Presentation on theme: "Review Parmenides Argument Against Change. Thesis: Reality is a Static Monism Supporting Argument: 1. There is no non-being. 2. there is generation only."— Presentation transcript:
Review Parmenides Argument Against Change
Thesis: Reality is a Static Monism Supporting Argument: 1. There is no non-being. 2. there is generation only if there is non-being. 3. therefore there is no generation. 4. there is real change only if there is generation. 5. therefore, there is no real change. 6. sense perception records a world of real change. 7. therefore, there is no real change. (the senses are systematically mistaken)
Zeno’s Paradox of Motion (Jason explains)
After the Rationalists (Pythagoras, Parmenides, Zeno) Pericles’ Decline, Sophists’ Rise (500-400 BCE) Four Threads: a)Rise of democracy (citizen councils) b)Rise of the Sophists in Athenian life c)Warfare with powers on the boundary of the expanding Athenian empire (Persia east, Sparta south) d)Continuing influence of the nature philosofs
Consequences of Four Threads Rise of relativism Rise of skepticism Protagorean Relativism: no difference between opinion and truth. Arguments and explanations are as good as they seem. Persuasive bad arguments are – persuasive good arguments. Skepticism: human beings lack the necessary equipment to distinguish truth from falsehood.
Relativism and Skepticism: Some Cases Can you distinguish between truth and opinion in the following cases? 1.2+2=4 (is 2+2=5 just as good?) 2.The sun is shining upon Boulder now (is “It is overcase in Boulder now” equally good?) 3.Murder is wrong. 4.Democracy is a better form of gov’t than oligarchy (rule by the aristocrats)
5. God exists. 6. God is love. 7. That for which there is no argument, there is no reason to believe.
Problems the Presocratics Left for Socrates, Plato and Aristotle What the Presocratics left for P & A & S: problem of the one and the many problem of what the world is made of problem of what being is problem of how change is possible problem of how to judge what counts as a good explanation for natural phenomena problem of how to judge what is moral (the gods offer no help)
problem of how to judge what the right political form is generally: to clarify the new-found rational methods of thought, argument and explanation, and to show how they were compatible with justice in both individuals and the polis.
Euthyphro—Defining Piety What Socrates means by “definition” in Euthyphro: Picks out some feature found in every pious action. This feature not shared by any impious action. This feature (or lack thereof) makes an action pious (impious).
Euthyphro’s Three Definitions E’s 1st defn.: pious=the variety of pious actions. Weakness: not general, not the form of pious things, just a grab bag. 2nd defn.: pious=what the gods love weakness: fails elenchus challenge (consistency test): gods love and hate the same things hence, pious=F & not F, which fails conditions of definition S is looking for.
The Elenchus Method How does it work? Inconsistent triad resulting from your hypothesis (Piety=What All the Gods Love), what follows from your hypothesis (The Gods Love All the Same Things), and other things you believe to be true (All True Beliefs are Consistent with Each Other). P-->not Q (alternatively, P-->Q) [draw some reasonable consequence from P [The Gods Love All the Same Things] Q (alternatively, not Q) [note a fact which denies the consequence drawn from P (It is never true both that P and that Not-P)] These are not consistent propositions: one of the three must be rejected to maintain consistency. Appeal to rationality.
Is Elenchus purely destructive? In the Euthyphro, not clear: 4th/5th defns. (12e): pious = part of the just concerned with care of the gods (14c) pious = prayer and sacrifice. trad'l reverence for gods. problem: we cannot care for the gods as we might care for horses....their benefit cannot be an objective of ours, so we can only care for the gods by making ourselves slaves to their wishes. Same is true of the traditional reverence, since all we can do is give Gods what they want from us by way of prayer and sacrifice. But then, it seems piety is nothing more than giving the Gods what they love (back where we started!)
Is Socrates guilty of anything? Two ways to take this: a) is he guilty of one of the charges they specify? b) is his mission a bad thing for Athens?
The Charges Old: Studies things in sky and below earth Makes the weaker argument the stronger Teaches these to others Socrates’ Replies: No one has heard me speak of any of these things. I am not a Sophist (accepts no money, does not advise how to make weak arg. strong). The Oracle-made-me-do-it.
New Charges Socrates Corrupts the Young S does not believe in the old gods S believes in new divinities Socrates Replies to First Charge: To the first charge: couldn't be only one who corrupts, all others not (analogy to doing good and relation to expertise). No one harms himself willingly (to harm the young he must be prepared to harm himself, since evil youngsters are a danger to everyone, including S) If S did harm the young, therefore, it must have been unintentional, and in Athens, unintentional harmful behavior is not illegal and the punishment, normally, is to advise the malefactor of their bad- making, but unintentional behavior so they can correct it.
Socrates Replies to Second and Third Charges: Socrates ties Meletus in knots by asking a series of questions about whether, given various known facts about Socrates’ behavior and statements regarding the Gods, he believes in the Gods or not. Meletus ends up agreeing both that Socrates believes in the Gods and that Socrates disbelieves in the Gods. Minimally, this shows that Meletus hasn’t thought carefully about the claims he has made against Socrates, as he seems unable to keep straight what exactly he thinks, or to make his beliefs consistent with each other.
Is Socrates guilty of anything? If guilty, guilty of what? And if guilty, what is the appropriate punishment? If not guilty, what should Athens have done that it did not do? Is Athens guilty of anything?
Socrates’ Mission Socrates says his conduct is according to a mission that he claims has been imposed on him by the Delphi oracle’s surprising claim (that Socrates was the wisest man in Athens). What is Socrates trying to accomplish? Only to show he knows nothing, and no one else does either? How is that productive? If it is productive, productive of what?
Traditional answer: eudaimonia (‘human flourishing’) for the citizens of Athens
Socrates’ Extended Argument that He Should Not Escape (1) One must never do wrong. (2)Therefore, one must never return wrong for wrong. (3)To harm someone is to do wrong. (4)Therefore, one must never harm anyone. (5)Therefore one must never harm anyone, even if one has been harmed. (6)Whenever one violates a just agreement, one harms the person with whom one has formed the agreement. (7)Therefore one must never violate a just agreement. (8)Escaping from prison would be to violate a just agreement. (9)Therefore escaping from prison would be wrong. (10)Therefore, Socrates concludes, he must not escape from prison.
