1 Apology 1 Lecture for the Apology This is the first time Socrates has appeared in court. He is now 70. He has two classes of critics, The first is the class of those whom his judges heard in childhood. He cannot even mention their names. The point of this is that there is a whole raft of unexamined opinions we have had from childhood. The "what everybody says world" that imprisons us just as surely as bars. Socrates as trying to unbind us. The analogy of the cave The earlier accusers are more formidable because, as Socrates says, they spoke to the jurors as children and won their case by default. we have to picked up so much of our information in childhood, at the very time when we cannot evaluate it, when we are not even in a position to know whether we got it right. Yet the information is foundational. mention sedimented knowledge the point is to uncover it, expose it, to sift it to see if really is what is the case. (25) The second class is that of his current accusers who, basing, themselves on these slanders -- draw up the current accusations. The earlier accusers claim: Socrates is a student 1. "of all things in the sky and below the earth 2. who makes the worse argument the stronger" (24) Behind the first part may be the fear of inquiring where one should not. Behind the second, may be the accusers’ being shown to be speaking nonsense by Socrates. People have talked with Socrates and their claims to knowledge seem to evaporate after the conversation. 2 The actual charge brought about by the later accusers (Mylitus, Anatus) is that "Socrates is guilty of corrupting the young and of not believing in the gods in whom the city believes, but in other new divinities." Socrates asserts that this is simply a conventional accusation against the philosophers. E.g. the accusation that Socrates does not believe that the sun and moon are divinities (Helios and Serene), but rather asserts that the "sun is a stone and the moon earth." Note: this is a doctrine of Anaxagoras, one of the natural philosophers. But Socrates doesn't do natural philosophy. Yet for the accusers, philosophy = natural philosophy. They just have a hearsay knowledge of it. Socrates' claim: His accusers "mention those accusations that are available against all philosophers" because they are at a loss to answer how Socrates corrupts the youth. In fact they are simply angry at him for showing them up. (29) At their basis is what Socrates does when he finds a man with a reputation for wisdom. He examines him to see if he is really wise, if he is not, he shows him his ignorance. (27). Why does he do this? Socrates frames his answer so as to refute the charge of impiety. Socrates friend has consulted the oracle of Delphi, asking if anyone is wiser that Socrates. The oracle answers, "no one is wiser" (27) Socrates begins by trying to find what the oracle could mean by examining others to see if they are wiser than he is. (Is this modesty or is trying to prove the oracle wrong?) He refers to his action as "my investigation in the service of the god"(28) and even of his coming to "the assistance of the god" when he meets someone who thinks he is wise, but is not. How could he ―assist‖ the god One answer: This all relates to the Delphic oracle’s injunction, ―know yourself.‖ Socrates assists the God in helping people follow this injunction—to know themselves Though the knowledge is rather negative. What they know after the have met Socrates is only their ignorance. 3 An example of such an examination. What do you do for a living I am a journalist What does a journalist do Report the news What is news? Whatever is happening Is everything that happens "news" No, only important things What makes something important If it is important to society What makes something important to society? When it affects it. What do you mean by "affects"? Changes it. Does society change every time a murder, a ball game is reported? no Is everything which affects society important? Yes Well, what do you mean by important? ... The point is that most people cannot give an account of what they do. Cf. the poets (who cannot explain their poetry) The craftsmen (who try to extend their limited knowledge to things they don’t know). Does this mean that they are not wise? Question: what does wisdom mean here? • It is obviously more than some particular skill • It also seem to involve the premises and purposes of its practice, • In fact, it seems to involve how it fits into a greater whole What he is after is not knowledge in a limited sense, but wisdom, the fitting in of this knowledge into some greater whole. Another question: Why is it distressing for the people Socrates talks with to be asked about their premises?—i.e., in the fundamental beliefs that guide their practices? 4 In revealing these premises you stand naked. Your soul, its condition, are revealed in often embarrassing ways. The type of person you are (where you are coming from) is publicly revealed. Back to the dialogue Socrates gets Meletus to admit that the whole of Athens "makes the young into fine good men." Only Socrates corrupts them. Socrates see this as part of the "proof" that Meletus has never bothered about the young. In all other fields, improvement is the concern not of everyone but of the expert. This must also be true about the young. Is this really valid? Do we really need experts to improve, train our young? Is such improvement is a matter of "knowledge" defined as a technical expertise—i.e. the sense in which the horse trainer, in Socrates' example, has knowledge? Or does it require something else? Wisdom. Consider the following argument Socrates uses: Wicked people have a bad effect upon those with whom they are in the closest contact. No one prefers to be harmed (i.e., be subject to a bad effect) by others Socrates therefore cannot intentionally have a bad influence on his close companions, since by spoiling their character, he "runs the risk" of getting some "harm" from them. Is this valid? If it is, how widely would you apply it? What does it imply about criminals, e.g., drug pushers? It may be valid, but the harm is not such that the wicked person would realize it. If you do apply it universally, then the premise, which is that no one does bad things intentionally, would imply that one should not punish such involuntary acts, but rather assist in the wrong doer’s reeducation and rehabilitation. But one should ask: Can one voluntarily do something bad? Only if one thinks that the badness does not touch oneself. Plato main argument will be to show that it does. Socrates says that he only has human wisdom? What is it? Can we tell from hearing him speak? 5 Introduction to Philosophy, Dr. Mensch Lecture for the Crito, in Plato, Five Dialogues, pp. 45-51 (43a-49c). The underlying issue in the first part of the dialogue is the nature of the soul. Socrates wants to describe the soul such that it has a certain autonomy with regard to the ―majority‖ (the ―many‖) that control the democratic state Thus Socrates dismisses the assertion that the majority "have an unlimited capacity for doing harm with the assertion, "They cannot make a man either wise or foolish, but they inflict things haphazardly?" (47) Several points are implicit here. They are: 1) that they act without knowledge, simply following their appetites. The accidental character of the latter is what makes their action haphazard. 2) that the real harm is being foolish, and the real good being wise. But the majority can do neither --yet cannot they, if we allow them, make us foolish? Socrates’s answer would be: we must allow them. The good man cannot be harmed by the bad precisely because his goodness consists in his not allowing others to make him foolish. He does not go on the opinions of others, but rather on knowledge. 3)From this we come to the implication regarding the soul. It is: The real harm or gain concerns the soul not the body Others cannot affect the soul but only one's external fortune --yet this argues an autonomy of the soul which most people today would find doubtful. They would ask: Cannot a life of poverty affect not just one's external fortune, but also one's soul? Socrates, in the Apology, points to his poverty as a sign of his independence. He has not been swayed by the inducements of wealth or power. Poverty, however, in our day is a sign of dependence. What has changed in our view of it—or rather our view of the soul We no longer think that there is any part of us that is distinct from our body and its needs. We hardly ever make the body soul distinction 6 note: the difference between happiness and goodness. • The argument concerning happiness -If happiness is the highest goal, the one should act so as to bring about the greatest possible happiness for your self and others, i.e., in Critio’s view, the maximum happiness for Socrates, his friends, and his children- But how you do this is insolvable. There are too many variables. • The argument concerning right and wrong is not insoluble. One can usually tell the right from the wrong action. • Only if we confuse the two, i.e., confuse acting rightly with acting so as to promote happiness, do we run into the kind of interminable difficulties the modern ages is prey to with regard to discussions of justice. The modern age confuses acting justly with acting to promote the maximum happiness. (Mill's problem) The argument about the nature of the soul continues when Socrates asks: What part of us is improved by the doctor and the "trainer"? The answer is the body, both its health and its appearance. He then asks, what part of us is "improved by just actions and destroyed by unjust actions?" the answer is the soul The questions are 1) what is the nature of the improvement? 2)What does this tell us about the nature of the soul In fact, what is implicit here is the notion of morality as the ratio cognocendi of the soul. It is only because we see that just and unjust actions have an effect on ourselves that we say that there is something called soul distinct from the body. We do not ascribe ethics to animals and hence feel no need to ascribe soul to them. Their body, taken as a causal mechanism, is sufficient to account for their behavior. the question is what does the fact that unjust actions destroy the soul say about the soul's nature. what does ―destroy‖ mean in this assertion of Socrates? if it means undermine its capacities, then the soul is a principle of activity. 7 In book II of Plato’s Republic, the thesis is put forward that the practice of virtue allows the soul to be in a good state, i.e., to perform its own special activities, (commanding and deliberating) well. (Transl. virtue is an activity which optimizes the soul's functioning.) This is what Aristotle will emphasize. Another answer: the destruction of the soul points to the soul's nature as a balance. destruction, correspondingly means the disruption, breakdown of this balance. In Freudian terms, it points to breakdown, psychosis. All this points to morality as the ratio essendi of the soul. If the soul is destroyed by unjust actions, then its very being involves justice. The soul is not a thing, but a balance (between appetite, mind, and courage). But such balance is its virtue. Soul, here, is the being of a divided self, a self split between appetite and intellect. Insofar as all ethics involves setting the balance between the two, all ethics is a doctrine of soul. Once Socrates has given us this picture of the soul, he has the answer to the question I raised: Should one be afraid of the criticism of the man who knows (the qualified person) or of the general public a) regarding the health of the body? b) regarding the health of the soul? c) regarding one's well being in the state? Suppose your answer to a) and b) is "the man who knows" and to c) is "the general public," this implies that the health of oneself (including one's body and soul) is not the same as one's well being in the state. Rather the two are distinct. But if one's well being in the state is distinct from one's well being regarding body and soul, then a bad man could do well in a state, and doing well in the state might require one's being a bad man. This is often the case in tyrannies—e.g., North Korea. The point here is that such tyrannies (including the tyranny of the majority) affect us by causing us to act unjustly—i.e., they harm our souls. They have power, but not knowledge. This is why he asserts that one ought not to regard popular opinion "about what is just, beautiful, good, and their opposites." 