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WEEK #4 THE UNITY OF VIRTUE (Protagoras) (2-7-06)

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Presentation on theme: "WEEK #4 THE UNITY OF VIRTUE (Protagoras) (2-7-06)"— Presentation transcript:

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2 WEEK #4 THE UNITY OF VIRTUE (Protagoras) (2-7-06)

3 Agenda Review Introduction to Protagoras  Introduction to Unity of Virtues  Other Substantive Theses and Issues  Outline of the Protagoras  The Unity of Virtues Doctrine  Vlastos’ view & argument  Penner’s view & argument  Protagoras 328d-330b  The Last Elenchos

4 Last Week to This Week Socrates’ Practice  Elenchos  Ignorance  Definition  Last Week’s Thesis  Testing Knowledge Claims  By Testing Consistency of Beliefs (not truth or falsity of thesis)  Alleged Consequence (objection)  Merely a Destructive Critic  But Positive/Constructive Theses  E.g., the Unity of Virtues in the Protagoras

5 Vlastos’ Misplaced Motivation It left me with this question: if that were all Socrates expected to get from the elenchus – exposure of his interlocutors’ inconsistencies – where did he find positive support for those strong doctrines of his on whose truth he based his life? If the elenchus, his only line of argument, gave those doctrines no rational grounding, what did? Grote had not been troubled by that question because he found it possible to believe that Socrates’ own positive convictions and his critical assaults on those of others ran on separate tracks. I could not. I could not reconcile myself to Grote’s missionary of the examined life who was a dogmatist himself.

6 Plato The gods are moral Virtue is knowledge Virtue makes one happy Weakness of the will is impossible It is wrong to harm your enemies

7 Questions Objections, responses, puzzles concerning last week’s thesis? Primary Questions for Tonight  What is the Unity of Virtues doctrine?  The virtues – courage, piety, justice, temperance, & wisdom – are in some sense the same  Vlastos/Penner debate  Why attribute this doctrine to Socrates or Plato?  S asks “whether excellence is one thing, and justice and soundness of mind and holiness parts of it, or whether all of these that I’ve just mentioned are different names of one and the same thing?” [Protagoras 329c6-d2; Taylor trans.]  Protagoras responds that they are different  S appears to ‘refute’ this answer in the remainder of the dialogue  But: Rep. IV, Euthyphro 12, Laches 198a1-b2  What defense does Socrates/Plato give for this doctrine (assuming he holds it)?

8 Laches 197e10-b2 Socrates:... And you, Nicias, tell me again from the beginning - you know that when we were investigating courage at the beginning of the argument, we were investigating it as a part of virtue? Nicias: Yes, we were. Socrates: And didn’t you give your answer supposing that it was a part, and, as such, one among a number of other parts, all of which taken together were called virtue? Nicias: Yes, why not? Socrates: And do you also speak of the same parts that I do? In addition to courage, I call temperance and justice and everything else of this kind parts of virtue. Don’t you? Nicias: Yes, indeed. Socrates: Stop there. We are in agreement on these points,... [Sprague trans.]

9 Other Items of Interest in Protagoras  Protagoras’ Great Speech  320c-323c  Theaetetus Denial of Akrasia (352a-357e) Hedonism  352a-357e  Gorgias 491d-499b  Irwin/Kahn  Simonides’ Poem (338e-347a)

10 Simonides’ Poem For a man, indeed, to become good truly is hard, In hands and feet and mind foursquare, Fashioned without reproach. Nor ringeth true to me That word of Pittacus -- And yet ‘twas a sage who spake -- Hard, quoth he, to be good.

11 Simonides & Akrasia For Simonides was not so uneducated as to say he praised those who do nothing bad of their own free will, as if there were people who do bad things freely. For I am pretty much of this opinion, that no intelligent man believes that anyone does wrong freely or acts shamefully and badly of his own free will, but they well know that all who do shameful and bad things do so other than freely. [Protagoras 345d6-e4; Taylor trans.]

