Reading Schedule and Resources

Class Time: M/W 10:30-11:50 Am

Office Hours: M/W 12:00-2:00pm

Books Ordered:

Plato, The Republic, ISBN-10: 0465069347 (Basic Books)

Plotinus, Enneads, 014044520X (Penguin)

Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, ISBN 0-87220-192-9 (Hackett)

Spinoza, Ethics, ISBN 0140435719 (Penguin)


Topic: Plato and the Perennial Questions


1. BBC In Our TimesSocrates

2. Philosophy Bites, “Edward Craig – What is Philosophy?” (podcast)

Reading Schedule:

Mon, 9/10     Plato, Apology

Wed, 9/12     Plato, Republic, Book I (Cody M.)

Mon, 9/17      Plato, Republic, Book II-III (Laura S.)

Quiz 1 (multiple choice, short answer), 5pt.

Wed, 9/19      Plato, Republic, Book IV-V (Natalie C. and Alex F.)

Mon, 9/24       Plato, Republic, Book VI-VII (Melanie G. and Rachel M.)

Wed, 9/26      catch-up day

Mon, 10/1      Plato, Republic, Book VIII (Hayley B.)

Wed, 10/3    Plato, Republic, Book IX-X (Sarah R. and Nikita Q.)

Quiz 2 (multiple choice, short answer), 5 pt.

Topic: Plotinus–Neo-Platonism and the Transcendence beyond Being


1. Plotinus, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

2. BBC In these TimesNeoplatonism podcast. 

Reading Schedule:

Wed, 10/3 (continued from Plato’s Republic)

Porphyry: “On the Life of Plotinus and the Arrangement of his Work.” (Meghan C.)


Wed, 10/10   Plotinus, Enneads Book 5.1, 5.3 and 5.5 (Tiffany B.)

Mon, 10/15   class cancelled.

Wed, 10/17   Plotinus, Enneads Book 5.5, 6.7, 6.8 (Brianna D.)Plotinus,

Enneads Book 6.9 (Robin M.)

Mon, 10/22  Plotinus, Enneads pp. 251-266, 275-285

Quiz 3 (multiple choice, short answer), 5 pt.

Topic: Cartesian Dualism and the Nature of Reason


  1. Philosophy BitesA.C. Grayling on Descartes’ Cogito” (podcast)
  2. BBC, In Our Times“Mind/Body Problem” (podcast)

Reading Schedule:

Wed, 10/24    Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, Meditations 1-2 (Bogart R.)

Mon, 10/29    Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, Meditations 3 (Nick C.)

Wed, 10/31    Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, Meditations 4-5 (Jillian C.)

Mon, 11/5  Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, Meditation 6 (Jeremi B.)

Quiz 4 (multiple choice, short answer), 5 pt.

Topic: Spinoza and Nature’s Immanence


1. BBC, In Our TimesSpinoza podcast.

2. “Spinoza,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Reading Schedule:

Wed, 11/7    Spinoza, Ethics, Book I (Matt W. and Taylor H.)

Quiz 5 (multiple choice/short answer), 5 pt.

Mon, 11/12    Spinoza, Ethics, Book II (Laura G. and Kaitlin B.)

Wed, 11/14    Spinoza, Ethics, Book III (Eilish C. and Vanessa M.)

Quiz 6 (multiple choice/short answer), 5 pt.

Mon, 11/19    Spinoza, Ethics, Book IV (Nicole C. and Jessica M.)

Wed, 11/21    Catch-up day.

Quiz 8 (multiple choice/short answer), 5 pt.

Mon, 11/26     Catch-up day, final exam review.

Wed, 11/28     Final Exam (Study Guide)


19 thoughts on “Fall 2012, PHL 1200: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY

  1. The Republic Book I
    In the beginning of Book I Socrates is on his way home from a religious festival when he and Glaucon run into Polemarchus and are invited back to his home. Here Socrates has a brief dialogue with Polemarchus’ father Cephalus, which begins with Socrates asking Cephalus about the road of life; feeling he may learn something due to Cephalus’ old age. This proves to be true because when Cephalus states that by shedding his youthful appetites and by being orderly and contented old age is only moderately onerous. This intrigues Socrates to ask about how Cephalus’ wealth has helped ease getting older. To which he replies that his wealth has aided him in making sure he has paid all his debts and owes no one anything. Cephalus states that wealth benefits the good and orderly man because in paying what is due to people, as well as gods, men can go on to Hades with a free conscience. This leads Socrates into asking whether or not to speak the truth and repay what one has borrowed is a sufficient definition of justice. Here Cephalus gives leave to take care of a sacrifice and lets his son Polemarchus dialogue with Socrates.
    Polemarchus argues that what Simonides states is just is the definition of justice, that being that it is just to give each what is owed. Socrates through elenchus begins to question if this really is a sufficient definition. Socrates first examines who deserves what in regards to something good or bad. Polemarchus, at first, believes that justice means doing good by his friends and bad by his enemies; until Socrates shows Polemarchus that people can not only mistake friends for enemies and vice versa, but that no person should be harmed at all. For harming someone would only make them become worse, or unjust, and a just person would not do such a thing. Here Polemarchus concedes his argument and agrees that his definition of justice was incorrect which gives way to Thrasymachus interrupting and giving them his definition of justice.
    Thrasymachus believes that justice is nothing more than what is advantageous for the stronger. Meaning rulers make and enforce rules and laws that are beneficial to them. Socrates argues, again through elenchus, that rulers sometimes make mistakes and therefore cannot always do what is advantageous. Thrasymachus then moves to be more precise in that rulers, by craft, always know what is best and never make errors so that what they decree is always advantageous for them. Socrates then argues that, in the precise sense, all crafts do what is advantageous for that with which it deals not itself because it has no further needs; which Thrasymachus eventually agrees with. Now Thrasymachus moves to argue that injustice is both profitable and advantageous to oneself; that injustice is fine and strong and can be included with virtue and wisdom. Socrates then argues that no just person wants to be better than another just person, but does want to do better than an unjust person. This leads into Socrates saying that a knowledgeable person only wants to be better than an ignorant one and that a knowledgeable person is a wise one and a wise one is a good one. Also, Socrates mentions that injustice causes factions and chaos, both within groups and within oneself so to as stop any attempt at succeeding in any venture. This shows that justice is more powerful than injustice. Finally, through their dialogue, it is established that justice is a soul’s virtue and a just man will live well and unjust man badly. This, in turn, leads to the fact that a just person is blessed and happy, and it is profitable to be happy, thus injustice is never more profitable than justice.
    Although Socrates has confounded his interlocutors, he still admits at the end of Book I that as far as he is concerned he knows nothing because he still does not yet know what justice truly is, what kind of virtue it is, or whether someone that possesses it is happy or not.

