Social Utopias: Will Saada Fall 2015

October 18, 2015

Response Paper 2

Filed under: Portfolio — William Saada @ 3:25 pm

 

Plato’s Use of the Socratic Method to Define Justice

 

Plato teaches the reader about justice specifically through two techniques: asking questions and creating analogies via his teacher Socrates.  First he poses broad questions such as, “What is Justice?” and whether or not is it more beneficial than injustice?  He allows others to answer him and finds flaws in their arguments. Socrates disproves two common definitions of justice.  By finding out what is not justice it will help determine what it is.  In addition, Plato has Socrates ask very specific and simple questions to prove his points.  For example, Socrates asks, “But with natures like that, Glaucon, how will they avoid being like savages to one another and to the other citizens?” (Plato).  Socrates already knows the answer to this question but he is making sure everyone can follow his argument.  By taking it slow and asking questions, he leaves no holes in his argument.  Asking questions also gives his listeners a chance to follow along and notify Socrates when they are confused.  Many times in chapter two Glaucon asks questions such as “In what way?” so Socrates can clarify his meaning.   The next technique is his use of analogies to draw similarities between his arguments and real world scenarios.  In the quotation above Socrates refers to his analogy connecting a dog and how a good guardian should act.  He later makes the point that because a dog can be both “high-spirited and gentle,” then it must be possible for humans to acquire these natures as well.  He then states, “and what we are seeking in a good guardian is not contrary to nature” (Plato). By making analogies with things found in nature he proves his point.  Because dogs can have both of these natures than it must be possible for man to have them as well.  This is helpful for the reader because it establishes a connection between his point and something similar found in this world.  By finding connections to nature and asking questions Socrates makes his point very efficiently and carefully.  

In addition to asking broad questions, Socrates uses a broad strategy to define justice.  Instead of focusing on what a just individual is like, Socrates seeks to build a just society, step by step. He looks for justices within his Republic and plans to find similarities between that and the individual.  This is both important and effective because it is difficult to simply find justice for an individual.  Without a society justice is non existent.  One man alone can not be just or unjust there must be other people to interact with.  The Republic is Socrates’ means of finding how justice can be achieved by a society.  Then, once the society has been made, the just individual will become more clear.  For a society to be just members of the society must be just as well.  Even if there is a very strong legal and political system, people in the society can still be unjust.  The only way to truly create a just society requires justice both in the society and in its members.

Response Paper 1

Filed under: Portfolio — William Saada @ 3:14 pm

A Social Utopia

 

The basis of a utopian community would be the ability to work together and hold the needs of the entire community above the needs of individuals.  Since everyone contains a unique skill set, each member would be given a profession based on their ability and preference.  Each job would be something necessary for the community’s survival and prosperity.  However, there would be no salary for completion but it would be necessary to complete in order to be a part of the community.  For example, cooks would be required to make food for the entire community.  All members would be given access to a meal as long as they complete their own job.  Ultimately, everyone is working for each other and not for themselves.  Greed must not be tolerated for this utopia to exist.  If one member of the community seeks to gain more than an other member, it would no longer be fair.  The economy and material wealth of the community must be evenly distributed.

Additionally, the community would need to be free of conflict and segregation in order to live peacefully.  Along with no individuals having more than each other, no group of people can be entitled to more wealth or privilege than another.  For example, those who believe in a certain religion shall not be considered any higher than those who do not believe in said religion.  Ideally the entire population would share similar religious and political beliefs in order to avoid too much disagreement.  Evidentially there will be differences among members in the the community.  However, they must be handled peacefully and responsibly in order to keep the peace.  In order to combat conflict there must be a strict legal system in place.  Breaking a rule can not be taken lightly in this world.  If someone can not follow the rules, then he or she will not be allowed in the society.  The legal system must be strong and ethical.  No innocent member would be charged with a crime and all criminals will be caught.  In this world, however, crime would be rare because each member would be satisfied and unified.  The ideal location for this utopia would be an ascetically pleasing, self sustaining island.  The isolation of the utopia would keep external conflicts away from the island.

Righteousness and equality keep members of the society unified by distributing the wealth and privilege evenly.  This alone would create a fair society but a Utopia must not only be just but also enjoyable.  Each member must be entertained and distracted to keep the morale and happiness in the community high.  The members of the society gifted with humor and creativity would be tasked with putting on shows, performances and games as means of entertainment.  The best athletes would compete in front of large crowds.  Additionally, there would be plenty of social events and gatherings not only to serve as entertainment but to bring members of the society closer together.  Finding a balance between work and play would be essential for this to be successful.  If they focus too much on entertainment, then the society may not be able to function well and resources could become scarce.  But if there is too much work then people may become disturbed with the society and create political conflict.

September 10, 2015

Athens Education

Filed under: Group 3: The Genevans — William Saada @ 3:16 pm

How were the youth of Athens educated?

Girls were educated in the home and the only “well-educated” women were trained as “hetarae” which were like Greek geishas.

Boys were much more educated than girls. They had physical education where they learned sports and gymnastics. They also learned basic math, how to play musical instruments, how to sing, and how to write well. They memorized the Odyssey and the Iliad by Homer because these were the most important works in their world.

There were only private schools, but most people could afford it. After this basic education, the more wealthy boys were taught by philosophers (like Socrates).

What were they educated for?

Children were educated in order to produce good citizens for Athens, though only men were considered citizens. The goal was that they would be educated enough to advance their society as they grew. They learned basic things like reading, writing and math. Then studied poetry and learned play instruments, before receiving athletic training, where they learned to play games and keep in shape. Unlike Sparta, the goal was not to produce soldiers, but to produce well-rounded young men who were smart, strong and attractive. They were taught habits that would serve them well throughout their lives. Girls were educated at home with the goal being they would become homemakers themselves, they were only taught to read and write if their mother, or private help would do so. However, they often participated in sports such as wrestling, in order to keep them strong and healthy.

How did this education system help a democratic society thrive or fail?

Because basic education was affordable many boys were educated and learned about politics at a young age.  This allowed people within different classes of society to participate in the assembly which was open to all men older than 18.  The upper class citizens had an advantage in both education and in the so called democracy. Further education was only reserved for the wealthy and the elite.  Only the children whose parents were wealthy enough could afford to send them to philosophers such as Plato and Socrates.  Those who were wealthier, better educated and more persuasive dominated the assembly.  The elite often held secret meetings to discuss and make decisions on their own.  In a sense, the widespread, affordable education helped the democracy thrive, because many people in different classes of society were able to participate with a basic understanding of politics.  But wealthier citizens dominated the assembly because they could afford more education.

Bibliography:

“Children in Ancient Athens.” Children in Ancient Athens. 2010. Accessed September 10, 2015. http://www.ancientathens.org/culture/children-ancient-athens.

Ostergard, Alison. “Education in Athens.” Education in Athens. 2007. Accessed September 07,

  1. http://www.ghsd-curriculum.com/inquiry/projects/greece/research_text/education.html.

Mark Cartwright. “Athenian Democracy,” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified October 13, 2014. http://www.ancient.eu /Athenian_Democracy/.

 

September 1, 2015

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Filed under: Uncategorized — William Saada @ 12:48 pm

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