In this paper, we review Keith Lehrer’s account of the basing relation, with particular attention to the two cases he offered in support of his theory, Raco (Lehrer, Theory of knowledge, 1990; Theory of knowledge, (2nd ed.), 2000) and the earlier case of the superstitious lawyer (Lehrer, The Journal of Philosophy, 68, 311–313, 1971). We show that Lehrer’s examples succeed in making his case that beliefs need not be based on the evidence, in order to be justified. These cases show (...) that it is the justification (rather than the belief) that must be based in the evidence. We compare Lehrer’s account of basing with some alternative accounts that have been offered, and show why Lehrer’s own account is more plausible. (shrink)
There has been little scholarly attention given to explaining exactly how and why Socrates thinks that wrongdoing damages the soul. But there is more than a simple gap in the literature here, we shall argue. The most widely accepted view of Socratic moral psychology, we claim, actually leaves this well-known feature of Socrates’ philosophy absolutely inexplicable. In the first section of this paper, we rehearse this view of Socratic moral psychology, and explain its inadequacy on the issue of the damaging (...) consequences of wrongdoing. We then go on to provide our own account of the way in which injustice damages the soul, and then draw conclusions about how Socratic moral psychology should be understood. (shrink)
This book develops novel accounts of many of the most controversial topics in the philosophy of Socrates. The authors first develop Socrates' methodological, epistemological, and psychological views before examining his ethical, political, and religious convictions. The results reveals both the richness and the remarkable coherence of the philosophy of Plato's Socrates.
Thomas Brickhouse and Nicholas Smith offer a comprehensive historical and philosophical interpretation of, and commentary on, one of Plato's most widely read works, the Apology of Socrates. Virtually every modern interpretation characterizes some part of what Socrates says in the Apology as purposefully irrelevant or even antithetical to convincing the jury to acquit him at his trial. This book, by contrast, argues persuasively that Socrates offers a sincere and well-reasoned defense against the charges he faces. First, the authors establish a (...) consensus of ancient reports about Socrates ' moral and religious principles and show that these prohibit him from needlessly risking the condemnation of the jury. Second, they consider each specific claim made by Socrates in the Apology and show how each can be construed as an honest effort to inform the jurors of the truth and to convince them of his blamelessness. The arguments of this book are informed by a critical review of the scholarly literature and careful attention to the philosophy expressed in Plato's other early dialogues. (shrink)
In Part I of this paper, I argue that the arguments Plato offers for the tripartition of the soul are founded upon an equivocation, and that each of the valid options by which Plato might remove the equivocation will not produce a tripartite soul. In Part II, I argue that Plato is not wholly committed to an analogy of soul and state that would require either a tripartite state or a tripartite soul for the analogy to hold. It follows that (...) the heart of the analogy is not to be found in the comparison of the Kallipolis and its three parts to the soul conceived as tripartite, but rather must be supposed to reside in some other connection between the ways in which justice characterizes states and souls, and I will suggest what this other connection consists in. (shrink)
If God actually answers prayers that petition him for something, then it seems he is willing to withhold some good from the world unless and until someone prays for those goods. But how is this compatible with His benevolence? On the other hand, if God is dedicated to providing every good to us that we may need, it would seem that He would provide these to us even if we did not pray for them. But if so, it would appear (...) that petitionary prayer is pointless. This discussion reviews the various contributions made by philosophers in trying to answer these questions, and in criticizing these answers. (shrink)
Why would God make us ask for some good He might supply, and why would it be right for God to withhold that good unless and until we asked for it? We explain why present defences of petitionary prayer are insufficient, but argue that a world in which God makes us ask for some goods and then supplies them in response to our petitions adds value to the world that would not be available in worlds in which God simply supplied (...) such goods without our asking for them. This added value, we argue, is what we call ‘partnership with God’. (shrink)
Why would God make us ask for some good He might supply, and why would it be right for God to withhold that good unless and until we asked for it? We explain why present defences of petitionary prayer are insufficient, but argue that a world in which God makes us ask for some goods and then supplies them in response to our petitions adds value to the world that would not be available in worlds in which God simply supplied (...) such goods without our asking for them. This added value, we argue, is what we call 'partnership with God'. (shrink)
In the Protagoras, Socrates argues that each of the virtue-terms refers to one thing (: 333b4). But in the Laches (190c8–d5, 199e6–7), Socrates claims that courage is a proper part of virtue as a whole, and at Euthyphro 11e7–12e2, Socrates says that piety is a proper part of justice. But A cannot be both identical to B and also a proper part of B – piety cannot be both identical to justice and also a proper part of justice. In this (...) paper we argue that coherent sense can be made of Socrates'' apparently conflicting claims. The key to understanding Socrates'' position, we will argue, is the central role of wisdom among the virtues. It is through the relationship of each virtue to wisdom that each may be said to be the same as all of the others, on the one hand, and also that some virtues may be regarded as proper parts of some other virtues, or as proper parts of virtue in general, on the other. (shrink)
Plato's Euthyrphro, Apology, andCrito portray Socrates' words and deeds during his trial for disbelieving in the Gods of Athens and corrupting the Athenian youth, and constitute a defense of the man Socrates and of his way of life, the philosophic life. The twelve essays in the volume, written by leading classical philosophers, investigate various aspects of these works of Plato, including the significance of Plato's characters, Socrates's revolutionary religious ideas, and the relationship between historical events and Plato's texts.
