Study guide plato s ethics

Zeno also of Elea let his mind trap himself into thinking one could never get somewhere, because by going half-way there each time one would get closer but never arrive. Of course if one continually goes halfway, one will never get there; to get there one must go all the way. When interrogated by the tyrant, the only one he would implicate was the cursed tyrant himself. Zeno accused the bystanders of cowardice for not enduring what he was suffering.

Study guide plato s ethics

Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle

Edward Craig Socrates BCE Socrates, an Athenian Greek of the second half of the fifth century BC, wrote no philosophical works but was uniquely influential in the later history of philosophy. His philosophical interests were restricted to ethics and the conduct of life, topics which thereafter became central to philosophy.

He discussed these in public places in Athens, sometimes with other prominent intellectuals or political leaders, sometimes with young men, who gathered round him in large numbers, and other admirers.

Study guide plato s ethics

Among these young men was Plato. Socrates' philosophical ideas and - equally important for his philosophical influence - his personality and methods as a 'teacher' were handed on to posterity in the 'dialogues' that several of his friends wrote after his death, depicting such discussions.

Later Platonic dialogues such as Phaedo, Symposium and Republic do not present the historical Socrates' ideas; the 'Socrates' appearing in them is a spokesman for Plato's own ideas. Socrates' discussions took the form of face-to-face interrogations of another person.

Most often they concerned the nature of some moral virtue, such as courage or justice. Socrates asked what the respondent thought these qualities of mind and character amounted to, what their value was, how they were acquired.

He would then test their ideas for logical consistency with other highly plausible general views about morality and goodness that the respondent also agreed to accept, once Socrates presented them.

He succeeded in showing, to his satisfaction and that of the respondent and any bystanders, that the respondent's ideas were not consistent.

Chapter 1: Ethics and the Examined Life | Doing Ethics: W. W. Norton StudySpace

By this practice of 'elenchus' or refutation he was able to prove that politicians and others who claimed to have 'wisdom' about human affairs in fact lacked it, and to draw attention to at least apparent errors in their thinking. He wanted to encourage them and others to think harder and to improve their ideas about the virtues and about how to conduct a good human life.

He never argued directly for ideas of his own, but always questioned those of others. None the less, one can infer, from the questions he asks and his attitudes to the answers he receives, something about his own views. Socrates was convinced that our souls - where virtues and vices are found - are vastly more important for our lives than our bodies or external circumstances.

The quality of our souls determines the character of our lives, for better or for worse, much more than whether we are healthy or sick, or rich or poor.

If we are to live well and happily, as he assumed we all want to do more than we want anything else, we must place the highest priority on the care of our souls.


That means we must above all want to acquire the virtues, since they perfect our souls and enable them to direct our lives for the better. If only we could know what each of the virtues is we could then make an effort to obtain them.

As to the nature of the virtues, Socrates seems to have held quite strict and, from the popular point of view, paradoxical views. Each virtue consists entirely in knowledge, of how it is best to act in some area of life, and why: Weakness of will is not psychologically possible: He thought each of the apparently separate virtues amounts to the same single body of knowledge: Thus his quest was to acquire this single wisdom: At the age of 70 Socrates was charged before an Athenian popular court with 'impiety' - with not believing in the Olympian gods and corrupting young men through his constant questioning of everything.

He was found guilty and condemned to death. Plato's Apology, where Socrates gives a passionate defence of his life and philosophy, is one of the classics of Western literature. For different groups of later Greek philosophers he was the model both of a sceptical inquirer who never claims to know the truth, and of a 'sage' who knows the whole truth about human life and the human good.

Among modern philosophers, the interpretations of his innermost meaning given by Montaigne, Hegel, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche are especially notable.

Study guide plato s ethics

Going against the grain of the traditional education, he insisted that personal investigation and reasoned argument, rather than ancestral custom, or appeal to the authority of Homer, Hesiod and other respected poets, was the only proper basis for answering these questions.

His emphasis on argument and logic and his opposition to unquestioning acceptance of tradition allied him with such Sophists of a generation earlier as Protagoras, Gorgias and Prodicus, none of whom was an Athenian, but all of whom spent time lecturing and teaching at Athens see Sophists. Unlike these Sophists Socrates did not formally offer himself or accept pay as a teacher.

But many upper-class young Athenian men gathered round him to hear and engage in his discussions, and he had an inspirational and educational effect upon them, heightening their powers of critical thought and encouraging them to take seriously their individual responsibility to think through and decide how to conduct their lives.

Many of his contemporaries perceived this education as morally and socially destructive - it certainly involved subverting accepted beliefs - and he was tried in BC before an Athenian popular court and condemned to death on a charge of 'impiety': Scholars sometimes mention specifically political motives of revenge, based on guilt by association: But an amnesty passed by the restored democracy in BC prohibited prosecution for political offences before that date.

The rhetorician Polycrates included Socrates' responsibility for these political crimes in his Accusation of Socrates see Xenophon, Memorabilia I 2.Study Guide: Plato’s Ethics 1.

The ancient Greeks regarded agent evaluation (evaluating someone’s moral character) as more fundamental than act evaluation (evaluating particular actions).

The central ethical question they addressed was, “What sort of person should I be?” a. Eudaimonia is a central concept for the Greeks.

Dec 15,  · Ethics are a system of moral principles and a branch of philosophy which defines what is good for individuals and society. At its simplest, ethics is a system of moral principles. They affect how. This is the official PHIL web site.

Here you will find the syllabus, handouts, study guides, reading assignments, written homework assignments, news, and other relevant information. This book compares the Republic and Nicomachean Ethics from a methodological perspective.

The first half argues that the Republic distinguishes between two levels of argument in the defence of justice, the ‘longer’ and ‘shorter’ routes. The longer is the ideal and aims at maximum precision, requiring knowledge of the Forms and a definition of the Good.

Ethics Study Guide. STUDY. PLAY. philosophy. The love of wisdom; the study of the big question about being, beauty, knowledge and right and wrong as well as the foundational principles of other disiplines. metaphysics. branch of philosophy that studies being. epistemology. Plato () was Socrates’ prized student.

From a wealthy and powerful family, his actual name was Aristocles -- Plato was a nickname, referring to his broad physique. When he was about twenty, he came under Socrates’ spell and decided to devote himself to philosophy.

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