8 The truth concerning these matters is unaffected by the fact that "the many are able to put us to death." The point, he adds, is that "the most important thing is not life, but the good life." It is not life itself that is a value but those things, whatever they are, that make it good. Note: By the good life, he means the life lived according to justice, not "the good life" in the North American sense." It is only when one equates one's life with one's possessions that the meaning shifts. He then asserts (p. 50) that "the good life, the beautiful life, and the just life are the same." Note the connection between the just life and the beautiful life in the Republic‖ The tie is the notion of the soul as a harmony, its harmony being its beauty. If the goodness of the soul is that of its harmony or balance, so is its justice. They are all equivalent designations. 9 Introduction to Philosophy - Dr. Mensch Lecture for the Crito, in Plato, Five Dialogues, pp. 51-56 (49c-54e) The argument given in this section is extremely simple. It is 1. One should never return a wrong for a wrong. 2. Escaping from Athens to avoid an unjust sentence is returning a wrong for a wrong. 3. One should never escape from Athens to avoid an unjust sentence. Lets look at the first premise: The question is: Should one never willingly do wrong or does it depend on circumstances? If it does depend on circumstances, then the notion of ethics becomes hypothetical. Do the ethical thing if certain circumstances are present. For example I will not do wrong if circumstances do not prevent me from achieving X. I will if achieving X requires it. X can be anything from assisting a friend to gaining some personal financial advantage. At this point the ethical is not the highest value, but rather a subordinate one. Here it is subordinate to X (whatever this is). In so far as it justifies doing a wrong, X makes wrongdoing be ―good‖ or ―honorable.‖ According to Socrates nothing justifies a wrong. What about lying about the Jews hiding in the attic to the inquiring Nazi? Is one doing a wrong here? Kant, a German philosopher, would say yes. One could, however, say, One is still engaging in the ethical in making a choice between norms or goods (truth telling and preventing a murder). The real issue comes in choosing between goods. In what sense is helping a friend a ―good‖ that would override another good? What do we mean by ―good‖? Socrates’ main point seems to be: One cannot commit a wrong for a private advantage or for revenge. • For Socrates, the pleasure of revenge is a ―bad‖ pleasure. It makes one worst. It diminishes ones capacity. 10 Justice has nothing to do with revenge. Other thinkers in the Greek world (e.g., the playwright, Aeschylus) think that the sense of revenge is fundamental to justice; justices (in the sense of laws and courts) simply channels this and makes it constructive. J.S. Mill (19th cen. English philosopher) gives a classic argument for this. There is a certain pre-rational (emotional) sense to revenge • I will let the person feel the hurt he has inflicted on me. I will enforce a kind of empathy, which he originally lacked when he hurt me • He will not hurt someone else since he will know how it feels (here empathy, buttresses morality). Socrates seems to ignore this non-rational level of morality. He sees the attempt to escape from Athens to be a returning a wrong for a wrong (his being wrongly convicted) By disobeying the laws, he would be undermining their authority, which is wrong. With this, we have the second premise of the argument: Escaping from Athens to avoid an unjust sentence is returning a wrong for a wrong. Socrates has the laws say to him: ―Do you think it possible for a city not be destroyed if the verdicts of its courts have no force but are nullified by private individuals.‖ (52) What is at stake is the moral imperative of obeying the law whether or not one fears its punishments, whether or not the sentences applying the laws (as opposed to the laws themselves) are just or unjust. Socrates attempts to give an emotional and not just a rational aspect to this argument. The laws are like parents. They are responsible for your being born, being brought up, and being educated. They mandate and regulate these activities. Note the whole attempt is to attach a kind of filial piety to the laws. Socrates asserts: we are not on an equal footing with our parents ―as regards the right ... so as to retaliate for anything they do to you, to revile them if they revile you, beat them if they beat you‖ etc. , so also with the laws. (53) • The question is why aren’t we on an equal footing with our parents? There is here a kind of non-rational relation. Rationally, we both are subject to the same rules of conduct 11 For both Aeschylus and Socrates, then, there is a non-rational foundation (emotional basis) to justice. (For Aeschylus, it is revenge. The law takes vengeance for you; for Socrates, it is filial piety) What they both require is an explanation of why we don’t break the law (won’t harm others) even if we won’t get caught. What is our sense of obligation to the law? For Socrates, the obligation is that of parent to child. The attempt to escape would be like patricide. In fact, breaking one law undermines all the others. What one is undermining is the basis of law, this is our sense of obligation to the law itself, a sense of the laws as parents and by extension of the state as a parent. Cf. the words, ―fatherland,‖ ―motherland,‖ ―patriotism‖ from pater (father), etc. There is also, however, a rational point being made here. Equality under law is not the same as equality with the law. In a certain sense, the second undermines the first. If I am equal to the law and can obey it or not (as I am equal to another citizen and can obey him or not), then I am not equal under the law --for this equality is that of all the citizens having to obey the law. This does not mean that civil disobedience (as practiced by Martin Luther King or Gandhi) is not permissible. It is permissible in the sense of willingly violating an unjust law and willingly taking one’s punishment, and in the act using it as a kind of moral persuasion. For Socrates, one can always try to persuade the laws, i.e., persuade the state to change unjust laws. 12 Introduction to Philosophy -- Dr. Mensch Lecture for Plato's Phaedo: in Plato, Five Dialogues, pp. 93-106, (57a-69e) The setting of the dialogue: removed in time and place from original. The hearers of the account are Pythagoreans. Their belief in reincarnation and the transmigration of the souls. The sense stillness, quietness, mystery Symbolic aspects: The story of Thesius and the 14 (7 men, 7 women), the minotaur, the thread Socrates = Thesius, the thread is the argument, the minotaur is the fear of death. Remark about the cutting of the hair, if the argument fails (the sign of mourning for a death) There is a certain irony in the telling of the story. Socrates has been told to practices the arts (mousikh;n poivei kai ejrgavzou), so he has been practicing by composing fables like Aesop (97). He says that he is going to ―tell and examine tales about what we believe the journey to be like.‖ (98). Given this, how seriously are we to take the arguments? The dialogue is concerned with Socrates’ trying to cheer his auditors up. They are depressed at the thought of his death. Death is assumed to be the separation of the soul from the body. History of the soul Soul = psyche = breath, for example, in Homer’s Iliad, the North Wind saving a person by blowing his breath back in fanning the person, reviving him by blowing his breath back in. breath = breathing, being alive (Lear and Cordelia) soul = being alive, soul = the principle of life soul = what lives eternally, what can exist apart from the body, a separate, intellectual substance problem = unity of soul and body Augustine = the rider on the horse Plato = the pilot of a ship Here, the relation is that of the person in a kind of prison. In this life we ―in a kind of prison‖ and ―must not free ourselves or run away‖ The prison is the body. Cannot we run away? No because ―the gods are our guardians and men are one of their possessions‖ They would be mad if one of their possessions tried to escape. The philosophical point behind this view: we do not own our own lives. In other words, there is a limit on our ownership and hence on our freedom. 13 The limit on freedom is moral. We can take our lives, but this denies the god's ownership. Thus the assertion of absolute freedom (the freedom to take your own life) denies this ownership and by implication it is impious. (Logically the gods ownership implies the denial of freedom, the denial of this denial implies denial of the ownership). Sartre took this to mean that our absolute freedom denies the existence of god. Given that we should not escape the ―prison of the body,‖ what is our relation to it, i.e. to our embodied life? Answer: that of trying separate ourselves as much as possible from it. this is what Socrates means when he says (p. 100) that ―the one aim of those who practice philosophy in the proper manner is to practice for dying and death‖ He only values bodily pleasures to the point that he cannot do without them. He is not per se concerned with them. (101) re: food, clothing, he is not at all concerned with sex problem: Xanthippe was sitting with them holding their baby (he is 70), this argues a certain potency. literary point: a kind of irony here moral point: the real aim is to avoid the fear of death, all arguments will serve philosophical point: the philosopher's attitude takes the body as a hindrance in his search for the truth The claim here is that whenever the soul ―attempts to examine anything with the body, it is clearly deceived by it‖ (p. 101). instances where the senses deceive us. Cases where the stick appears bent, the moon appears larger than the sun, something close up appears larger than something far away. The tower in the distance appears round. Cases of mistaken identity all cases where we take an aspect of the thing, a side, a feature, for the thing itself. But this does not mean that when we do not do this, we are deceived Not deceptive are all ―I see‖ judgments where we assert simply the contents of our perception, not that there is anything there corresponding to them. the difference between the two cases can be understood as the difference between a judgment of perception and judgment of experience. In the latter case, we must use our understanding. There is a claim beyond that of perception. (Though it can be partially confirmed by perception) When Socrates says that by sight and hearing we do not ―find any truth,‖ he means that truth is not a directly perceivable entity, it is the correlate of the understanding. The idea of truth is the idea of agreement between what we assert (our understanding of some state of affairs) and what we ―see.