Plato: What is sōphrosunē

Answer 1 of these questions below

1) Critias offers a definition of temperance at “Charmides”. 163e, against which Socrates deploys his elenchus (164a-c). Explain Socrates’ argument against this definition and why it is (supposed to be) a reduction ad absurdum. What does Socrates take the definition to imply? Why is this implication problematic? Could Critias, e.g., just accept the implication? If he did accept it, would temperance then be something one could acquire or cultivate in any systematic way? If he did accept it, would temperance be something one could know one had?

2) According to Socrates, Critias’ definition of temperance as “knowing oneself” entails that temperance is a sort of “science”. Critias agrees and explains what sort of science temperance is. Socrates deploys two sets of elenchi against the definition: one set (167b-169b) depends on the claim that (a) it is impossible for there to be a “faculty” that applies to itself and the claim that (b) there are no “faculties” that apply to themselves; the other set depends on the claim that (c) such a science does not distinguish what science is possessed someone (169e-172a) and the claim that (d) even if it did distinguish what science is possessed, it would still not be beneficial (172c-174c). Explain what sort of science temperance is, according to this definition, and pick one of the above elenchi (i.e., one of (a)-(d)) Socrates deploys against this definition and explain it. Do you think the argument works against the definition? Why/why not?

3) Xenophon’s Socrates claims that self-control (enkrateia) lies at the foundation of virtue, being required for, among other things, liberty and wisdom. Why does he think this? How does he explain it being the basis of virtue, liberty and wisdom? Focusing on Mem. I.3, 5; II.1; III.14; IV.5, provide a systematic and rational account of enkrateia and its relation to virtue.