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Socrates / Plato
Transcript of Socrates / Plato
THEOLOGICAL & ABSTRACT
If nothing existed in the beginning, nothing would be, for nothing can come into being out of nothing, for then it would be before it was.
Something cannot be in part; it either is or it is not; as such, it is either complete, or it is not.
Just as a transition into being is impossible, since the thing would be before it was, so a transition out of being is impossible, for the thing would be when it is not.
"Mortals suppose that the gods are born and have clothes and voices and shapes like their own. But if oxen, horses, and lions had hands or could paint with their hands and fashion works as men do, horses would paint horse-like images of gods and oxen oxen-like ones, and each would fashion bodies like their own." (fragments 3-4)
1st Principle is God
Divine Attributes: all-moving, all-seeing, all-thinking
MATERIALIST: ALL IS FIRE
ALL IS FIRE (ANALOGICALLY):
PERPETUAL CHANGE ORDERED BY THE LOGOS
into the same
"To god all things are beautiful and good and just, but men have supposed some things to be unjust, others just." (fragment 32)
God is simple, immutable, and unlike man in mind and body
WHY IS THERE SOMETHING RATHER THAN NOTHING?
WHY IS THE SOMETHING MANY?
WHAT BINDS THE MANY TOGETHER?
WHY DOES THE SOMETHING CHANGE?
HOW IS CHANGE POSSIBLE?
WHY IS IT ORDERED?
WHY IS THERE A "WHY"?
"Of the first philosophers, then, most thought the principles which were of the nature of matter were the only principles of all things. That of which all things that are consists, the first from which they come to be, the last into which they are resolved (the substance, remaining, but changing in its modifications), this they say is the element and this the principle of things, and therefore they think nothing is either generated or destroyed, since this sort of entity is always conserved, as we say Socrates neither comes to be absolutely when he comes to be beautiful or musical, nor ceases to be when he loses these characteristics, because the substratum, Socrates himself, remains."
-Aristotle, Metaphysics, A1, 983b
1st principle: WATER
RE: GENERATION & DESTRUCTION
(a) Seeds are moist; (b) life and growth proceeds from water; (c) water destroys and brings an end to things.
(a) the earth floats on water; (b) planets are moved by water.
(a) water is eternal and self-existent; (b) water generates and destroys all things; (c) water orders all things.
According to Thales, water is God.
Question: Is Thales a pantheist?
1. All that is is water.
2. All that is water is God.
3. Therefore, all that is is God.
RE: CHANGE & THE MANY:
Water has many states, solid, liquid, or gas
Could one explain a watch by appeal to one of its parts?
Even if this part could explain all the other parts, what would explain this part?
Reading 2: The defined must be explained by the undefined.
THE BOUNDLESS, THE INFINITE
Reading 1: In order to generate so many beings and to persist despite the perpetual destruction of these beings, the one must be infinite (in quantity).
(ca. 624-585 B.C.)
(ca. 612-545 B.C.)
(ca. 585-528 B.C.)
mechanism for change: condensation & rarification
The sun (fire) emits smoke (clouds), which condenses into water (rain); when the water hardens, it turns into earth; when the earth liquifies, it turns into rivers (water); and the rivers evaporate, returning to the sun (fire).
SOCRATES / PLATO
OF THE SOUL
A body is not beautiful by virtue of being body,
but because it participates in beauty itself.
THREE EXPLANATIONS OF THE FORMS
As light is to sight, so goodness is to the intellect.
Q: What gives the body life?
A: The Soul
Q: Will it bring life to whatever it occupies?
Conclusion: Life is an essential property of soul
Q: Is there an opposite to life?
A: Yes, death
Q: If life is essential to the soul, then it will not admit death?
Q: What do we call that which does not admit death?
Conclusion: The soul is immortal
Q: Is that which is immortal also imperishable?