‖ Beyond this the claim is that ―the soul reasons best when none of the senses trouble it‖ (p. 102) 14 Reasoning is going from premises to the conclusions implied by them. Taking these conclusions as new premises and continuing the process. In short, what is done in the dialogues. Note how passions (such as those awakened by witnessing Socrates death) prevent one from following the argument. The difference between reasoning and sensing here is that Senses are fixed on the thing, they do not focus on the relations joining things or on the species of the things. By species, I mean such things as the just itself, the beautiful, and the good. we have never seen such things with our eyes We cannot physically see the forms. One cannot see justice (cf. the courtroom drama on TV. Without the sound on, you cannot tell just by seeing it, whether justice is being done or not). One cannot see beauty itself as opposed to beautiful things. The recognition of the latter presuppose a grasp of the former. For Plato, the philosopher’s goal is that of finding, discovering such forms. He asks: What is virtue in itself, what is friendship in itself, what is courage, what is justice?-- i.e., what is the one thing which makes the many examples bear the same name. The goal is the eidei --ei\dh—the ideas or forms. Point: after death, when we lack the bodily senses, we will never take the sensed object for the form. We will see the form directly. Difficulty: Don’t we need to first grasp the sensed object in order then to abstract the form? Plato: No, we have the idea the form first (from before birth). This allows us to categorize the sensed objects. 15 Introduction to Philosophy -- Dr. Mensch Lecture for Plato's Phaedo: in Plato, Five Dialogues, pp.106-116, (69e-78b) Socrates has just expressed his hopes for the afterlife. The question is whether there is any substance for such hopes. Might not the soul die with the body. Socrates counters with an argument for the immortality of the soul that assumes its reincarnation, its taking on flesh again and again. Why is reincarnation tied to the notion of the immortality of the soul? two answers: 1. If the soul came to be with the body, it would only be a principle of life for this body. It would be the body’s life (breath) and would vanish with the body: ―On leaving it, it is dispersed like breath or smoke.‖ (106 69d). 2. The arising of an immortal soul with the body implies Biblical creatio ex nihilo (creation from nothing) but such a notion is completely foreign to the Greeks. Begin by noting the first argument: motion is between opposites, things that have an opposite "must necessarily come to be from their opposite." (Phaedo, Grube trans., p. 107) some examples of what he means. smaller from larger weaker from stronger worst from better just from unjust sleeping from waking from this he concludes ―that all things come to be in this way, opposites from opposites‖ (107). being alive and being dead are opposites. The process of ―becoming‖ from being alive to being dead‖ is dying. The opposite process is ―coming to life again or being born This is ―coming from the dead to the living.‖ Therefore the ―souls of the dead must be somewhere whence they can come back again.‖ (109). 16 Points on the argument 1. Given that change is between opposites, the subject undergoing change has to remain unchanged. So the small does not come directly from the large, or the just from the unjust, but rather an underlying subject passes between two opposite conditions. Otherwise, we do not have change but annihilation pure and simple. The presence of this underlying subject is the difference between change and annihilation. Lets apply this to Cebes’s admission that being dead comes to be from being alive and being alive comes to be from being dead. (Phaedo, Grube trans., p. 108). o A living body dies. Its life processes stop. o If one assumes that such life processes involve the presence of a soul in the body, then their cessation implies that the soul departs from the body. o Similarly, in the case of being alive coming from being dead, o If one assumes that the motion is exactly the contrary of the first then this implies that the soul would go back into the body. The assumption in these cases is that what remains unchanged is the soul. But we could say that what remains unchanged is the body—that is, its material constituents. When we die, life (organic functioning) departs from our matter. When this matter is taken up by some plant or animal, life (organic functioning) then inhabits it. It once again becomes ―alive.‖ So the fallacy in Socrates’ conclusion is obvious: You are assuming that the unchanged subject of the ―motions‖ of being born and dying is the soul. Thus, you are assuming that the soul is deathless. But this underlying subject could just as well be matter. At this point--life come from death insofar as we consuming non-living matter and make it alive by making it part of our living bodies. Similarly, death come from life, insofar as when we die, the material of our bodies (which was alive--i.e., part of a living organism) becomes dead or lifeless. The fallacy here is the petitio prrincipi, assuming what you want to prove. Socrates next tries to use the theory of recollection to prove the immortality of the soul: 17 He asserts that "it is definitely from the equal things ... that you have derived and grasped the knowledge of equality" (Phaedo, Grube trans., p. 112). But he also says "We must then possess the knowledge of the Equal before that time that we first saw the equal objects and realized that all these objects strive to be like the Equal but are deficient in this" (Phaedo, Grube trans., p. 113). There is an apparent contradiction in these two assertions. On the one hand, the knowledge of equality comes from equal things, but on the other we must first ―possess the knowledge of the Equal before that time that we first saw the equal‖ things. Without this knowledge, we could not recognize the equal things. This means that we need the knowledge to attain it. Parallel situation: I want to find out how Paul is? Only Peter knows who Paul is, but Paul is the only one who can tell me which person is Peter. Thus I need to know Peter to know Paul, but I need to know Paul to know Peter. To resolve this contradiction, Socrates says that the equal things that we do see remind us (cause us the recollect) the standard by which they are recognized as equal. The reminding is through association: Thus, in the example of p. 111: ―They see the lyre, and the image of boy to whom it belongs comes into their mind.‖ In general, one ―perceives one thing, ... but also thinks of another thing of which the knowledge is not the same but different.‖ The point is that one never sees precisely equal things. The association is between the equal things (which fall short of equality) and the idea of equality. It is an association between different items. In fact, the idea does not have the same properties as things it is an idea of. So my idea of black cloth is not black or made of cloth. My idea of triangle is not itself a three sided figure (the points of the triangle are not sticking out of my head). 18 Frege: the properties of objects specified by concepts are not themselves properties of the concepts. Thus, the concept of smallness is not itself a ―small‖ concept. This is why Plato speaks of recollection as association. The idea comes from the perceptions but only because they remind us of something different. For Plato: One uses the standard to note the deficiency. One has to appeal to something other than the equal things to see how far they fall short. But cf. the counter ―empiricist‖ argument. The notion of equality that of a limiting idea. It is that which the series of things more and more equal points to as a goal. Now, the fact that we possess the knowledge of equality itself (the Equal) prior to our knowledge of things implies that we must have acquired this idea before birth If we did not acquire it in this life then it must be before this life. Thus if our conceptual life depends on the ideas, we must, to have such a life (previously acquired the ideas. Objection: I can assert that we are born with the knowledge of the equal. It is an innate idea we have from birth; but this doesn't imply that we had this idea before birth. Reply: Socrates notes that we have to recollect such knowledge and that such recollection involves forgetting. But this implies that we forgot it at birth. As he asks ―at one other time do we lose it‖ if not at birth (115). But it seems crazy to say that ―we lose it at the very time we acquire it.‖ One can examine this argument by looking at the parallel case of our knowledge of language. We have an innate capacity for speech and yet we do not know how to talk at birth. Does this imply that we knew how to speak before birth, but have forgotten and have to be reminded? No. One can follow Piaget and say that there is a development of conceptual life. We do need something other than equal things to grasp equality--but this could be some hardwiring in the brain that is necessary to accomplish this. Given such hardwiring, we could still assert that the conditions for this grasp of equality come latter in life – Here, we assume that the biological conditions for grasping the idea of the equal may only 19 fully develop latter as the brain matures and the hardwiring gets fully developed. Socrates concludes that "just as they (the ideas or forms) exist, so our soul must exist before we are born. If these realities do not exist, then this argument is altogether futile" (p. 115). In a certain sense these ideas do exist "before" we are born? In a certain sense they don’t. This is because time applies to the things of which they are the ideas, it doesn’t apply to the ideas themselves. In other words, the ideas exist (as per Frege’s argument) outside of time. Thus, the idea of equality has no time ―when.‖ It abstracts from time. So if your soul exists "just as they (the ideas or forms) exist," it does not make sense to say it exists, in grasping the ideas, "before" you were born. The soul doesn’t exist in time at all—just like the ideas do not exist in time The real point is that the soul must somehow have a timeless element, be able to get out of time, to grasp the timeless ideas. Such timelessness is an incapacity for change or corruption and hence the timelessness of the soul is an argument for its immortality as, on some level, unchanging. But what sort of immortality is this? Can we imagine it? 20 Introduction to Philosophy -- Dr. Mensch Lecture for Plato's PHAEDO: in Plato, Five Dialogues, pp. 116-126 (78c-88c) Speaking of the "child in us who has these fears" of death, Socrates says that one must "sing a charm over him every day until you have charmed away his fears." Indeed, "there is nothing on which you could spend your money to greater advantage" than to find a "charmer" who could calm these fears of death (Phaedo, Grube trans., p. 116). It is important to find such a charmer because of the need for courage. If this life is all there is, all motives for acting must be found in this life. All notions of justice, of reward and punishment, must depend on this life, not on the next for their justification. a few philosophers and other individuals have been able to do this. o Example: Nietzsche’s eternal return. Will those things that you would want to eternally return. Live your life so that you can say da capo (again) The mass of men have not. Thus, the widespread positing of a hell by the Buddhists, ancient Greeks and Romans, Christians, etc. Note: hell not a Jewish and not initially a Christian concept. The previous pope got rid of it. The point, however, if this life is all there is, if there is no heaven or hell, then most people will draw their motives from it. They will not stand up to political or social pressure to do wrong. The fear of death (of annihilation—not of hell) will not be an ultimate determinant. Thus the fear of death affects the soul and its health. It undermines the soul’s courage. But courage is the only way in which we can stand up to our appetites. (appetites are one of the three parts of the soul along with intellect and courage). In a certain sense, the arguments here are for the sake not of the intellect but of the thumos -- quvmo" (our heart or courage) They are meant to charm away the ―boggy man‖ of the fear of