Arguments of the Personified Laws of Athens (1)We gave you birth (2)You are our servant. You must honor country more than parents and are not entitled to destroy us even if we destroy you. (3)Persuade or obey! After all, you tacitly accepted our rule by (a) not criticizing laws of childrearing or education (b) not leaving Athens in your life (c) raising your children here (d) not proposing exile as a counterpenalty
Meno: Socrates’ argument that Virtue must be a kind of Wisdom 1.Virtue, courage, intelligence, memory, mental quickness, moderation, justice, munificence are all parts of the soul. 2.Things in the soul are: a.made beneficial when conjoined with wisdom b.made harmful when not conjoined with wisdom 3.Virtue is never harmful, and is the only part of the soul which is never harmful. 4.Virtue must be wisdom or must have a part which is wisdom (since it is the only part of the soul that always yields something beneficial) (the only question is whether virtue is simply identical with wisdom, or whether virtue just has a part which is wisdom)
Subargument… No one is virtuous by nature, since if that were true, we would seek these talented people out as children and set them aside in a place safe from moral corruption until they are grown up so the city would benefit from their wisdom.
Problematic Argument #1 1.If virtue can be taught, then there should be those who are teaching it and those learning it (application of the Craft Analogy to virtue=knowledge). 2.In fact there are no teachers of virtue. 3.Virtue cannot be taught.
Problematic Argument #2 1.Perhaps the CA is not wrong, and anyone who is virtuous is able to teach virtue to others. 2.Themistocles (Aristides, Pericles) was virtuous, but his son was not. 3.There is no reason to think Themistocles did not try to teach his son everything which he knew (evidence: taught him to be a good horseman). 4.Therefore, though virtuous, Themistocles was not able to teach his son virtue.
Socrates Conclusion: Something Has Gone Wrong―Why? Answer: Because if one cannot be virtuous by nature, and one cannot be taught to be virtuous, it begins to be quite mysterious how anyone can ever become virtuous.
Socrates Realizes What is Wrong… the claim that wisdom produces beneficial results does not mean that only knowledgeable people can produce beneficial results. "Correct opinion" is just as good as knowledge in the guidance of affairs toward the beneficial.
What, then, is the difference between “correct opinion” and “knowledge” in pursuit of virtue? Answer: Knowledge is correct opinion "tied down" (i.e., correct opinion with "an account of the reason why" it is true.....such an "account" is acquired through recollection....98a). Good men who guide their fellow citizens to beneficial results are just lucky.
Why isn’t luck enough? If we depend on luck, we run the risk of following the advice of Sophists, rather than the wise and virtuous.
How, then, to be virtuous? Plato’s answer: the Slave Story (the theory of recollection) How does this help? Answer: By eliminating bad answers, the elenchus method (exemplified by Socrates’ conversation with the slave boy) clears the mind of its confusion and leads it away from false opinion, toward true opinion and, we hope eventually, an account (true opinion ‘tied down’) of virtue.
Looking Ahead to Republic Book One: Why the Elenchus Method is Not Enough Remember our thought experiment: suppose we know that there are only six possible accounts of virtue, and the elenchus method allows us to eliminate bad accounts by checking each possible account for consistency with a) what follows from each account, and b) everything else we believe is true. Suppose we are lucky and the first four accounts we consider each turns out to be inconsistent with what follows from each, and other things we believe are true. Now we know: the true account must lie in one of the remaining accounts.
Oops….. Even if the two remaining accounts are mutually inconsistent (to believe one you must reject the other), unless they are contradictories (each is the negation of the other), it remains possible that both are consistent with all our other beliefs! But in that case, Elenchus will not reveal which one is true, will it? Aporia (Greek for a state of puzzlement/logical impasse)
Plato’s Response Book I of The Republic, where he reconsiders the elenchus method and introduces other, equally problematic weaknesses in this tool for discovering what we do not already know.
What About that Theory of Recollection? Doesn’t that Solve the Problem? Sure, if Plato can explain exactly how we can spot the correct answer when we have narrowed the field of possible answers to (ideally) two using the Elenchus method, as in our thought experiment.
Republic I Plato’s objective: establish the nature of justice while: Refuting conventionalism (conventionalism=Justice concerns action in conformity with law: Actions that follow the conventions/laws of conduct in any given society) Refuting naturalism (naturalism=ethical Darwinism: it is natural for the strong to ruler over and exploit the weak)
Republic’s Main Questions What is justice? Does justice benefit its possessor: does it produce a good life?
Ordinary View of Justice Justice = Observing certain rules of socially-acceptable behavior (be honest, don’t steal…Ten Commandments, etc.) Socrates notes: If you are Cephalus (wealthy, socially successful) it is easy to be just, since your own needs are entirely satisfied under the rules of your society (otherwise, you wouldn’t be successful!) What if you are poor? Cephalus desires to be just, but this is only because he is lucky: what he naturally desires for himself coincides with what his society requires of him.
Objections to Ordinary View Justice is easy to achieve, and so leads to complacency There is no intellectual backing for your beliefs about how to behave. Consequence: when anything challenges your law-abiding beliefs, they are easily shattered. Leads to skepticism: just conduct looks like arbitrary rule-following that serves the interests of the socially successful (Justice is, then, a racket serving the rich and powerful)
Socrates’ Challenger: Thrasymachus Thrasymachus’ First Definition of Justice: Justice is the advantage/interest of the stronger [ruler] (ethical Darwinism) (338c) Socrates: does the ruler always estimate their own interest correctly? Thrasymachus: No. Socrates: Then justice cannot simply be what the ruler believes is in their interests (consequence: conventionalism is false, since obedience to law [the wishes of the ruler] is not enough to create just conditions).
