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What is Beauty?
Mrs. Navejar
English 12
The Philosophers’ Club Unit
• Objective
– Students will
• Learn the Socratic Method
• increase reasoning and logical thinking
skills
• Develop clear and thoughtful answers to
philosophical questions
• Practice the art of listening and engaging
in meaningful conversation
• Discover, articulate and refine their unique
points of view
• Practice new reading strategies
– Clarifying
– Summarizing
Reading/ Viewing Material
• The Philosophers’ Club
brochure
• Mortimer J. Adler’s essay, The
Idea of Beauty
• Six great ideas: truth, beauty,
goodness, liberty, equality,
justice video
Reading Strategies
Reading Strategy
Clarifying
Definition
Make the meaning of text clear to the reader
Application
Ask questions, reread, restate and visualize to make text
more comprehensible.
Occurs
During Reading
Reading
Strategy
Summarizing
Definition
Guide the reader to organize and restate info, usually in written
form.
Application
Have students create similes about summarizing to understand
what it looks like, such as "Summaries are like condensed milk."
Have students complete graphic organizers or write summaries
focusing on the beginning, middle, or end of text.
Occurs
During Reading, After Reading
What is the Philosophers’ Club?
• Meet and talk about your thoughts
and concepts of the world
• Follow a method of questioning
called the “Socratic Method”
• Sloppy or lazy thinking is taboo
• Ponder questions in a meaningful
way
– Who am I?
– What am I capable of?
– Who can I become?
Guidelines
• No sage on the stage
• Students are to become
expert questioners
• Propose questions and
encourage others to support
and expand position
The Socratic Method
•
•
•
In Plato's early dialogues, the elenchos is the
technique Socrates uses to investigate, for
example, the nature or definition of ethical
concepts such as justice or virtue. According to
one general characterization (Vlastos, 1983), it
has the following steps:
Socrates' interlocutor asserts a thesis, for example
'Courage is endurance of the soul', which
Socrates considers false and targets for
refutation.
Socrates secures his interlocutor's agreement to
further premises, for example 'Courage is a fine
thing' and 'Ignorant endurance is not a fine thing'.
---
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socratic_method
Socratic Method
• Socrates then argues, and the interlocutor agrees,
that these further premises imply the contrary of the
original thesis, in this case it leads to: 'courage is not
endurance of the soul'.
• Socrates then claims that he has shown that his
interlocutor's thesis is false and that its contrary is true.
• One elenctic examination can lead to a new, more
refined, examination of the concept being
considered, in this case it invites an examination of
the claim: 'Courage is wise endurance of the soul'.
Most Socratic inquiries consist of a series of elenchai
(a cross-examination) and typically end in aporia.
The Socratic Method
• The teacher and student must agree on
the topic of instruction.
• The student must agree to attempt to
answer questions from the teacher.
• The teacher and student must be
willing to accept any correctlyreasoned answer. That is, the reasoning
process must be considered more
important than pre-conceived facts or
beliefs.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socratic_method
Socratic method
• The teacher's questions must expose errors in the students'
reasoning or beliefs. That is, the teacher must reason more
quickly and correctly than the student, and discover errors in
the students' reasoning, and then formulate a question that the
students cannot answer except by a correct reasoning
process. To perform this service, the teacher must be very
quick-thinking about the classic errors in reasoning.
• If the teacher makes an error of logic or fact, it is acceptable
for a student to correct the teacher.
• Since a discussion is not a dialogue, it is not a proper medium
for the Socratic method. However, it is helpful -- if second best - if the teacher is able to lead a group of students in a
discussion. This is not always possible in situations that require
the teacher to evaluate students, but it is preferable
pedagogically, because it encourages the students to reason
rather than appeal to authority.
Order of Lesson
• Read The Philosophers’ Club Brochure
• Review
– Objectives
– Reading strategies
– Socratic Method (Teacher/Student)
• Watch the “Truth” & “Beauty” Video discussion
– Look for Socratic Method in action
– Listen and take notes on discussion
– Follow logic of participants and write a graphic
organizer for one participants train of thought
• Review over Adler handout
– In class practice
• Clarifying
• Summarizing
Adler’s The Idea of Beauty?