death that dishearten us. What is more important from Socrates' perspective is overcoming this fear in his friends –it is not providing sure proofs of the immortality of the soul At issue is the soul’s health. As Socrates says, violent pleasures and pains nail the soul to the body. It takes such pleasures and pains as the really real (what is really real is, rather, the ideas). In this sense it disturbs the calmness of the philosopher. Philosophic calmness (or tranquility) consists in ignoring the senses’s claims to determine what is real, using the mind's criteria instead. But, the fear of death if violent will nail the body to the soul and persuade us that only what the body perceives is real. It will then make philosophy impossible for us. 21 In a certain sense we have a species of philosophy as rhetoric in Socrates’ attempts to charm away the fear of death by proving the immortality of the soul. One should keep in mind Socrates' initial assertion that we can have no real certainty here. Today’s reading begins with what is perhaps the strongest argument for the soul’s immortality. This is that the soul must itself have something unchanging (and hence not liable to decomposition) in it. This is because it grasps the unchanging ideas—i.e. holds them fixed as unchanging. It can do so, i.e., have an unchanging relation to the unchanging only if it contains an unchanging, incorruptible element. Socrates begins the argument by asserting that the ideas or forms (the Equal itself, etc.) "are ever the same and in the same state." Each of them is "simple," and each "remains the same" (Phaedo, Grube trans., p. 117). The very notion of the ideas, in fact, demands that they be unchanging • They are by definition prescriptive norms. It is by virtue of your idea of equality that you decide if two things are equal. If this idea were to change, it could not function as an unchanging standard. • Beyond this, their very simplicity seems to rule out change. To change them is not to leave some underlying subject intact. It is to change one idea into another. Thus, to change the idea of triangle from three to four sided figure is not to change it, but simply to think of another idea. • One can also put this by saying that lacking matter, the ideas lack any continuing. substrate for change. • The underlying point is that they are the "invisible looks" of things. Their predicates are not the predicates of the things falling under their notions. Thus, an individual triangle has a definite size, it is composed of some material substrate and, as such, is liable to change. None of these predicates apply to the idea, triangle. It is not a spatial-temporal thing. Thus, it cannot change. According to Socrates, the ideas are the very essence of ―to be.‖ Each idea, in its being the same with itself, is really real. The notion of implicit here is that of self-identity The divided line of the Republic is divided both according to degrees of being and degrees of self-identity. Now, Socrates says that when the soul investigates [the ideas or the forms of things], "it passes into the realm of what is pure, ever existing, immortal and unchanging, and being akin to this it stays with it" (Phaedo, Grube trans., p. 118). The realm of ―the pure, ever existing, immortal and unchanging‖ is that of the self- identical ideas The soul, in knowing the ideas, becomes like them. There is, Plato believes, a certain identity of knower and known. When I know something, I become it. I am, at the moment of knowing, simply the insight that I am presently having. Thus, as the knower of, say, 2+2=4, I am just like everyone else who knows that relation. 22 One can also put this in terms of the actuality of the mover being in the moved, of the sensible object being in the sensation. The actuality, the at-workness, is where the thing is at work (This is Aristotle’s view) The actuality of the ideas is to be unchanging, the soul as their "place," as where they are at work, has this actuality. It is unchanging Aside from this identity of the knower and known, there is an epistemological necessity for the soul’s being unchanging. If the soul were constantly changing, it would never have the same relation to the unchanging ideas. But this means that the relation of knowledge would never be constant. The soul’s knowledge would constantly be shifted, which means it would not be a fixed grasp. The fact that the soul does have a fixed grasp of the known means that it itself has an unchanging element. But this cannot decompose and hence is immortal. The difficulty here is that this immortality is impersonal. 23 Introduction to Philosophy -- Dr. Mensch Lecture for Plato's PHAEDO: in Plato, Five Dialogues, pp. 126 - 135 (88c - 95e) Cebes now advances what seems to be the strongest argument against the immortality of the soul. Essentially, it is that the soul is not an entity, a substance. It is only a relation. As a ―harmony,‖ it is a relation between the material components of the body. When they change, it changes. When the body decomposes, it vanishes entirely. The harmony, he is talking about, is the being in tune of a lyre (like the being in tune of the piano). It is dependent on the tension of the strings. As is obvious, the relation between a harmony and the lyre and its strings is that the lyre, with the tension of its strings, is prior to the harmony that exists through such tensions. Thus, when the lyre is broken, the tensions go (the strings become slack) and the harmony goes. If the soul is a kind of ―harmony or attunement‖ of the body, then the body is prior to the soul. The soul depends on it. So when ―the body is relaxed or stretched beyond due measure by diseases and other evils‖ (Phaedo, Grube trans., p. 125), this is just like the breaking of the lyre. The soul, as the attunement of the body, also goes. The contemporary parallel to this theory that the soul is a harmony of the material components of the body is the modern view that consciousness is simply the result of the chemical processes of the brain. Here, the right amounts and types of neuro-transmitters would determine consciousness. The point is that consciousness exists as a relation between material things; it is not a substance. On a more basic level, the modern view implies that consciousness is epiphenomenal. It is not a causal agent, it is not an actor, something that wills and decides. It is simply a passive effect of the material causal processes of the brain. Thus, there is no free will. Socrates attacks this theory by noting that if we accept it, then a number of things become impossible. (1) the soul cannot be a harmony and engage in recollection, since to engage in recollection, the soul must exist before birth, i.e., before the body. More generally, the soul must exists out of time, it must achieve some sort of identity with the unchanging ideas The key statement here is ―our soul was said to exist also before it came into the body, just as its reality is of the kind that we qualify by the word ―which truly is.‖ (131) Thus, the notion of the soul as an arrangement or attunement of the body's matter makes recollection impossible since the soul can neither exist prior to the body or apart from its temporal circumstances and conditions. 24 (2) Another difficulty is that even though things can be more or less out of attunement, things cannot be more or less souls. But if a soul is just an attunement, which admits of more or less, we could speak this way about souls—we could talk about someone having less of a soul, etc. If, however, we say that being a bad soul is being disharmonious, then this would have to imply that a person had less of a soul. Since this is impossible, we cannot really talk about bad or good souls in terms of their being disharmonious or harmonious with themselves. Plato, however, does want to do this with his view that the just soul has its intellect, appetites and courage attuned to one another. This Platonic attunement is not material. The underlying point here is that if the soul is simply the material arrangement of the body--e.g., brain chemistry--it makes no sense for one to talk of ―good‖ or ―bad‖ souls. Material arrangements do not have moral qualities. In fact, assuming that a soul is a harmony, and that the harmony is disturbed by illness, there is no difference in this theory between mental illness and wickedness If we say that goodness is a harmony in the general harmony of the soul (not something that is really possible), then if harmony = material arrangement, its lack would be some material disturbance, but this is mental illness in the modern view. (3) A further difficulty is that the view that the soul is a harmony denies our free will So if the soul is a harmony, the body, not the soul, determines a person's action. After all, the harmony is just the state of the body. But the soul's struggle with the body (i.e., our struggle with our appetites and desires) contradicts the notion that the soul is simply a harmony or attunement of the body's elements In this struggle, the soul acts as agent, it directs the body. It resists its appetites. The point is that if the soul is simply a harmony, there no difference between voluntary and involuntary action. All action is involuntary. It is simply the result of automatic causal sequences in the brain chemistry All of these objections apply to the modern scientific materialist view of consciousness In fact, it is not clear that science would be possible if we had no free will. How do we know that we have been caused to get our science correctly? A causal relation is not a logical or an epistemological relation. 25 Introduction to Philosophy Dr. Mensch Lecture on Plato's PHAEDO, pp. 135 - 146 (96a - 107b) Socrates begins by noting that when he was young, he studied natural science. In it he examined the material causes of things, such as "do we think with our blood, or air, or fire, or none of these" (96b). He then adds: "this investigation made me quite blind even to those things which I and the others thought that I quite clearly knew before"? (96c He could not even explain why 1+1 = 2 (97a). He asked himself: Is 2 produced by addition understood as placing two things together? But 2 is also produced by division understood as cutting something into two. How could two opposite physical actions have the same result? What is going on? He is trying to explain addition through material causes or relations (cutting things or pushing them together).. But 2 is not a material thing, it is rather a number. Socrates point is that there is a certain blindness in explaining thinking through material causes. Formal relations, such as those of arithmetic and logic, are not those of the causal relations governing matter. The error here is the same as taking the properties of numbers to be the same as those which they number. Thus, things can be divided, numbers cannot. Things can be brought together numbers cannot. One thing can be divided to make two things, two separate things can be brought together to make two things. But this does not mean that twoness is the result of opposite causes, division and addition. There is a parallel difficulty in explaining human actions by appealing to material causes. There is a big difference between explaining why Socrates is talking to his friends in prison by pointing to "sounds and air and hearing" and the position of his joints, sinews and limbs and explaining this by pointing to Socrates belief that having been condemned, "it seemed best to me to sit here and more right to remain and to endure whatever penalty they ordered" (98d). The first gives only the material conditions for the action. 