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Flashcards in Plato - The Republic Deck (19)

4 methodologies that socrates employs

1. elenchus
2. anamnesis
3. maieutics
4. aporia



process of scrutiny and refutation (closer look)
(scrutinize-take a closer look)

Elenchus is the Greek term for Socrates’s method of questioning his interlocutors. In an elenchus he attempts to show that their own beliefs are contradictory, and thus to prove that they do not have knowledge about some topic about which they thought they had knowledge.



recollection (remembering) (recovery)

all learning is a remembering, you already know everything. (according to socrates and plato)



midwifery (helping, assisting, encouraging)

helps people to remember.
trying to get people to give birth to own ideas.



an impasse (like a codisac)

you reach an impasse and discover the things you thought you know, you don't know then you come to a dead end, and then you start again.

Through multiple aporias you hopefully and figure something out

Aporia is the Greek term for the state of helplessness—the inability to proceed—that ends all of Plato’s early dialogues. Through his pointed questioning, Socrates succeeds in showing that his interlocutors have no appropriate definition for the topic under consideration (be that topic piety, love, courage, justice, or whatever else), but nor is he able to supply one himself. In Book I of The Republic Socrates brings his friends to a state of aporia on the topic of justice, but then in the next nine books he manages to move beyond the aporia and give an actual answer to the question at hand.


What Thrasymachus believes justice is

Justice, he says, is nothing more than the advantage of the stronger. Though Thrasymachus claims that this is his definition, it is not really meant as a definition of justice as much as it is a delegitimization of justice. He is saying that it does not pay to be just. Just behavior works to the advantage of other people, not to the person who behaves justly. Thrasymachus assumes here that justice is the unnatural restraint on our natural desire to have more. Justice is a convention imposed on us, and it does not benefit us to adhere to it. The rational thing to do is ignore justice entirely.


3 types of good

1. good for its own sake
2. good for its own sake, but also its desirable results
3. tiresome, but gives/produces desirable results (ex. gymnastics, medicine, art of making money)


ring of gyges

To emphasize his point, Glaucon appeals to a thought experiment. Invoking the legend of the ring of Gyges, he asks us to imagine that a just man is given a ring which makes him invisible. Once in possession of this ring, the man can act unjustly with no fear of reprisal. No one can deny, Glaucon claims, that even the most just man would behave unjustly if he had this ring. He would indulge all of his materialistic, power-hungry, and erotically lustful urges. This tale proves that people are only just because they are afraid of punishment for injustice. No one is just because justice is desirable in itself.


city of pigs

a city is a response to human needs. No human being is self sufficient, and all of us have many wants.
origin of every real city is human necessity.
first need food, then somewhere to live, then clothing and the like.
simplest city would count at least four or five people.
need a farmer, builder, weaver, shoemaker.
one man is best suited to one particular occupation and another to another.
a man would do better working at one task rather than many.
work must be done at a proper time, or it will be ne work well done, so man must attend to work first of all.
production in the city will be more abundant and products more easily produced and of better quality if each does the work nature has equipped him to do, at the appropriate time, and its not required to spend time on other occupations.
need more than four original citizens to produce all that will be required. it will grow with others joining. still not very big city.
but with so many occupations it wouldnt be a very small city either.
there must be another class of citizens who import goods from other cities. so we must have goods to export as well. domestic production must exceed domestic demand so that there will be a surplus of quality products to exchange with traders from abroad. then need more farmers and artisans. and importers and exporters who we call merchants. and sufficient numbers of skilled sailors. if we return to a consideration of the city itself, we must ask how the inhabitants will trade the products of their labor. you will remmeber that we founded our city in order to facilitate an exchange of production. they will trade by buying and selling. there will be a market place and money as a medium of exchange. men at market that act as salesmen. in well ordered cities they will be those who are generally weakest in physical strength and therefor of little use for any other kind of work. they will take up their place in the agora, offering to exchange money for the goods that sellers bring to market and then in turn seling to those who want to buy. so the need for money in the exchange of goods produces the class we know as tradesmen. there is still another class of workers whose intellects are perhaps too weak to count them as full partners in the city but whose bodily strength enables them to perform hard physical labor. they sell their strength for a price and the price is called wages, hence they are called wage earners. not really able to decide the roots of justice and injustice in the city of pigs.