  2. The Republic of Plato Book IV
    Chapter X
    Adeimantus started this book by asking Socrates about the happiness of the Guardians. He states that if the Guardians are not supposed to gather wealth then they will be unhappy. Socrates replies that it is not the job of the just city to make one particular class happy but rather to “secure the greatest possible happiness for the community as a whole” (Conford 107). He uses the analogy of a painted statue, someone might feel that having crimson eyes would be the most beautiful but, when coupled with the rest of the statue, crimson eyes would look out of place.
    Socrates goes on to say that you could give wealth to any level of society and they would cease to be good for the community, a rich potter would not mold, a rich farmer would not till.
    Chapter XI
    It is decided that the Guardians should also guard against richness and poverty among the artisans. As wealth makes one lazy while poverty makes one’s work suffer.
    Socrates claims that his state will not have to worry about war because the Guardians will know how to fight instead of just the theory of fighting that their richer counterparts know. I do not know how he can make this rebuttal. He says also that if two states were to attack at once the just state would go behind the lines to make a deal with one country saying that they will give all the spoils of war to that state.
    To keep factionalism to a minimum Socrates says that the community should not be allowed to grow too large nor remain too small. The Guardians will have an easier time determining what the community should do because they are well educated and therefore reasonable men. He also says that as time goes on the community will breed better and better guardians because they will constantly improve themselves and thus their offspring.
    Plato, through Socrates, says that poets should be censored because it is from them that radical change stems. This change could be detrimental to the community. On the subject of music and poetry Adeimantus says “It is certainly there that lawlessness easily creeps in unobserved.” (Conford 113)
    It is decided that, while poets will be watched, other aspects of life will not be the choice of the state. Rather thinks like the care of the elderly will be taught but not enforced as it would be difficult to enforce such a rule.
    There is some discussion about invalids who do not realize that if they eat and drink too much then no medicine, surgery or amulet will help to heal them. In this discussion the Invalids represent a state that is not perfect. They constantly enact new laws and amend them trying to reach an ideal that can only be reached through breeding as in the Just State.
    At the end of this chapter Plato, once more, defends Socrates Apologia when he says that the religious aspect of the society would be left to the Delphic Oracle because who was man to know how such godly matters work. It would be better to leave such things to the God himself elsewise man would surely get it wrong.

    Chapter XII
    Socrates declares the state complete and starts to look for justice and injustice within. They determine four aspects of a good community that must all be present: Wise, brave, temperate, and just.
    The first of these to be identified in the community is Wisdom. The knowledge of this community will reside with the smallest number of people – the guardians. Despite the fact that a smithy would know about metal work or a carpenter about wood only the guardians will be considered wise.
    Next comes Courage. Socrates feels that courage is easy to spot because when the Greeks thought of courage they thought of the members of society who fought for their state were the courageous or cowardly ones. Therefore the only people who needed to be examined were the Auxiliaries. The definition of brave given is that it “possesses the power to preserving, in all circumstances, a conviction about the sort of things that it is alright to be afraid of….”(Conford 120). Socrates goes on to say that this is preserving something despite pain, fear, pleasure or desire.
    Socrates next identifies Temperance among the ideal city. Socrates takes this to mean that a man has a good half and a bad half and he is temperate when the good half is stronger than the bad half. He says that this better half is made stronger when a man uses his reason above his impulses, therefore, in his perfect, reason driven society all of the free men will be temperate. Temperance will reside within both the governed and the governors.
    The last to come is Justice. Socrates first postulates that justice it to mind one’s own business much in the same way that the society is divided so that those best suited to rule are. That people should only be concerned for what is theirs. Socrates connects the moral idea of justice with the court of law saying that the point of a law suit is to make sure that “neither party shall have what belongs to another of be deprived of what is his own.” (Conford 125).
    Chapter XIII
    Socrates says that if a man gifted in craft tries to enter the Auxiliary or if a man of the Auxiliary were to try to enter the Guardians then this would spell chaos for the society, thus it would be unjust.
    The gathered men start to shrink the perfect city down into one man when they run into their first issue: Does a soul consist of the three elements from the city (Leader, Warrior, Worker/Wisdom, Courage, Temperance)?
    Socrates says that he cannot divine what is in the soul for certain but looking at the way that the people of the Mediterranean Sea acted it appears as though they are made up of the three parts described above.
    Plato then has Socrates explain that the hunger of the soul is governed by the anger which is in turn governed by the reason of the soul. These three elements are represented in the city by the workers, auxiliary and guardians respectively.

  3. Protocol for Book VI
    Melanie Greening

    In this book, Socrates and Glaucon begin the dialogue by agreeing that, in their discussions of the last chapter, they have reached the point of who the true philosophers are. They agree that philosophers are the only people who are able to understand and grasp what is always the same in all respects. This is known as the Forms.
    The question of whether there is any difference between the blind and those who are deprived of the knowledge of the Forms is discussed. Socrates considers painters those who cannot grasp the Forms. He believes painters cannot make reference to conventional norms concerning beautiful, just, or good things on earth. This seems to be because painters spend time creating what they think is beautiful. As a result, the rational belief of what actually is becomes faded in practise.
    The discussion of a philosopher’s nature arises. Socrates and Glaucon agree that philosophers love the type of learning that makes some aspect of being clearer to them. They agree that philosophers practise truthfulness, justice, temperance, and courage. They also agree that philosophers are naturally good at remembering and are quick to learn. Because philosophers are so inclined toward these pleasures of the soul it makes them indifferent to pleasures of the body.
    Adeimantus replied to Socrates by suggesting that perhaps philosophers are rendered useless to cities and are not the best candidates to be rulers. Or at least he finds the notion unfathomable. Socrates uses the following image to express his view that philosophers are perfect rulers:
    A ship-owner is being persuaded into giving up his title to sailors, who all believe they should be captain of the ship. When one succeeds in overthrowing the ship-owner, it is imagined that the others are infuriated and fight amongst the ranks for the honorable title. He says the sailors do not understand that to be captain, one must pay attention to all aspects of the craft –seasons changing, the sky, the winds. To be captain means being called a stargazer, a useless babbler, and a good for nothing. This explains “why the good ones are useless”.
    Adeimantus and Socrates further the dialogue by discussing how the nature of being useless, or in other words, virtuous, is corrupted. Beauty, wealth, physical strength, powerful family connections and the like are suggested to be the main causes of corruption for a philosophical life. They agree that the best natured people come off worse in reputation in contrast with the majority of people who are inferior natured and whose minds are occupied and in turn warped by their crafts.
    Socrates reflects on his own character by saying his diamonion sign has kept him out of politics, and that nothing healthy is in politics. He says philosophy is not suitable in current cities and furthermore philosophy is like a foreign seed sown in alien ground.
    Socrates then wonders aloud how a city can engage in philosophy without being destroyed, as all great things are prone to fall, and as the saying goes, beautiful things are really difficult.
    Socrates says the divine model for cities to follow is only achievable by the difficult upbringing of true philosophers. However, one philosopher king would be plenty to guide the masses to adopt a divine constitution.
    Adeimantus says that laziness is the reason the philosopher king has not been conjured into existence before.
    Socrates says that people strive to achieve what they believe is good, however it is clear that there are plenty disagreements as to what the true good is, and in this area, everyone distains mere reputation.
    Socrates is in debt to describe the father of good, but begins in describing the offspring of good. He begins by saying that good is similar to the sun, in that it helps to view things clearly. The objects of knowledge owe their being known to the good, but their existence and being is also due to the good. And the good is far superior to being in rank and power.
    Glaucon replies: “By Apollo, what daimonic hyperbole!”
    Glaucon and Socrates agree that in finding truth four conditions apply. Socrates decides, to an intelligible argument toward truth the four conditions are understanding at the highest, thought comes next, then belief, and imagination last. Combined proportionally will result in the clarity of truth.