Thrasymachus’ Second Try Justice is the objective interest of the ruler/ stronger (justice = craft of ruling) Socrates: Ok, then isn’t that just what is beneficial to those ruled (analogy to shepherding)? Thrasymachus: No, for the well-being of sheep is only of value to the shepherd for the $$ it brings. Which view is right? Is shepherding for the benefit of the sheep or for the benefit of the shepherd?
Thrasymachus’ Real Challenge Socrates thinks justice must be a virtue, in which case it must both be good for the just and good for others. For him, justice is like shepherding since both the sheep and the shepherd must benefit if it is to be successful. Thrasymachus disagrees that justice must be a virtue, because he thinks that, in fact, acting justly sometimes harms the just while benefitting the unjust, and vice versa.
T’s Argument a)Justice is a virtue (trivially true) b)My virtue always benefits me c)My being just benefits other people d)What benefits others sometimes harms me & vice versa Conclusion: one of these beliefs must be false, since they are inconsistent (Elenchus in action!)
The Failure of the Craft Analogy Both S and T assume the craft analogy applies to just action (it serves a purpose and just action is designed to accomplish that purpose) This picture can be used to undermine both views of justice: Undermines S because shepherding does not always benefit the sheep Undermines T because shepherding does not always benefit the shepherd
Conclusion: We need a New Method of Discovery, and we need a New Model of Justice
Republic II Offers news ways of expressing these problems Offers a new method (Plato’s Dialectic)
Glaucon’s Challenge Perhaps Thrasymachus was right: Justice is a sort of compromise: I would avoid justice if I could….(Gyges’ Ring) Socrates’ response: Let’s consider how we distinguish the different kinds of Goods. There are three kinds: 1. Intrinsic Goods 2. Instrumental Goods 3. Goods with are both Instrumental and Intrinsic
What kind of Good is Justice? Socrates’s answer: Type #3 Thrasymachus’s implicit answer: Type #2 Who is right? Proposal: consider Gyges and what he did when he had the invisibility ring. Glaucon: Suggests we only act just in order to achieve what we are really after (i.e., Type #1 goods, exhaustively: our narrow self-interests), not because we want to be just (as S believes)
Justice is Merely a Social Contract Doing wrong is desirable If I do wrong, others will do it My suffering from a wrong is worse than benefitting from my own wrongful action We should band together due to our weakness (we cannot avoid suffering at the hands of others) and, though we would prefer to do wrong, agree to restrain ourselves
Socrates’ Answer Proposal: Justice is a Type 3 Good (good in itself, good for what it produces) Investigation: What is justice in the State? How do we discover that? Answer: Consider which states seem best (since Justice is the same as, or a part of, what is Good) Discovery: looking around, the best states seem to be those that have a kind of health (and health is a Type 3 Good)
Question: But what is Health in a State? To answer this, we need to know what a state is for … why do States exist? Answer: to better serve the diverse needs of human beings Evidence: it is a fact that human beings cannot satisfy their needs best by acting entirely alone, separated from other human beings.
What makes a state Better? If a State exists to promote the satisfaction of the greatest number of the needs of its members, to the greatest extent possible, how can that be achieved? Socrates: Just consider healthy states and ask: how did they do it? Discovery: those states that have a division of labor, and each citizen only does what they are best at doing are The Healthiest!
The Natural Classes of a Healthy State Producers [specialists in satisfying human appetities] (those who meet citizen’s ongoing material needs for food, shelter, clothing, physical well-being…in short, providers of goods and services) Auxiliaries [specialists in war] (those who protect the city from outside interference from other states) Guardians [specialists in general knowledge] (those who study the world and the State to understand what is best for the overall welfare of the community…govern how the producers and auxiliaries interact and function together, and how the State relates to other States)
Justice in the State = The Correct Relation Among its Classes The healthiest states are those that divide labor according to the three fundamental needs of a State: 1) meeting the basic needs of the citizenry, 2) protecting the state from external (or internal) interference and disorder, and 3) coordinating the activities of all classes with a view to producing the healthiest objective condition of the State
Is Tripartite Class Arrangements Enough to achieve a Justice State? No! Why? A healthy state must be guided by its objective interests. Since only the Guardians have the general knowledge required to grasp what is in the objective interests of the State as a whole, and only they are specialists in helping others to see what they understand is true, a Just State is one in which there is a division of labor according to these three classes, with the Guardians guiding the rest.
Where We Are Now Plato has met Glaucon's challenge (myth of Gyges) by Showing that justice in the state is not merely a name for the rule under law (social contract) but rather is The name for the proper division of labor in a system of interdependence which is natural for human beings, and which generates the basis for the moral distinction between good and bad in the state (good=healthy community, bad=unhealthy community).
What Remains to be Shown Plato must respond to Glaucon’s other challenge (why isn't it better to seem just than to be just: isn't it better, in terms of outcomes for the individual, to be an undiscovered thief than Socrates drinking the hemlock?)
How to Do That? Establish that a soul has three parts (appetite, spirit, and reason), each corresponding to the three classes in the State, and that health in the soul arises when the three parts are arranged with reason in charge of the other two
Proof that the Soul has Three Parts 1.The same thing can [never] act or be acted upon in two opposite ways, or be two opposite things, at the same time, in respect of the same part of itself, and in relation to the same object. 2.People are sometimes both thirsty and unwilling to drink (thirst is inhibited). 3.People can desire something by which they are simultaneously disgusted (Leontius and the executed criminals). 4.People can feel indignant at unjust treatment and yet cease their pursuit of justice under the influence of their capacity for reflection (Book IV, 440).
Given (1) and (2), people must have at least two parts, one associated with thirst (appetite), one associated with the inhibition of thirst (reflection...reason). Given (1) and (3), people must have at least two parts, one associated with desire (appetite), one associated with moral indignation (the "spirited part"). Given (1) and (4), people must have at least two parts, one associated with moral indignation (the spirited part) and one associated with reflection (reason). Given these conclusions, there must be three parts to the soul: one associated with appetite, one associated with moral indignation, one associated with reflection/reason.