12 Outline of Protagoras Dramatic Date: 433 I.Conversation w/ Hippocrates & the What is a Sophist Question (309a-314c) II.Arrival & Introductory Scene w/ Protagoras (314c- 317e) III.A Second Question (317e-328c) IV.A Third Question – UV I (328d-334c) V.An Interlude on Method (334c-338e) VI.Simonides’ Poem (338e-348c) VII.UV II (348c-360e) VIII.Paradoxical Conclusion (361a-d)

13 I. Conversation w/ Hippocrates A.Hippocrates thinks Protagoras is wise & wants to learn from him B.Socrates asks H. what a sophist is (312c) C.H. offers three answers which get rejected 1.The sophist is a person ‘knowledgeable in learned matters’ (312c6) 2.The sophist is master of the craft of making people clever speakers (312d6-7) 3.The sophist is someone who is master of the craft of making people clever speakers about what he (the sophist) knows. (312e3-4) D.Socrates’ answer: The sophist is a merchant or pedlar of goods for the nourishment of the soul; i.e. a merchant or pedlar of learning (313c4-7)

14 Protagoras 312b8-c4 ‘I mean that you are going to entrust your soul to the care of a man who is, as you agree, a sophist. But I should be quite surprised if you even know what a sophist is (hoti de pote ho sphistes estin). And yet if you don’t know that, you don’t even know what it is that you are handing your soul over to, not even whether it something good or bad’ ‘Well, at least I think I know,’ he said. ‘Tell me, then, what do you think a sophist is (ti hege einai ton sophisten)?’ [Taylor trans.]

15 III. A Second Question A.What benefit will H. receive? B.P. will teach him the political art 1.“the proper management of one’s own affairs, how best to run one’s household, and the management of public affairs, how to make the most effective contribution to the affairs of the city in both word and action.” [Protagoras 318e5-319a2; Taylor trans.] 2.Which Socrates understands with Protagoras’ approval as “the art of running the city, and to be promising to make men into good citizens.” ( [Protagoras 319a3-5; Taylor trans.] 3.By 320c1 this has been taken as equivalent to ‘teaching arete’ C.Socrates doubts that virtue can be taught 1.the Athenians don’t think so since they let any one advise concerning virtue but not concerning shipbuilding, for example. [319b-d] 2.virtuous people cannot hand on their virtue [319e-320b] D.P’s response 1.the Athenians are right to let everyone give advice re virtue - the Great Speech [320c-323c] 2.nevertheless, the Athenians think that it can be taught because they punish those who do not have it [323c-324d] 3.why good men have wicked sons [326e-328c]

16 IV. Third Question: UV I A.The Question Posed [328d-330b] - we will come back to this at length B.The First Elenchos: Piety=Justice [330b- 331c] C.The Second Elenchos: Temperance=Wisdom [332a-333b] D.The Third Elenchos: Temperance=Justice [333b-334c]

17 VII. Third Question: UV II A.Restatement of Positions [348c-349d] B.The Fourth Elenchos: Wisdom=Courage 1.An initial argument [349e-351b2] 2.Introduction of hedonism [351b-e] 3.The argument for the Superiority of Knowledge [352a-358d] 4.A second argument [358d-360e]

18 VIII. Paradoxical Conclusion A.Socrates: virtue is knowledge but cannot be taught B.Protagoras: virtue can be taught but is not knowledge

19 Unity of Virtues The Competing Interpretations Vlastos’ Equivalence View – the five virtue terms - ‘courage’, ‘piety’, ‘temperance’, ‘justice’, and ‘wisdom’ - are each names of different things, but that any one who has one of them has the others as well. –courage piety temperance justice wisdom –Cordate/Renate example Penner’s Identity View –the five virtue terms each refer to the same thing - what he calls a motive force –courage = piety = temperance = justice = wisdom –The morning star/evening star example Identity View Entails Equivalence View

20 Arguments for Vlastos The Identity View is implausible –Perhaps because it entails that the virtue terms mean the same thing Socrates is committed to the Parts of Virtue Doctrine elsewhere –Last elenchos in Laches –Meno 73d-75a –Gorgias462e ff. –Euthyphro 11e-12e

21 Laches 197e10-b2 Socrates:... And you, Nicias, tell me again from the beginning - you know that when we were investigating courage at the beginning of the argument, we were investigating it as a part of virtue? Nicias: Yes, we were. Socrates: And didn’t you give your answer supposing that it was a part, and, as such, one among a number of other parts, all of which taken together were called virtue? Nicias: Yes, why not? Socrates: And do you also speak of the same parts that I do? In addition to courage, I call temperance and justice and everything else of this kind parts of virtue. Don’t you? Nicias: Yes, indeed. Socrates: Stop there. We are in agreement on these points,... [Sprague trans.]