  4. Plato’s Republic: Book II:

    • In book one of Platos republic Thrasymachus had defined justice as “nothing other then what is advantageous for the stronger”.
    • In book two Thrasymachus leaves the dialogue and Glaucon steps in to take his place. The discussion about justice continues.
    • Glaucon would like to accept Socrates argument that justice is better than injustice but he is not yet satisfied with Socrates explanation.
    • Glaucon reiterates Thrasymachus’ argument and adds to it by saying that “all who practice justice do so unwillingly as something compulsory not as something good”.
    • Glaucon continues to argue on behalf of Thracymachus by saying that life is more rewarding for an unjust man than a just one. Particularly if the unjust man appears to be just, therefore incurring honors and reputation consequent upon the appearance of justice.
    • He describes a situation of two men possessing a magic ring of invisibility. One of these men is just and the other in unjust. Glaucon says no one would be incorruptible that he would stay on the path of justice when he could do whatever he wanted without impunity.
    • Adeimantus (Glaucons brother) chimes in to the conversation saying that parents and poets praise the reward of justice. He explains that they do not praise justice itself, they praise the reputation it brings (good marriages, political offices etc).
    • He also says that gods can be bribed and influenced by ritual sacrifices and pleasant games. The gods will forgive you if you can offer them things. This seems to support the argument that life of an unjust man is better then life of the just.
    • Adeimantus says that “[he] should create a façade of illusory virtue around [him] to deceive those who come near but keep behind it the greedy and crafty fox of the wise Archilochus”
    • In order to further the discussion of justice Socrates decides to verbally construct an ideal just state. He does this in order to find out what sort of thing justice is in cities.
    • The city is driven by the mutual needs of its people: food, shelter and clothes.
    • The city becomes a collection of everyone’s abilities. People depend on each other for different types of things. Not one person can master every type of craft. Therefore in the city everyone practices what he/she is best suited to practice (for the benefit of everyone in the city).

    Plato’s republic Book III:

    • Socrates continues the discussion of the just city. He now discusses what stories should and shouldn’t be told in the city.
    • He says that citizens should be taught to honor the gods and their parents and to value friendship.
    • Citizens must not be schooled to fear death, they should be taught to be courageous. Therefore any stories about the sufferings in Hades should not be told.
    • Citizens should be trained physically at a very early age. They should be trained to be like dogs, who are loyal to their master and family but will courageously attack any threat to the family or neighbor.
    • Any stories that reflect any type of injustice should not be told.
    • Children should not be taught to imitate anything that is bad, even in representational literature. This encourages intemperance.
    • Children should not be taught to lie.
    • Any type of indulging should not be allowed, this includes gluttony, drunkenness or any form of sexual licenses.
    • Only stories that depict the gods as being good will be told because god is of good things only. God does not need to shape-shift or alter itself.
    • In order for the city to function Socrates explains that there should be a divison of power. There should be (a) Guardians: who are rulers that create just laws, (b) Auxiliaries: who aid the rulers in policing and defending and (c) producers/craftsmen who conduct necessary day-to-day activities.
    • In order to ensure citizens loyalty to the community and their class, Socrates says there should be one noble lie told to the citizens.
    • The lie is constructed so the city appears just. He makes all men believe they are born with a pre-determined fate. They have different metals running through their veins. Some have gold, some bronze and some silver. This is how rulers, producers and soldiers are determined

  5. Book VII of Plato’s Republic begins with the continuation of Socrates’ and Glaucon’s search for a legitimate representation of the good. In searching for this, Socrates introduces the allegory of the cave which is a metaphor used to illustrate the nature of education and our need for education.
    In the allegory of the cave, prisoners are kept in a dark cave for their entire life, where they are chained so that they cannot move their heads and therefore are forced to stare straight ahead. There is a fire burning far behind them, which is the only light that they are provided with. Through the light, they can see shadows of their captors carrying various artefacts, such as statues of humans and animals. Due to the fact that these prisoners have spent their whole life in this cave, they are confident in the belief that these shadows are real life because it is all they know. This demonstrates the first and lowest stage of education: imagination. Socrates now imagines that a prisoner is being set free of his bonds, and let out into the real world. He states that this prisoner would not be accustomed to anything that the real world has to offer due to the life he has lived thus far, and therefore would be forced to slowly adjust and become educated. He would begin to grasp how the light from the fire and the statues created shadows. Then, would come to realization that, while in the cave, the shadows he was seeing were not real life, but projections of real life. He would accept that the objects creating these projections are now the most real things in the world, and this demonstrates the second stage: belief. The third stage represents the prisoners’ first glimpse of the absolute most real life things, such as flowers, trees, houses, and other objects. The final and highest stage of education that the prisoner faces is the stage of understanding. He looks up and sees the sun, which represents the Form of good, and realizes that it is the “source of the seasons and the years, and is the steward of all things in the visible place, and is in a certain way the cause of all those things he and his companions had been seeing” (210)
    Socrates then insists that the prisoner, who is now enlightened with knowledge of the absolute most, must re-enter the cave to inform his fellow prisoners of the outside world and the knowledge that it holds. The prisoner, who now possesses knowledge, also possesses power and can be of great help to others who are in the cave and still living in ignorance. Socrates and Glaucon continue their conversation, when Glaucon asks Socrates “we are to treat them unjustly, making them live a worse life when they could live a better one?” (213). Glaucon appears confused, as if he finds that unjust and absurd. This is when Socrates reminds us that the duty of the ruler of a state isn’t in making one person happy at the expense of someone else’s’ happiness, but in creating happiness for the state as a whole.
    Socrates then begins to discuss mathematics and its importance in determining the truth. He then lists the types of math which are most essential: arithmetic, geometry, solid geometry, astronomy and harmonics. Socrates points out that these are only the building blocks of the truth, and not a deep and philosophical form of education. Socrates then organizes education for the youth, and rejects his past theory that guardians must be old men because he comes to the realization that young people are the ones who we can steer in the right direction – the direction of the good.
    Socrates then asks his audience to relate this metaphor to everything that has been said thus far. The unenlightened man is represented by the man who is trapped in the cave, and the enlightened man is represented by the philosophers. The main goal of education in the allegory of the cave is to help every man escape the cave. Socrates states that the goal of education is not to fill an empty soul with knowledge, but rather to steer a soul in the right direction. Socrates believes that the vision of a clever and wicked man could possibly be as sharp as that of a philosopher. The problem with this is when the man turns his vision towards something that is not good. Once the mind of a man is going in the right direction, he may no longer contemplate the ideas of the good. The cave in the metaphor corresponds to the realm of belief.
    At the end of the allegory, Socrates explains that it is the philosophers’ burden to re-enter the cave. People who have seen an ideal world have the ability to educate those who are living in a world similar to the cave. Socrates also explains that only a philosopher is fit to rule a city, for he recognizes the true good.

  6. Book VIII
    Hayley Bremner

    This book begins with Socrates summarizing the topics that he and Glaucon agree on so far: that women, children (and their education), and all pursuits are shared, and that those who prove themselves to be the best are the ones who should become kings. He continues on by describing the 4 different kinds of constitutions, other than aristocracy, that are worth discussing. He categorizes these as: Creton or Laconian constitution (later defined as timocracy or timarchy), oligarchy, democracy, and tyranny. Socrates says a perfect aristocratic society will decay, going from each of these poisonous constitutions. If we look at the defects of each, along with the corresponding men who are similar to them, we are able to see which one is the best and the worst, and more importantly to see if the best is the most happy and the worst is the most wretched. These four poisonous cities are each established when different factions begin to develop in the previous constitution.

    Socrates quotes the Muses by describing that factions are formed over time in an aristocratic society by rulers making small mistakes that eventually lead to the wrong types of people being in positions of power. Eventually, the “perfect” society will break into two factions, one whose focus is on moneymaking and another whose focus still lies in virtue and in the old political system. A compromise is developed between them, where land is distributed as private property and producers are turned into slaves. The rulers are still respected, with focus on physical training yet they are all scared to elect any wise rulers so they instead choose spirited, yet simple, rulers since he is more inclined for war than peace. The type of man who corresponds with this timocracy is described as someone who has an aristocratic father, who is always encouraging him, and a bad mother, who is always pulling him toward love of money. The boy grows up to be a moderation of both parents: a proud and honor-loving man.

