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Midterm One: Political Theory


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"There have been many who have accused me to you for many years now, and none of their accusations are true."
A. Plato's account of Socrates' "Apology."
Purpose for overall text is Socrates' initial approach to jury of his innocence at least as far as he is accused by his accusers (Meletus and Anytus).
B. Socrates is telling the Jury that the charges which they have heard now and in years past are untrue. Plato wants to vindicate Socrates, who speaks out against the allegations against in in a gernalized matter, that they are all untrue accusations.
C. the quote is significant in that Socrates is bringing to the jury's attention that the charges against him are cimply untrue and that the people would hopefully believe him, he intends to prove why they are untrue and this precedes the remainder of his argument.
"If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
A. JS Mill on Liberty (Chapter II). Purpose in overall text we read is that JS Mill wants to convey the absurdity of curbing freedom of thought and discussion.
B. Interpreted-that one cannot/should not silence the voice of another simply because they share different opinions. They are simply put "different opinions" both are valuable in that they are unique ideas which should be respected. Aside from being understood, one should not be silenced simply because another disagrees, there may be value in a difference of opinion.
C. the value in differing opinion arrises out of the discourse surrounding the "debate." One may learn from such discourse, if not to change his mind to the other mode of thinking than to strengthen one's own preexisting opinion.
"My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking."
A. MLK is his "Letter from Birmingham Jail," written in reponse to a letter from Christian "peers" who have asked him not to have protests but to wait out discriminatory acts until the laws themselves are able to be changed
B. MLK is basically suggesting that the occurence of "tensions" is sometimes the only work a nonviolent resister can count on in order to allow the injustice they speak of to be heard.
C. If no one rocks the boat, then few will now of the actual struggles occuring. As shocking as it may seem to go "against the grain," it is sometimes the only viable option when seeking relief from persecution.
" 'As it is, you depart, if you depart, after being wronged not by us, the laws, but by men;'"
A. Plato's Crito.
"We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion..."
A. JS Mill on Liberty (Ch II). Addressing the importance of truth and in discovering that no truth is absolute, even those which we hold to be true.
B. If we silence an opinion we have no way of knowing it's validity. Without bringing differing opinions to the table, we cannot really learn any truths. Author theorizes that in order to rationally and objectively understand a concept a balance must be present with which to base it against.
C. Without a diversity of opinion you will not know if your own opinions actually hold water.
"I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community."
A. MLK in Letter from Birmingham Jail
"Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of light and air, injustice must be expossed."
A. MLK's Letter from Birmingham Jail
"Unless opinions favorable to democracy and aristocracy, to property and equality, to cooperation and to competition...are expressed with equall freedom and enforced and defended with equal talent and energy, there is no chance of both elements obta
A. JS Mills on Liberty (Ch II) on arguing the necessity of differeing views in society.
B. Neither element can have even an opportunity of living up to it's own realizations if one view does not allow for an alternate.
"Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will."
A. MLK Letter from Birmingham Jail. writing letter to parishoners, who are likely to be the people of good will with shallow understanding.
B. An attempt to allow his readers to understand that it's frustrating that such intelligible kind people cannot understand the plight of the blacks in the south, nor the severity of the issues they face.
C. Frustration arrises out of failure for essentially good people to understand basic concepts (of freedom in this case). Where as a person of ill will perhaps, unfortunately doesn't know any better. But for those who do pitty on them is not a consolation.
"One who breaks an ujust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty."
A. MLK Letter from Birmingham Jail-on the willingness to speak out and act out against injustices, yet maintain repect for the consequences that may follow the violation of said law.
"How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust?...To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas..."
A. MLK on the necessity to violate unjust laws.
B. see page 3 paragraph 3
" has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."
A. MLK Letter form Birmingham Jail
"One may well ask: 'How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?'"
"But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mother and father at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim.....when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of 'nobodiness'- then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.&
A. MLK Birmingham Jail Letter
"Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that the individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need f
A. MLK Letter from Birmingham Jail
"Mankind can hardly be to often reminded that there was once a man named Socrates..."