26 The second gives the final cause for it. The final cause is the reason Socrates has for acting the way he is. He chooses a course of action because it is what seems best to him. This is the cause Socrates seeks in vain among the natural philosophers. To explain things by showing that it was best for them to be in a certain way is to explain them through final causality. As for the material causes, one has to ―distinguish the real [final] causes from that without which the cause would not be able to act as a cause—the latter being the material causes. Material factors are necessary but not sufficient for explaining Socrates’ action. He needs to breath to talk, but what he says is not explainable by ―sounds and air.‖ We have to add a final cause, that is, his intention in speaking, that is, what he wants to say. Aristotle’s four causes, formal, final, material, efficient are here implicit in the dialogue. In building a house, the formal cause are the plans, the final cause or goal is the house to be built, the material cause is the bricks, wood, and other construction materials, the efficient cause (the cause that effects the action) is the workmen. For a sufficient explanation of the house, all the causes have to be brought in. We find a similar difference between explaining the beauty of things through participation in the form of the "beautiful itself" and explaining them in terms of material causes. To speak of the beautiful itself as a form is to note the formal aspects—for example, the proportions or ratios--that go into the conception of the beautiful. To speak of the beautiful in terms of material causes is to try and find the chemical and neurological changes that accompany our sense of the beautiful. Socrates now turns to his final proof for the immortality of the soul. It is somewhat long and complicated, but its essential elements are clear He begins by asking: Can the Odd in itself ever become even? Can the Hot in itself ever become cold? To which Cebes replies, ―No.‖ He then asks: Can the number three (which participates in the Odd) ever become even? Can fire, which participates in the Hot and always has its character of being hot, ever become cold? 27 To which Cebes again replies, ―No.‖ Having establish the pattern, he asks: Can Life in itself ever become death or is its nature to be deathless? To which Cebes replies, Life in itself cannot be death. Its nature is to be deathless. Well, then, can the soul, which participates in Life and always has the character of being alive from this participation, ever become dead or is it is nature to be deathless? To which, Cebes replies, it must be deathless. It cannot die. But if it cannot die. Then when the body dies, it must still remain unharmed. We don’t have to worry about it wearing out as it passes from one body to another. There is here an overriding difficulty with this proof. Plato here assumes the properties of the idea (e.g., the idea of life) are the same as those things participating in the idea. The idea is deathless, so is the soul that participates in it. But, in fact, the properties of the idea are not those of the things falling under it. The idea of life is no more alive than the idea of black cloth is black and made out of cloth. In fact, he uses this distinction between properties of the idea and those of the things participating in it to show how we cannot explain addition by material causes. The question is: why does he engage in this kind of argument? Socrates is ―hastening to his end.‖ Simmias does not want to interrupt him; he accepts the argument although he has ―some private misgivings about what we have said‖ (146). There is a kind of symmetry here. The final arguments are as weak as the first ones. It may be that the strength of argumentation follows the path of the sun reaching its zenith at noonday and declining towards evening. Symbolically, this seems to say that we can speak most persuasively about what occurs in this life and less so about what occurs before or after it (the symbol for a life being that of a day). 28 Final lecture on the Phaedo: pp. 135-155 1. Review a. Suicide: we are the God's property b. The philosopher is always dying: how -- the act of understanding as distinct from that of perceiving we grasp the world through the understanding, not through the senses. But without sense, would the understanding have any material? The answer: recollection. The senses are only useful in reminding us what we knew before birth. c. A first, somewhat fallacious argument for the immortality of the soul: since change occurs between opposites and since being dead comes from being alive, being alive must come from being dead, therefore the soul preexisted its birth. It came from the realm of the dead. The difficulty: what is the subject of the change between opposites? Is it the soul or is it matter. Matter goes from being dead (when it is outside of a living body) to being alive (when it is inside a living body). The same assertion is made of the soul. Thus, the general principle about change between opposites does not prove that the soul (as opposed to matter) must always exist. d. A stronger argument from recollection: we recollect the knowledge of Equality, hence we acquired it before birth. the immortal part of our soul, the part that sees and understands, is the part that "passes into the realm of what is pure ever existing, immortal and unchanging" and is "akin" to this. (118) There is here an identity between the knower and the known. Note two difficulties: 1. The soul, insofar as it is like the unchanging ideas, is itself unchanging. But the soul does change insofar as it is active, alive. 2. There is no personal immortality here. All knowers qua knowers of some piece of knowledge are identical f. The argument about the soul being a harmony: just the tension of the strings. 1) against this: free will 2)the notion of good and evil. 2. Socrates account of his education: he started out in natural science -- material, efficient causes a. Do we thinks with our blood, Does the brain (the material) provide our senses of hearing and sight and smell, etc. b. The investigation makes Socrates "blind even to those things which I and other thought that I clearly knew before." 1) example: mathematics: can we explain 1+1=2 by material causes? 2) example: preferring to stay in prison: can we explain our choices by material causes c. Hopes in Anaxagoras: 29 1) mind directing all: teleology 2) dashed 3) example of why Socrates remains in prison is because it seems best to him d) point: the distinguishing of the real cause from that without which the cause would not be able to act as a cause e) human being act for the best, act in and through mind, this being the perception of the best. f) natural science unable to grasp this: since it limits itself to material causes, not final causes. note the four causes: formal, final, material, efficient 3 Socrates solution: To approach things through language, through questioning others, through the ideas as they shine through the words. Dia-lectic = through the logoi, through speech 1) through assuming as ultimate causes, the intelligible structure of the world. 2) Things are beautiful insofar as they participate in the beautiful, etc. -- at the summit of the ideas, the good. The ultimate principle of being is the good. 3) why is this approach better? Because it introduces mind, intelligence, into the world, explains human action. It does not make mind a stranger to the world 3. A Final Proof a. Things participating in one of a pair of opposites cannot admit the other b. Fire (participating in heat) cannot admit the cold, three participating in the odd cannot admit the even Note: unlike fire which is destructible, the soul participating in the deathless is indestructible. c. The soul participating in life cannot admit death, therefore it is deathless. Note: this answers the objection that the soul that is like the ideas cannot act or change. The soul participates in the idea of life, but is not itself this idea. 4. The final myth. Final rewards and punishments (in some sense contradictory) -- delayed hedonism. But the sun has set on arguments and reason. The layers of the earth Ether: water::water:air:air:ether Each has a form of existence The same proportion occurs in the Republic The world of shadows: our visible world: the visible world: the world of mathematical hypotheses:: the world of mathematical hypotheses: the world of ideas. After death, we are in contact with the world of ideas, mythologically the world of ether (our dwelling with the Gods) Assumption: reality is multi-layered. The soul’s true existence is not on this 30 layer, that of the visible world, but rather on the layer of the invisible. Problem: how do you prove this without falsifying it. I can ―prove‖ the soul’s existence as a harmony (as Lucretius did by reducing it to atoms), but this for Plato is to change it into something else How does the soul appear? In acts of knowing. But then the soul is out of time, is not personal It appears as an assumption of underlying permanence in my consciousness life, but then it is also out of time. 5. The death The cock owed to Asclepiads, for the healing of the illness of being imprisoned in the body The fixing of Socrates—he has become like the ideas unchanging. His validation of his doctrine by his life and death. Kierkegaard of the validation of ethical vs. scientific truths. The former come from the person uttering them. 31 Lecture for Gorgias--Oxford ed., pp. 3-22. The initial question who is Gorgias? Why is so difficult to answer. Gorgias appears be everything, to know everything I shall answer all questions. How is this possible? He will best any expert in a debate? Is he a doctor? a military engineer? No. What is he then? What is his expertise? Rhetoric is about speech. He knows how to speak and will teach others. What kind of speech? Other arts, disciplines use speech, but they are not rhetoric. But his expertise "does its work and produces its effect entirely by means of speech" But what is the speech about? Does it have a subject? "Then tell me its subject. What thing is it that forms the subject of all the speech that rhetoric employs" Gorgias evades the question. Why? He says: "the greatest and best of human concerns" But what is this? "The ability to persuade by means of speech a jury in a courts of justice, members of the Council, . . . voters," etc. But is this a subject? Does it say what the speech is about, or just how the speech is made. 32 Even the notion of persuasion slippery. What kind of persuasion? Arithmetic produces persuasion. E.g., I am persuaded that 1 + 1 = 2. So do the other disciplines. Finally an answer: the “effect” of rhetoric “is to persuade people in the kinds of mass meetings which happen in law courts and so on; and I think its province is right and wrong.” So it produces persuasion about right or wrong in law courts, assemblies, and any large gathering? What kind of persuasion is produced by rhetoric in these places? The distinction between knowing and being convinced. Convictions can be true or false. Knowledge cannot be false. Knowledge is having what you say correspond to reality. If it does not correspond, it is not knowledge. . False knowledge is not knowledge but false conviction. What kind of persuasion about right and wrong is created by rhetoric? The kind that engenders conviction. not the kind that arise from teaching. But that means that you persuade not by imparting knowledge but only conviction. You can only do this in front of the ignorant Example. The rhetorician is more convincing than the doctor What happens is that an ignorant person is more convincing than an expert before an equally ignorant audience The same happens when the rhetorician is more persuasive than any expert. He is not an expert, and those before whom he wins is argument are not experts. The same holds for right and wrong But then this is no more the "subject" of rhetoric than anything else is. You don‟t have any special knowledge of it. You can be wrong in what you persuade them to do 33 In other words, Since conviction can be true or false, you could persuade the audience to hold a false conviction about right and wrong. Neither