    This timocracy is slowly transformed into the system of oligarchy which is a constitution based on a property assessment (rich rule while the poor don’t participate in anything). Since the good people start being honored less and less while the wealthy are honored more and more, the system eventually revolves completely around wealth. Socrates describes the major defects of oligarchy: since the leaders are appointed based on the wrong reasons, they are not fit to rule; the city is divided into the rich and the poor; the rulers fear the people too much to be able to arm them in order to prepare for war; there is no element of specialization; and worst of all, there are people in this society who do not fit into any of the main classes of producer, auxiliary and guardian (ie: beggars and criminals). The man that corresponds with this oligarchy society is the son of a timocrat, where he loses his father and ends up being thrown into poverty, all alone. Once he has slowly begun to recover and make money again, he is a slave to appetite and is driven only by the desire for more money. He has evil tendencies but they are kept in check because of his carefulness with wealth.

    This society will eventually decay even more and become a democracy, where rulers change the laws so they can become richer and richer by giving loans to young people who waste their wealth. Eventually the poor revolt and start their own constitution where everyone has an equal share of ruling. The most important thing in this society is freedom, yet there is no order or harmony and no one occupies their proper roles. The corresponding man of the democratic society is the son of an oligarchic man. His father hordes his money while he appreciates the unnecessary desires that society presents him with and lives with moderation. He is eventually led astray from this lifestyle when he is manipulated by his peers. He now thinks that all pleasures are equal and so he yields to whichever one he sees fit whenever he likes.

    Democracy is the freest level of society, yet it eventually decays into tyranny, which is the most confined. Due to no proper ruling, another revolt is formed by the poor. The leader of this revolt ends up becoming a tyrant in order to make sure he can preserve power. Since the good people are a threat to him, he has them killed off, while everyone else is enslaved. A tyrant uses constant war as a way to distract the people from the ways in which he is maintaining control over society. Socrates does not yet describe what specific type of man is considered to be a tyrant until book 9.

  7. Book IX:

    Book VIII ends off in analysing tyranny, so following in Book IX Socrates depicts the characteristics of a tyrannical soul. Beginning as the other three souls did, it evolves from the previous, namely the democrat. However, unlike the democratic soul, the tyrant is ruled by lawless desires. He tends toward terrible appetites hidden within the dreams of others such as, incestuous relations with his mother and commission of foul murder. These appetites are present in all, but typically are kept in check by lawful appetites allied with reason, and therefore, only alive in fantasy. A healthy or temperate person will awaken the rational element before they sleep, they will neither starve nor overfeed the appetitive element, and will sooth the spirited element. However, these fantasies are very much awake in the tyrant. This is proven through his willingness to kill his father in a time of desperation and to succumb to a life of thievery if need be. Consequently, the tyrant will live out his existence friendless and without freedom. If what was proven previously is still true, the depicted city will emulate the depicted soul; therefore, a tyrannical soul shall be enslaved, wretched, poor, and full of fear. Overall, it seems as though the life of the private tyrant is to be the least happy; however, Socrates demonstrates he is second only to the political tyrant. This point is exemplified in depth through the following: If a god lifted a private (tyrannical) citizen – along with his family and slaves – and placed them in a deserted place the tyrant would not be happy. For one, he would be afraid of his slaves, due to the way he treated them in the past, and would in turn begin fawning them and setting them free. As well, if the same god places neighbours – who do not tolerate anyone claiming mastery over another – around this family, the tyrant would fear them and therefore be trapped in a prison that is his house. Hence, he is truly poor for he cannot satisfy his appetites. This explanation ultimately invalidates the previous definition of justice by proving the unjust man (the tyrant) is the least happy.

    Socrates goes on to describe the three primary types of people: 1) philosophic or learning-loving, 2) victory-loving or honour-loving, and 3) money-loving or profit-loving. Each of these types believe their life is best; however only the philosopher is the finest judge, for he has experienced all three. This demonstrates the best life is one of truth-seeking. He extends this matter by claiming the only real pleasure is that of the philosophic life – where the other types are only relief from pain and therefore not positive. So, where the negative pleasures will never be truly fulfilled, the philosophical desire – by grasping the form of the Good – will.

    Socrates later depicts a multi-headed beast combined with a lion and a human contained within the shell of a human being. If such a man behaves unjustly, he is feeding and strengthening the beast and the lion, and starving and weakening the human. He also does not accustom the three parts to one another and therefore, leaves them to fight and devour each other. Whereas, if the same person acts in a just manner, the inner human is given the greatest mastery and shall take care of the beast as a farmer, make the lion’s nature his ally, and care for all in common to make them friends. Various vices are demonstrated through this creature as well. Stealing gold shall enslave the best part of himself to the most wicked; intemperance will give the multiform beast more freedom than it should have; stubbornness and peevishness will increase the lion and snake-like elements in the human; luxury and softness will produce cowardice; flattery and illiberality (the spirited element) will make him more like an ape than a noble lion; and menial work and handicraft will not be able to rule the beast within.

    Finally, Socrates declares it is best for everyone to be ruled by divine reason, ideally in oneself, but alternatively to have such reason imposed from the outside.

  8. Robin Murphy
    Summary: Plotinus, Enneads 6.9

    Plotinus is considered to be the founder of Neo-Platonism. From his reading of Plato, he developed a complex spiritual cosmology involving three foundational elements: the One, the Intelligence, and the Soul. It is from the productive unity of these three Beings that all existence emanates.

    This section began with the discussion of unity, “It is in virtue of unity that beings are beings” (535). Unity is a central concept in Plotinus’ doctrine: the One as the absolutely simple ultimate principle which is the cause of all other unity that there is; the more unified something is the more of a being it is. “Even the individual soul, is a manifold, though not composed of parts”. The organization, regularity and beauty that are evident in the world of everyday experience, all of which may be said to express its unity, cannot be explained in terms of its parts. “Collective Being contains life and intelligence- it is no dead thing- and so once more, is a manifold” (537). The unity revealed in the sensible world is in Plotinus’ view far from perfect but it gives the sensible world the reality it has. The same may be said of our experiences of ourselves: introspection will show that the human soul has a more perfect kind of unity than anything pertaining to the body, although even the soul does not have unity of itself. Thus, the world of everyday experience, the external world and our mental life, point beyond themselves to a higher level of reality which is its principle.

    Plotinus enumerates three underlying principles of reality: the One, the Intellectual Principle, and the Soul. The One is the highest principle of reality, and is the Good. The One transcends Being and Knowing. The Intellectual Principle is the next highest principle of reality, and determines the realm of Being. The Intellectual Principle is an act (or image/emanation) of the One. The One created the universe by progressive emanation, first into a purely spiritual form, Intellect, then into Soul.

    The Intellectual Principle illuminates the Intellectual Soul. The Soul is an act, image or emanation of the Intellectual Principle. The Intellectual Soul is the highest phase of the Soul, followed by the Reasoning Soul, and finally by the Unreasoning Soul. The soul is composed of a higher and a lower part — the higher part being unchangeable and divine, while the lower part is the seat of the personality. The soul turns toward the Intellectual. The good not within us turns down to the sense world, whereas the good within us turns up toward the absolute. “Soul must be sounded to the depths, understood as an emanation from Intellectual- Principle and as holding its value by a Reason Principle thence infused. Our sciences are Reason Principles lodged in the soul or mind, having manifestly acquired their character by the presence in the soul of Intellect- Principle, source of all knowing”. (540)

    The Intellectual Principle is the highest principle of Being. The Reason-Principle is the next, followed by the Nature-Principle. Each of these Principles of Being is an Ideal-Form, and is not a compound of Form and Matter. Nature may be a Reason-Principle which is found in the World of Real-Being. Therefore, nature must be an act of contemplation by the Soul. However, it may also be without a Reason-Principle, as well as an object of contemplation by the Soul.