22 Last Elenchos 1.Courage is a part of virtue. [Laches 198a1-6] 2.Fearful things are future evils and daring things are future non-evils or goods. [Laches 198c2-4] 3.Courage is knowledge of fearful and daring things. [Laches 198c6-8] 4.The same knowledge knows future, present and past things. [Laches 199a6-9] 5.Then, courage is not only knowledge of fearful and daring things. [from [ii], [iii], and [iv]; Laches 199b9- c2]

23 6.Then, courage is knowledge of past, present and future goods and evils. [from [ii], [iii], and [iv]; Laches 199c3-d3] 7.If someone knows all goods and evils (past, present, and future), then that person is not lacking in any virtue. [Laches 199d4-e2] 8.Then, courage is not a part of virtue, but the whole of virtue. [from [vi] and [vii]; Laches 199e3-5] 9.[i] and [viii] are inconsistent. [Laches 199e6-10] 10.So, we have not discovered what courage is. [Laches 199e11-12]

24 Meno 73e1-74a6 Virtue, Meno, or a virtue? What do you mean by that? What I would in any other case. To take roundness, for instance; I should call it a figure, and not figure pure and simple. And I should name it so because there are other figures as well. You would be quite right--just as I say there are other virtues besides justice. What are they? Tell me. In the same way as I can tell you of other figures, if you request me, so do you tell me of other virtues. Well then, courage, I consider, is a virtue, and temperance, and wisdom, and loftiness of mind; and there are a great many others. [Lamb trans.]

25 Euthyphro 12c3-e5 Soc. Then we are wrong in saying that where there is fear there is also reverence; and we should say, where there is reverence there is also fear. But there is not always reverence where there is fear; for fear is a more extended notion, and reverence is a part of fear, just as the odd is a part of number, and number is a more extended notion than the odd. I suppose that you follow me now? Euth. Quite well. Soc. That was the sort of question which I meant to raise when I asked whether the just is always the pious, or the pious always the just; and whether there may not be justice where there is not piety; for justice is the more extended notion of which piety is only a part. Do you dissent? Euth. No, I think that you are quite right. Soc. Then, if piety is a part of justice, I suppose that we should enquire what part? If you had pursued the enquiry in the previous cases; for instance, if you had asked me what is an even number, and what part of number the even is, I should have had no difficulty in replying, a number which represents a figure having two equal sides. Do you not agree? Euth. Yes, I quite agree. Soc. In like manner, I want you to tell me what part of justice piety or holiness is that part of justice which attends upon the gods. is piety or holiness, that I may be able to tell Meletus not to do me injustice, or indict me for impiety, as I am now adequately instructed by you in the nature of piety or holiness, and their opposites. (Jowett trans.)

26 Arguments for Penner Fits Protagoras 328d-330b better Fits the four elenchoi in the Protagoras better Fits the end of the Laches and Charmides better Fits Socrates’ use of the ‘What is F-ness?’ question better

27 What is F-ness? Ubiquity in dialogues Euthyphro 6d9-11 –I did not bid you to tell me one or two of the many pious actions but that form itself that makes pious actions pious (Grube trans.) Nominal/Real Definition Priority of ‘Definition’ –If A fails to know what F-ness is, then A fails to know anything about F-ness (neither that x is F, nor that F- ness is G)

28 Early (Socratic)MiddleLate ApologyCratylusCritias* CharmidesParmenides*Laws* CritoPhaedoPhilebus EuthydemusPhaedrusPoliticus* EuthyphroRepublic^Sophist* GorgiasSymposiumTimaeus* Hippias Major#Theaetetus Hippias Minor Ion Laches Lysis Menexenus* Meno Protagoras

29 Laches  Conflict between  Courage is a part of virtue  Courage is knowledge of ‘daring & fearful’  Courage is knowledge of ‘daring & fearful’ entails courage is all of virtue  We are supposed to conclude that courage is all of virtue  It is knowledge of good and evil  It is not a part of virtue  Socrates, however, proposes that courage is a part of virtue (190d & 198a-b)

30 Charmides Conflict between  Temperance is knowledge of knowledge  Temperance is beneficial  The only thing beneficial is knowledge of good and evil, i.e., the whole of virtue  We are supposed to conclude that temperance is not knowledge of knowledge  Rather, temperance is knowledge of good and evil, i.e., the whole of virtue

31 The Questions Is virtue a single thing, with justice and temperance and piety its parts, or are the things I have just listed all names for a single entity? (329c6-d2; L/B trans.)  Either A.JTPCW are parts of virtue, or B.JTPCW are names for a single entity  Protagoras chooses A  Socrates does not immediately begin his argument against Protagoras (even assuming that is what Socrates does later)