you nor the audience have knowledge. Given this, what about the claim that rhetoric is a value neutral tool? That one shouldn‟t blame the rhetorician for the “bad” use of the skill he imparts--such bad use being to persuade the audience to hold a false conviction about right and wrong. Isn‟t he blamable for this? Lecture for Gorgias--Oxford ed., pp. 36-48 What kind of conviction about right and wrong is created by rhetoric? The kind that engenders belief--not the kind that arise from teaching. But that means that you persuade not by imparting knowledge but only belief You can only do this in front of the ignorant Example. The rhetorician is more convincing than the doctor before people without medical knowledge Here an ignorant person is more convincing than an expert before an equally ignorant audience The same happens when the rhetorician is more persuasive than any expert. He is not an expert, and those before whom he wins is argument are not experts. The same holds for right and wrong But then this is no more the "subject" of rhetoric than anything else is. The claim then is that rhetoric has no subject matter, it has no subject about which it is knowledgeable. But then it is not an expertise. It is just a knack, a form of flattery. To avoid such a conclusion, Gorgias asserts that the rhetorician will teach his pupils about right or wrong if they don‟t know about this. The implication is that the rhetorician does know whereof he speaks when he discourses on right and wrong. Socrates counters that if one knows about right and wrong, that is, if one understands morality, one is moral, just as when one understands the law, one is a lawyer 34 (premise: to know the good is to do it) But then why do some orators knowingly make bad use of rhetoric? Another way of expressing the contradiction. Gorgias‟ claim: rhetoric is a powerful tool that can be used for good or evil. The rhetorician, therefore, should not be blamed for the use his students make of it. The premise here is that it is value neutral. But then it has nothing inherent in it with regard to the knowledge and practice of right or wrong. But then it does not know its subject, it is not an expertise, but a form of flattery. The moral question: should one be value neutral about morality, about the nature of right and wrong? Should one convey power over decisions regarding it without any knowledge of it? Socrates claim: Rhetoric is flattery The proportion The division into body and mind (mind here is a translation of soul (or “mind”), “psyche” in Greek) For the body, there are two forms of expertise Exercise (in the sense that a physical trainer knows what exercises a body needs) and medicine (which in the ancient world also included a knowledge of nutrition) Two counterfeits ornamentation (cosmetics, clothing) counterfeits exercise (make you look good) cooking counterfeits medicine (makes you feel good) For the mind or soul (or “mind”) there are two arts: legislation, justice legislation trains the soul (or “mind”)--the laws keep it in shape by regulations (which impose habits) like the trainer trains the body by the use of exercise similarly justice cures the soul (or “mind”)‟s imperfections, like medicine cures the body Example, laws for education, laws against violence, etc. train the soul (or “mind”) 35 The punishments of justice, cure the soul (or “mind”)--put it back on track The counterfeits: sophistry counterfeits legislation. Rhetoric counterfeits justice The sophists (the ancient equivalent of lobbyists) claimed to be able to persuade legislators as the rhetoricians (the ancient equivalents of lawyers) claimed to persuade juries. so the proportion is: ornamentation /exercise as cooking/ medicine as sophistry/legislation as rhetoric/justice The former are knacks, routines, collections picked up by experience without any scientific, theoretical basis. "it lacks a rational understanding either of the object of its attentions or of the nature of things it dispenses (and so it cannot explain the reason why anything happens). These knacks work on the pleasure principle. Cookery gives the body what it wants to taste, rhetoric tells the jurors what they want to hear Each makes "pleasure its aim rather than the good" So what is an rhetorician? Why is it so hard to pin this down? Because it all works on appearance. Gorgias can answer any question, because his focus is not on the subject matter, but on the hearer. He knows how to persuade by knowing how to work on the hearers. Is this entirely bad? The example of his brother's patient. He persuades him. What do you think. Should we admit Gorgias into our state or not? Note the duality: One side of the ratio is pleasure, the other knowledge, but humans embrace both, hence the ethical tension we experience. Introduction to Philosophy Dr. Mensch Lecture for Gorgias, Oxford ed. pp. 48-65, (466a-476a) Socrates asserts rhetoric is flattery. The implication is that it is something weak. Polus counters that orators have the greatest power 48. they can put to death anyone they one, confiscate their property, banish them from the city 49 Socrates asserts they have the least power 49 The question: what is power? 36 Note: rhetoric: already has been shown to be power over things without knowledge of them. Socrates assertion: power requires knowledge. Otherwise even though you do what you think best, you don't do what you will (49). Doing what you will (what you want) means attaining the desired end. Doing what seems best signifies doing what seems to fit the end, realizing the means to accomplish it. Thus, the tyrant puts someone to death to secure his personal safety. He wills the latter, the means are an intermediate. We don't will them for their own sake. We will them for the end which is our advantage. But if I don't have knowledge, a knowledge of both means and ends, and how they fit, in doing what I please--i.e., killing the man--I don't do what I will--i.e., secure my safety. Thus, if power is doing what you will, i.e., is the ability to accomplish your end, it must imply knowledge. It must move beyond rhetoric, which is only concerned with belief. Polus's position: power is just control of means. It is: doing whatever seems best to you whatever it is. His prime example: Archelaus, the former son of a slave (illegitimate child of the king, owned by the king's brother) who murders his way to the throne. Socrates' counter example. The crazy with the knife. The point is that both the crazy and the tyrant have the power to kill. But neither is likely to get what he wants. The tyrant acting without knowledge is likely to be mistaken and get the opposite result (one that brings him misfortune) The crazy may kill, but he will be caught and punished. The end he achieves will also include his own misfortune. Polus asserts, many wrong-doers are nonetheless happy. The question here is what is happiness, given that this is an ultimate end. Polis: It is what every one wills. Socrates counters, the wrong-doers are miserable. In fact, doing wrong is a greater evil (makes one more miserable) that suffering wrong. A rather elaborate argument. First, he sets up the opposition: admirable vs. the contemptible or shameful. Things are admirable (kalos) when they are pleasant and useful Things are contemptible (aischros) when they are painful or harmful 37 Polus admits that doing evil is more contemptible (more shameful) than suffering evil. You don't want people to see or know that you are doing evil. But you can publicly complain about your injuries. But this means that doing evil is either more painful or more harmful than suffering evil. It is not more painful, therefore it must be more harmful. It must therefore be a "worst evil" than suffering evil. No one would prefer a worst evil, therefore no one would prefer to do evil rather than suffer it. Where do we suffer this "worst evil" The soul (or “mind”) The cure for this evil is justice The evil doer is justly punished, but what is just is admirable (noble), therefore, when one is punished, one has a just (admirable, noble) thing done to one. But if admirable, then good The good is the improvement of the soul (or “mind”), the cure of its wickedness, ignorance, cowardice, etc. The man who avoids justice (punishment) is thus like the man who, being sick, avoids the doctors. Let us look at the argument more closely The first step is the assertion that “paying the penalty for one‟s misdeeds is the same thing as being justly punished.” Since “what is just” is “admirable,” “the man who is punished has a admirable thing done to him.” The assumption here is that justice is like medicine and is curative. It restores the soul (or “mind”) to justice. Note: there are two senses of justice here. There is the justice that is like medicine--justice as some form of punishment for misdeeds There is also justice as a condition of the soul (or “mind”) or of the state. We speak of just and unjust persons or states. This second sense has to do with the balance between appetite, courage, and reason that makes both states and souls (or “minds”) well functioning. If being punished is suffering what is “admirable,” what one is admiring is the healthy condition of the soul (or “mind”), which is justice. One is not honoring justice as a punishment. Socrates fleshes out this argument by saying that since the “admirable (or honorable) is either pleasant or profitable,” while punishment is seldom pleasant, punishment as admirable, must be profitable and hence a “benefit” to the one suffering punishment 38 The benefit is the restoration of justice in the second sense to the soul (or “mind”). it corrects the situation of being unjust, i.e., undisciplined, cowardly, etc. Yet it is hard to see how a condition of one's soul (or “mind”) is improved by making the condition of one's body (through flogging) or one's financial condition (through paying a fine) worst. What is the tie of injustice to the things injustice attains that punishment breaks? Is it an excessive attachment to them? It may be that such punishments are meant to cure too great an attachment to the body or wealth, but their effect is often the opposite. As for the attempt to directly treat the soul (or “mind”) through reason, Socrates‟ lack of success seem to argue against this. If, as Mill assumes, punishment is actually revenge, no thought of cure is present in it. The whole argument seems to based on an analogy of the soul (or “mind”) to the body. It is just as sickness and ugliness are to the body so injustice and ignorance and cowardice and the like are to the soul (or “mind”). This implies that soul (or “mind”)s can be “sick” or even “ugly.” We do say of people and their actions. That‟s sick. He has an ugly soul (or “mind”), etc. For Plato, the soul (or “mind”) is sick when its three elements are out of balance. This happens when it gives over its control to the desires or to “spirit” (thumos). Health is having the reason rule. Rhetoric corrupts insofar as it gives the rule to the desires. Note: from Plato's perspective, rhetoric ruined the Athenian state. It did not do what it willed, but only what momentarily seemed best (most pleasant). Here desire, rather than reason, ruled How much credit should we give this analogy? There are some questions: do we know what a soul (or “mind”) is such that we can draw this analogy? do we have a notion of what a well-functioning soul (or “mind”) is? a beautiful, healthy soul (or “mind”)? does the analogy reify the soul (or “mind”)? What is the common notion between the soul (or “mind”) and body that would allow us to draw the analogy--i.e., apply the same notion to such different entities? Apart from these questions, the point of the argument is clear. It is that good and evil are not just “merely subjective” moral notions but are actually objective conditions. They are conditions regarding the health of the soul (or “mind”) which are as objective as those regarding the health of the