    Matter is essentially indefinite, and is undefined by the Reason-Principle. Matter is soulless, lifeless, and bodiless. Matter is indeterminate, Reason is determinate. A Reason-Principle may coexist with Matter, but Matter is essentially empty of the Reason-Principle. It is initially formless, but may be shaped by Ideal-Forms. It is also necessary for the body, and may be shaped into the Form of the body.

    According to Plotinus, Evil can only exist as a lack of Good. Human beings are free to choose their own actions, and are not forced to be evil. He claims that Necessity is a universal relationship, and that it is not a force which predetermines the actions of individuals or which compels them to act in a particular manner. The freedom of the Soul is affirmed by the Soul’s illumination by the Intellectual Principle so that the Soul is able to act according to the Good. “The soul in its nature loves God and longs to be at one with Him”. (546)

    Plotinus agrees that the Good transcends Being, and transcends the world of Forms and Ideas, the Intellectual Principle reveals that Knowing is the same as Being, that bodily forms are subject to endless change, and that the One is eternal. “This is the life of gods and of the godlike and blessed among men, liberation from the alien that besets us here, a life taking no pleasure in the things of earth, the passing of solitary to solitary”. (549)

  9. Plotinus Enneads
    5.5 6.7 6.8
    The 3 Hypostatses of Reality:
    The one
    The intellectual principle
    The soul
    That The Intellectual Beings are not Outside the Intellectual Principle: And the Nature of the Good
    In this section of Plotinus’ Enneads the Intellectual Principle is largely contemplated by Plotinus. We learn that the intellectual Principle must remain intellegent, it must know all, it must never forget, and it must never guess. If the Intellectual Principle were to find itself in any of these errors, or failling to be in the reality it would no longer be intellegent and therefor no longer the Intellectual Principle.
    Sense knowledge: ‘objects seem most patently certified , yet the doubt returns whether the aparent reality may not lie in the states of the percipient rather than in the material before him; the decision demands intelligence or reasoning.’
    – page 391-392
    Is Plotinus talking about physical objects? Is he saying that they (or their ‘worth’) solely exist in our mind/the mind of whomever encounters them?
    Or is he talking about traits? The good, the truth, justice?

    Plotinus paints a picture of the Intellectual Principle with these ‘objects’ , he explains that contact with these ‘objects’ is necessary for the Intellectual Principle to know said ‘objects’. And obviously, since it may never come in contact with them, it may never know them.
    Plotinus goes on to bring up the idea of Intelectual Objects in a unity with the Intellectual Principle. He goes on to suggest that if Objects of Intellectual Principle are intellegent, they posses intelect and the combined intellectual realm will be the ‘Primal Intellect’
    What does Plotinus mean by ‘Primal Intellect’?
    Is it in reference to the pairing of Intellectual Objects with the Intellectual Principle?
    Plotinus then presents us with the oposite, suggesting that if objects of Intellectual Principle lack intellect and life, what are they? They cannot be true or logical, and if they are distinct beings outside of the Intellectual Realm, they cannot be included in any unity. Plotinus asks questions to help define the individualism of the objects, if this is how they existed.
    Where are they, and what spatial distinction keeps them apart?
    How does the Intellectual Principle come to meet with them as it travels round?
    What keeps each true to its character?
    What gives them enduring Identity?
    What Conceivable shape or character can they have?
    Plotinus presents us with ‘the great argument’: If we recognize that said objects of intellection are not within the Intellectual Principle, which in turn must see them as external, then it inevitably cannot posses the truth of them.
    What does plotinus mean when he said “…then it inevitably cannot posses the truth of them.”
    When Plotinus continues he says “In all it looks upon, it sees falsley; for those objects must be authentic things; yet it looks upon them without containing them and in such knowledge holds only their images; that is to say, not containing the authentic, adopting phantasms of the true, it holds the false; it never possesses reality.”
    Who/what is the it? The Intellectual Object, or the Intellectual Principle?
    Plotinus concludes that Intelectual Ideas are not outside of Intellectual Principles. To strip an object of the truth, and make it unknowable would be to annul the Intellectual Principle istelf.
    Plotinus goes on to define the truth as the ‘Godhead’ entire.
    Is the ‘Godhead’ the most devine?
    What Is the Supreme Monarch? Is it a metephor?
    Who is the purely one?
    How the Multiplicity of the Ideal-Forms Came into Being; and on the Good
    In this section Plotinus addresses that the Gods gave us all the appropriate senses and organs to survive the elements. He questions how they knew to do this, and dimisses immediately that it could have been trial and error and that there could have been similar beeings beofre us.
    Plotinus then raises another question- Do souls already posses sensative powers, or does God give them senses and organs alike.
    If the souls are given both, it means that prior to possessing the powers they had no sensation.
    If the souls did posses senses from their beginning, it may imply that they became souls to be given organs. Which in turn means it is unnatural for them to be outside of a process and within the intellectual. This concept means that the souls were made with the intent that they belong somewhere else:
    “Either sense perception or intellect . But sense-perception does not yet exist: intellect is life; yet, starting from intellect, the conclusion will be knowledge, not therefore the handling of the sensible; what begins with the intellectual and proceeds to the intellectual can certaintly not end in dealings with the sensible. Providence, then, whether oveer living beings or over the sensible universe in general, was never the outcome of plan.” What does this mean?
    Plotinus both says there is a plan and says that there cannot be a plan. What is he referring to when he explains the ‘this to avert that’? Is he speaking in general? How can it be applied to the situation of the God(s) planning?
    Plotinus explains that the present of the Devine is the future elsewhere.
    Is it this way so that the Gods could mold the outcomes, knowing the future before it happened?
    Quotations to go over:
    “Now if a man is a reasonable living being and by living being is meant a conjoint of soul and body, the reason-principle of man is not identical with soul.”

    1. Continued: 6.8
      This Chapter contemplates the working defininition of power, and who really has the control.
      Is each soul different? Or do we all attain the same definative “power”?

      Does power = free will?

      Plotinus questions the legitimacy of omnipotence (unlimited power), and adresses an underlying issue, how far does our freedom extend?
      To answer these questions, Plotinus believes we must first identify “What is in our power?”.
      Do we attribute our pwer to the Gods, do we deny it, do we acknowledge it but still question it?

      Quotations to go over:

      “My own reading is that, moving as we do amid adverse fortunes, compulsions, violent
      assaults of passion crushing the soul, feeling ourselves mastered by these experiences, playing slave to them, going where they lead, we have been brought by all this to doubt whether we are anything at all and dispose of ourselves in any particular.”

      Is this a refrence to the soul BEING controlled and not IN control?
      What does Plotinus mean by “…Whether we are anything ar all and dispose of ourselves in any particular?”

      “This would indicate we think of our free act as one which we execute of our own choice…” Is Plotinus saying we only believe we have power, and that we are really controlled by our desires in this paragraph?

      “Everything will be voluntary that is produced under no compulsion and with knowledge; our free act is what we are masters to perform.”
      Couldn’t in be argues that a compulsion drives everything? What are some example of these “voluntary” situations?

      “ignorance is not compatible with real freedom: for the knowledge necessary to a voluntary act cannot be limited to certain particulars but must cover the entire field.”
      One must know all to act voluntarily, or at least know all in one subject to act voluntarily in that subject.
      Does Plotinus’ view mirror Socrates? If you know nothing, but know you know nothing, is that the same as knowing all? Or does Plotinus believe you can achieve a knowledge of everything?