Recap Platonically Just Person is one whose soul is in harmony, with each part doing what it is best at, and with Reason in charge Platonic Justice is an inward trait (both in the individual [soul harmony] and in the State [each class ‘doing its own’ with philosophers as guides]
Plato Now Must Show 2 Things: 1.That the just person is happier than the unjust person 2.Since Justice depends on knowledge of what is Good (=Form of the Good) in both the individual and in the State, how do we acquire this knowledge? #1 is shown because the just person is mentally healthy, the unjust person mentally ill #2 is answered by the Sun Analogy, the Divided Line and the Myth of the Cave
Knowledge of Forms [necessary for Justice] If we understand what a form is, both its function and how it simultaneously provides an object of knowledge and a means to knowledge, we will then see how Plato’s new method of knowledge (dialectic) is possible, and can then study how it works. (Dialectic = Elenchus + Rational Intuition)
Sun Analogy 508c-e: The Sun makes things grow and also makes them perceptible. This is analogous to the way the Form of the Good makes it possible for all intelligible things [other Forms] to exist, and makes them intelligible to our minds. But what, exactly, is a ‘Form’? It is a model, a paradigm on the basis of which individual items in the world have a way of existing. Without it, nothing could exist.
Plato’s Insight Everything that exists must have a set of properties and relations that constitute its way of existing. These properties and relations are only intelligible to us because we recognize them as instances of various concepts we must use in grasping their ways of existing. Their intelligibility is what is most real about them (Parmenides was right to think that what is stably intelligible is what is most real) Upshot: The Forms are more real than the particular individual things that have/participate in those forms/ways of existing.
The Form of All Forms Each form is a paradigm/model of some property/relation, or complex thereof, required for all the actually existing individuals to have their particular way of existing. But something must give all paradigms their property (i.e., the property “standing as a template/model/paradigm” The Form of the Good imparts to all more-specific forms their power to act as paradigms….it gives them The Form of the Paradigmatic Like the Sun, all else that exists depends on this Form of the Good
World as Idea 509-511e: The world is divided into The Intelligible (More/Most Real) and The Visible (Less/Least Real). These two divisions are subdivided into two additional subdivisions each, yielding four realms. This is the Divided Line, which is both a description of the parts of reality, and of the ideas and beliefs required to grasp each.
Nichomachean Ethics Based on notes of lectures Aristotle gave in the Lyceum (a gymnasium in Athens). These lectures were created for (or edited by, or both) his son, Nichomachus. Scholars think it represents Aristotle’s mature thinking about ethics, a modification and improvement on his Eudemian Ethics.
Ari’s Strategy for discovering what is considered Good in Human Life Recognize that human life is a set of activities (activity is the essence of living) Recognize that all activities are directed at some end or purpose Thus, the good of any activity is always constituted by the end to which it is directed
Are all Goods Equally Valuable? Ari: No. Here’s why: Some goods, being instrumental (only good because they promote some other good) are less valuable than the good[s] they promote Not all goods can be instrumental (if they were, there would be no point in acting at all [because there would be no ultimate purpose in pursuing them..there must be a final end to any action] So, some goods must be ends in themselves (Plato called these intrinsic goods). These are necessarily more valuable than instrumental goods.
Are all Intrinsic Goods Equally Valuable? No, everyone thinks Happiness is the Chief Good. But what is it? Everyone seems to have a different idea of what happiness is, after all, and since there are many different kinds of goods, there cannot just be one Form of the Good that captures what is good in all of them (Plato was wrong). Well then, let’s consider what various people think happiness is: 1.Some think it is pleasure. 2.Some think it is honor. 3.Some think it is wealth. 4.Some think it is/is found in contemplation.
Why Happiness cannot be Honor, Wealth, or Pleasure 1.Happiness must be a complete good (i.e., good in itself) 2.Since it is the end of our actions, those ends that are under our command are better than those that are not. 3.Given (1) and (2), happiness cannot be honor, since it depends on the opinions of others, which is beyond our control
It cannot be pleasure, because the life of sensual pleasures is slavish (addictive) and more appropriate to brute beasts than to humans. That which is enjoyable is not necessarily worthwhile. It cannot be the pursuit of wealth, since money is only valued instrumentally, and happiness is an end in itself.
What is Required for Happiness? Must be something specifically human. Must be our own achievement. Must be an activity, or pursuant to activity. Must be self-sufficient (nothing essential is missing in the life that is happy). Must be perfect, final and complete.
So is Happiness just, trivially, “maximal goodness for humans”? Ari: No. It must be some kind of general well-being, sustained over the course of an entire life. How to get a substantive account? Consider that well-being for a human must be whatever constitutes well-functioning for humans. Consider that humans, like all living things, engage in activities which are distinctive for each kind. Possibility: if we can discover what is the distinctive, natural function of human beings, then successful/well-functioning of this particular kind might constitute happiness for humans.
Do Humans have a Natural Function? Yes, because, as living things, their nature determines them to act in certain ways, and excellence in those particular ways of acting constitutes well-being for each kind of living thing. Also, each distinct kind of living thing has a distinctive function that sets it off from all other living things. So, the natural function of human beings is whatever function is distinctive for their kind of living thing.
What is the Human Function? Not the merely nutritive function (plants have that, as to animals) Not merely the perceptive function (animals have that) What is the action that only human beings an perform? Answer: we can act according to a rational principle (we can act under the direction of reasoning and our power of reflection)
The Human Function “an activity of the soul in accordance with, or not without, rational principle” But, if happiness is action guided by a rational principle, it must not just be any such action, but one that achieves excellence in this rational function. So, happiness must be “excellence” [aretê] in this activity of soul in accordance with a rational principle. What is that? Virtuous action!
Chapter/Section 13: Ari’s Final Answer “Happiness is an activity of the soul expressing complete virtue”  This means it is necessary to examine human virtue. Something is considered to have reason in two senses: that which has reason in itself and that which listens to reason. These two senses are the origin of the distinction between intellectual and ethical virtues, respectively.