• We call the object “beautiful”
because it has certain
properties that make it
admirable
• Admiration may be mediated
by thought and dependent
upon knowledge
• Aquinas said that the beautiful
object is one that has unity,
proportion, and clarity
Adler’s The Idea of Beauty?
Expert vs. Laymen
Which painting do you believe an expert would
determine to be an example of beauty?
Why? Based on what criteria?
What if a non expert believed that the painting on
the bottom was more beautiful than the one on
top?
Who or what determines if his/her preference is
wrong or right?
“Who says what is admirable?”
Are there varying degrees of expertise in
determining intrinsic excellence of an object?
If two experts argue over which object is more
beautiful, who or what determines which expert
is correct?
Connecting to our
Renaissance Unit
• Renaissance humanism did not,
however, spring fully grown from
Classical philosophy. It emerged over a
period of over a century as a fusion of
Christian and Classical thought.
• Typical of the early Renaissance
Humanists was Leon Battista Alberti
(1404-1472), who was at the same time
an artist, philosopher, architect, and
mathematician. His attitude to the
wisdom of the ancients, and to its
combination with Christianity, was
primarily pragmatic and rationalistic - his
Humanistic religion rejected most of the
mystical overtones of contemporary
Christianity.
Connecting to our Renaissance
Unit
• Where Alberti is the direct forerunner of
later Renaissance Humanists is in his
ideas on beauty, drawn from Plato's
Classical theories on love, beauty, and
the nature of the universe. Alberti insisted
that beauty has objective reality, and is
not dependent on mere subjective
opinion.
• Where he differed most strongly from the
later Humanists ('Neoplatonists' as they
came to be known) was in his refusal to
indulge in abstract speculation on his
ideas. "Everything is attributed to reason,
to method, to imitation, to measurement;
nothing to the creative faculty." 2
• Review The Golden Section and The
Divine Proportion
Assignment
• Read the entire Adler handout
• Write summaries and clarifying
notes in the margin
• Underline and look up words that
you do not understand
• Pick up a piece of chart paper
and create a chart mapping out
Adler’s ideas on beauty
• Write out 10 challenging questions
that you have on beauty.
Truth
• Define
• Support with examples
• Jury trial
– What determines whether a person is guilty or
not guilty?
– Evidence
• What determines what is true or false?
– Evidence
• The sun revolves around the earth. True
or false?
– The fact that people believed this to be true
did not change the fact that the earth
revolves around the sun.
• If we were to determine if we are living a
good life, how are we to determine the
truth of our belief?
– evidence
Can there be false knowledge?
• Consider Prejudice
– Some people believe others are inferior to
themselves
– They believe this to be true
• Strive to have a rational mind
– Suspend judgment
– Assess evidence
• Consider the sun revolving around the
earth false belief
– Some of our beliefs or prejudice could be
incorrect
• Pursuit of truth
– Requires that we revisit and revise our
previously held belief on what we believe to
be true
Experiencing Beauty
• That which we behold and derive
pleasure from is a form of beauty
• Objective/Subject experience of
beauty
– Objective- Consider The Divine
Proportion
– Subjective- that which is pleasing to
the viewer
• In the sphere of beauty, should we
make the distinction between the
expert and non expert opinion of
what is beauty?
• Different degrees and object of
Beauty in the Eye of the
Beholder?
• Is “Beauty in the eye of the
beholder”
– Adler believes that it is in the
apprehension of the beholder
– The hierarchy of admirable beauty
• More cultivated taste- more appreciation
• Less cultivated taste- less appreciation
• Example: I “enjoy” watching college
football
• I am a non expert. An expert can better
appreciate the game because of their
knowledge base
Group Discussion 8:35-9:52
• Position chairs into a circle
• Take out your ten questions or
statements on Beauty
• Each person will ask one
question from their list
• Raise hand to respond
• Questioner will call on
respondent
• The next person in the circle
(rotate to the left) will ask their
question