      ” but then comes the question whether apetite stirs the calculation or the calculation the apetite.”
      What is “calculation”?

      “Taking it that the presentment of fancy is not matter of our will and choice, how can we think those actiong at its dictation to be free agents? ”
      What is meant by Fancy?

      “Effort is free once it is toward a fully recognized good; the involuntary is, precisely, motion away from a good and towards the enforced, towards something not recognized as a good;servitudelies in being powerless to move toward ones good, being debarred from the preferred path in menial obedience.”
      Is Plotinus saying free will is the will towards the good?

      “So in all cases of fine conduct; there is always some impinging event leading out our quality to show itself in this or that act.”
      Without reason we do not act, Is plotinus saying reason controls our will?

      “Virtue and Intellectual-Principle are sovran and must be held the sole foundation of our self-disposal and freedom; both then are free…”
      Is this Plotinus saying we are not free?

      What does Plotinus mean by: “Soul becomes free when it moves without hindrance, through intellectual principle, towards the good; what it does in that spirit is its free act; Intellectual Principle is free in its own right.”
      Is the only truely free thing the Intellectual-Principle?

      “Even being is exempt from happening: of course anything happening happens to being, but being itself has not happened nor is the manner of its being a thing of happening, or derivation; it is the very nature of being to be; how then can we think that this happening can attach to the Transcendent of being. That in whose Power lay the very engendering of being?”
      What is Plotinus saying?

      Final questions: What is Plotinus’ final view on freedom and power? Who has it? Who/What is in control?

  10. Robin Murphy
    Summary: Plotinus, Enneads 6.9

    • Plotinus’ theory is based around three major principles: The One, The Intellectual Principle, and The Soul.
    • It is from the productive unity of these three Beings that all existence emanates.
    • This section begins with the discussion of unity, “It is in virtue of unity that beings are beings” (535).
    • Unity is a central concept in Plotinus’ doctrine: the One as the absolutely simple ultimate principle which is the cause of all other unity that there is; the more unified something is the more of a being it is.
    • “Soul, while distinct from unity’s very self, is a thing of the greater unity in proportion as it is greater, the authentic being. Absolute unity it is not: it is soul and one soul, the unity in some sense a concomitant; there are two things, soul and soul’s unity, as there is body with body’s unity”. ( 536)
    • Unity cannot be explained in terms of its constituent parts. “Collective Being contains life and intelligence- it is no dead thing- and so once more, is a manifold” (537).
    • We are in search for unity, therefore we must turn inward to think the One, and turn away from the sense world.
    • The unity revealed in the sensible world is in Plotinus’ view far from perfect but it gives the sensible world the reality it has.
    • “We are come to know the principle of all, the Good and First; therefore we may not stand away from the realm of Firsts and lie among the lasts: we must strike for those Firsts, rising from things of sense which are the lasts”. (538)
    • Page 540: “‘Not to be told; not to be written’: in our written and telling we are but urging towards it”. Is this referring to the fact that we shouldn’t speak of the One because it involves the use images that drag us down toward the sense world?
    • The One is the highest principle of reality, and is the Good. The One transcends Being and Knowing.
    • “Those to whom existence comes about by chance and automatic action and is held together by material forces have drifted far from God and from the concept of unity”. (540)
    • “Any manifold, anything beneath The Unity, is dependent”. (542)

    • The Intellectual Principle is the next highest principle of reality, and determines the realm of Being.

    • The Intellectual Principle is an act (or image/emanation) of the One.

    • It is discussed throughout this section that the One is absolute perfection, whereas Intellectual Principle (or the forms) rely on the One, therefore is not perfect. All parts depend on the One, but the One does not depend on anything.

    • The One created the universe by progressive emanation, first into a purely spiritual form, Intellect, then into Soul.
    • The Soul is an act, image or emanation of the Intellectual Principle.
    • The Intellectual Soul is the highest phase of the Soul, followed by the Reasoning Soul, and finally by the Unreasoning Soul.
    • The soul is composed of a higher and a lower part. The soul turns toward the Intellectual. The good not within us turns down to the sense world, whereas the good turns up toward the absolute.
    • “Soul must be sounded to the depths, understood as an emanation from Intellectual- Principle and as holding its value by a Reason Principle thence infused. Our sciences are Reason Principles lodged in the soul or mind, having manifestly acquired their character by the presence in the soul of Intellect- Principle, source of all knowing”. (540)
    • Plotinus speaks of the soul as a center/circle of wholeness. “It owes its origin to what is whole, and it will be still more entire when severed from body”. (544)
    • Evil can only exist as a lack of Good. Human beings are free to choose their own actions, and are not forced to be evil. The freedom of the Soul is affirmed by the Soul’s illumination by the Intellectual Principle so that the Soul is able to act according to the Good.
    • “The soul in its nature loves God and longs to be with Him in the noble love of a daughter for a noble father, but coming to human birth and lured by the courtships of this sphere, she takes up with another love, a mortal, leaves her father and falls. But one day coming to hate her shame, she puts away the evil of earth, once more seeks the father, and finds her peace.” (546)
    • The Intellectual Principle is the highest principle of Being. Each Principles of Being is an Ideal-Form, and is not a compound of Form and Matter.
    • Matter is essentially indefinite, and is undefined by the Reason-Principle; it is soulless, lifeless, and bodiless.
    • It is initially formless, but may be shaped by Ideal-Forms. It is also necessary for the body, and may be shaped into the Form of the body. Matter exhausts emanation in a plurality of physical beings that have a kind of negative existence but are essentially Non-being or absence of Being.
    • Souls find their ultimate destiny in escape from matter (Non-being) and return to the One (Being).
    • Plotinus agrees that the Good transcends Being, and transcends the world of Forms and Ideas, the Intellectual Principle reveals that Knowing is the same as Being, that bodily forms are subject to endless change, and that the One is eternal. “This is the life of gods and of the godlike and blessed among men, liberation from the alien that besets us here, a life taking no pleasure in the things of earth, the passing of solitary to solitary”. (549)

  11. Meditations on First Philosophy In Which the Existence of God and the Distinction of the Soul from the Body are Demonstrated
    Rene Descartes

    Mediation One: Concerning Those Things That Can Be Called into Doubt
    • Descartes explains that he had procrastinated writing these Mediations. He waited until he was able to move past his doubt of his beliefs.
    • This is termed hyperbolic doubt.
    • Descartes shows that he accepts his beliefs as his own, and that they are not to be put off any longer: “I think, therefore I am.”
    • He says that certain principles that persuaded him to believe in anything before his Meditations must be addressed first.
    • Everything he formerly believed in was based on senses. Either belief from the senses or belief through the senses.
    • Senses are deceptive. “I have noticed that the senses are sometimes deceptive; and it is a mark of prudence never to place our complete trust in those who have deceived us even once.” (Descartes 14)
    • He saw his Meditations in his dreams.
    • Descartes compares dreams to being awake: “There are no definite signs by which to distinguish being awake from being asleep.”
    • Imagination is considered false. He describes a painter’s original artwork as concocting something utterly novel, fictitious and false.
    • Components of true images (colour, for example) and false images (imaginary things) make up thought.
    • Thought, therefore, can be true or false.
    • Corporeal nature is extended into: shapes of things, quantities (size and number of things), where they exist, and the time frame of existence.
    • Do not suppose God is to blame for deceptions in thought.
    • All external things are pushed away for the Mediations: “I will regard myself as not having hands, or eyes, or flesh, or blood, or any senses, but as nevertheless falsely believing that I possess all these things.”
    • Descartes says that laziness is the cause for turning away from the Mediations.
    • “I am not unlike a prisoner who enjoyed an imaginary freedom during his sleep, but, when he later begins to suspect that he is dreaming, fears being awakened and nonchalantly conspires with these pleasant illusions” (Descartes 17)
    • This was one day of meditation for Descartes.