Book II, Chapter 1: The Nature of Virtue 1.Virtue comes in two kinds: intellectual and moral How they differ: a.Intellectual virtue requires training and so depends on “experience and time” b.Moral virtues (virtues of character) require formation of habits Given (2b), moral virtue does not arise from nature (since nature does not build habits)
Good vs. Bad Habits The capacity to form habits is a provision of nature (borne of our many capabilities for action), but how that capacity is realized (for good or for ill) with respect to any activity depends on how that capacity is developed. Examples: exercise by running develops the habit of running. Running well produces a good habit. Running poorly produces a bad habit. Upshot 1: whether we are virtuous or vicious depends on the habits we form. Upshot 2: the habits we form determine the character we have (character = a stable disposition to behave in certain ways, not in others)
Book II, Chapter 2: Habits depend on Repeated Actions, so Virtuous Habits depend on Repetition of Virtuous Actions Virtuous action = right action Therefore, virtuous actions require actions that “express correct reason” [1103b30] But actions in accordance with reason designed to establish virtuous habits require knowledge of what contributes to virtuous/right action. Clue: good actions tend to be ruined by excess or deficiency (example: eating is good, but eating too much or too little ruins what is good in eating)
What is true of Good Eating is true of Bravery, Temperance, and the other Virtues If we avoid all pleasure, we become boors; if we seek all pleasures, we become intemperate. If we avoid all risky situations, we are cowardly, but if we leap into every risky situation, we are rash. Upshot: seeking those actions that fall in the middle between excess and deficiency promotes good results, and hence, constitute good actions. States that generate these kinds of actions are better than those that do not.
Book II, Chapter 3: Pleasure is the goal of action, but different people take pleasure in different things What pleasure someone takes in a certain kind of action reveals the state of that person with respect to that kind of action. Example: a person who takes pleasure in abstinence is a person in a state of temperance. A person who takes pain in abstinence is one in a state of intemperance. Upshot 1: only those trained to take pleasure in the right actions, pain in wrong actions, can be virtuous. Upshot 2: This means we need to be trained from an early age if we hope to have virtuous habits.
Neither Pleasure nor Pain are, in themselves, virtuous or vicious All action is guided by pursuit of pleasure, avoidance of pain. What determines virtuous or vicious conduct depends on whether the actor pursues/avoids the right/wrong things, at the right/wrong times, in the right/wrong ways, etc. Upshot: Virtue is concerned with pleasures and pains; “the actions that are its sources also increase it or, if they are done differently, ruin it”.
Book II, Chapter 4: What makes one Just/Virtuous? Worry: if you are saying that doing just things makes one just, then, if we do just things we must already be just! Aristotle: Not so, for one could be just by accident or by just doing as someone instructs you to do. To produce grammatical sentences, and in so doing be grammarians, we must both produce grammatical sentences and produce them in the way in which the grammarian produces them.
How Virtue is Different from a Craft A craft is evaluated solely in terms of its product: if the luthier’s produce is a good- sounding/looking acoustic guitar, then their state as luthier is good. Virtue is not evaluated solely in terms of its product. Actions that express virtue are not sufficient to determine that the action was just, since the agent “must also be in the right state when he does them.”
What is Required for an Action to be Virtuous 1.The agent must know 2.The agent must decide on these actions, and decide on them for themselves 3.The agent must also do these actions from a firm and unchanging state.[1105a25-33] Aristotle says that, of these three conditions, the first is the least important, the second and third the most.
Book II, Chapter 5: What Virtue Itself Is It must be a condition of the soul (=“the form of a body capable of life”) There are three conditions of the soul: feelings, capacities and states Virtue/Vice cannot be feelings, since “we are called excellent or base insofar as we have virtues or vices, not insofar as we have feelings”, and We are neither praised nor blamed for our feelings as such (but only for the way we express those feelings)
Virtue/vice cannot be capacities, for “we are neither called good nor called bad insofar as we are simply capable of feelings”; also, since we have capacities by nature, and we already decided that we cannot be virtuous by nature, this disqualifies capacities from the condition of the soul associated with virtue and vice. Conclusion: Virtue/vice must be states of the soul.
Book II, Chapter 6: What Sort of State is Virtue/Vice? First clue: “every virtue causes its possessors to be in a good state and to perform their functions well” (e.g., the virtue of eyes is that it results in a state of excellent eyesight, the vice that it results in a state of poor eyesight) What causes a human being to function well? We already said well-functioning occurs when our actions of each particular kind falls between deficiency and excess relative to us.
Each Kind of Action is Good if it Results in a State between Deficiency and Excess Aristotle calls the pursuit of the good in each kind of craft the science of that craft, and “every scientific expert avoids excess and deficiency and seeks and chooses what is intermediate—but intermediate relative to us, not in the object”[1106b5-7] He means this: the pursuit of virtue is like the pursuit of one of these crafts in that it seeks ‘the intermediate’ between extremes, although not in the product of virtue (i.e., the outcome of our virtuous action), as in a craft, but in our state (since virtue concerns not just the act it produces, but the state of the agent who produces the act) So virtue is a mean between excess and deficiency in action that produces a state of the virtuous falling within that mean.
Hitting the Mean is Hard…. “…..That is why error is easy and correctness [in action] hard, since it is easy to miss the target and hard to hit it.”[1106b31-32] To hit the mean through our actions requires good judgment (reason).
Summary of What We Have Learned Virtue concerns feelings and actions. It is a state that seeks to find the mean between excess and deficiency, either in respect to feeling, or action, relative to the person who feels/acts. Achieving this mean results in feeling/acting “at the right time, about the right things, towards the right people, for the right end, and in the right way”[1106b20-22]
Aristotle’s Full Account of Virtue “Virtue, then, is (a) a state that decides, (b) in a mean, c) the mean relative to us, (d) which is defined by reference to reason, and e) i.e., to the reason by reference to which the intelligent person would define it. It is a mean between two vices, one of excess and one of deficiency.”[1106b36-1107a1-3]
To Discuss Why does Aristotle say that the mean we seek is one ‘relative to us’? Does he mean all human beings, or each of us in a particular situation regarding a particular kind of action? What does he mean when he says that this mean “is defined by reference to reason, reason by reference to which the intelligent person would define it”? Who is this ‘intelligent person’? A philosopher-king? Aristotle? What is the relationship between excellence in action and finding the mean? Where does his earlier discussion of virtue as developed on the basis of habit fit in to his final account of virtue?
