Situationist social psychologists tell us that information about people’s distinctive character traits, opinions, attitudes, values, or past behavior is not as useful for determining what they will do as is information about the details of their situations.1 One would expect, they say, that the possessor of a given character trait (such as helpfulness) would behave consistently (helpfully) across situations that are similar in calling for the relevant (helping) behavior, but under experimental conditions, people’s behavior is not found to be cross-situationally (...) consistent (the likelihood that a person who has behaved helpfully on one occasion will behave helpfully on the next is hardly above chance).2 Instead, across a range of situations, the person’s behavior tends to converge on the behavioral norm for those situations. So situationists reason that people’s situations, rather than their characters, are the explanatorily powerful factors in determining why different people behave differently. They add that if behavior does not covary with character traits, then ordinary people, “folk psychologists” who try to explain and predict.. (shrink)
There is a mystery right at the heart of Plato ’s famous doctrine of the three parts of the soul, as this doctrine is presented in the Republic, Phaedrus and Timaeus: just what is a soul ‘part’? Republic IV tells us a way to distinguish soul parts, namely by the Principle of Opposites : since ‘the same thing will not do or undergo opposites in the same respect, in relation to the same thing, at the same time’, whenever we find (...) a thing that does or undergoes opposites in the same respect, in relation to the same thing, at the same time, we must partition it in such a way that each of the parts does or undergoes only one of the opposites in question. But this raises more questions than it answers: are these parts themselves simple? is the Principle of Opposites the only way to determine parts? what is there to being a soul-part other than being distinguished by the Principle of Opposites —is it to desire and pursue one of the characteristic pleasures identified at Republic 580d-81c, namely, the pleasures of truth for the reasoning part of the soul, of honour and victory for the spirited part, and of food-sex-drink, and as a means to these, money, for the appetitive part? (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.
rally best suited’. One would ordinarily suppose social justice to concern not only the allocation of duties but also the distribution of benefits. I argue that this expectation is fulfilled not by Plato’s conception of social justice, but by the normative basis for it, Plato’s requirement of aiming at the happiness of all the citizens. I argue that Plato treats social justice as a necessary but not sufficient means to happiness that guarantees only the production of the greatest goods; ensuring (...) that these goods are distributed so as to maximize the happiness of the whole city.. (shrink)
Plato’s Socrates famously claims that we want (bou9lesqai) the good, rather than what we think good (Gorgias 468bd). My paper seeks to answer some basic questions about this well-known but little-understood claim: what does the claim mean, and what is its philosophical motivation and significance? How does the claim relate to Socrates’ claim that we desire (e7piqumei=n)1 things that we think are good, which..
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The article resonates Plato's ideas on education and art. In the Apology, Socrates describes his life's mission of practicing philosophy as aimed at getting the Athenians to care for virtue; in the Gorgias, Plato claims that happiness depends entirely on education and justice; in the Protagoras and the Meno, he puzzles about whether virtue is teachable or how else it might be acquired; in the Phaedrus, he explains that teaching and persuading require knowledge of the soul and its powers, which (...) requires knowledge of what objects the soul may act on and be acted on by which, in turn, requires knowledge of nature. The article also looks at musical and gymnastic education's effects on the soul using images from metallurgy and dyeing wool, saying that prerational souls are “most malleable and take on any pattern one wishes to impress on them.”. (shrink)
Contrary to the Aristotelian interpretation of Empedocles' views about cognition, according to which all cognition, like perception, is due to the compositional likeness between subject and object of cognition, this paper argues that when Empedocles says that we know one thing 'by' another (e.g. earth by earth or love by love), he is characterizing analogical reasoning, an intellectual activity quite different from perception (which is explained by the fit between effluences and pores). The paper also explores the idea that strife (...) and love describe, in addition to physical separation and composition, the mental activities of analyzing and composing. (shrink)
Why did Plato conceive of the ideal community as a friendship? To answer this question, my dissertation begins by locating Plato's view of the role of friendship in politics within the context of contemporary Athenian ideological uses of the notion of friendship. With this background, it presents an interpretation of civic friendship in the Republic as an objectively specifiable relationship of mutual benefit and recognition. Against the view that Plato introduces the idea of friendship to provide virtuous people with a (...) motivation for acting altruistically, I argue that friendship, like other rational pursuits, must bring about the agent's own benefit. Plato uses the idea that rational people will desire beneficial friendships to motivate their self-improvement in virtue and wisdom. Thus wisdom, the knowledge of how to benefit others, be benefited oneself, and recognize it--rather than altruism--is the basis of friendship. However, because Plato claims a city-wide friendship for his ideal community, it is necessary to examine how people who are not wise can participate in civic friendship: how they can be benefited, so as to justify the city's claim to be a friendship, and how they can recognize these benefits, so as to be motivated to cooperate in the city's arrangements. The dissertation shows how one group of people who lack wisdom, the auxiliaries in the ideal city, can be truly benefited and recognize their benefit as such, and discusses tensions in Plato's account of recognized benefit to another group, the producers. (shrink)
This special volume of Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy presents sixteen specially written essays on virtue and happiness, and the treatment of these topics by thinkers from the fifth century BC to the third century AD. It is published in honour of Julia Annas--one of the leading scholars in the field.