    Mediation Two: Concerning the Nature of the Human Mind: That it is Better Known Than the Body
    • Descartes begins Mediation Two with expressing more doubt: “It is as if I had suddenly fallen into a deep whirlpool; I am so tossed about that I can neither touch bottom with my foot, nor swim up to the top.”
    • Push away all things of corporeal nature to begin the Mediation.
    • Descartes searches for any truth: “Archimedes sought but one firm and immovable point in order to move the entire earth from one place to another.”
    • What is the reference?
    • Memories are pushed away for the Meditation because with memory comes imagining (false!) things (false!).
    • Corporeal nature is throughout memories.
    • “Body, shape, extension, movement, and place are all chimeras.” (Why would he call these chimeras? Does he mean to say these things are false?)
    • Descartes moves away from hyperbolic doubt: “What then did I used to think I was? A man, of course. But what is a man? Might I not say a “rational animal”? No, because then I would have to inquire what “animal” and “rational” mean.”
    • The body is made up of parts. (Face, hands, arms, legs) and relies on senses for its desires. (The sensation of hunger is satisfied with food.)
    • The power of self-motion, sensing, and thinking do not belong to the body.
    • Thought exists without considering the body.
    • Descartes declares: “Yet I am a true thing and am truly existing; but what kind of thing? I have said it already: a thinking thing.”
    • When you see something, you not only take in the visible form, you use “the faculty of judgement” within your mind to determine what it is.
    • Descartes is trying to separate the perception of body and other things; he uses wax as an example, from the mind.
    • He concludes that perception is solely due to intellect, which is from the mind.
    • Nothing can be perceived more easily than one’s own mind.
    • “But since the tendency to hang on to long-held beliefs cannot be put aside so quickly, I want to stop here, so that by length of my meditation this new knowledge may be more deeply impressed upon my memory.”

  12. Descartes: Third Meditation – Summary

    • Descartes classifies all thoughts of images, and things from the sense world as worthless.
    • Certain that he is a thinking being, he enters the contemplative mindset.
    • Wonders what is required for him to be certain.
    • Anything that he perceives as certain could possibly be proven false. So he states that it is a “general rule that whatever I perceive very clearly and distinctly is true.” (Descartes, 35)
    • Doubts credibility of the simplest truths (like 2+3=5) on the grounds that God may be deceiving him, but since he is unsure whether or not God exists he cannot make this conclusion.
    • Decides to “examine whether there is a God and, if there is, whether he can be a deceiver.” (Descartes, 36)
    • Two forms of thoughts: 1. Thoughts of images. 2. Thoughts containing images + something more (eg. Volitions, emotions, judgements.)
    • Judgements are only thought forms that can be dangerous.
    • He has not clearly perceived the origin of his ideas. Are they innate, or do they come from outside of him?
    • Notices that he cannot control whether or not he experiences sensations (eg. Heat)
    • The most obvious judgement is that the “thing in question transmits to me its own likeness rather than something else.” (Descartes, 38)
    • The reason he thinks his ideas resemble things that exist outside him comes from nature, or a “spontaneous impulse”, not that its truth has been revealed by a natural light.
    • Descartes distinguishes the “natural light” and “spontaneous impulse”: Anything revealed by the natural light “cannot in any way be open to doubt” while the spontaneous impulses seem to be pushing us away from the good. (Descartes, 38-39)
    • This impulse makes us believe that things exist & transmit ideas/images of themselves through the senses or in some other way.
    • He explains that we cannot think of the eminent idea of something without first knowing of the formal idea. Ie. We cannot conceive of the idea of heat without first experiencing the sensation of heat. (Objective and formal reality)
    • The effect gets its reality from its cause.
    • Something cannot come from nothing.
    • There must be a primary idea that cannot be reduced to any prior ideas. A first idea.
    • If he thinks of an idea so great, that’s he’s sure it doesn’t exist in him formally or eminently (ie. He is not the cause of it) then he is not alone in the world, and something else has caused this idea to exist.
    • Corporeal ideas originated within him. Falsity can occur only in judgements.
    • Descartes sees himself strictly as a thinking being without extension (he sees a stone for example as a non-thinking being that can exist independently of him).
    • Defines God as “a substance that is infinite, eternal, immutable… which created both myself and everything else… that exists.” (Descartes, 45)
    • As a finite substance, there could be no other way he could have the idea of an infinite substance unless that infinite substance exists.
    • There are countless additional attributes of God which I cannot in any way grasp.” (Descartes, 46)
    • Descartes considers that he may have all the potential of God and all His perfections.
    • He cannot increase his level of knowledge infinitely, and the objective can’t be produced by potential alone.
    • Considers the possibility of his own existence if a more perfect being did not create him. If there were no God, then how did he come into being?
    • If Descartes created himself, he would have made himself perfect, and would not be worried about the question of God.
    • If Descartes is a thinking thing and has an idea of God, then his creator must also be a thinking thing who can give him these ideas of Godly perfection
    • Therefore God must exist.
    • The idea of God is innate in him.
    • Since God has no defects in his perfection, then he cannot be a deceiver.

  13. Descartes walks into a bar, and the bartender asks: “Would you like a beer?” Descartes replies: “I think not!”

    And then, POOF, he disappears!

  14. Meditation 4

    -Descartes explains the possibility of error
    -We know God exists. But what if he is out to deceive us?
    -“I know that God is not a deceiver and that God also created me along with all my capacities. I also know that I am often in error. This error cannot be due to the correct operation of any faculty which God has created in me, for this would make God a deceiver. I must inquire, therefore, into how it is possible that I can err even though I am the product of a benevolent God.”
    -The way to avoid error is to refrain from judgement until our intellect sees the truth clearly and distinctly.
    -If God is no deceiver, and God gave us our faculty of judgement, then it appears to follow that we cannot be mistaken. But if God could have given us perfect judgement, so if he didn’t, isn’t he either less than perfect or a deceiver?
    -God gives people infinite will as well as the ability to avoid error. Any errors are therefore our fault.
    -Descartes the tries to prove that the errors we make cannot be blamed on God.
    “error as such is not something real that depends upon God, but rather is merely a defect.”
    -Error is not a presence, it’s an absence.
    -The Cogito gives us a critera of truth. What we clearly and distinctly perceive is true. But, we can only depend on this standard, if we can rule out being deceived by the evil demon

  15. Meditation 5

    – Essence of material things and God’s existence
    – Certain ideas have “true and immutable natures” even if they do not correspond to anything outside us. No mathematical re-arrangement of a triangle could allow its three internal angles to sum to anything but 180 degrees.
    – Descartes separates external objects into those that are clear and distinct and those that are confused and obscure.
    – He concludes that he can distinctly imagine extension, size, shape, position, and local motion, which is associated with duration.
    – EX: a circle, I discover facts about it, I do not fabricate them.
    – “When I discover particular things about these properties (size, shape, position, etc) it seems as if I am recalling something I already knew, something already within me.”
    – Descartes realizes that he is just as certain about God as he is about these mathematical ideas.
    – God is defined as an infinitely perfect being, perfection includes existence, so God exists.
    – Because God, being perfect, is not a deceiver, we know that once I have perceived something clearly to be true, it will remain true. We could not have this certainty about anything if we did not know God.