city of luxury

it is the luxurious city that we are more likely to discover the roots of justice and injustice.
city in a state of fever.
many will not be content with simple fare and simple ways (from the city of pigs). they will want couches and tables and other types of furniture. sweets and perfumes, incense, courtesans, and cakes all must be furnished in quantity and variety. and go beyond clothing, shoes, house, and other necessities spoke of first. there will be painting and embroidery and gold and ivory. then must enlarge city further. the well-founded city started with will no longer be big enough. it must be extended and filled with superfluities. there wil be hunters, and crowds of imitators who will paint and sculpt. others make music. poets and their attendants, rhapsodiezers, players, dancers, and impresarios. tutors, nurses, barbers, beauticians, cooks, bakers. swineherds. need pigs and other animals. more doctors. the territory that was at one time sufficient to feed city no longer adequate. so we shall covet some of our neighbor's land in order to expand our pasture and tillage. and if our neighbors has also disregarded the limits by necessity and has given himself over to the unlimited aqcuisition of wealth, he will, in turn, covet what belongs to us. then the next step will be war. this is not the time to speak of the good or ill effects of war. what we can say is that we find war originating from the same causes that generate most of the private and public evils of the city. so city must be enlarged more. need a whole army. and it go out to fight enemies in defense of all the wealth and luxury we have just described. people cant defend themselves because that would go against the no one man can perform may tasks well. war is an art and fighting a profession. then have guardians.


origin of war

luxury is origin of war.
when what is necessary is no longer enough.
Plato is very clear on the economic origin of war: it arises when a city has "surrendered itself to the limitless acquisition of wealth and overstepped the boundaries of the necessary"

what we can say is that we find war originating from the same causes that generate most of the private and public evils of the city.


the republic is essentially about a city.
its a parable or metaphor for human soul

the city is an analogy for one's soul


what is justice explicitly

division of labor within a city or one's soul.

just person-internal working of ones heart and soul has all those different things plugged into the right resources. treat soul as a city like different individuals competeing for things and finding out what good at and what bad at. so you have harmony in soul and free to make good choices and not have to worry.

just city is just because everyone is doing the thing they are supposed to do because they are good at it.

This same imperative finds variant expression in Plato’s definition of justice—justice as a political arrangement in which each person plays the appropriate role. What is due to each person is rendered all at once. Each is assigned the role in society that best suits their nature and that best serves society as a whole.

justice, finally, is its complement—the principle of specialization, the law that all do the job to which they are best suited.

justice in the individual, as in the city, involves the correct power relationship among parts, with each part occupying its appropriate role. In the individual, the “parts” are not classes of society; instead, they are aspects of the soul—or sources of desire.

Plato defines political justice as being inherently structural. A society consists of three main classes of people—the producers, the auxiliaries, and the guardians. The just society consists in the right and fixed relationships between these three classes. Each of these groups must do the appropriate job, and only that job, and each must be in the right position of power and influence in relation to the other.

In this section, Plato sets out to show that the three classes of society have analogs in the soul of every individual. In other words, the soul, like the city, is a tripartite entity. The just individual can be defined in analogy with the just society; the three parts of his soul are fixed in the requisite relationships of power and influence. In order to make this claim work, Plato must prove that there really are three parts of the soul.


ship of state

captain in charge. but he gets overthrown. the people in charge then are people who dont know how to run the ship/be captain. peopel in politics are people who want it but dont know how to actually do it and arent the best suited for it, cause those that should be are the ones that arent because they dont want it.