Book III, Chapter 1: Virtue, Praise and Blame 1.Virtue concerns actions and the states that produce them that are praiseworthy/ blameworthy 2.Praise and blame only apply to voluntary actions, because we do not hold individuals responsible for involuntary acts 3.Therefore, to complete our account of virtue we need a careful account of voluntary vs. involuntary action
What is Involuntary Action The tyrant and cargo cases: are these involuntary? Ari: No, since the agent makes a choice that they partly determine (a choice between two evils, one greater, one lesser, is nonetheless a choice, even when subject to some degree of coercion) Evidence: we think less of (blame) someone who lets the tyrant kill their children, more of (praise) someone who saves them by doing what the tyrant requires. Evidence: we think imprudent the ship’s captain who doesn’t throw cargo overboard in a storm that goes on to sink the ship, admire the good judgment of the one who does.
So what counts as forced (involuntary) action? “…something is forced unconditionally whenever its cause is external and the agent contributes nothing” [1110b1] Can we think of any cases that fit this definition?
Acts both Voluntary & Involuntary (Mixed) “things [that] are involuntary in themselves, but choiceworthy on this occasion and as the price of these, and their origin is in the agent.” [1110b3] Examples: cargo, tyrant….what else?
Voluntary Action “what is voluntary seems to be what has its origin in the agent himself when he knows the particulars that the action consists in.” [1111a23] Ari notes that just because an action is partly taken under the influence of emotion or appetite does not make it involuntary. Is he right? What are some examples that might seem to suggest he is wrong?
Non-voluntary Action Actions taken under certain kinds of ignorance, and where the agent has no regret. See pg 893 middle [1111a7-18] for examples
Restrictions on this Account of Vol/Invol/Nonvol Action Pleasant and noble objects do not have a compelling power (p. 892); if they did, all acts would be invol. Bec. we act for what is pleasant and noble in all we do. So the pleasant & noble do not make all acts invol. Acts done out of anger or appetite are not invol, or else we'd say children and animals would act invol--but they don't. The mixed cases are actions taken under duress (cargo/tyrant) where agent makes a choice that they would avoid if they could (so the conditions under which the choice is made are forced, but the agent has a choice of options that remain praise/blameworthy)
Next: Ari’s Final Account of Happiness: Book X Review: the good(s) of human life lie(s) in achieving excellence in all our essential functions since a.life is activity b.the ‘good’ of any activity lies in the achievement of some end(s) c.achievement is determined by its degree of excellence (virtue)
The Nature of Virtue Book II, Ch. 6 [1106b 36-1107a 2]: “Virtue, then, is a(a) a [voluntary] state that decides, (b) in a mean, (c) the mean relative to us, (d) which is defined by reference to reason, (e) i.e., to the reason by reference to which the intelligent person would define it….a mean between two vices, one of excess and one of deficiency.”
What, then, is Happiness? Ari’s general answer: human happiness is not a state, but an activity(ies) whose end(s) is(are) choiceworthy in itself(themselves) [i.e., that is intrinsically good] that count(s) as the chief good of human life (an end that is self- sufficient and complete) Human goods are determined by achieving excellence in all those functions necessary for human life over the course of a whole life So, happiness concerns the application of virtue to all the functions essential to human life such that excellence in those functions is realized. (‘the happy life seems to be a life expressing virtue, which is a life involving serious actions, and not consisting in amusement’ [1177a2]
But there are two kinds of virtue (intellectual and moral), so then, there appear to be two possible versions of human happiness: excellence in intellectual activity and excellence in moral activity Happiness (Version) One: happiness is the achievement of excellence in all the activities (nutritive, perceptive, rational) necessary to the sustenance of human life, over the course of a whole life. Happiness One requires excellence in all the functions from which all those particular kinds of general goods we talked about in Books I and II are drawn (wealth, honor, pleasure, health, friendship, etc.), since honor without sufficient food to eat, food to eat without sufficient respect of others, etc., will not result in excellence in each of those functions on which our general well-being depends.
Happiness (Version) Two: The Intellectually Virtuous Life Excellence in whatever is the specific function of a human. What is this but excellence in study (the activity involving our specific function, thinking)? This is the proper candidate for the chief good of human life, since excellence in whatever is our specific function is what is best for us (given that we are constituted by the functions/activities of which we are capable, and whatever function only we can perform identifies what is specifically good for us)
Which Version do You Prefer?
Was Ari Serious: Happiness Two is Happiness Simpliciter? Compatibilist view: since Happiness One is a necessary condition of Happiness Two on practical grounds (you cannot have a life that achieves excellence in study if you are lacking in sufficient food, shelter, if you are depressed for lack of friendship, the respect of your fellow humans, etc.), Aristotle is not asserting that a life of study is the only good life. He is just saying that this is the best life, and that life requires achieving Happiness One as a precondition.
Meditation One What is the objective of the Meditations? Hint: look at second sentence of Med. I.
How do we know he is after Absolute Knowledge (K*)? How do we get K*? How do we know when we have it? RD’s Answer: ‘certainty of belief’
1) JP: what is this "certainty"? Confidence? Lots of extreme confidence? 2) Then does certain belief = "verified belief"? Maybe, but what provides verification that overcomes the possibility of error? RD: one way of getting at certainty is to show what abs. knowl. looks like, then say "that's what certainty gets at." The via negativa: first look at what abs. knowl is not. – i) It is not false (truth seems to be a property of known assertions). – ii) It is not what I do not believe. But is true belief knowledge? – iii) No. Is justified true belief knowledge? – iv) No, since my belief that it was 2:51 last Thursday was justified, and true, but we decided it was not K*.