Conclusion: The soul neither admits death, nor perishes
Reiteration of the theory of the Forms
Re: Opposing Forms
PERISH or RETREAT
ESSENTIAL vs. ACCIDENTAL properties
properties do not retreat
Cold is essential to snow
(no retreat of
All such properties are accidental to
being a circle
Shadows Solid objects Form + objects pure Form
1.All [soul] is [tw gives life to whatever it occupies]
2.All [tw gives life to whatever it occupies] is [tw has life as an essential property]
3.Therefore, all [soul] is [tw has life as an essential property] (1 & 2)
4.All [tw has life as an essential property] is [tw does not admit the opposite of life]
5.Therefore, all [soul] is [tw does not admit the opposite of life] (3 & 4)
6.All [tw does not admit the opposite of life] is [tw does not admit death]
7.Therefore, all [soul] is [tw does not admit death] (5 & 6)
8.All [tw does not admit death] is [tw is immortal]
9.Therefore, all [soul] is [tw is immortal] (7 & 8)
10.All [tw is immortal] is [tw is imperishable]
11.Therefore, all [soul] is [tw is imperishable] (9 & 10)
12.If ((all [soul] is [tw does not admit the opposite of life]) and (all [soul] is [tw is imperishable])), then (all [soul] is [tw cannot not have life])
13.Therefore, all [soul] is [tw cannot not have life] (5, 11, & 12)
1.All [p] is [q]
2.All [q] is [r]
3.Therefore, all [p] is [r] (1 & 2)
4.All [r] is [s]
5.Therefore, all [p] is [s] (3 & 4)
6.All [s] is [t]
7.Therefore, all [p] is [t] (5 & 6)
8.All [t] is [u]
9.Therefore, all [p] is [u] (7 & 8)
10.All [u] is [v]
11.Therefore, all [p] is [v] (9 & 10)
12.If ((all [p] is [s]) and (all [p] is [v])), then (all [p] is [w])
13.Therefore, all [p] is [w] (5, 11, & 12)
Meno: From whence does virtue come?
The immortality of the soul (including its pre-existence)
will become the basis for Plato's theory:
KNOWLEDGE = RECOLLECTION
THE PRE-EXISTENT SOUL
Can it be taught?
Can it be learned?
Is it had inherently?
Is it acquired some
A question regarding knowledge:
"How, if I knew nothing at all of Meno, could I tell if he was handsome, or the opposite; rich and noble, or the reverse of rich and noble? Do you think that I could?"
I.e., If I don't know the what something is (quid), how will I know by experience its properties (quale)?
Question: What is virtue?
Meno offers particular instances of virtues:
The virtue of a man is p, of a woman is q, of a slave is r, etc.
Socrates: Particulars are distinguished by accidents, but unified by a form.
What unifies these particular virtues?
Meno's failed efforts:
Power? To desire good things and be able to attain it?
Finally, I don't know! And how would I know if I came upon the right answer?
THE THEORY OF THE FORMS (or IDEAS)
An immaterial perfect Idea or Archetype
Accessible to but distinct from minds
After which particulars are fashioned
And which constitute the good of the subject
We speak in general nouns (universals), predicating these of subjects:
Bob is human
The ball is red
This shape is a circle
The subject and the universal predicated are distinct:
Not all that which is human is Bob
Not all that which is red is this ball
This ball is still this ball if no longer red
The universal is unchanging and independent of all particulars:
Circle does not change with time
Circle existed prior to this circle
Particular circles are dependent on the universal for being circle, not vice versa
Subjects are judged by the universal:
Normal/abnormal; perfect/imperfect; good/bad; better/worse; healthy/unhealthy
Such terms indicate a standard by which subjects are judged
The universal is that by which subjects are judged good or bad, etc.
The universal is not a material instance:
Matter mutates; universals do not
Material subjects have accidents; universals do not
I know the universal circle
But, the universal existed prior to my mind
Were my mind to cease to exist, the universal would endure
The universal is accessible to minds but independent of minds that access it:
COMMON CONTEMPORARY OBJECTION
No empirical evidence that the soul exists; why not just the body?
(a) Semantics: whatever the life force of a body, this Plato calls "soul"
(b) Contra reductionistic materialism:
1. If the body does not receive life, then the body and its life are the same.
2. If the body and its life are the same, then the body cannot be deprived of life
3. The body can be deprived of life.
4. Therefore, the body and its life are not the same. (2 & 3)
5. Therefore, the body receives life. (1 & 4)
That which gives life to the body, this Plato calls "the soul"
The sum of the matter:
"But if [the slave boy] did not acquire the knowledge in this life, then he must have had and learned it at some other time."
This other time must have been a time when he was not a man (suppressed clause:
since he's been a slave his whole human existence
And if true thoughts have always been in him, but simply need to be recalled by questions, then his soul must have always possessed this knowledge.
If knowledge was always in him (i.e., was never placed in him), then his soul has always been
NOTE: 2nd argument for the immortality of the soul
LATER, NEOPLATONIC INQUIRY
What is the relationship between the rational soul and God?
The Good that generates the Forms is God
God is Nous (Intellect or Reason)
The rational soul is nous
The Forms are innate in nous because nous is divine
Disorientation and is the result of matter & change
READ "MENO" EXCERPT