body. This objectivity seems to follow because the notion of a subjective (private) morality is self-contradictory. Morality involves obligating others. It is our rules for acting in common. What is objective is what binds all of us. There is also a logical problem with saying that all morality is subjective : If I say that morality is subjective, i.e., whatever the subject decides is true, then I might have to say, 39 confronting someone with an absolutist stance, that it is OK for someone else to obligate me if that is his subjective morality. Here, subjective morality turns into its opposite. The point Plato is trying to make can be put in terms of fact that there is such a thing as the “health” of the soul (or “mind”), which is distinct from our present notions of “mental health.” There is a difference between being “neurotic,” and being unjust. The former denies, the latter implies freedom In other words, voluntary action pertains to being just, not to being neurotic. What makes it so hard for us to follow Plato is that we have replaced moral (voluntary) qualities with psychological (involuntary) qualities. For Plato, the ultimate goal of justice has to do with the restoring the balance of the soul (or “mind”), i.e. justice in the sense of the soul‟s being in a just condition. Justice (as a punishment) succeeds if it restores the lead of reason by restraining the other parts of the soul (or “mind”). The question is: how can we do this. For some, a reasoned argument is enough. For others, this is not possible. There reason is so ruled by their appetites, that these must first be retrained before it can listen to reason. The proper use of rhetoric: just as Gorgias persuaded his brother's patient to submit to treatment, it should be used to get people to submit to justice. The rhetorician "should denounce himself in the first place for any of his misdeeds and next any of his family or friends who may do wrong . . . in order that the wrong-doer may be punished and regain his health" (73) This is, if it has any use at all. The statement meant to be provocative. To flush out Gorgias' supporters. It succeeds. Socrates conclusion in his argument to Polus: Just as Gorgias persuaded his brother's patient to submit to medical treatment, the so the proper use of rhetoric should be to get people to submit to justice (which is medicine for the soul (or “mind”)) The rhetorician "should denounce himself in the first place for any of his misdeeds and next any of his family or friends who may do wrong . . . in order that the wrong-doer may be punished and regain his health" (73) This is, if it has any use at all. The statement meant to be provocative. To flush out Gorgias' supporters. It succeeds. Lecture for Gorgias (Oxford ed.), pp. 62-77 (491a-497e) Callicles objection: You trap people through a false shame. Gorgias was embarrassed to 40 admit that rhetoric had nothing to do with right or wrong and so said that he could teach it to those who came to him if they were ignorant of it. Then you trapped him with the argument that those who know the right are righteous, so the rhetorician is to be blamed if his pupils make a wrong use of rhetoric since this means that he failed to teach them about it Similarly Polus was embarrassed to admit that suffering wrong is less shameful or less contemptible than doing wrong. You are playing a game with nature and convention. By nature, it is more contemptible to suffer wrong. Only slaves and the weak undergo this humiliation. But by convention, it is more contemptible to do wrong. 77-78. This is why we won‟t admit doing evil, but complain about suffering it. The conventions are set up by the weak to trap the strong. They are part of the tyranny of the majority. So by convention, everyone should be equal, but by nature, people are not. So by convention it is more contemptible (more shameful) to do evil than to suffer it. By nature, it is not. By nature, the better man should prevail over the worst, and the stronger over the weaker. (78) By convention, "men ought to be equal and equality is admirable and right." By nature, tyranny (the rule by the strongest) is best by convention, democracy (one man one vote) is best. If we stay with nature, then power alone should be decisive. Nietzsche will revive this argument. The fundamental metaphysical fact for Nietzsche will be will to power. All else will be unnatural, unhealthy, the weak chaining the strong. Questions: Is Callicles right? Is the notion of rhetoric as a power, a value neutral tool, make it more natural? Did Gorgias, Polus, slip by going from nature to convention which "generally speaking are inconsistent with one another" Should they have remained with "nature"? The deeper question: what is the nature of “nature”? What is its idea, notion? Why is it opposed to convention. Socrates‟ overturning of the argument Gorgias‟ thesis: 41 By nature, might makes right the rule of the strongest is best the superior=the stronger The question: who are the stronger? the more powerful? Callicles claims that superior, stronger, better all synonymous (74) But the mass of men are stronger than the individual, The conventional laws they impose are imposed by the stronger Therefore the conventional laws are superior But the conventions are that equality is right and that it is a more contemptible thing to do wrong than to suffer wrong. (73) This belief as coming from the stronger must be founded in nature as well as in convention (74) Note: the impression this part of the dialogue is rather like that of a judo bout. The very force of the opponent‟s attempt to strike a blow is turned against him in order to overturn him. Socrates has just shown himself stronger and, therefore, “superior.” Is Socrates right. Can Callicles recover? Note: Nietzsche himself felt the force of this objection. Callicles then attempts to avoid Socrates‟ conclusion by redefining the argument. The better are the more clever (75) natural right consists in the better and the more clever ruling over his inferiors and having the lions share (75) Socrates: Does more clever mean more knowledgeable? Do you mean The better doctor should have the most food since he knows about nutrition? The better shoemaker should have the most shoes The better weaver, the most clothes? Callicles: no, better means those who are cleverer in political matters. They should rule. ―I am thinking of people who’ve applied their cleverness to politics and thought about how to run their community well. But cleverness is only part of it; they also have courage, which enables them to see their policies through to the finish without losing their nerve and giving up.‖ (77) Notice how he shifts his ground. The question is: what does “cleverer in political matters mean?” Another Question: Is Socrates being fair to Callicles? What is Callicles trying to define? A certain force of personality? Some element that makes someone a natural leader that 42 cannot be pinned down? Lecture on Gorgias (Oxford ed.), pp. 77-88 (491a-497e) Gorgias argument: The rule of the strongest is best The better= those who are skilled in political matters, those who have the courage to seize and hold power. They should rule others. Socrates: Should they rule themselves as well? (78) Should they be master of their own passions and appetites Cal: No. This is a convention that the weak (who cannot fulfill their appetites) impose on the strong. The best is to increase as much as possible one's appetites and fulfill them ―if a person has the means to live a life of sensual, self-indulgent freedom, there no better or happier state of existence; all the rest of it—the pretty words, the unnatural, man-made conventions—they’re all just pointless trumpery.‖ (79) In other words, everything else is unnatural. If one followed nature, one would increase one appetites to the maximum and satisfy them. In Callicles‟ words, “What nature approves and sanctions … is this: the only authentic way of life is to do nothing to hinder or restrain the expansion of one‟s desires, until they can grow no larger, at which point one should be capable of butting courage and cleverness at their service and satisfying every passing whim.” Note: for Callicles, the appetites are the leading element of the soul (or “mind”). Courage and intelligence are directed by the appetites. They serve it. Nature and natural for Callicles relate primarily to the appetites. For Socrates, they relate to the whole soul (or “mind”) (appetites, courage and intelligence). The three elements must be in balance. There are two corresponding views of happiness here. The first relates happiness to satisfying the appetites, the second to balancing and satisfying all the elements of the soul (or “mind”). Socrates responds, the person who follows Callicles' position on the appetites is like a leaky vessel, one unable to hold anything. His point is that the pleasures Callicles is after are not lasting ones. For Callicles pleasure is the satisfaction of desire, if desire ceases so does the pleasure. Therefore, desire must be continually renewed if desire and its satisfaction (and therefore pleasure) 43 are to be continuous. The best state would be one where constant craving would be constantly satisfied Callicles responds by affirming that the pleasure of life is that there should be as much pouring in as possible (82) (The flow principle of happiness) Socrates then asks: Are all pleasures equally good? He brings up successively, the pleasures of scratching an itch, of masturbation, of the male prostitute. Now Callicles is embarrassed. “Doesn‟t it embarrass you to steer the argument in this distasteful direction, Socrates?” (83) The question: is pleasure the same as the good (so that all pleasures are equally good) or are their better or worst pleasures (the good being an independent standard)? Cal: “I can‟t say they‟re different and still be consistent, so I‟ll say they‟re the same.” (ibid.). . Socrates responds by noting that Courage and knowledge are good, but they are not per se pleasures. But if you say that pleasure is the good, you would have to say that courage and knowledge are not good since they are not pleasures. Calicles refuses to respond to this point. Another argument Good and evil are opposites. They cannot exist at the same time. Pleasure and pain, however, can. Thirst is a pain, and drinking is a pleasure; but the pleasure ceases when the thirst ceases. The same holds for eating when you are hungry, for smoking a cigarette when you are really craving one, and so on. Therefore, pleasure is not the same as the good, and pain is not the same as evil. Good and evil cannot exist at the same time, but pleasure and pain can The deeper issue. Is experiencing pleasure the same as happiness? It depends on what you call happiness. If happiness is a condition of the soul (or “mind”) involving all of its parts (the appetitive, the courageous, and the thinking parts), then the pleasure that only appeals to the first part does not make one happy. Only the pleasure that does satisfy the whole soul (or “mind”) would make you happy. The point is that not all pleasures are good, only those that make you happy are. Thus, the heroine addicts life is involved with pleasure, but we would not call him or her happy. 