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Arts and Humanities
History of Philosophy
Philosophy Exam 2 (Ch 4-6)
Terms in this set (64)
What is the denotation and the connotation of the word sophist?
Originally, sophist meant "wise man", but it eventually became a derogatory term. From it we derive our word, "sophomore": someone who has a little bit of knowledge but thinks he knows everything. Due to Socrates' criticism, the name "sophist" no longer refers to "wise man", but to a "know it all."
Was Aristophanes correct to portray Socrates as a Sophist? Explain.
No he was not. Socrates believed that ignorance is valuable. Second, he did not ask for any payment from his students because he never claimed to have wisdom. Finally, Socrates was not dealing in rhetoric (the art of persuasion that tries to prove a thing true that is actually false) but in dialectic (Socrates' question and answer method that stimulates a productive discussion in which opinions are clarified & then perfected by criticism until finally both parties to the discussion discover something new about which they were previously unaware). page 90-91.
What did Socrates mean when he called himself a midwife?
Socrates sees himself as a midwife, who by dialectic gives birth to the truth. Dialectic is the path to truth. It is the give-and-take of conversation that leads to enlightenment (page 91).
What did Protagoras mean by his famous saying, "Man is the measure of all things"? What was Socrates' reaction?
The usual interpretation of this saying is that what you think true is true for you; what I think true is true for me. It is precisely this relativism that Socrates abhorred. Not only is it a symptom of decadence, but it is also naive and silly. Suppose what you think true is the exact opposite of what I think true. Then, according to Protagoras' saying, truth is contradictory to itself.
Why does Socrates believe that "virtue is knowledge"?
There is an exchange on page 92 that explains how evil actions are due to ignorance of the true repercussions of a decision. Socrates puts forth, then, good decisions are made when these repercussions are well known. This is the reasoning that virtue comes from knowledge. Socrates claims that "virtue is knowledge" . If virtue is knowledge, then virtue can be taught. (page 93).
In a dialogue with Meno's slave boy, Socrates asks the boy to solve a geometric problem; the boy had never been to school and knew nothing about geometry. Nevertheless, by asking him certain questions, Socrates was able to evoke the correct answer from the boy. Socrates uses this incident as an example of his contention that learning is recollection. Would you agree or disagree with Socrates on this point? Why?
Do you think Socrates would hold that we can "recollect" the events of history or how to operate a computer? Explain.
What is the relationship between dialectic and recollection?
Dialectic is the question and answer method, it triggers a productive discussion where the opinions are clarified which create the path of truth. Socrates major thesis is learning is recollecting, a process of pulling out what is buried in the depths of our being. I believe the relationship between these two methods is that both make one discover something new which one was unaware of before, leading to enlightenment, or the truth.
If one were to open a school dedicated to Socrates' theory of recollection, what would the educational process be like?
From what I can see, the school would operate with the teachers would guide the students through lessons without giving them answers. Instead, they show them visually their mistakes and the student would have to find another solution based on the mistakes
What would be the benefits of such an education? Would there be any disadvantages to such an education?
Who did the oracle of Delphi proclaim the wisest of all? How did Socrates interpret the oracle?
The oracle's reply was Socrates. This puzzled Socrates because he never claimed to have any wisdom. He interprets the oracle as meaning that he is wise because he is aware of his own ignorance. Socrates never claimed to be wise; he claimed only to be a "philosopher." This word comes from two Greek terms: philos (friend or lover) and sophia (wisdom). So a philosopher is "lover of wisdom". A lover desires the object of his love. We do not desire what we posses; we desire what we lack. Although Socrates may not have possessed it, her nevertheless desired wisdom.
What does Thrasymachus mean when he says, "Justice is the interest of the stronger"?
In other words, laws are made by the powerful for the powerful. The strongest get to define what is right and they define it as whatever is to their own advantage. Socrates argues that it like politicians are elected to serve citizens. Thrasymachus replies politicians are like cattlemen, as they do not tend to the herd for the sake of the cattle, they tend the herd for their own profit. He claims that injustice is profitable and the just man always loses. The greater the injustice, the more it is admired. (EX: A person robs a bank is called a thief, a person who steals a whole country is called a liberator).
What question does Glaucon (Plato's older brother) ask Socrates (a question that will become the theme of Plato's Republic)?
Glaucon speaks up and declares that the common opinion that being just is burdensome and tiring, but that most people perform just action for the reward that it brings. Suppose, however that there were no reward for being just. Would justice be worth doing for its own sake?
Describe the parallel that Socrates draws between the state and the soul.
Since the state has been created by human beings, the human soul reflects the structure of the state. The individual soul has three parts: rational, spirited, and appetitive. The rational part is the center of reflection and knowledge. Since it is the ruling part of the soul, its virtue is wisdom. The spirited part craves honor and glory. It sides with the rational against the appetitve. To do so, it needs the virtue of courage. The appetitive part is the seat of desire and appetite. Although the appetitive has no unique virtue, all three parts of the soul should practice the virtues of temperance and justice. Temperance is an agreement among all three parts that the rational is to rule.
How does Socrates define justice in the state and how does he define it in the soul?
Justice is characteristic of the individual soul when each part performs its own proper function. Justice brings a state of harmony to the soul. By ending internal conflict, it enables the individual to live at peace with himself. So justice is worthwhile pursuing for its own sake even if it brings no external rewards.
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