Socrates is one of the most important yet enigmatic philosophers of all time; his fame has endured for centuries despite the fact that he never actually wrote anything. In 399 B.C.E., he was tried on the charge of impiety by the citizens of Athens, convicted by a jury, and sentenced to death (ordered to drink poison derived from hemlock). About these facts there is no disagreement. However, as the sources collected in this book and the scholarly essays that follow them (...) show, several of even the most basic facts about these events were controversial in antiquity, and the questions persist today: How and why was Socrates brought to trial? Why did the jurors, members of the world's first democracy, find him guilty? When he was given an opportunity to escape execution, why did he refuse to do so and instead accept the punishment that he and his friends agreed was unjustly assigned to him? How exactly did Socrates die? Differences of opinion on these and other issues continue to arouse our curiosity and to challenge new generations of students and scholars. The Trial and Execution of Socrates: Sources and Controversies is the first work to collect in one place all of the major ancient sources on Socrates' death--those of both his critics and his defenders--as well as recent scholarly views. Part I includes new translations of Plato's Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, and the death scene from Phaedo, as well as other ancient sources that shed light on Socrates' trial and execution. Part II features some of the most influential recent scholarship on this historically momentous event with work by M. F. Burnyeat, Robert Parker, Mark L. McPherran, Thomas C. Brickhouse and Nicholas D. Smith, Richard Kraut, Christopher Gill, and Enid Bloch (whose essay is published here for the first time). Ideal for undergraduate surveys of ancient Greek philosophy and upper-level courses on Socrates and Socratic philosophy, this unique collection provides an unprecedented look into the many perplexing questions surrounding the trial and execution of this remarkable man. (shrink)
The last several decades have witnessed an explosion of research in Platonic philosophy. A central focus of his philosophical effort, Plato's psychology is of interest both in its own right and as fundamental to his metaphysical and moral theories. This anthology offers, for the first time, a collection of the best classic and recent essays on cenral topics of Plato's psychological theory, including essays on the nature of the soul, studies of the tripartite soul for which Plato argues in the (...) Republic, and analyses of his varied arguments for immortality. With a comprehensive introduction to the major issues of Plato's psychology and an up-to-date bibliography of work on the relevant issues, this much-needed text makes the study of Plato's psychology accessible to scholars in ancient Greek philosophy, classics, and history of psychology. (shrink)
This volume brings together mostly previously unpublished studies by prominent historians, classicists, and philosophers on the roles and effects of religion in Socratic philosophy and on the trial of Socrates. Among the contributors are Thomas C. Brickhouse, Asli Gocer, Richard Kraut, Mark L. McPherran, Robert C. T. Parker, C. D. C. Reeve, Nicholas D. Smith, Gregory Vlastos, Stephen A. White, and Paul B. Woodruff.
In this paper, I argue that several of the main issues that became a focus for classical Greek philosophy were initially framed by Homer. In particular, Homer identifies a tension between justice and individual excellence, and problematizes the connection between the heroic conception of excellence and ``eudaimonia'''' (happiness). The later philosophers address the problems raised in Homer by profoundly transforming the way each of these terms was to be conceived.
In our reply to Rowe, we explain why most of what he criticizes is actually the product of his misunderstanding our argument. We begin by showing that nearly all of his Part 1 misconceives our project by defending a position we never attacked. We then question why Rowe thinks the distinction we make between motivational and virtue intellectualism is unimportant before developing a defense of the consistency of our views about different desires. Next we turn to Rowe’s criticisms of our (...) account of the prudential paradox and show these criticisms to rest on a misunderstanding. We close with some remarks about the implausibility and textual problems Rowe faces in denying that Socrates recognized a role for painful punishments. (shrink)
Philosophers’ appeals to the processes of natural selection that are adaptive in terms of survival provide an incomplete picture of what naturalists have available to them to make the sort of defense skeptics claim cannot be made. To supplement this picture, we provide evidence from what Darwin called “sexual selection” and also what others now call “social selection” to provide a more complete picture of why it is reasonable to suppose that evolution has supplied human beings and many other animals (...) highly reliable and also veridical cognitive processes. (shrink)
In this paper, I consider Plato's persistent and ubiquitous uses of imagery in the Republic, and compare his uses of images with what he says about the uses (and abuses) of imagery in the curricula he proposes for the kallipolis. I show how the dialogue itself might be suited to different levels of the proposed curricula--especially for those at the level of thought (dianoia)--but conclude that the dialogue was not intended to fit into the educational schemes of the 'kallipolis', but (...) was intended, instead, as educational for would-be lawgivers. (shrink)