32 Second Question Parts as in the parts of a face: mouth, nose, eyes, and ears? Or parts as in the parts of gold, where there is no difference, except for size, between parts or between the parts and the whole? (329d4-8; L/B trans.)  Either 1.Parts like parts of gold (similar), or 2.Parts like parts of a face (dissimilar)  Protagoras chooses 2

33 Clarification of Protagoras’ View Some individuals possess one part and not the other –Do some people have one part and some another, or do you necessarily have all the parts if you have any of them? –By no means, since many are courageous but unjust, and many again are just but not wise. (329e2-6; L/B trans.) Each part is different from the others (330a3)

34 Clarification Continued Each part differs from the other in itself and in its power. –And does each part also have its own unique power? In the analogy to the parts of the face, the eye is not like the ear, nor is its power the same, and this applies to the other parts as well: They are not like each other in power or in any other way. Is this how it is with the parts of virtue? Are they unlike each other, both in themselves (auto) and in their powers (dunamis)? (330a4-b1; adapted L/B trans.) None of the parts are like each other (330b3-6)

35 Vlastos’ Three Theses Option [A]: The Unity Thesis –the names of the virtues are all names of one and the same thing Option [B1]: The Similarity Thesis –the virtues resemble one another in all respects Option [B2]: Denial of Bi-conditionality –An individual can possess one of the virtues without possessing one of the others

36 First Elenchos 1.Justice is some thing [330c1] 2.Justice is such as to be just [330c4-6 & 330c7-8] 3.Holiness is some thing [330d2 & 330d3-4] 4.Holiness is such as to be holy [330d5-6] 5.None of the parts of virtue is such as to be another [330e4-6 & 331a2-3]* 6.Justice is such as to be holy and holiness is such as to be just [331a7-b1 & 331b2-3 & 331b6] 7.So, justice is the same thing as holiness, or very similar [331b4-5]

37 Second Elenchos 1.Intemperance is something [332a4] 2.The opposite of intemperance is wisdom [332a4-5] 3.If A acts correctly and beneficially, then A acts temperately [332a6-8] 4.A acts temperately by temperance [332a8-b1] 5.If A does not act correctly, then acts intemperately [332b1-3] 6.So, acting intemperately, is the opposite of acting temperately [332b3-4 & 332d4-6] 7.A acts intemperately by intemperance and temperately by temperance [332b4-6 & 332d6-e1] 8.“Something done in the same way, is done from the same, and something the opposite way from the opposite.” [332c1-2; Taylor trans.; & 332d3-4] 9.“each member of a pair of opposites has only one opposite” [332c8-9; Taylor trans. & 332d2-3] 10. Conclusion - 333a1-b6

38 Protagoras 333a1-b6 ‘Which of these theses shall we give up, then, Protagoras? The thesis that each thing has only one opposite, or the one that said that wisdom is distinct from good sense, both being parts of excellence, and not only distinct but dissimilar in themselves and in their powers, like the parts of a a face? Which shall we give up? For the two are not altogether harmonious; they are not in tune, nor do they fit together. How could they be in tune, if on the one hand each thing must have only one opposite, and no more, and on the other folly, a single thing, turns out to have both wisdom and good sense as opposites? Is that the way it is, Protagoras, or not?’ I asked, and he very reluctantly admitted that it was. ‘So good sense and wisdom would seem to be one and the same, would they not? And previously, you recall, we saw that justice and holiness were virtually the same.’” [Taylor trans.]

39 Third Elenchos 1.Some people act temperately in acting unjustly [333b8-c1 & 333d4] 2.To act temperately is to think well [333d5] 3.To think well is to plan well to act unjustly [333d5-6] 4.To plan well is to do in acting unjustly [333d7- 8] 5.Things beneficial to men are good [333d8-e1]

40 Restatement of Protagoras’ View Question Wisdom, temperance, courage, justice, and piety – are these five names for the same thing, or is there underlying each of these names a unique thing, a thing with its own power, each one unlike any of the others? (349b1-6; adapted L/B trans.) Answer All these are parts of virtue, and that while four of them are reasonably close to each other, courage is completely different from all the rest. The proof that what I am saying is true is that you will find many people who are extremely unjust, impious, intemperate, and ignorant, yet exceptionally courageous. (349d2-8; L/B trans.)


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