Ideas from 'talk' by Socrates [405 BCE], by Theme Structure

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1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 6. Hopes for Philosophy
Socrates opened philosophy to all, but Plato confined moral enquiry to a tiny elite [Vlastos]
1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 1. Analysis
Socrates developed definitions as the basis of syllogisms, and also inductive arguments [Aristotle]
Philosophical discussion involves dividing subject-matter into categories [Xenophon]
Socrates began the quest for something universal with his definitions, but he didn't make them separate [Aristotle]
2. Reason / C. Styles of Reason / 1. Dialectic
It is legitimate to play the devil's advocate
2. Reason / C. Styles of Reason / 2. Elenchus
In Socratic dialogue you must say what you believe, so unasserted premises are not debated [Vlastos]
Socrates was pleased if his mistakes were proved wrong
Socrates always proceeded in argument by general agreement at each stage [Xenophon]
2. Reason / D. Definition / 6. Definition by Essence
Socrates sought essences, which are the basis of formal logic [Aristotle]
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 6. Platonic Forms / a. Platonic Forms
Socrates did not consider universals or definitions as having separate existence, but Plato made Forms of them [Aristotle]
16. Persons / D. Continuity of the Self / 2. Mental Continuity / b. Self as mental continuity
For Socrates our soul, though hard to define, is our self [Vlastos]
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 2. Willed Action / d. Weakness of will
No one willingly commits an evil or base act
The common belief is that people can know the best without acting on it
Socrates did not accept the tripartite soul (which permits akrasia) [Vlastos]
People do what they think they should do, and only ever do what they think they should do [Xenophon]
Socrates was shocked by the idea of akrasia, but observation shows that it happens [Aristotle]
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 3. Acting on Reason / a. Practical reason
For Socrates, wisdom and prudence were the same thing [Xenophon]
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 3. Acting on Reason / b. Intellectualism
Socrates was the first to base ethics upon reason, and use reason to explain it [Taylor,R]
All human virtues are increased by study and practice [Xenophon]
The wise perform good actions, and people fail to be good without wisdom [Xenophon]
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 5. Natural Beauty
Socrates despised good looks [Plato]
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / d. Fine deeds
Things are both good and fine by the same standard [Xenophon]
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 1. Goodness / e. Good as knowledge
The only good is knowledge, and the only evil is ignorance [Diog. Laertius]
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 2. Happiness / b. Eudaimonia
Socrates was the first to put 'eudaimonia' at the centre of ethics [Vlastos]
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / j. Ethics by convention
Socrates conservatively assumed that Athenian conventions were natural and true [Taylor,R]
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / a. Nature of virtue
By 'areté' Socrates means just what we mean by moral virtue [Vlastos]
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / b. Basis of virtue
A well-made dung basket is fine, and a badly-made gold shield is base, because of function [Xenophon]
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / d. Teaching virtue
Socrates is torn between intellectual virtue, which is united and teachable, and natural virtue, which isn't [PG]
Socrates agrees that virtue is teachable, but then denies that there are teachers [MacIntyre]
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / e. Character
We should ask what sort of people we want to be
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / j. Unity of virtue
Socrates believed that basically there is only one virtue, the power of right judgement [Williams,B]
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / a. Virtues
Socrates made the civic values of justice and friendship paramount [Grayling]
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 1. Existentialism
Socrates emphasises that the knower is an existing individual, with existence his main task [Kierkegaard]
24. Applied Ethics / B. Moral Rights / 2. Sexual Morality
A lover using force is a villain, but a seducer is much worse, because he corrupts character [Xenophon]
25. Society / C. Social Justice / 5. Right to Punish / b. Retribution for crime
Socrates was the first to grasp that a cruelty is not justified by another cruelty [Vlastos]
25. Society / D. Political Doctrines / 7. Communitarianism
Obedience to the law gives the best life, and success in war [Xenophon]
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 6. Divine Morality / b. Euthyphro question
Socrates holds that right reason entails virtue, and this must also apply to the gods [Vlastos]
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 6. Divine Morality / c. God is the good
A new concept of God as unswerving goodness emerges from Socrates' commitment to virtue [Vlastos]