Lecture 2 - The Ring of Gyges: Morality and Hypocrisy

author: Tamar Gendler, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: Feb. 19, 2014,   recorded: January 2011,   views: 3302
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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Description

After introducing Plato's Republic, Professor Gendler turns to the discussion of Glaucon's challenge in Book II. Glaucon challenges Socrates to defend his claim that acting justly (morally) is valuable in itself, not merely as a means to some other end (in this case, the reputation one gets from seeming just). To bolster the opposing position--that acting justly is only valuable as a means to attaining a good reputation--Glaucon sketches the thought experiment of the Ring of Gyges. In the second half of the lecture, Professor Gendler discusses the experimental results of Daniel Batson, which suggest that, at least in certain controlled laboratory settings, people appear to care more about seeming moral than about actually acting fairly. These experimental results appear to support Glaucon's hypothesis in the Ring of Gyges thought experiment.

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