44 We say that they are unhappy because they are not in control of their lives. Not being in control, means being out of balance, i.e., being dominated by your appetites. Socrates assertion is that Callicles‟s position is really a prescription for unhappiness. Lecture on Gorgias (Oxford ed.), pp. 88-99 (497e-503d) The argument continues with Socrates trying to get Calicles to see that pleasure and the good are not them same Calicles agrees that people are good through the presence of good qualities in them therefore if pleasure = the good, then they are good through the presence of pleasure, pleasure being a “good” quality. Now, the presence of pleasure in you is feeling pleasure thus, if pleasure is the same as the good, they are good if they feel pleasure In Plato‟s words, "Isn‟t it the possession of good qualities that enables you to refer to certain people as „good‟. (88) So if, “good people are good because they possess good qualities” and any pleasant experience is by that token the possession of good (that is, pleasure),” we become good by feeling pleasure. Or as Socrates also puts it: “their possession of this good quality then, then, makes people who are feeling pleasure good.” (90) In other words, if to be good = to feel good, then feeling good makes us good. If we disagree with this, then we have to say that feeling good (the appearance of good) is not the same as being good (the reality of good). The point put in terms of the pleasures of people: 1) at a bar, 2) at church, 3) at a meeting of volunteers for a charitable association, 4) at a heroin shooting gallery. On the level of appearance, 4 seems to be best insofar as the pleasures are more intense. On the level of reality, one would have to look not at the pleasures but at the actions and events from which they arise. Not all foods that taste good are good for you. Good for you relates to heath, which is a reality that may or may not be promoted by the pleasures of eating certain foods. Health is not a feeling, but is a state from which feelings arise. If Callicles were right then since fools and cowards feel pleasure just as much or more than clever people and heroes, 45 and being good and feeling pleasure are the same, fools and coward would be just as good (or even better) than clever people and heroes. But this is nonsense. Since as Callicles admits, fools and cowards are “bad.” the point: Courage and intelligence are “goods” but not necessarily pleasures. Therefore the good is not identical with pleasure. Even admitting that pleasure is a good, one may forgo it for a greater good which is not a pleasure. Note that the main confusion of Callicles is that of taking the event--e.g., the retreat of the enemy--and equating it morally with the reaction it causes--the pleasure in the coward. The coward does not become “good” through this pleasure, even though the retreat is a “good” thing. Callicles then shifts ground Like everyone else, I distinguish between better and worst pleasures (92) Soc. Then we should embrace the better, i.e., those which produce some good result (93) Then, pleasure should be embraced as a means to the good (not as an end) For example, the pleasures of eating should be directed to health. The admission here is that the pleasant as well as everything else should be done for the sake of the good, not the good for the sake of the pleasant. Or as the Oxford translation puts it: “the good in some form should be the goal of pleasant activities (as much as of any other kind of activity), rather than pleasure being the goal of good activities” (93) the difference between the two is that in the doing things for the sake of the good one focuses on the goal of an action not the feelings the action causes “the good” here is the goal of the action, the end one wants to accomplish. Thus the nurse may get pleasure from helping the sick, but her goal is to make them better. If one agrees with this assertion, one cannot say that pleasure and the good are identical. Since the assertion implies that pleasure is incidental to the good, they don't necessarily coincide Socrates next makes the point that to separate good pleasures from bad ones, we need an 46 expert. With regard to the pleasures of eating, the cook is not such an expert, but the doctor or nutritionist is. The latter “considers the nature of the object it looks after and the reasons for its actions.” It can therefore “explain its results.” The cook, however, just goes on past experience of what works. (95) The claim here is that the rhetoricians are like this. They don‟t have any expertise, any reason for their actions. All they know is what works to gratify the crowd. In this they are like the popular entertainers of Athens. Socrates now applies this conclusion to the politicians of Athens. He defines two types of politicians: The “objective” of the first “is the gratification of their fellow citizens… the common good means less to them than their own private concerns” the second, follow “the admirable procedure of trying to perfect the minds of one‟s fellow citizens, and of struggling to ensure that the speeches one delivers have the highest moral content, when or not it makes people enjoy listening to them.” (98) The first seems the most common. This also holds in most democracies Politicians treat us like children. They avoid telling us painful truths The result is that nobody really knows what is going on. We are all chasing illusions. But the latter don't last. Cf. the pleasures involved in smoking. To have a democracy and avoid this, one must do philosophy. One must learn the difference between an argument and an emotional appeal Otherwise, one is at the mercy of a politics that simply provides pleasure, i.e., that aims only at the gratification of the audience. Gorgias 99-135 Review: How do we distinguish between those who follow pleasure for the sake of the good and those who do good for the sake of pleasure. Socrates answer: The former have self-control. They are masters of their passions and appetites. They determine (control) themselves according to some goal which is distinct from pleasure. The goal being what they want to accomplish, some benefit they want to acquire. 47 The latter, who do the good for the sake of pleasure lack self control. What controls them are their appetites, the pleasure they seek. This allows others to manipulate them. Manipulation: find out what the other wants, gain control of it, thus you gain control of the other person. Example: the nurse who is asked to do what she knows is not good for her patients because she wants to keep her job (some cost-cutting measure, some doctor’s instruction, etc.) vs. the nurse that does what is right anyway. To feel the tension between the two is to enter into the realm of ethics. The tension is between pleasure (inclination) and the sense of the good or right. To feel it, to sense the difference, the self separation, the bringing yourself forward to question yourself in the face of the good, that is the experience of ethics. Theme: the relation of pleasure and the good not just in the individual but in society. Our society equates pleasure and the good. You may have been taught from any early age to believe that the reason any one ever does anything is the pleasure it gives him. What does this imply. If everyone acts from pleasure, then everyone is subject to manipulation. No one is really self-controlled. Those who control pleasure (or its sources) control others. In other words, we live in a society that is essentially controlled by people like Gorgias, Callicles, Polus. These are people who control us by stimulating our desires and then controlling their objects. Advertisers who promote goods to buy, employers, who control the money we need to buy them, professors who through their grades control whether we graduate and have a chance to get a job at all, friends who control our sense of belonging parents who control our sense of being loved and thereby control us by threats of its withdrawal point: we seem to live in an essentially manipulative society Socrates' assertion: One can only begin to escape from this if one accepts that pleasure should be embraced as a means to the good (not as an end in itself). When you choose the good as a goal, you choose to bind yourself in following it, you assert your freedom over against anything that might keep you from your goal. 48 This seems to be the point of Socrates’ appeal to Gorgias: ―Perhaps the mark of a real man is that he isn’t attached to life. What a real man should do is …. consider how best to live how many years he still has to live‖ (113) How do we characterize such a life? According to Socrates, when one wants to achieve an end, one do not act randomly. Thus, a craftsman ―doesn’t select and apply his materials aimlessly, but with the purpose of getting the object he’s making to acquire a certain form‖ (99) The point. The goal determines the means and resources. The action is teleological. It is directed by the goal which is to be achieved. Something that is accomplished with a definite goal in mind, e.g., a building made by an architect, a painting made by a painter, a boat made by a shipwright, has a certain order and proportion. Everything is fitted together so as to achieve this goal. Soc. Each of these craftsmen "organizes the various components he works with in to a particular structure and makes them accommodate and fit one another until he’s formed the whole into an organized and ordered object" (99) A very general definition. The presence of the order proper to it is what makes each thing good. The same holds for the soul or mind: its goodness consists "in a certain order and proportion" But this is possible only if has some goal for itself. The goal would be that by which I order my life by The goal must be distinguished from the momentary pleasures. If I follow them, then my life just proceeds at random. For the soul, having this goal involves self discipline: not allowing our appetites to go unchecked in an attempt to satisfy their endless importunity. If I don't do this, if I have no goal to thread my life together, then I don't have any long term self-identity. Point put in terms of meaning: Meaning = one in many. What is the meaning of that? = What one thing do you want to achieve in this multitude of actions. So also the ―meaning‖ dog is the one thing that unites the multitude of the different breeds. 49 A life without a goal, a life without meaning, a life without a self-identity that is provided by the goal as the one in may that directs my life. The goal stands as the good that is distinct from the momentary pleasures. Example: I want to help sick people--i.e., be a nurse. This is why I am studying nursing. I embraces pleasures for the sake of this goal. Thus, I know that if I study all the time and never take a break, I will never achieve this. So I go out and enjoy myself on occasion. But the enjoyment does not interfere with my pursuing my goal. It is a means for it. The opposite position. The good, helping people, is embraced as a means for pleasure. I enroll in the nursing program because I want to have a good time at X. I never pass up a party. At this point, my life really doesn't have a goal, but proceeds at random. A suggestion: ordering the soul is keeping open a certain self-distance—the distance between the now of pleasure and the not-yet of my not-yet-accomplished goal. This distance is what allows self control and hence self identity. The dominance of pleasure is the collapse of this distance, as when we ignore our goals-- and what we ought to do to achieve them--for the pleasures of the moment. The teleological nature of human functioning: we are motivated by the goal, by what we want to accomplish. An example of the setting the goal—the person training to be a marathon runner The determination of the present, of his activity of training by this goal. Here, the future is determining factor. The collapse of this, when the momentary pleasures rule us. As long as there is this distance, there is the distinction between the is (my present state) and the ought to be (my goal). I feel obligation, the ethical tension of the ought. Plato's assertion, "the happy owe their happiness to the possession of uprightness and discipline [the ordered soul], the miserable their misery to the possession of vice.‖ Explanation: happiness is not a matter of possessions or pleasures (what you feel at the moment). It is a matter of what you are. It is a state of being. It is the maintenance of this inner distance between the is (what you feel at the moment) and the ought. It is being shaped, guided by the ought.