The ethical theory of plato

Parmenides, Theaetetus, Phaedrus c.

The ethical theory of plato

Introduction In their moral theories, the ancient philosophers depended on several important notions.

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These include virtue and the virtues, happiness eudaimoniaand the soul. We can begin with virtue.

Virtue Ethics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) Preliminaries Aristotle wrote two ethical treatises:

There is the excellence of a horse and the excellence of a knife. Then, of course, there is human excellence. Conceptions of human excellence include such disparate figures as the Homeric warrior chieftain and the Athenian statesman of the period of its imperial expansion.

Plato's character Meno sums up one important strain of thought when he says that excellence for a man is managing the business of the city so that he benefits his friends, harms his enemies, and comes to no harm himself Meno 71e. From this description we can see that some versions of human excellence have a problematic relation to the moral virtues.

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In the ancient world, courage, moderation, and justice were prime species of moral virtue. A virtue is a settled disposition to act in a certain way; justice, for instance, is the settled disposition to act, let's say, so that each one receives their due.

This settled disposition includes a practical knowledge about how to bring it about, in each situation, that each receives their due. It also includes a strong positive attitude toward bringing it about that each receives their due.

The ethical theory of plato

Just people, then, are not ones who occasionally act justly, or even who regularly act justly but do so out of some other motive; rather they are people who reliably act that way because they place a positive, high intrinsic value on rendering to each their due and they are good at it. Courage is a settled disposition that allows one to act reliably to pursue right ends in fearful situations, because one values so acting intrinsically.

Moderation is the virtue that deals similarly with one's appetites and emotions. Human excellence can be conceived in ways that do not include the moral virtues. For instance, someone thought of as excellent for benefiting friends and harming enemies can be cruel, arbitrary, rapacious, and ravenous of appetite.

The Human Good and the Function Argument

Most ancient philosophers, however, argue that human excellence must include the moral virtues and that the excellent human will be, above all, courageous, moderate, and just.

This argument depends on making a link between the moral virtues and happiness. 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.

It seems simple to say everyone wants to be happy; it is complicated to say what happiness is. We can approach the problem by discussing, first, the relation of happiness to human excellence and, then, the relation of human excellence to the moral virtues. It is significant that synonyms for eudaimonia are living well and doing well.

These phrases imply certain activities associated with human living. Ancient philosophers argued that whatever activities constitute human living — e.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.

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.

Metaphysics / Philosophy of Education: Discussion on Educational Philosophy, Teaching Philosophy, Truth and Reality - Famous Philosophers (Albert Einstein, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Michel de Montaigne, Aristotle, Plato) Quotes Quotations on Education, Educational Philosophy, Teaching Philosophy.

Plato's theory of ethics, known as the Theory of Forms, stipulates that a person's well-being aims for the highest level of morality, but a person's virtues provide the skills necessary to .

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.

Egoism can be a descriptive or a normative position. Psychological egoism, the most famous descriptive position, claims that each person .

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