The ethical theory of plato

The object of the life of study is philosophical or scientific understanding. Oligarchy Corinth and democracy Athens are worse, and tyranny Syracuse is the worst.

If, for example, a utilitarian claims that I have most reason to give to charity, since that maximizes the general happiness, I could object that giving to charity cannot be rational given my particular preferences, which are for things other than the general happiness. If one's aim is to have as much pleasure as possible over the long term, it makes sense to avoid some smaller pleasures that will be followed by larger pains.

There are numerous parallels between ethical egoism and laissez-faire economic theories, in which the pursuit of self-interest is seen as leading to the benefit of society, although the benefit of society is seen only as the fortunate byproduct of following individual self-interest, not its goal.

John Stuart Mill's version of utilitarianism is rule-oriented. In observing these distinctions, we refer only to the characteristic style of the dialogue and leave aside controversies about the relative dates of composition of the dialogues.

Ancient Ethical Theory

Sober and Wilson argue that more reliable care would be provided by the altruistic or combination mechanisms. In answer to the latter challenge, in Republic II, Glaucon and Adeimantus repeatedly urge Socrates to show what value justice has in itself, apart from its rewards and reputation.

One worry is that psychological continuity might substitute for identity. While each of the three frameworks is useful for making ethical decisions, none is perfect—otherwise the perfect theory would have driven the other imperfect theories from the field long ago.

Virtue Ethics

This divergence has had the unfortunate effect of tending to hide from English-speaking readers that Plato is taking over a straightforward notion from his predecessor. In dealings with others who lack these abilities, the egoist has no reason to cooperate.

What counts as appropriate entails harnessing fear for good or honorable ends. Even if nothing is good or bad, believing that pain is bad might increase my motivation to avoid pain and so lead me to survive longer. Still, once all disturbance of the soul is dispelled, he says, one is no longer in need nor is there any other good that could be added The second central idea is that the most important good of the soul is moral virtue.

They also hold that they are absolute, or eternal, in that they never change, and also that they are universal insofar as they apply to all rational creatures around the world and throughout time. Rather one should be aiming at the pleasure given by freedom from bodily pain and mental distress — Socrates was not a family man, and saw himself as the son of his mother, who was apparently a midwife.

A Framework for Making Ethical Decisions

In Metaphysics he writes: Eudaimonia, then, includes looking after the welfare of others. Making good ethical decisions requires a trained sensitivity to ethical issues and a practiced method for exploring the ethical aspects of a decision and weighing the considerations that should impact our choice of a course of action.

If one combines the hints in the Republic associating the Good with the One, or Unity; the treatment in the Parmenides of the One as the first principle of everything; and the possibility that the good proportion and harmony featured in the Timaeus and the Philebus are aspects of the One, it is possible to trace the aesthetic and ethical interests of the middle dialogues through even the most difficult technical studies.

For the argument depends on the ability of others to cooperate with me or attack me should I fail to cooperate. This highlights two important avenues for future research, one of which explores individual virtues and the other of which analyses how they might be related to one another.

While most ancient philosophers hold that happiness is the proper goal or end of human life, the notion is both simple and complicated, as Aristotle points out. Ross, which emphasizes prima facie duties. One reason the present-aim theory is important is that it shows there is a coherent, more minimal alternative to rational egoism.

Since absence of pain and disturbance is a kind of pleasure, Epicurus could be taken, as he usually has been, to be arguing that whatever we do is done for the sake of pleasure. Proponents of the other-worldly view typically hold that moral values are objective in the sense that they exist in a spirit-like realm beyond subjective human conventions.

However, maybe courage is only an effect of a eudaimonious life and not a cause. Once one recognizes i. Insofar as the different versions of virtue ethics all retain an emphasis on the virtues, they are open to the familiar problem of c the charge of cultural relativity.

The Skeptic's suspension of judgment about whether his suffering is naturally bad gives him a certain detachment from the suffering I 25— In addition to espousing skepticism and relativism, this-worldly approaches to the metaphysical status of morality deny the absolute and universal nature of morality and hold instead that moral values in fact change from society to society throughout time and throughout the world.

Still, to fulfill its function of ruling, reason needs wisdom, the knowledge of what is beneficial for each of the parts of the soul and for the whole c.

Or perhaps moral judgments must be capable of motivating not just anyone, but only idealized versions of ourselves, free from say irrationality. At this point, we should note the difficulty of talking about parts of the soul. We need a distinctly emotional reaction in order to make a moral pronouncement.

The best available science today including evolutionary theory and psychology supports rather than undermines the ancient Greek assumption that we are social animals, like elephants and wolves and unlike polar bears. This approach to ethics underscores the networked aspects of society and emphasizes respect and compassion for others, especially those who are more vulnerable.

This can be interpreted in various ways Shaver82—. Aug 03,  · Plato's theory is best represented as holding that virtue, together with its active exercise, is the most important and the dominant constituent of happiness (b-c).

One might object that eudaimonist theories reduce morality to self-interest. Ethics. The field of ethics (or moral philosophy) involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior.

Philosophers today usually divide ethical theories into three general subject areas: metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics. Plato is one of the world's best known and most widely read and studied philosophers.

He was the student of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle, and he wrote in the middle of the fourth century B.C.E. in ancient Greece.

Aristotle's Ethics

Though influenced primarily by Socrates, to the extent that Socrates is. The words "moral" and "ethics" (and cognates) are often used interchangeably.

However, it is useful to make the following distinction: Morality is the system through which we determine right and wrong conduct -- i.e., the guide to good or right conduct.

Ethics is the philosophical study of Morality. What, then, is a moral theory? Plato's Beliefs on Ethics By Eric Herboso ; Updated June 25, Plato is perhaps the most influential philosopher of all time, and he is widely regarded as the first truly systematic thinker in Western intellectual culture.

Aristotle conceives of ethical theory as a field distinct from the theoretical sciences. Its methodology must match its subject matter—good action—and must respect the fact that in this field many generalizations hold only for the most part.

The ethical theory of plato
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