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Plato Form of the Good

A2 meta ethics

Steve Murphy

on 8 December 2014

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Transcript of Plato Form of the Good

Photosynthesis and
Cellular Respiration
Plant cell
Sun's Energy
Plant Cell
The sun's light helps us see
So, moral truth is like maths ...
36 ATP
Photosynthesis Reaction
Cellular Respiration
is delivered to cells
throughout the body
Glucose travels into the
small intestine to be
absorbed into..
2 Types
(Does NOT
use oxygen to
make ATP)
use oxygen to
make ATP)
Oxygen can either be released or used in CELLULAR RESPIRATION
Do plants (or any organisms that use photosynthesis) need animals/humans to live?
Provide evidence.
Carbon Dioxide, Water, and Sunlight mix to create food/sugar (Glucose) for the plant cell
This process is called PHOTOSYNTHESIS and it happens in the ...
Glucose is also used in cellular respiration, they both go to the...
36 ATP
The simile of the divided line...
Plato's idea of moral truth as transcendent
The mitochondrion uses glucose
to make energy (ATP) for all
cellular processes.
It needs the oxygen to make A LOT OF ENERGY!
ATP (energy), carbon dioxide,
and water are all products of
the cellular respiration reaction.
the villi!
Glucose diffuses
into the blood vessels and...
1 Glucose molecule
6 Oxygen molecules
28 Enzymes
36 ATP
6 Carbon Dioxides
6 Water molecules
Both Anaerobic (no oxygen)
and Aerobic (uses oxygen)
Cellular Respiration
the totals...
36 ATP
(Do you remember this from before?)
The Form of the Good
The Form of the Good enables Forms to be known by the intellect just as the sun enables objects to be known by the eyes.
...because the Form of the Good acts as the foundation of all Forms, in the same way that certain axioms ground all of maths, making it an
system of knowledge.
Most people are like prisoners in a cave who are manipulated into seeing only shadows of what is real.
Because of this it is only an elite few, the philosophers, who make this journey and try to bring others to see the truth.
2. If the Form of the good is something separate from the things in this world by definition, it is absurd to argue that this is what people should pursue as it is unattainable.
3. It doesn’t make sense to talk of “the good” but only of “a good student” or “a good horse”.
Transcendent = "goes beyond", in this case beyond the world of sense experience
1. We know the Forms through reason, not sense, so the Form of the Good is the highest object of rational knowledge.
Extension: If you want a challenge, look on the internet for Aristotle's "Third Man Argument" against Plato's notion of Forms.
Plato's case opens the way for "moral elitism" with the well trained minority dictating what is best.
However, we can interpret this as looking to the most gifted or enlightened few for moral leadership.
The journey from the cave to the light is an analogy for emerging from ignorance into knowledge and is very difficult.
But Plato can't describe it directly, he relies on metaphors suggesting it is more mystical than rational.
Good depends on the properties of particular things and cannot be abstracted from them.
We might use the leaders of the civil rights struggle as guiding lights here.
As the sun enables things to grow, the Good enables the existence of other Forms, which depend on it as living things depend on the the sun.
The philosophers reject the base pleasures and live by their true knowledge of what is good.
Weakness of will ("Akrasia")
Do you believe your actions are for the best?
Do you smoke?
Do you drink? (Maybe even to excess occasionally?)
Do you avoid homework?
Do you do these things FREELY?
1) If an action is bad/evil, then one will not desire to do it; and if an action is good, then one will desire to do it.
Plato against the possibility of akratic action
2) If I desire to perform or avoid an action, and I can, then I will do so.

From this it appears that we can conclude:
3) If an action is good, and I can perform it, then I will perform it; and if an action is bad, and I can avoid it, then I will avoid it.
Weakness of the Will
Objection to Plato: Surely we can simply reject the good for the pleasurable.
Socrates' reply - in cases like this we wrongly judge that pleasure is good. Judged wisely we see that selfish pleasure is not what is good.
Arguments that Weakness of Will is Possible
Weakness of Will
Davidson explains why akrasia is possible by introducing a distinction -
i) The "all things considered" judgement that e.g. I shouldn't eat the cake
ii) The "all out" judgement which would show me for certain that I shouldn't eat the cake
We exploit that gap and tell ourselves it is ok to eat the cake, even though we think we shouldn't "all things considered"
It is also part of the intelligible world, grasped through reason, rather than by experience.
Full transcript