3) What more do we need in order to convert JTB into knowledge? Well, it must be some additional property of the belief. Call this property X. So K* = JTB + X. 4) How do we discover what "X" is? Well, RD thinks certainty is the mark of K*, and it seems like certainty is just 'indubitability of belief', so perhaps X = 'indubitability of the justified true belief'.
5) Is this indubitability just the name for a psychological state we fall into when believing some things...an inability to bring ourselves to the psychological attitude of doubting? – No. The inability to doubt must be something arising in the intellect alone. It is not a psychological state, but rather a property of a belief such that it is conceptually beyond doubting, for example. The impossibility of this doubt is rather more like the impossibility of completing the concept of a round square (RD has argument for the claim that any indubitable belief is true)
RD’s Method of Doubt Find some principles which are indubitable, then derive, as in a geometric deduction, the rest of the true beliefs about the world from these. Method of doubt acts as a filter for our dubitable beliefs. Note that RD finds actual geometry dubitable (Meditation #1). RD generates general doubt about our common beliefs with a Three Step sceptical attack that comes in Two Phases
Phase 1 Generate a fully general doubt about all sensory beliefs. (i) ordinary (insecure) sense beliefs—perceptual errors and perceptual illusions (ii) secure sense beliefs—vivid dreams (the dream hypothesis) Does this place all sensory beliefs in doubt? NO. The Dreamer’s Palette remains (what’s that?)
Phase 2 Generate a fully general doubt about all sensory beliefs that remain unchallenged by the dream hypothesis AND a fully general doubt about all mathematical beliefs (iii) beliefs about simple natures/general things (i.e., our dream-immune beliefs about the ‘sensory palette’ and all mathematical / geometrical beliefs— Evil Demon Hypothesis (EDH)
What beliefs remain intact? NONE. Epistemic Vertigo. Maximus scepticus. Cognitive despair sets in.
The Plan of the Meditations 1. Use the method of doubt (EDH) to find a criterion for absolute knowledge (by isolating some belief that cannot be doubted) 2. Use that criterion to discover some true beliefs that can be joined in arguments that logically establish conclusions that defeat evil demon skepticism. How to do That: A. prove God exists as the creator of the world and my mind and all its powers. (Med. III) B. prove that God is not a deceiver (is not an Evil Demon that would mislead me in my belief-forming practices) (Med IV) C. prove that all mathematical truths are instances of absolute knowledge. (Med V) D. prove that these truths describe the real nature of any possible world consisting of bodies in space. (Med V) E. prove that there is a world of bodies in space. (Med VI)
Meditation II: The Cogito a.as inference: Nec (Ti->Ei). Not: Nec(Ei) b.as performance: “I am, I exist.” (Hintikka) (a) Fails because, on EDH, I need an additional premise besides (Ti) to infer (Ei): (Ti->Ei) [where there’s thinking there’s existence of the thing that thinks]) Why? Does (a) imply: Nec (Ti Ei)? No! (existence does not imply thinking)
What the Cogito Establishes The truth criterion is derived from the Cogito. How? Ask: what makes the Cogito belief true even on the EDH? Answer: when I clearly grasp why when I try to doubt my existence, something is immediately evident to my mind which shows I cannot fail to exist.
So this is a clue about the nature of Absolute K. The Cogito belief has these properties: 1)It is clear and distinct 2)It is self-confirming Proposal: whenever I wonder whether a belief can be known to be true (even on EDH), check to see if it has these two properties. If it does, I can trust it!
Upshot If I can construct arguments to show that: 1) God exists, 2) Created the world, me and my ability to form beliefs, 3) is not a deceiving God, and 4) my beliefs based on sense perception and stepwise reasoning could only be false if 3) were false, then: The EDH is false. Problem solved!
Bertrand Russell: Appearance and Reality In Chapter 1 Russell reconstructs a well-known philosophical problem that arises when we notice that our common sense beliefs concerning ordinary objects [that they are a) persisting, b) material objects with c) stable properties like shape, solidity, color, texture] conflict with our perceptual evidence (sense data) from which we infer the nature of ordinary objects. This is all derived from what some philosophers call the Thesis of Indirect Realism (TIR): that our access to ordinary objects is indirect, through intervening objects of our conscious attention that Russell calls ‘sense data’. Upshot: we have no direct perceptual contact with tables, chairs or people, but only with sense data, and what is true of sense data seems incompatible with many things we believe about tables, chairs and/or people.
Consequences Different philosophers have reacted differently to this problem. Berkeley: the world is nothing more than a collection of perceptions that depend on an existing, perceiving mind for their persistence. (Phenomenalism/Radical Idealism, Empiricist Branch) Leibniz: the world is not at all as we perceive it, but as a perfectly intelligent and logical Creator would create it (a ‘community of minds sharing information’) (Radical Idealism, Rationalist Branch)
Russell’s Reaction: The Method of Doubt (Descartes) As Descartes did in the Meditations, Russell tries to solve the ‘Appearance vs. Reality’ problem by finding ‘some more or less fixed point from which to start’: “Although we are doubting the physical existence of the table, we are not doubting the existence of the sense-data which made us think there was a table)” (p. 17)
What Can We Establish Based on the Indubitability of Sense-Data? Cogito ergo sum: we can know one thing beyond the existence of sense-data, i.e., our existence as thinking things! But: does Cogito ergo sum establish the existence of the Self? No: the thinking thing only knows it exists when it attempts to doubt its existence (Hintikka), but this does not show that its memory of existing in the past is accurate (Evil Demon could make this belief false, along with any belief based on memory)
What Beliefs Survive? Russell: our primitive certainty that what we are thinking and feeling, perceiving is what we are thinking, feeling, perceiving cannot be overturned Upshot: our sense-data cannot be doubted as sense-data, and this forms a starting point for our investigation into the existence of matter….i.e., our beliefs about the table as it seems cannot be doubted.