The few who are good philosophers (those whose natures were somehow not corrupted, either because they were in exile, lived in a small city, were in bad health, or by some other circumstance) are considered useless because society has become antithetical to correct ideals. He compares the situation to a ship on which the ship owner is hard of hearing, has poor vision, and lacks sea-faring skills. All of the sailors on the ship quarrel over who should be captain, though they know nothing about navigation. In lieu of any skill, they make use of brute force and clever tricks to get the ship owner to choose them as captain. Whoever is successful at persuading the ship owner to choose him is called a “navigator,” a “captain,” and “one who knows ships.” Anyone else is called “useless.” These sailors have no idea that there is a craft of navigation, or any knowledge to master in order to steer ships. In this scenario, Socrates points out, the true captain—the man who knows the craft of navigation—would be called a useless stargazer. The current situation in Athens is analogous: no one has any idea that there is real knowledge to be had, a craft to living. Instead, everyone tries to get ahead by clever, often unjust, tricks. Those few good philosophers who turn their sights toward the Forms and truly know things are deemed useless.


goodness transbeing

it makes you able to know things. makes us knowing things possible. everything existing in nature is made manifest by presence of goodness. goodness makes them real.
knowledge is tied to ability to descern good and bad.

The sun, Socrates tells us, is to the visible realm what the Good is to the intelligible realm (the realm of Forms) in three respects. First, while the sun is the source of light, and hence, visibility in the visible realm, the Good is the source of intelligibility. Second, the sun is responsible for giving us sight, because it is only by incorporation of sun-like stuff into it that the eye is enabled to see. Similarly, the Good gives us the capacity for knowledge. Finally, the sun is responsible for causing things to exist (to “come to be”) in the visible realm. The sun regulates the seasons, it allows flowers to bloom, and it makes animals give birth. The Good, in turn, is responsible for the existence of Forms, for the “coming to be” in the intelligible realm. The Form of the Good, Socrates says, is “beyond being”—it is the cause of all existence.

The Form of the Good is responsible for all knowledge, truth, and for the knowing mind. It is the cause of the existence of the Forms in the intelligible realm, and the source for all that is good and beautiful in the visible realm. It is not surprising, then, that it is the ultimate aim of knowledge.

To reach understanding, an individual using the crutches necessary to thought, works his way up with philosophical dialectic toward the Form of the Good. Once you reach the Form of the Good, you have hit on your first principle, a universal proposition which makes all unproven hypotheses unnecessary. You now understand the Form of the Good, and all the other Forms as well. In a flash, you have reached the highest stage of knowledge.

ocrates presents the most beautiful and famous metaphor in Western philosophy: the allegory of the cave. This metaphor is meant to illustrate the effects of education on the human soul. Education moves the philosopher through the stages on the divided line, and ultimately brings him to the Form of the Good.When the prisoner’s eyes have fully adjusted to the brightness, he lifts his sight toward the heavens and looks at the sun. He understands that the sun is the cause of everything he sees around him—the light, his capacity for sight, the existence of flowers, trees, and other objects. The sun represents the Form of the Good, and the former prisoner has reached the stage of understanding.

The goal of education is to drag every man as far out of the cave as possible. Education should not aim at putting knowledge into the soul, but at turning the soul toward right desires. Continuing the analogy between mind and sight, Socrates explains that the vision of a clever, wicked man might be just as sharp as that of a philosopher. The problem lies in what he turns his sharp vision toward.

Because the Form of the Good illuminates all understanding once it is grasped, knowledge is holistic. You need to understand everything to understand anything, and once you understanding anything you can proceed to an understanding of everything. All the forms are connected, and are comprehended together in the following way: you work your way up to the Form of the Good through thought until you grasp the Form of Good. Then, everything is illuminated.


heavenly city exists in being

you have to want to see it. kingdom of heaven is within/among you.


city of necessity (city of pigs)

-human beings come to live together because they need to (necessity)
-shelter, food, someone to grow food, build houses, etc.
-best if people do the one thing tehy are best at (equality, value, care)(every use benefits)
-has enough for everyone to get by
-unsatisfied cause of greed?
-do your work, then have down time cause dont have any luxurious items


luxurious city (feverish city)

-fast, everyone is hustling, moving around all the time.
-need more of everything, so have to go to other places and expand
-lead to war and need to train guardians and get weapons



justice in city- harmony of whole city (each does natural task without meddling)

justice in individual- harmony of whole soul (each does natural task without meddling)