Friday, March 31, 2017
I have been thinking a lot about Katherine's comment on Wednesday when I brought up about how vague the word Freedom is and how it can often be used for negative outcomes. To recap, she commented that even words that may seem more specific such as access, can still be twisted in ways that seem to help the many, but actually just end up hurting us. I have thought about what she said and I agree with her comment. It is important not to overlook how strong rhetoric can actually be, which I had overlooked when I commented that there has to be a better word to use than Freedom. Anything, it seems, can be twisted into different meanings. It's just like how some people believe that Plato's thought experiment was meant to be taken as a serious manuscript as to how to form a government. His work has been completely manipulated and sometimes misinterpreted. It's just interesting to me because I never really considered how easy it could be to manipulate people and how any word can be victim to negative rhetoric like Katherine suggested.
Sunday, March 19, 2017
I would first like to apologize for the delay in this blog post. Spring break has delayed my thoughts in general I believe. I would like to suggest a beginning discussion of book 4 and how it progresses into book five on Monday. We did not really get to discuss it due to the missed class and I think it would be interesting especially with out new insights on book five. Another thing that I have been thinking about it talking to each other about our midterm thoughts? I have not solidified an idea yet but I think it would be cool to hear others thought of their projects and to give feedback. What do you guys think?
Friday, March 3, 2017
On Monday, we had a long class discussion about virtue in the Meno as it related to the discussion of justice in the Republic. At one point in the class the concept of the Ring of Gyges was mentioned and I believe that it was Mike who brought up the idea that depending on where someone was in their life would depend on what they would do if they had the ring. This made me think about Maslow's Hierarchy of needs and how it might relate to the idea about virtue. The idea that Mike brought up was that people of power or wealth do not need much so they might have an easier time resisting the temptation of the ring whereas people who needed things would struggle with the temptation no matter how virtuous. In a similar way, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a pyramid of different things people need in order to reach the top of the pyramid which is self-actualization. This related to Mikes idea because people who are lower down on the pyramid would have a harder time navigating virtue if presented with the Ring of Gyges than those who have reached self-actualization. In a way, the argument of the ring is flawed because it is difficult to even consider virtue if you are a person who is struggling to meet the bottom requirements of the pyramid. To me, virtue is something that relates to privilege. I believe that anyone can be virtuous but it would be harder to consider it when someone is struggling to make it to self-actualization.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Consider the comment by Thrasymachus on 343. In this longer passage, he is attempting to pose a point against Socrates' claim on the just and justice. I wanted dissect this passage a little more. Do you agree with the claim that Thrasymachus makes when he says that the 'just man everywhere has less than the unjust man' (343c)? I know that Socrates disagrees but the question is interesting to focus on. It is almost like saying that the evil profit more than the good - a sort of pessimistic look on the world. Likewise, if there is no such thing as true justice, how can we even know that the unjust profit more than the just? Also do you believe that someone can be 'truly just'? I feel like true justice is like saying that there is a way to be truly perfect. We cannot concretely define justice, so I am not sure how one can be truly just
Friday, February 17, 2017
Over the past two days I have been reviewing Midgley's article "Trying Out Ones New Sword". In her article, she makes the claim that Moral Isolationism is not a concept that is forced upon cultures, rather it is a position that people maintain due to respect of another's culture. She maintains that if we did not make moral judgments, we would have no framework of our own policy and make no judgments of our own actions. Personally, I see this in relation to reading Plato because one of the levels of thinking about his works is from a historical and contextual background. Having read Midgley's article, I can say that it may help to keep in mind that we may be subject to the influence of moral isolationism. We try to not make judgments about the culture of the Athenians instead of thinking critically about it and creating our own judgments. That said, I think this class is brilliant at seeing past moral isolationism and creating constructive criticisms about our culture in comparison to Athenian culture. When it comes to a review of the historical background, we tend to remain open to it, but overall I think that it is important to keep the idea of moral isolationism in mind so we do not fall complacent to it.
If you would like to read Midgley's article here is the PDF link:
If you would like to read Midgley's article here is the PDF link:
Thursday, February 9, 2017
On Wednesday we brought up a question that was in my opinion one of the most interesting questions we had discussed during Phaedo. Can an idea be created from nothing? I've been thinking about Matt's example of Harmony and whether or not beings with no hearing can still create harmony. After thinking about this question I do believe that those beings could create harmony..but they would not conceptualize it in the same way. Their sense of harmony might be discovered like Matt said, through vibrations but it wouldn't be the same. This begs another question for me: Is harmony universal or do we all think of it differently? I feel as though those beings who cannot hear might think of harmony that is different from us. Overall, yes they found harmony without hearing which would make it possible to create something without having prior knowledge of it but is it different from our harmony? If it is different, how can we say that they discovered harmony? To me it is a circular pattern. To ask someone "what is harmony?" ends up being the same circular argument as our discussion on how to define piety. I guess I am still struggling about how to not end up in a circle...but maybe that is the point
Saturday, February 4, 2017
I often try and find some different translations of the dialogues and today while looking though Googles extensive archives I found this neat translation of Plato's Lysis in Dutch! I know I do not know Dutch but I just thought it was great! Here is the link if any of you are interested: