Learn how and when to remove this template message In Norman married Novalene Black, who became his lifelong partner. Together they have three children. He retired from Lehigh University in and with his wife moved to Richmond, Virginia where two of his sons and their families live. He then became an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University , teaching occasionally and continuing with his writings. Ten years on, they revive the lively discussions they had as students, this time discussing relativism.
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They differ in shape, size, arrangement, and position, and form visible composite bodies that make up the world of experience This explains coming into being and passing away, compatible with older nature philosophy Structure of the universe is explained by a vortex Anaximander, Xenophanes, and Heraclitus all think of the principle of unity as divine, but Democritus leaves no room for intelligent direction; atoms and void just do what they do, without intention or purpose.
Final destination of pre-Socratic speculation about nature. Begins by casting out Homeric gods, and ends by casting out intelligence and purpose from governance of the world. Mind and intelligence have no place. Serious consequences for view of human life, and free will: We think we are free and in control of our lives, that our decisions are up to us. But if everything occurs by necessity, then each decision is determined by mechanical laws reaching back to movements of atoms since before our birth.
Democritus does not solve this problem but is the first to clearly lay it out. The Soul Still, it is obvious that mind plays a role in human life, so Democritus must account for it, and so must we, as the problem still is not solved. An atomist account of soul and mind must be explained in terms of the material. The soul is material. How can the material explain these with atoms and void?
Sensations are the result of differently shaped atoms in contact with the tongue or nose or skin or eardrums. Acceptable paradoxical consequence: our senses do not give us direct and certain knowledge of the world. Vision and other sense experience is the outcome of complex interactions, depending on a lot of things happening between the world and the perceiver.
Whatever impact the real has on us is in part a product of our own condition. Some sensations exist only in us: hot, cold, sweet, bitter, red, blue, and by convention, not in nature.
So, in a way Parmenides was right! Later skeptics capitalize on this, doubting that we can have any reliable knowledge of the world at all! But Democritus does not think this conclusion leads to total skepticism. Two forms of knowledge Bastard: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch Legitimate: finer form employed when the bastard form is unclear [reasoning] — product is the knowledge that what really exists are atoms and void.
But can reasoning itself be explained in terms of atoms? Democritus does not say. Greek culture gained prominence in Athens. Powers of govt. Three-day siege of Acropolis by the people causes aristocrats to give in, and citizens have control for the next years or so.
Persian Wars In B. Greek cities rebelled against paying taxes to Persia, sending 20 ships and burning Sardis, but Persia ended the rebellion, and Greek anxiety grew. Persians retaliate at Marathon, but the Greeks, under Ionian general Miltiades, defeat the Persians killing of them. Wooden ship-bridge, so abandon Athens and defeat Persians at sea? Most follow Themistocles to sea. Spartan king Leonidas takes force to Perisans at Thermopylae, but was defeated, and Perisans take Athens and burn the Acropolis.
Themistocles destroys Xerxes navy at Salamis B. Persians reoccupy Athens, and Athens and Sparta expel them forever. Results of victories: Athens becomes preeminent city-state, forming league for future defense of Greece, which became the Athenian empire.
Athens becomes very wealthy, from allies tributes, control of sea trade growing a merchant class, and Athens becomes center of cultural life. Pericles, most influential leader in 5th c. Build temples on Acropolis, encouraging art, and the new learning. No one … is kept in political obscurity because of poverty. Attitude toward military security … our city is open to the world … no periodical deportations … rely, not on secret weapons, but on our own real courage and loyalty.
Love of what is beautiful does not lead to extravagance; our love of things of the mind does not make us soft. We regard wealth as something to be properly used, rather than something to boast about. A man who takes no interest in politics … has no business here General good feeling … make friends by doing good to others, not be receiving good from them In my opinion each single one of our citizens, in all the manifold aspects of life, is able to show himself the rightful lord and owner of his own person … with exceptional grace and exceptional versatility Our adventurous spirit has forced an entry into every sea and into every land; and everywhere we have left behind us everlasting memorials of good done to our friends or suffering inflicted on our enemies.
