Class Exercises “Crito” and “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” In small groups of three to four, work together to get a better understanding of Plato’s “Crito” and Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail-
Each group should assign the following roles to its members: Leader Speaker Recorder
Overview Background on Crito: Socrates has been in jail for about a month. awaiting execution. When his death is immanent (1-2 days away), Crito comes to persuade him to escape (this is possible–Crito and his friends have the money and connections, and even a place for Socrates to go). Background on “Letter…”: Martin Luther King was arrested in Birmingham for disobeying a blanket injunction against any -parading. demonstrating. boycotting, trespassing. and picketing.” He wrote the letter in response to “A Call for Unity”–made by eight white clergymen (including clergy from various Christian den ominations and one Jewish Rabbi)–which opposed King’s form of nonviolent resistance (calling instead for things to be hashed out in the courts. regardless of the time that this would take).
- Socrates says that escaping would harm people. Who will it harm? Why? Do you think this is true? 3. In his letter. Martin Luther King claims that there is a difference between just and unjust laws. What is this difference? Do you agree with him? 3. Why does King think that one only has to obey the just laws? Do you agree? What do you think Socrates would say. given that he says that breaking the laws would destroy the city? 4. Besides harming people. Socrates is committed to sticking to his agreements–to not breaking promises. But, he only thinks he needs to keep just agreements. What does he mean by this? What is the difference between a just and an unjust agreement? What might an example of each be? Why don’t you have to keep unjust agreements. according to Socrates? Do you agree? How does this connect to King’s arguments for breaking unjust laws? S. Who does Socrates have an agreement with? If Socrates escaped prison, what agreement would he be breaking? 6. Could someone argue that King and the Black Americans he represents have made a similar just agreement with the US? 7. In the end. Socrates accepts his sentence and docs not escape prison because he thinks it’s the right thing to do. Do you think Socrates does the right thing? 8. Do you think that King is justified in supporting non-violent actions? Or should he do what the clergymen suggest. and wait for these issues to be settled in court? What do you think Socrates would say? Do you agree?
In particular, it must not be confused with what Newton-Smith takes to be a “minimal common factor among the wide range of philosophers who in recent years have advocated a realist construal of scientific theories”. This common factor consists of the following theses: (1) “Scientific theories are either true or false and which a given theory is, it is in virtue of how the world is”, (2) “If a theory is true, the theoretical terms of the theory denote theoretical entities which are causally responsible for the observable phenomenon whose occurrence is evidence for the theory”, (3) “We can have warranted beliefs (at least in principle) concerning the truth values of theories”, (4) “The historically generated sequence of theories of a mature science may well be a sequence of false theories but it is a sequence in which succeeding theories have greater truth-content and less falsity content than their predecessors”. We may refer to (1) as the objectivity, (2) as the causality, (3) as the decidability, and (4) as the convergence of scientific theories. Newton-Smith uses the name “realism” for the combination of these four theses, and he also seems to hold that this is the standard use of the term. It is clear that theoretical realism in the weakest sense entails neither objectivity, nor causality, nor decidability, nor convergence. In particular, some theoretical propositions may be true even if no scientific theory as a whole is either true or false. Moreover, it is doubtful whether realism in Newton-Smith’s sense entails theoretical realism. For example, if all theoretical propositions are false, then theoretical realism is false, but realism in Newton-Smith’s sense might still be true. In any case, one of Newton-Smith’s main theses is that realism in his sense has to be rejected if there can be cases of under determination. In particular, he claims that either objectivity or decidability has to be weakened if under determination can occur to give up decidability is what he calls the ignorance response (to under determination). This “involves embracing the possibility of inaccessible facts – facts concerning whose obtaining we could have no information”. To give up objectivity is what he calls the arrogance response. This “amounts to holding that if we cannot know about something there is nothing to know about”. 36 Notice, that this holds only for under determination in Newton-Smith’s sense, i.e. under determination by all possible data. It does not hold for the other kinds of under determination mentioned above. In other words, it is only when an underdetermined theory is empirically viable that we cannot know that it is true or that it is false (either because it is neither true nor false, or because we cannot know, even in principle, what its truth value is). In general, we cannot have under determination (of any kind) together with empirical viability, objectivity, and decidability. If a theory is underdetermined, we cannot know that it is true. This I accept. At first, it appears that Quine would not accept this. He holds that there may >GET ANSWER