What is the Socratic problem and why is it a problem?
The Socratic problem refers to the difficulty in understanding the true character and teachings of Socrates. This problem is occasioned by the fact that Socrates did not write any philosophical teachings (Soccio, 2010). Therefore, individuals rely on literature extracts that other people wrote about him. The use of this extents brings with it the challenge of identifying the accuracy of the information since two of the most reliable sources, Plato and Xenophon, have different views of him (Soccio, 2010).
According to Socrates, what is the psyche and what ought it tell us about ourselves?
According to Socrates, ‘psyche’ is simply a phenomenon that influences the ethical aspects of a person (Soccio, 2010). Therefore, it does not exist in the body, but it is in the form of the soul. Psyche influences our personality and character. For example, psyche is what determines if a person is truly happy or sad.
What is techne? What is virtue? How do these two terms relate to excellence of function?
Techne is a Greek word that means the practical knowledge needed to do things. It can simply refer to the skills, crafts, techniques, trade, art, or systems needed to accomplish tasks (Soccio, 2010). Virtue refers to the excellence in any activity that a person does (Soccio, 2010). Techne and virtue relate to the excellence of function since a person must have the technical skills, crafts, or trade and the willingness to do his/her very best in an activity for him/her to have the best results.
What is irony and how is the Socratic statement of “I know that I know nothing” an example of irony?
Irony is a way of speaking or organizing literal work so that what is spoken differs from the intended meaning (Soccio, 2010). The statement by Socrates “I know that I know nothing” is an irony since he was a wise man and he knew a lot. Furthermore, he used to give counsel to many people since he was knowledgeable.
What is the Socratic method (dialectic) and why does Socrates use it?
Socrates style of philosophical inquiry is known as the Socratic method (dialect) (Soccio, 2010). Socrates used this method to continually refine his audience’ ideas, determine the correctness of an argument or a fact, and to identify the truth or logic in a discussion.
According to Socrates, what is intellectualism (give at least two definitions for it)? What does intellectualism tell us about why people do ‘evil?’
According to Socrates, the acquisition of knowledge results in people having positive behaviors, which make individuals to avoid evil behaviors. Intellectualism can also be defined as the exercise and development of rationality and intellect (Soccio, 2010). From the definition of intellectualism evil people are usually not knowledgeable and rational.
Everything in this chapter relates to two statements Socrates made: “Know Thyself,” and “the unexamined life is not worth living.” How are these statements a reaction to the relativism of the Sophists? How can these two statements be related to the psyche, techne, virtue, and intellectualism?
According to the Sophists, there is no universal and objective truth. Instead, each point of view is relative depending on a person’s perspective (Soccio, 2010). Socrates statements “Know Thyself” and “the unexamined life is not worth living” imply that there is a universal truth if people were to examine themselves and realize their biases. Through a self-assessment, a person can identify his/her weakness, acquire appropriate knowledge and techniques, and be able to make intelligent judgments.
Plato’s philosophy, like Socrates, is a reaction to the Sophists and their teachings. What school did Plato start and what was its goal?
Plato established The Academic School around 388 B.C.E (Soccio, 2010). The primary objective of the school was to educate people who would be suitable in ruling a just state.
What is dualism? In Plato’s dualistic reality, in which “realms” are knowledge and belief found?
Dualism refers to the idea that the reality is not a single thing, but one that exists in two forms: one reality is in constant change (Heraclitean) and one that is eternally changeless (Parmenidean) (Soccio, 2010). Since knowledge and beliefs are always changing, they are in the sensible realm.
Explain in detail what a Platonic Form is and how/why Plato uses them and needs them for his philosophy to work.
Platonic Forms refers to independently existing, “nonspatial,” and “nontemporal” things that do not have senses (Soccio, 2010). Therefore, Plato notes that forms are ideas and concepts that are independent of any mind. Importantly, the use of Platonic Forms helps Plato to explain how knowledge exists, is shared, gained, and transferred from one person to another.
Plato’s Allegory of the Cave explains his entire philosophical outlook on ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, and social/political philosophy. It teaches us how we learn. Be able to briefly explain how the Allegory helps us become more aware and/or learn.
The Allegory of the Cave teaches us to become more aware and/or learn by enabling us to appreciate that our environment influences our thoughts, beliefs and attitudes. In this story, the prisoners who have spent their whole lives in caves have limited thoughts and ideas of how the world operates due to their small exposure. However, their thoughts increase when they are free and have the opportunity to interact with their environment (Soccio, 2010). This allegory helps us to become more aware and learn by encouraging us to continually interact with the environment, and not to have a fixed mindset since our current thoughts and understanding may be wrong, just like those of the prisoners in the cave.
What makes a philosopher-king…a philosopher-king? How does a person get to become a philosopher-king and what does Plato think their responsibility to society is (think of the Allegory of the Cave as explained through Plato’s work, The Republic)?
A person becomes a philosopher-king when he/she is trained and has natural experiences that enhance his/her wisdom and knowledge (Soccio, 2010). Due to their high levels of wisdom, philosopher-kings have a duty of guiding their societies in a fair manner.
According to Plato, what is virtue?
Plato opines that virtue refers to how excellently something is operating.
What is the difference between the instrumental theory of morality and the functionalist theory of morality? Give examples and state which theory Plato thinks is best.
According to the instrumental theory of morality, something is either right or wrong based on its consequences, whereas, in the functionalist theory of morality, right and wrong depend on its overall effects on how human beings functions (Soccio, 2010). For example, in instrumental theory, it is not wrong to commit adultery as long as you are not caught. In the functionalist theory, it is wrong to be adulterous even if you are not caught since it can affect the quality of the couple’s relationship. According to Plato, the functionalist theory is the best.
Name Plato’s three parts of the soul. Name Plato’s four cardinal virtues. Correspond each soul with its appropriate virtue and how briefly state how they complement each other.
Plato’s three parts of the soul are reason, spirit, and appetite. Plato’s four cardinal virtues are temperance, courage, wisdom, and justice. Appetite refers to the desire to satisfy physical wants. This behavior can be reduced if a person has enough temperance, which will make him/her not to yield to unjust and inappropriate desires. Reason is the attribute that enables a person to make rational and sustainable decisions (Soccio, 2010). For a person to establish such decisions, he/she must be wise enough to make appropriate decisions. Finally, spirit refers to the willingness to implement specific policies. Therefore, a person must have the courage and energy to face opposing forces. Once all virtues of the soul are working in perfect harmony, then there is justice.
Why does Plato think democracy is so “bad”?
According to Plato, democracy is bad since it violates the principle of functional order and rule by reason (Soccio, 2010). In particular, Plato notes that all individuals in a democracy will eventually try to fulfill their selfish desires, which can result in the lack of guidance and chaos.
Soccio, D. (2010). Archetypes of wisdom: An introduction to philosophy (7th Ed.). New York, NY: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.