How Can This Be a Basis for Belief in ‘Public Neutral Objects’? What we want: public knowledge of objects whose persisting qualities are not overturned by differences among those private objects of consciousness, sense-data, perceived by different individuals. How we get it, according to Russell: Notice that while sense-data are private objects of consciousness, they show more characteristics in common than they show differences, and their differences can be accounted for using the laws of perspective, how light is reflected, etc. Upshot: The best (because simplest) explanation for these widespread similarities among my sense-data and yours is that there are permanent objects that stand as the common cause of our mildly-divergent sense-data.
How to Proceed from Here 1.Our belief in persisting, public, neutral objects is based on particular instinctive beliefs that are formed, not by philosophical argument, but naturally. 2.If we doubt instinctive beliefs, nothing is left. 3.These instinctive beliefs, and the noninstinctive beliefs they spawn, organize our experience in useful ways so long as they harmonize.
So….. 1.Let us proceed to discover which of our beliefs are instinctive, which are not, and among each, which we hold most strongly, which less so. 2.Then, by looking to retain all and only those beliefs of each kind that organize our picture of the world in a consistent and harmonious fashion, we will have constructed a consistent account of the world built upon mere sense- data!
The Nature of Matter Proceeding in the fashion just outlined, what can we establish about the nature of matter (i.e., of that underlying stuff out of which persisting, public, neutral objects are made)? Russell: why not consider what the physical sciences suggest as an answer to this question?
What Science Says about Matter Starting point: science says all natural phenomena can be reduced to motions. But what is moving? Answer: ‘gross matter’. What is that? Science says: something that has position in space and is capable of motion. Is this ‘gross matter’ what we see, hear, touch, taste and smell? Answer: No! What is it, then, and how is what we perceive related to it? Answer: it is the cause of our perceptions, but different from them.
That’s great, but how is this progress? Consider an exemplary physical object: a circular coin. As perceived it has different shapes for different perceivers, and the space in which it resides is perceived differently by each. The scientist’s coin has one, persisting shape and it resides in real space (which does not change depending on who is perceiving things lying in space) Upshot: there is a difference between perceived properties and actual properties of material objects, and if we can account for the difference, we can retain our instinctive belief in the existence of physical space (the unchanging space), and the persisting, circular coin with its stable set of properties.
Provisional hypothesis: Physical Objects Cause Sense-Data, but are not entirely like them This means that, among physical objects, we must be included, and our sense-data must be caused by a causal interaction between them and us. This implies that we and they exist in a common, public, so-called ‘physical space’, and the positions of perceived objects in perceived space must bear a systematic relationships to the positions of the physical objects in physical space that cause these perceptions.
What Can We Know about Physical Objects? Only how objects of perception correspond to them. What does that mean? That we can only know about what we directly perceive (sense-data), and how that corresponds to what we do not directly perceive (physical objects in physical space) Upshot: we cannot know physical objects as they exist in themselves
Strange Consequence “We can know all those things about physical space which a man born blind might know through other people about the space of sight; budt the kind of things which a man born blind could never know about the space of sight we also cannot know about physical space. We can know the properties of the relations required to preserve the correspondence with sense-data, but we cannot know the nature of the terms between which the relations hold.” (p.32)
More Consequences What is true of perceived space vs. physical space is true of perceived time durations/temporal order vs. physical time durations/temporal order Upshot: the time order of sense-data need not (and often cannot be) the time order of the events among physical objects that cause them. And what is true of time order is also true of all the qualitative features of the world as perceived through sense-data: they need not be like their causes, and generally are not (e.g., perceived color vs. reflective properties of material bodies)
Disturbing Final Consequence Given the often radical difference between world-as-perceived and world-as-neutral- public-object, and the fact that our ultimate evidence for belief in physical objects lies entirely in the content of purely mental phenomena (sense-data), we seem to have grounds for saying that matter is a) mental, b) physical, c) neither, and d) both. Oy!
Russell Chapter 5: Idealism The ‘disturbing final consequence’ mentioned in the last slide helps to promote the view that, given a) the mental nature of our evidence for an external, material world, and b) the radical difference between Appearance of that world and the putative Reality of that world, perhaps the world is really MENTAL. This is the thesis of idealism, broadly speaking.
But our Best Science says that Matter is Real, and not Mental Yes, but our best science is grounded in a mere correspondence between beliefs based on purely mental facts (sense-data), of which we can be certain, and beliefs based on the causes of those mental facts, which we take to be physical facts, but which are based entirely on indirect evidence, and hence are only inferred, and not certain (we could be mistaken given our evidence).
Some Idealists: Berkeley’s Argument a)Immediately known things: sense-data b)Nonimmediately known things: objects in the world Given that all we know about things mentioned in (b) is based on evidence of the type mentioned in (a), the very idea of the existence of (b)-type things consists in their being perceived, and so the idea that they can exist mind-independently is self- contradictory. Esse is Percipi!
Russell’s Rejoinder: “Being in the Mind” Fallacy Russell says that Berkeley failed to recognize that when was say “the tree is in our minds” we don’t mean literally that the tree is what we are conscious of when we have perceptions of it. For this reason, Russell thinks Berkeley’s argument that trees are mental entities is based on a fallacy.
Russell’s Mistake: The Linguistic Fallacy Russell assumes that what we should think about the status of trees is to be determined by how we speak ordinarily about them. Since we don’t mean that the tree is literally in our minds the way thoughts are in our minds, there is no reason to think trees are purely mental just because our evidence for them is entirely mental. But linguistic evidence of this kind cannot show that Berkeley’s actual argument is fallacious, since that argument is based on something Russell does not mention, but which is pivotal to understand Berkeley’s argument, namely, a theory of justification of belief that depends on an account of the origin of all concepts used in articulating our beliefs, including those for which we use words in our common language.
Upshot If ideas (mental content) precede linguistic entities (words) and what we say depends on what we first believe independent of linguistic phenomena, then Russell is making a mistake by appealing to how we talk about trees in evaluating Berkeley’s argument. If linguistic entities and ideas are equivalent and necessarily arise with and implicate each other, and the origin of language is coextensive with the origins of ideas, then Russell is on the right track.