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Ethics - Essay Example

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Ethics

As with all opinions, just because they are diverse, does not mean that one is right, or one is wrong. Aristotle’s views, while not necessarily congruent with Plato’s views, do show a strong influence as a result of what Plato taught. Plato’s discourses are heavily influenced by the Pre-Socratics and Sophists, and none too little influenced by Socrates himself, however, while they may show those influences, the views are entirely his own. Plato’s primary literary form was the dialogue; he would use two characters of opposing sides arguing each point with the other in order to show both sides of the philosophical question and in doing so, allow his true views to show through. In The Allegory of the Cave, an excerpt from Plato’s Republic, the reader receives some insight into what Plato believes “the good life” to be. Plato speaks first of the State, and discussing how it can be tailored to be the best that it can be, speaking of how “the State in which the rules are most reluctant to govern is always the best and most quietly governed, and the State in which they are most eager, the worst (The Allegory of the Cave, 4).” This is one of the more influential teachings of Plato’s in relation to Aristotle, something that will be touched upon later. Plato, still in The Allegory of the Cave, discusses Homer’s perspective, “Better to be a poor servant of a poor master, and to endure anything, rather than think as they do and live after their manner? Yes, he said, I think that he would rather suffer anything than entertain these false notions and live in this miserable manner” (6). Plato refers to the concept discussed regarding those whose eyes are not yet opened to the fact that the shadows are not reality; that anything at all would be better than to remain under the false impression that the shadows dancing on the wall are all that is there, are all that is real. He would rather have enlightenment, knowledge, and suffer, than to remain in the dark forever, thus showing that one characteristic of “the good life” in his view, is knowledge. A key insight into Plato’s view comes along towards the end of The Allegory of the Cave when he pronounces “they who are truly rich, not in silver and gold, but in virtue and wisdom, which are the true blessings of life” (10), showing that in order to have it good, one must have virtue and wisdom, before any form of monetary wealth, in order to be considered to have a high quality of life. It is not just Plato’s Republic, however, that shows what his opinions are on what is good and what is right; one must look to Plato’s other works in order to find out more. Plato took it upon himself to write of Socrates, and the trial which took place during his life. Socrates had a habit of not writing down any of his teachings, preferring instead to spending the time teaching others to question the world as he did. Among Plato’s other works were the Euthyphro, the Apology, and the Crito; these works speak of the trial, the sentencing, the imprisonment and the death of Socrates. Based upon the way that Plato has written these discourses, in fact, the way that he wrote all of his works, it is a task of relative ease to pull key phrasing from these dialogues, in order to find out more about what Plato considers to be “the good life.” In the Euthyphro, Plato makes it clear that distinction is important. It is not enough to know generally of what a thing is, ...Show more

Summary

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” ? Aristotle “The man who makes everything that leads to happiness depends upon himself, and not upon other men, has adopted the very best plan for living happily…
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Ethics essay example
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