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A little comment I made in class

  1. Feb 1, 2006 #1

    JasonRox

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    Well, I'm taking a Philosophy course because it is required to take some humanities and what not, so I chose this course because I thought it would be most beneficial and fun.

    Sadly, I was right! It is fun, and I enjoy every class. I might not do well, but I like it.

    We are currently studying Aristotle's book on ethics (Nirochemean Ethica (spelling?)), and one of the discussions today was about akratic people.

    I pronounced that I agree with Socrates that an akratic person can not exist.

    The professor seemed uneasy with this belief. Nonetheless, he let me have my own opinion without trouble.

    Is there any reason why he would be uneasy about this?

    I don't know much about Philosophy, but I do know that there existed different schools of philosophy that didn't agree with each other and what not. So maybe this ties in with how the professor feels.

    Note: The professor may have not even cared at all, but it certainly felt weird making that comment.
     
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  3. Feb 1, 2006 #2

    hypnagogue

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    Can you give us a bit more background on this? What is an akratic person, and what is the argument that an akratic person can't exist? How does this tie into ethics?
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2006
  4. Feb 1, 2006 #3

    JasonRox

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    My argument that an akratic person exists is irrelevant, in fact it is similiar if not the same as Socrates.

    An akratic person is someone who knows what they are doing something wrong, but does it anyways.

    Like, students know skipping is wrong, but they do it anyways. It is harmful to themselves in a sense.

    Note: The question of how it ties into ethics is irrelevant. My question doesn't require that you know.

    Anyways, that's irrelevant, so there is no real need to know.

    If there is any reason why the professor felt this way, it might be because he dislikes Socrates work over Aristotle. That's a possibility.

    I'm asking is if there is something I do not know about the Socrate's and Aristotle's views, like one is usually preferred over the other or what not, for whatever reason. That's essentially what the question is.

    I haven't read a book by Socrates involving ethics, but the professor does add his thoughts once in awhile.

    I would guess my question is probably best answered by someone who knows the views of Socrates and Aristotle, and of course some history.
     
  5. Feb 1, 2006 #4

    selfAdjoint

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    Socrates left no writings. His "views" as we have them are as expressed in the Dialogues of his pupil (and Aristotle's teacher) Plato. The only countervailing image of Socrates that has come down to us is by Xenophon, he of the Anabasis. His Socrates is much more down to Earth and much less the all-wise guru than is Plato's.

    I don't know what Socrates may have known to be wrong but done anyway, unlesss it be drinking the hemlock.
     
  6. Feb 1, 2006 #5

    JasonRox

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    Maybe he just finds it "common sense" to know that an akratic person can exist.
     
  7. Feb 1, 2006 #6
    Perhaps, JasonRox, if you were able and willing to provide the forum with additional information that articulated your point on the current thread, other individuals may also be willing to inject comments relevant to the current thread that you started that they believe also may be irrelevant, and required no other being to know while there was no perceived need to know.

    Hopefully, there's some A-material within all the filler put forth from someone, somewhere.


    I probably shouldn't be telling you this, but the wider net-for-data you cast, the more solid, true data you get.

    Focus on the keepers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2006
  8. Feb 2, 2006 #7
    I'm not sure I understand this Jason. Why couldn't an akratic person exist? Haven't you ever done something wrong even when you know it's wrong? I know I have, I'll admit to being akratic at times, certainly everybody has done this. What of sociopaths: they're aware that their actions are wrong but they do it anyway.
    As for Socrate's opinions, they are hard to discern factually. Since he never wrote anything we have to rely on second-hand information which cannot be expected to be completely reliable.
     
  9. Feb 2, 2006 #8

    JasonRox

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    I believe that if you do something wrong knowingly, then you really didn't know at all.

    I'm in a hurry for school right now, but I'll give a few examples later today.
     
  10. Feb 3, 2006 #9

    loseyourname

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    I get the feeling that Jason is going to say that a person who commits an act that he knows is wrong has to justify it to himself in some way that makes him believe it is all right for him to be doing it, and hence doesn't truly comprehend that it is wrong.

    I'd think there is something to say for compulsive people, though, who really can't control their own actions. Something such as a manic-depressive going through a severe manic phase that engages in completely self-destructive behavior, knowing it's wrong, but unable to keep from doing it. I don't know enough about the nature of psychological compulsion to know how to deal with a case like that philosophically.
     
  11. Feb 6, 2006 #10
    You're probably right about Jason's point, but it is still an incorrect statement. Personally I think it's selfevident since I have done wrong things many times without ever trying to justify them. To believe that an akratic person cannot exist is to also believe that everybody wants to act "good". This belief is in blatant disregard of human nature and the facts surrounding you. Do you think that a hitman for the mafia cares about the morallity of his deeds? Do you think Al Capone stopped to justify his actions to himself? These people have no compulsion to act morally, and some have admitted as such. Frank Sheeran is a good example of such a man. While it's nice to think that all humanity secretly wants to do good, it simply is selfevidantly untrue.
     
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