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Plato

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Plato and the Republic History of Philosophy in Brief 5th Century BC & Peloponnesian War Good guys = The Sophists Heraclitus all is in flux Protagoras ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Plato


1
  • Plato
  • and the Republic

2
History of Philosophy in Brief 5th Century BC
Peloponnesian War
  • Good guys The Sophists
  • Heraclitus all is in flux
  • Protagoras values are relative advised
    Pericles
  • Gorgias in praise of Helen
  • Antiphon rhetorician leader of oligarchic coup
  • Thrasymachus justice is interest of the
    stronger
  • - taught philosophy as a technical skill
  • Bad guy Socrates
  • - taught philosophy as a way of life
  • Result Followers of Good guys kill bad guy
    (Socrates)

3
History of Greek Philosophy, 5th Century BC
  • Sophist Socrates

4
Teachings of the sophists relevant to the
Republic
  • 1. Everything is in flux (Heraclitus).
  • 2. Justice is nothing other than the interest of
    the stronger (Thuc., Hist. Thrasymachus, Rep.
    I)
  • 3. Man is the measure of all things
    (Protagoras), i.e., values not real, but relative
    and a matter of opinion.
  • 4. A cynical view of human nature.
  • 5. Sophists taught how to make the weaker
    argument the stronger, i.e., philosophy is a
    technical skill that helps you in your career,
    for example, as a lawyer.

5
Students of Sophists relevant to Republic
  • Thucydides (460-395 BC)
  • student of Antiphon
  • put Sophistic reasoning in mouths of Athenians
    Spartans in Melian Dialogue (v.89) End of
    Platea
  • Justice depends on the balance of power. In fact
    the stronger can do whatever they have the power
    to do, and the weak must accept whatever the
    stronger does (Melian dialogue)
  • Melian Dialogue presents Thrasymachus teaching
    on justice 20 years before Republic

6
Students of Sophists relevant to Republic (cont.)
  • Thucydides represents Athenians Spartans
    negatively by associating them with Sophistic
    teaching
  • But Thucydides also expresses Sophistic cynicism
  • Human natureshowed itselfas something
    incapable of controlling passion, insubordinate
    to the idea of justice, the enemy to anything
    superior to itself (Civil War in Corcyra,
    iii.84).
  • Thuc. a kind of ancient Hobbes, regarded virtue
    as unattainable or illusory.

7
Students of Sophists relevant to Republic (cont.)
  • Thucydides cynicism about human nature is a
    pessimistic conclusion drawn from the
    Peloponnesian War, which devastated Greece and
    reduced many to barbarism.
  • Whether we regard Thucydides a Sophist is
    unimportant. What is important for Plato is that
    he expressed such cynicism about human nature

8
History of Philosophy in Brief 4th Century BC
Aftermath of Peloponnesian War
  • Influence of Sophists declines
  • Influence of Socrates students, Plato
    Aristotle rises
  • Plato writes dialogues criticizing Sophists,
    e.g., Republic
  • Now, Socrates The good guy
  • Sophists The bad guys

9
History of Greek Philosophy, 4th Century BC
  • Socrates Sophist

10
Socrates
  • Taught philosophy as a way of life
  • The unexamined life is not worth living.

11
Platos goals
  • To refute and destroy reputation of Sophists
  • To refute cynicism about human nature expressed
    by Thrasymachus Thucydides
  • To advance optimistic model of human nature
  • In difficult times, we can rely on human dignity
    and act justly despite how others may be behaving

12
Soul as chariot (discussed in Plato, Phaedrus)
13
  • Clytemnestra kills Cassandra (scene from the
    Agamemnon of Aeschylus)

14
Scene from Verdis La Traviata
15
Sign at entrance of Academy
16
Fig. 1 The Platonic Solids
17
Role of study of geometry mathematics
  • 1) It transfers us from the material to the
    intellectual, and so frees us from domination of
    appetites and emotions.
  • 2) It proves that even human reason is
    non-arbitrary, not relative, so that justice, for
    Plato, becomes a constructible, almost
    geometrical concept.

18
Fig. 3 Platos Model of the Soul
19
Fig. 4 Platos Model of the Guardian State
20
Ostracism
  • Ostracon recording vote to exile Themistocles
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