Greek Sophos wise formerly applied to wise men. Social situation in 5thB. They meet Protagoras to ask him what they will get for his fee. Protagoras claims that his student Hippocrates will each day become a better man. Socrates asks how this will happen. Most are committed to the new learning, are self-consciously modern, believing they represent progress and enlightenment as opposed to ignorance and superstition.
Principles and practice of persuasive speaking Civil and criminal defense in court Persuade Assembly to change in city laws What rhetoric means to the sophists Using the principles of persuasive speaking, one can make a case for any position at all Able to present persuasive argument for any side Humorous Protagoras story: Student would not have to pay his teacher until he won his first case.
He never entered into any cases, so Protagoras sued for payment. Protagoras responds with a counter-argument: If he loses, then he must pay. If he wins, then he will have to pay.
So either way he will have to pay. Technique: Present opposite logoi what can be said on both sides. The principles of rhetoric can make a weak argument seem stronger, through persuasion. Skeptical implications: raises doubt about ability to discern reality, confined to appearances, truth beyond us, so things are as they seem, and all we can talk about. There is not one logos. As things appear to us, so they are. Whether the wind is cold or hot has no answer. Also geographic expansion and exposure to many, not inferior, just different cultures.
Judge which of two logoi is best by which seems best, the generally accepted opinion. Custom is king. So teach how to adapt to society. Do the gods and other stuff exist by physis or nomos? Skeptical relativist Sophist says…? If you want to know what is right or just, consult the laws. For matters not covered by law, look to customs of the people, no universal appeal.
Conventional Justice — whatever the conventions the nomoi of a given society lay down as just. For it governs as far as it will, and is sufficient for all things and outlasts them. Justification for civil disobedience. Some sophists agree there is a natural justice but disagree about what it is.
Natural justice is the enemy of conventional justice. Necessary and natural law of self-preservation overrules conventional laws. We naturally have passions and desires, and it is natural and just to satisfy them. The really happy man is the one strong enough to satisfy his desires to the fullest extent without fear of retaliation. Negation of self-restraint. Athens and Sparta at War B.
Why was Socrates brought to trial? We need to know about the Peloponnesian War, Sparta v. Sparta: land power, had allies in the area, non-democratic warrior class, austere, rigorous physical training and discipline, supported by large Helot slave population, and tributes. Athens: sea power, created an empire, democratic for 80 years War also intensifies internal tension in Athens between aristocracy and common people, including horrifically violent events in Corcyra after the victory of the democratic side over the oligarchs story p.
Justice depends on equality of power to enforce it, and the strong do what they can, while the weak have to accept it. You will be our allies Melians: it is not in your interest to conquer us. The gods will protect us because we are standing for what is right. Athenians: We can appeal to the gods too. It is a general and necessary law of nature to rule whatever one can, and we are acting in accordance with it, and so can you. Melians refuse to surrender, and the Athenians take over, kill the men of fighting age and sell the women and children.
Socrates is summoned to arrest Leon of Salamis, but he refuses. Exiles, and democratic forces in the city attack and defeat the Thirty, killing their leader Critias, restoring Democracy, but bad feelings remain for many years.
Athenians lost confidence in their ability to control their own destiny, in a chaotic world. They always believed humans were not complete masters, since gods intervene in human affairs for their own ends, and none of us escapes our fate, but now these notions are tinged with new sense of bitterness and despair. Euripides, great Greek tragedian, expresses new mood in Hippolytus devoted to Artemis the Roman Diana goddess of the woodlands, the hunt, and chastity.
So I praise less the extreme than temperance in everything. The wise will bear me out. They are content, I am sure, to be subdued by the stroke of love … We should not in the conduct of our lives be too exacting.
Phaedra replies: This is the deadly thing which devastates well-ordered cities and the homes of men—…this art of over-subtle words. Play is framed by speeches by Aphrodite who vows to take vengeance on Hippolytus for despising her and worshipping chastity, and Artemis who vows to avenge Hippolytus by destroying some favorite of Aphrodite.
Humans are mere pawns in the hands of greater powers in opposition to each other that make no sense, and have no reason or unity of purpose. Led by uncontrollable passion we are bound for destruction.
Notes from: The Great Conversation, by Norman Melchert
Melchert/Morrow, 8e, The Great Conversation Student Resources