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Andrew Lee- Political Philosophy Notes Page 1 of 5, Plato’s Republic

1/26/04- Book 1

Socrates- Defender of Justice (creates a best possible society)

Glaucon/Adeimantus= Thrasymachus work (Book 2)

1 st position of Justice- Cephalus, traditional view with rules, paying debts, etc. Piety & Justice, related together. Socrates refutes example with question of means and greater harms. Not ruling, but consequencesDoing good to your friends.

2 nd Position of Justice= Doing good to your friends and harm to your enemies.” (Loyalty vs. Traitors) A/T:


Medicine (Owed to each), when is justice useful? War?


Justice= useless things


Justice= stealing for friends

Conclusion- “Good to friends, harms to no one.”

3 rd position on Justice- “Justice is the advantage of the stronger.”


Tyranny, Democracy, Aristocracy (One, few, many)


Advantage of the whole?/ Advantage of the self?

A/T Polemarchus


Refutation turns on drawing an implicit comparison w/ arts, e.g. Piloting, etc. Art= ordered


body of knowledge (teachable). Examples of knowledge, “oist, completely outrageous, truth, and appropriateness What is good? Really is good.


Who are our friends?- Not harm to anyone, harm to bad to injustice.


Few or many promoting whole or self?

1/28/04- Book I

Socrates- Rulegood of the whole

?- Socratic Paradox- consistency/coherency

Concedes to Justice in Socratic sense

Justice= schmooze who plays by rules

Art= contrary to the Art itself

True ruler ~rule, paid

Most decent rulers= Penalty of worse rulers

1/30/04- Book I

Political Philosophy- A Knowledge that goes beyond the conflicting opinions and ties that to the political.

1 st impulse of philosophy is to be dismissive of the poltical.

The Republic examines our conflicting interpretations/views of justice.

Mere existence of conflicting opinions odes not indicate that there is no truth.

Plato doesn’t write treatises of dialogue

Socrates- ironical (questionable characters) interpret the dialogues as dramatic works. Plato as a writer talking about writing- it shold ll have meaning; each part essential as he tries to convey something.

He begins by creating a setting prayer: Religious reasons, seeing, knowing, learning: Theoretical reason why he is going to town.

The city of Athens is sponsoring the public event-


Religious observance is part of politics for the Greeks


Modern liberal political renounces theocracy in any form.


Two-fold observance: he I going down to pray and observe his duty of citizenship

Andrew Lee- Political Philosophy Notes Page 2 of 5, Plato’s Republic


Not an Enlightenment thinker as he thinks there is an underlying problem of seeking the truth (much more complicated)

Polemarchus- war leader (leader in war)


Tyranny- duality of life


Force and persuasion (which includes reasoning) are two ways to influence people


Clearest example (archetypical) of force is war, How can it be that you have right and reason

on your side, but you cannot prevail? Cephalus: Middle-aged, nearing the peak of his rational powers, domestic religious sacrifices occurring.

There is a sense that the head of the household is the priest of the household.

Cephalus is not bothered by being refuted, which is due in part to old age.

The discussion between Cephalus an Socrates is somewhat raw, which is representative of the character of Cephalus.

Delicate things do not bother them as the first view, e.g. sexual desire, is introduced.

Freedom is the waning (absence) of such desire points toward an important questions: what is freedom? Is following one’s desire really related to freedom? Is following one’s desire really related to freedom, for what if the desire is based upon stupidity, etc.? Thus, wouldn’t it require some form of reason.

Cephalus inherited most of his money, for which Socrates compliments him as not being an obnoxious SOB like those that make their own money. (They are overly attached to their $.)

Suggests fundamental idea: What’s good for usthere is an element about us that is attached to something that will get in the way for what is good for us.

2/2/04- Mid-Term: February 16

Education of the Soldier Class

Education of the soldier class- Book IV begins and ends (Noble lie) at the end. Early education,

soldier classpower, rule exploitatively, expropriations, gen. plunder. Citizens- Soldiers ~under control.

Epitome- Small Greek Polis ~ American

Gods aim at the good/ ~bad/ Achilles- view disgrace worse than death

Telling the truth vs. lying. Ruler when necessary, noble lie.


Music- philosophic


Gymnastics- spiritual

Education: Pre-rhetoric, Human soul (Philosophic dogs), Music prepares

Rulers: Justice- Artisans vs. Soldiers

- Reliably and solidarity, Choose rulers, nobly born lie- citizens born from the earth, ought to defend it.

- Natural division of the city

2/4/04- Mid-Term

Intermediate questions: What is Thrasymachus’s definition: Book I? Book II: Glaucon’s view as a challenge to Socrates? Philosophic dogs? Chief feature of the education of soldiers? Line of argument against Polemarchus? Noble lie?