  16. Spinoza: The Ethics
    1. Of God

    • Throughout Book 1 Spinoza gives us Propositions about substances and their attributes. Question: What is substance compared to in Nature/God? Is it everything that is Nature/God is made up of?

    • A substance is of nature prior to its modifications

    • Two substances that have different attributes also have nothing in common, and thus cannot be the cause of the other substance.

    • In the universe there cannot exist two or more substances with the same attributes.

    • Every substance is infinite because not one other substance exists with the same attributes. “That’s absurd” (4)

    • God, which consists of an eternal and infinite essence, exists. Question: is he referring to nature when he says god here or the “literal” god that people believe in now?

    • An infinite substance cannot be divided such that there will be two of the same substances. That is impossible.

    • No substance except Nature/God can be conceived. God is everything and if another substance were to be conceived it would have to have some sort of attribute the same with god, which is impossible. (Everything that is not Nature is finite instead of infinite)

    • “Finally, if we conceive that from one point of a certain infinite quantity two lines, say AB and AC, are extended to infinity, it is certain that, although in the beginning they are certain, determinate distance apart, the distance between B and C is continuously increased, and at last, from being determinate, it will become indeterminable.” (11) (Explain?) (The picture of a triangle in the book)

    • God/Nature acts upon his/its own merit and does not feel compelled by anybody.

    • God and the entirety of his attributes are all eternal.

    • Whatever has been brought to existence and told to produce an effect has been done so by Nature.

    • Nothing in the universe is subject to change; everything has been determined by the Divine nature. (That is god?)

    • “The will cannot be called a free cause, but only a necessary one.” Question: what is the will referring to here?

    • The way God brought things into being cannot be altered in any way.

    • God’s power is also his essence. Since god created everything, he, his essence and power must all be the same.

    • Whatever we think has been created by god exists. Anything that he has created reflects his essence or power in some way or other.

    • Main ideas (that I could comprehend):

    • Nature is the only thing that is infinite. Everything else is finite.

    • Nature is everything and contains substances (Humans? Rocks?)

    • Substances contain modes and attributes?

    • God is Nature?

  17. Spinoza’s Ethics – Emotions or Affects

    •Whenever there is an emotion such as sadness or desire such as success, that is considered to be an ‘affect’ of the mind.

    •The individual who has a certain affect must also have an idea of the thing that is being loved, desired, etc.

    •Different bodies are affected in different ways

    •There are no aspects that come to the body, then not to the mind. For example, your hand gets chopped off you feel the pain and anger towards who did it, if someone gives you a hug, you feel happy, etc.

    •A body cannot cause a mind to think, and a mind cannot cause a body to be in motion or at rest or in any other state (if there are any others)

    •What causes a mind to think is some detail of the realm of thought and not of extension, or body.

    •“the order of actions and passions of our body naturally corresponds with the order of actions and passions of our mind.”

    •“men think they are free because they are conscious of their own actions and ignorant of the causes that make them act as they do” Cause & affect, no one chooses to do anything or to think anything.

    •Affect is a result of another action (cause & affect again)

    •“Everyone governs all his behaviour on the basis of his affects”; having conflicted affects or emotions makes it difficult for him to know what he wants, while if another man’s affects aren’t as present or conflicting he can easily fulfill actions the first man couldn’t.

    •Only three primary affects: pleasure, unpleasure, and desire.

    •Rest of the affects come from those three, for example happy from pleasure, sadness from unpleasure, and greed from desire.

    •“the idea constituting the essence of a mind involves the existence of the •corresponding• body so long as the body itself exists” the idea of another’s mind contains the existence of the corresponding body, so as long as the body exists we can imagine it has a mind?

    •The cause of pleasure, unpleasure and desire can be accidental

    •“16: We love or hate a thing x that we imagine to be LIKE an object y that usually affects the mind with pleasure or unpleasure, loving or hating it just because of that resemblance” If you like or dislike one thing, you automatically associate a like or dislike affect with similar things.

    •“17: If we imagine that a thing that usually gives us an affect of unpleasure is like something else that usually gives us an equally great affect of pleasure, we shall hate the former thing and at the same time love it.” Does this contradict 16? How can you automatically dislike something like in 16, while 17 is saying you’ll learn to like it at the same time? Would an example be like disliking the taste of coffee, but liking the smell because it symbolizes something for the individual?

    •An individual would get the same amount of pleasure or displeasure from an image of the past or future (we have seen or will see), as if they would be seeing it today. Example, seeing a picture of your family from the past when you haven’t seen them in a while

    •“Someone who imagines that what he loves is destroyed will have unpleasure, whereas someone who imagines it to be still in existence will have pleasure” would this be like visualization? Or worrying over the unknown? If your dog goes missing, and you imagine he got hit by a car, this will bring you displeasure where if you imagine him at your neighbour’s house having a snack it brings pleasure.

    •If you imagine something that you dislike being destroyed, you will have pleasure.

    •If we imagine someone giving pleasure to a person or thing we like, we will like the first person. Same thing goes for displeasure.

    •We try to increase the occurrence of what we imagine to give us pleasure, while we try to limit or destroy completely what gives us displeasure.

    •If a person believes someone they love has an equal or better relationship with another person, the first person will envy the other person.

    •If a person tries to destroy his love for a person with hate to get rid of all the love, then there will be a greater hate than there was love in the first place; “the greater his earlier love was, the greater his hate will be”

  18. Summary: Spinoza, Ethics, First Part of Book III, “Ethics of the Origin and Nature of the Affects”

    • In the preface, Spinoza states his theory that in the laws of nature all things that are the same must be understood to remain the same.

    • Our mind can be active or passive. When it has adequate ideas it is active, and when it has inadequate ideas it is passive.

    • The body cannot determine the mind to think, just like the mind cannot determine the body to motion or rest.

    • We judge something to be good because we strive for it, will it, want it and desire it.

    • Pleasure is experienced in a moment, but cheerfulness is a general trait of the person

    • The mind avoids imagining those things that diminish or restrain its or the body’s power.

    • People experience emotions by association from a previous experience.

    • The constitution of the mind that arises from two contrary affects is called ‘vacillation of mind’.

    • He who imagines that what he loves is affected with joy or sadness will also be affected with joy or sadness and each of those affects will be greater or lesser in the lover than in the loved thing. (I think this means we are affected by or empathize with those we love.)

    • Indignation: hatred toward him who has done evil to another.

    • If you can relate to a person, you are more likely to empathize with them.

    • Overestimation: joy born of the fact that a man thinks more highly of another than is just.

    • Scorn: that which stems from thinking less highly of another than is just.

    • Emulation: the desire for a thing that is generated in us from the fact that we imagine others like us to have the same desire.

    • We try to further the occurrence of whatever we imagine will lead us to joy and to avoid what we imagine will lead to sadness.

    • If we imagine that someone enjoys some thing that only one can possess, we try to get the man to lose possession of said thing. (Does this mean we don’t want someone to have the only one- we believe it must be shared?)

    • Finally, the images of things are the very affections of the human body, or modes by which the human body is affected by external causes, and disposed to do this or that. (we are influenced by what we see- pleasant images help us behave pleasantly)

    • When we love a thing similar to ourselves, we try to bring it about that it loves us in return. (we treat those we love with kindness so they will love us back)

    • The greater the emotion with which we imagine a thing we love to be affected towards us, the greater will be our satisfaction. (we’re happy if we feel loved)

    • The desire that comes from sadness or joy, and from hatred or love, is greater, the greater the affect is.

    • He who hates someone will try to do evil to him, unless he believes a greater evil to himself will come from this. However, he who loves someone, will seek to benefit them.

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