Join us at this week’s Philosophy Club meeting Thursday, October 11th from 12:15 to 1:45 in 421 Auerbach Hall as Philosophy professor Donovan Cox presents on the topic: Why Does Socrates (Sometimes) Think Virtue Can't Be Taught?
In Donovan's own words:
In Protagoras, Socrates gives an argument meant to prove that virtue (or human excellence broadly speaking) cannot be taught. The argument appeals to two Athenian practices as premises: (i) the Athenians do not allow just anyone to speak in the Assembly on technical matters, like shipbuilding; (ii) the Athenians do allow just anyone to speak about virtue in the Assembly (319b-320a).
I have long had vague concerns about the structure of this argument, and I've only recently begun to sketch them out formally and in detail. Accordingly, this talk will be a problem-setting exercise: I'll be discussing how we might fill in all the premises needed to make this argument read validly, and how I'm not happy with any of those readings. Valid readings tend to involve attributing implausible premises to Socrates, while insisting on plausible premises produces invalid readings. In the course of exploring options, I have hypothetically entertained an unusual thesis that mitigates the implausibility of the premises on one reading, and I'll share that thesis in the talk.
Donovan Cox is serving as visiting faculty in philosophy at the University during 2017-18, after having been a consistent adjunct from 2012 thru 2015. He taught philosophy at UMass, Amherst for a number of years while pursuing his doctoral studies, where he won the Robison Prize for Excellence in Teaching. He left UMass for a time to try his hand teaching high school philosophy at the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, CT, but has recently returned to complete and defend his doctoral dissertation, entitled "Socratic Piety, Charis, and the Fifth Elenchos of Plato's Euthyphro." His philosophical interests include Plato, Aristotle, ancient scepticism, Leibniz, Hume, ethics, epistemology, philosophical pedagogy, and the impact of philosophy and philosophical education on public discourse.
The University of Hartford Philosophy Club has an informal, jovial atmosphere. It is a place where students, professors, and people from the community at large meet as peers. Sometimes presentations are given, followed by discussion. Other times, topics are hashed out by the whole group.
Presenters may be students, professors, or people from the community. Anyone can offer to present a topic. The mode of presentation may be as formal or informal as the presenter chooses.
Food and drink are served. Come and go as you wish. Bring friends. Suggest topics and activities. Take over the club! It belongs to you!