Houses and barracks


Soldiers ~ money-makers, own personal needs


Houses of soldiers ~ money-making


Ruling class ~ gold/silver= pursuit of the precise sense

Andrew Lee- Political Philosophy Notes Page 3 of 5, Plato’s Republic


Pursuit of the whole


Satisfy Adeimantus

Wealthy vs. poverty, wealthy vs. religious

Each pursue art. $ can corrupt a person.

Wealth in foreign policy. A/T- 1) Many more powers. Allies w/o spoils.

A/T Domestic: 2) Maximal independence to the good of the whole.

Parts of the soul and parts of the city


2) Courage


3) Moderation

4) Justice


Maybe Piety.

Name 3, leaves Justice in order to figure it out.


Wisdom- Knowledge, hopefully rulers.


Courage- Soldier class.


Moderation- Runs through the whole self (soul) has parts, moderation, self-control. Usurp


control. Ought to rule, rebellion of those parts. Ordering reasonable commands over multifarious whole. Justice- One man, one art. Nature and endowments to rulers. Becomes the synthesis.

2/6/04- Book V

Philosopher-King (Glaucon/Adeimantus)

Polemarchus: First-mover, digression/completion, rulers: women & children “Things belong to friends, share things in common.”

Really has been chosen: ordering of the city.

Modern Cartesian approach [Mind/Body] vs. [Soul/Body]

Materialists- Epicurean & Body/Soul

1. Virtues between Justice & Moderation, covered by conception of the soul? THINK about these.

2. ~Realm of actions?- good ordering of the soul? THINK about these.

Book V splits:

1. WomenEqual treatment

2. Family (procreation, children)family

Only with soldier-ruler class. Indicates:


Tough matter to discuss. Give me a break, says Socrates.


Going to be. How do you get the best? Eugenics (Good births). Breed the best w/ the best.

- Sacred lotteries which are rigged. Blame the lottery. Shows that ppl will ~obey their rulers~permanent unions, ~natural offspring, ~competition

Unitysame things as good. Privacy/Private interestsProblems

Is it possible?- Philosophers rule, in accordance w/ nation.

2/9/04- Book V, Book VI “in the precise sense”


What is philosophy?


How, in fact, do philosophers relate to the political community?


How, in the best city, should philosophers relate to the city?


How should this best city go about educating the populace?

Allegories: Ship, Cave, Sun

Philosophersrule (possibilities)

Andrew Lee- Political Philosophy Notes Page 4 of 5, Plato’s Republic


Rulers happen to be Philosophers

Socrates- “Justice, Dead, w/o wisdom.” Eros of knowledge, wisdom, etc.

Big distinction between knowledge, ignorance, and opinion. Knowledge is the most demanding sense.

Information vs. Real Knowledge (truth)

State of becoming


Hereclitus- All beings are in a sense of becoming. Ponta Rei- everything changes, flows.


Ordinary experience= Hereclitus sense.


Being= State of Gravity


Present in the state- clear sighted, sharp-sighted, philosophers

Philosopher’s are not part of the struggle for the ship’s helm, but in the study of the heavens.

Stand out for an early age, City’s philosophers are corrupted by the city.


Grows up in bad polis


Sickness, frailty


[Look up]

Sun is the cause of the visible. Good is the cause of the good or something.

2/11/04- Book VI

Four levels of being/thought (1,2= imagination, trust; 3,4= intelligible)


Images/shadow of being


Sensory things/ ~ shadows


Thought- Mental image


Intelligible- True form, necessary truth, Truth also built upon other mental images

Cave- those in power, those carrying artifacts. Lawgivers- poets creating the real/unreal, behind the fire.

Thus, education- solution, is not the pitcher being filled, but the turning of the cavemen. Good lies vs. Bad lies. Book VII

How to educate philosophers, Educate them and they will pay back- Parents to fields



2) Virtues 3) Good Book VIII

Injustice= tyrant, orderings of the soul.


Best political regime(declines) Timocracy (honor)- rules, Best regime= complete


communism, reinstitution of family & property (picks up where Book IV left off). Honorpolitical office, have military, divide up property Ruling class= military aristocracy (Sparta, Coriolanus). Son of a philosopher becomes timocratic type. Oligarchy appears- Ruled by the few (property qualification). Money/wealth, ~ more honor,


etc. Money in place of honor. Creates class warfare. Democracy- Realistic, Comes about through faction, it pursues distinct vision o the good.


Wealth, more wealth is good. Ruled by the rich, leader of the poor.

Professor Nichols:

I was wondering on the nature of the philosopher ruler: Is the knowledge of the philosopher ruler based in the present? It seemed in your descriptions of the knowledge of philosopher rulers that they had true knowledge, but in doing so, they were stuck in the clouds.

Andrew Lee- Political Philosophy Notes Page 5 of 5, Plato’s Republic