A. JS Mill
"The most intolerant of churches, the Roman Catholic Church, even at the canonization of a saint admits, and listens patiently to, a 'devil's advocate'"
A. JS Mill on Liberty (Ch II)
B on the importance of an alternative vantge point
C. Admittedly biased agains the chruch Mill expresses encouragement by their use of a devils advocate to provide and opposing take on (in this case) the canonization of a Saint.
"Socrates is guilty of wrongdoing in that he busies himself studying things in the sky and below the earth, and he teaches these same things to others."
A. Plato's Apology-and account of Socrates' testimoney against his accusers.
B. Socrates addressed the charges brought against him by Meletus and Anytus.
C. Significance is to bring to light the "severity" of his crimes as charged by Meletus.
"I am very conscoius that I am not wise at all; what then does he mean by saying that I am the wisest?"
A. Plato's account of Socrates' Apology
B. Upon hearing fromt he Oracle at Delphi that he is the wisest man. Socrates seeks to prove the Delphi wrong and looks for others who are wiser than he. he finds none.
C. socrates is wise because he knows he is not wise.
"Tell me; does this also apply to horses so you think? that all men improve them and one individual corrupts them? Or is quite the contrary true..."
A. Plato's Apology is attempting to bring to light the gregariousness of Meletus arguemnt that he alone is responsbible for corrupting the youth.
B. Socrates uses this argument to show that it is not true that a single person is responsible for corrupting horse. Uses this allegory to draw attention to the fact that very few persons are skilled in raising horses and such people are also varied in ther ability to corrupt/improve youth.
C. Since it takes many unskilled people to corrupt a horse then it is not also possible that the sam eis true of humans? And that Socrates is not alone responsible fot he corruption of the youth, just as he alone is not responsible for their improvement.
"Â…whereever a man has taken a position that he believes to be best, or has been placed by his commander, there he must I think remain and face danger, without a thought for death or anything elseÂ…"
1.5 A. Plato's Account of Socrates Appology. Purpose is that Socrates wants to convey that if he finds a point or conviction to be true he must in any case stand by that conviction. B. Socrates would rather face death than go against his principles. C. Socrates so values his integrity that to put that into question would have consequences far greater than physical death.
"Good Sir, you are an Athenian, a citizen of the greatest city with the greatest reputation for both wisdom and power; are you not ashamed of your eagerness to possess as much wealth, reputation. And honours as possible, while you do not care for no
1.6 A. Socrates in Plato's Appology B. C.
"I am far from making a defense now on my own behalf, as might be thought, but on yours, to prevent you from wrongdoingÂ…"
1.7 A. Socrates' Apology by Plato B. Socrates is not interested in defending himself for the sake of defending his actions but to protect the citizens of Athens agains their own, for which he seems to feel they will be sorry for the wrongdoing committed. C. Socrates seeks to protect the citizen against making the mistake of branding him a wrongdoer by automatically assuming they know what is right and good. they cannot know this without address issues of which they know not. Without these question, Socrates feels they will cheat themselves of useful knowledge. this attempt I don't hink worked for the people of Athens, if only as a slap in the face against their own credibility.
"I do not think it right to supplicate the jury and to be acquitted because of this, but to teach and persuade them. It is not the purpose of a juryman's office to give justice as a favor to whoever seems good to him, but to judge according to the l
1.8 A. Plato's Account of Socrates Apology. B. Socrates does not come to court to grovel or to have his family speak on his behalf, he simply wants to convice the jury and persuade them that his thinking is proper. He does not want to be set free simply because his family begs for his freedom. C. Socrates wants freedom and acknowledgement on it's own merit simply because of the truth of his Apology.
"Nothing is more suitable, gentlemen, than for such a man to bed in the Prytaneum."
1.9 A Plato's Apology-on Socrates' response to Meletus' sentence of death. B. Socrates is aware that the community expects less of his own sentence. However Socrates' recommendation for his oown punishment is equivalent to that of the like of an Olympian. C. Socrates in essence is requiring that the jury once again make a decision whether or not to convict him.
"My good Crito, why should we care so much for what the majority think?"
1.10 A Plato's Crito-where Socrates addresses Crito who had bribed his way into Socrates' cell. B. Socrates again doesn't really care what other's think and perhaps this is the problem with society, too often people worry about what others will think. C. crito responds however that int his case it has mattered precisely what others think, for hte sentence is death.

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