Ridicule and persecution. (517a) F. Allegory explained: (517b) 1. Inside the cave: visible realm 2. Outside the cave: intelligible realm Unit 1E - The Nature of Philosophy – Lecture: Plato’s Republic – E. Clark – February 21, 2011 G. Nature of Knowledge: Education and Insight (Plato’s Epistemology) 1. Being informed vs. attaining understanding. 2. Propositional knowledge vs. acquaintance. 3. Intuition as intellectual vision. a) Intuition is the direct apprehension of some part of reality. b) Example: knowing that 2+2=4 is not seeing that 2+2=4. 4. The only things knowable are the Forms because only the Forms are stable. H. Objects of Knowledge: The Forms and the Good (Plato’s Metaphysics) 1. The Forms: a) ‘What is’ is elliptical for ‘what is F’. b) Something might be F, but only in a limited and qualified way. It is not completely or perfectly F, but in some aspect it is also not-F. For example, the three fingers. (Cf. 523-524) RQ #6 c) Something is both F and not-F in that it is not completely or perfectly F. d) Knowledge of F is knowledge of what it is to be F—the identity or essence of F. Knowledge, then, is of what must be F, what is necessarily F. 2. The Good:3 a) The cause of… (Cf. 517c) (1) The knowability of the other Forms (2) Reason’s actually knowing the Forms (3) The existence and essence of the Forms b) How? The Form of the Good is what makes identity possible; and since identity is what makes knowledge possible, the Good is what makes knowledge possible. It is something like being itself. (Cf. Medieval transcendentals.) I. Conditions for Knowledge: the ‘eye’ and the ‘body’ (Plato’s Ethics) 1. For, the eye corresponds reason, which is always there; whereas as the body corresponds to other virtues of the soul that are not always there (517c-518b). 2. Thus, the purpose of the philosophers’ education was not merely intellectual, the inculcation of rationality or even the use of reason, but also the developments of other virtues (the turning of the body) that make the right use of reason possible. (Cf. 518b3-519b3). 3. Two types of virtues are required for knowledge: intellectual and ‘moral’. RQ #5 4. Recall book VI: a) The qualities of a philosopher. b) The sources of corruption. “That a direct apprehension of essence is so unusual and difficult that to many it appears impossible may be once explained by the deeply rooted attitude of practical life, which more possesses and operates with objects than it contemplatively intuits them and penetrates into their peculiar being.4 3 The following remarks are taken from Gerisamos Santos, "The Form of the Good in Plato's Republic." In John P. Anton and Anthony Preus, eds., Essays in Ancient Greek Philosophy. Vol. 2, pp. 232-263. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1983, 237. 4 From Adolf Reinach, “Concerning Phenomenology,” trans, Dallas Willard in The Personalist, Vol. 50, (1969), 194-221. Unit 1E - The Nature of Philosophy – Lecture: Plato’s Republic – E. Clark – February 21, 2011 XII. The Philosophers’ Education: A. The end. 1. The purpose of the philosophers’ education is “to draw one towards being” (523a). I.e., the eventual confrontation with the things themselves. 2. Bringing about this capacity requires the correct selection of subjects that enable one to “make the ascent to what is, which we say is true philosophy” (521c). B. The means: RQ #7 1. Mathematics: to “compel” the soul to discuss “the numbers themselves” which can “be grasped only in thought” (525d, 526a); 2. Geometry also “compels the soul to study being” for it is “knowledge of what always is” (526de; 527b) 3. Astronomy: the sky is a “model” for true motion. (529d) 4. Harmonics raises the question of “which numbers are consonant” and which aren’t and why. 5. The goal is to know the numbers themselves and their “association and relationship with one another” (529c-531a). C. In sum: the training consists not in accumulating information that will lead them to the Good, but rather it consists in bringing about a shift in the nature of what an individual seeks to understand, namely to leave off the study of “becoming” and take up the study of “being” (526e). D. Increasing complexity: mathematics  geometry  motion  harmonics  dialectics (politics). E. Dialectics: 1. What it is: the final and highest form of inquiry whose purpose is to grasp the being or essence of each thing. 2. Why it is last: RQ#8 a) Cognitive condition: a turning away from the science as a technology—a means to further knowledge in a demonstrative way—toward a pure science of being, of essences (533b to 534d), so as to attain a ‘unified vision’ (cf. 337c). b) Moral condition: a refusal to use argument as a ‘sport’ or a means of advantage (539b), and a stable moral character that avoids the corruption of appetites and the distractions in the visible world that stand as threats to knowledge (559d to 540). F. Politics: And once they’ve seen the good itself, they must each in turn put the city, its citizens, and themselves in order, using it [the Good] as a model. (540a to b) Unit 1E - The Nature of Philosophy – Lecture: Plato’s Republic – E. Clark – February 21, 2011 XIII. Concluding thoughts: A. The nature of philosophy: the love of wisdom; from philo(love) and sophia (wisdom) B. The aspirations of philosophy: a right view of the world (what real and good) C. The pre-conditions of philosophy: two types of virtue. 1. Examples of Virtues of the intellect: a) Being reflective rather than rash in our judgments of things. b) Seeing into the nature of things rather than their appearances. 2. Examples of Virtues the will (‘moral virtues’) a) Willard – Faithfulness: a commitment to being reasonable. b) von Hildebrand – Reverence: humble approach to reality. D. Benefits of Education: 1. To encounter the order inherent and manifest in the universe—to duplicate it in the soul. 2. The unification of the soul in the good; we are fragmented. 3. To love truth; to detach the mind from appearances and connect it to reality. 4. To train us to hate what ought to be hated, and to love what ought to be loved. E. Plato’s Big Idea: Wisdom requires seeing the nature of reality, including ourselves. But seeing the nature of reality requires the faithful abandonment of ourselves to the truth about reality, meaning that we prefer the truth over our own appetites, comfort and honors of the world. F. Why be wise? Socrates’s answer: What is at stake is far from insignificant; what is at stake is how one lives one’s life. (334e)5 XIV. Where we go from here? Three main topics: 1. Ethics 2. Metaphysics 3. Epistemology 5 Trans. Robin Waterfield (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993). ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/02/2012 for the course PHIL 110 taught by Professor Errinclark during the Spring '11 term at MO St. Louis.

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