This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Examining The Ethics Of Plato And Aristotle

1051 words - 4 pages

This essay will be examining the ethics of Plato (428-347 BCE) and Aristotle (384-322 B.C). I will firstly attempt to summarise the five fundamental concepts of Plato and Aristotle before providing my own opinion and view on their ethics. I will concentrate on their theories on the good life as a life of justice, censorship, knowledge and the good life.

I will first examine Plato’s ethics. Plato was a philosopher who was both a rationalist and absolutist. According to his view, people must be schooled to acquire certain kinds of knowledge i.e. mathematics, philosophy and so forth. This training will give them the capacity to know the nature of the good life. Since, evil is due to lack of knowledge.
Not all people have the mental capacity to learn what the good life is. They have to be trained to copy the brighter people’s actions. The brighter people are to be leaders in society. Furthermore, finding the nature of the good life is an intellectual task similar to discovering mathematical truths. Also, they must develop virtuous habits of behaviour.
Plato believes that censorship is necessary to prevent certain sorts of experiences by young people if they are to discover the nature of the good life. If a person can discover what is right and knows what the good life is, he or she will not act immorally. When Plato’s virtue of wisdom, courage and temperance are in operation, a supreme virtue is evidence in justice. Wisdom is the virtue of the intellect. Courage is the virtue of the will. Temperance is the virtue of the appetites. There is ‘one and only one good life for all to lead’ (Philosophy Made Simple, 1999, p.4) since goodness is not dependent on upon human inclinations. It is an absolute and exists independently of mankind. It has to be discovered. A certain course of action is right or wrong independent of anyone’s opinion. This was how Plato perceived absolutism.

Aristotle’s overlook on what is the ‘good life’ as he used an empirical approach to ethics. The ‘good life’ as Aristotle defines it as one which has happiness as a characteristic or ‘a life of happiness’. ‘Happiness is an activity of the soul in accord with perfect virtue’. ‘People ought to behave so as to achieve happiness’. I believe that Aristotle’s answer will be everyone always ought to follow the middle course between certain kinds of activities. Aristotle uses an analogy to describe happiness. The analogy of happiness is best described as how much a person can eat. For example, if a person believes that having two cakes would be sufficient for his lunch, but if he believes that having one cake would not be enough for his lunch, then how much is right for him? To be right for him, he must eat between one and two cakes in order to satisfy his appetite. This is Aristotle’s formula, ‘the doctrine of the mean’ or the preferred name ‘golden mean’. The ‘Doctrine of the Mean’ is the moderation in all things. The virtues we must have are virtues of moderation. This will be...

Find Another Essay On Examining the Ethics of Plato and Aristotle

Aristotle and the Book of Nicomanchean Ethics

2543 words - 11 pages Aristotle and the Book of Nicomanchean Ethics In Book I of Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle states that the ultimate human goal or end is happiness. Aristotle then describes steps required for humans to obtain the ultimate happiness. He also states that activity is an important requirement of happiness. A virtuous person takes pleasure in doing virtuous things. He then goes on to say that living a life of virtue is something pleasurable in itself

Aristotle and the Book of Nicomanchean Ethics

1506 words - 6 pages Aristotle and the Book of Nicomanchean Ethics In Book I of Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle states that the ultimate human goal or end is happiness. Aristotle describes the steps required for humans to obtain happiness. Aristotle states that activity is an important requirement of happiness. He states that a happy person cannot be inactive. He then goes on to say that living a life of virtue is something pleasurable in itself. The virtuous

Historical Views of Leadership: Plato and Aristotle

1780 words - 7 pages through the eyes of two titans of Greek thought: Plato and Aristotle. Both men lived in 4th century BCE Athens, so much of their background and experience was shared. Aristotle was the younger of the two, and he was Plato’s student. Where leadership is concerned, both philosophers agreed that the “best men” should rule, and that the purpose of leadership was the betterment of the State. They also agreed that education was paramount to forming

A Comparison of Plato and Aristotle

1892 words - 8 pages Plato and Aristotle, two philosophers in the 4th century, hold polar views on politics and philosophy in general. This fact is very cleverly illustrated by Raphael's 'School of Athens' (1510-11; Stanza della Segnatura, Vatican), where Plato is portrayed looking up to the higher forms; and Aristotle is pointing down because he supports the natural sciences. In a discussion of politics, the stand point of each philosopher becomes an essential

The Beliefs of Plato vs Aristotle

3784 words - 15 pages When Socrates was sixty years old, Plato, then a youth of twenty, came to him as a pupil. When Plato was sixty years old, the seventeen-year-old Aristotle presented himself, joining the Teacher's group of "Friends," as the members of the Academy called themselves. Aristotle was a youth of gentle birth and breeding, his father occupying the position of physician to King Philip of Macedon. Possessed of a strong character, a penetrating

Arroyo Administration: The Plato and Aristotle Views

2842 words - 11 pages enough to support their basic needs and some minute luxuries. At the bottom are the poor. These are those that could not even support their necessities. And this class actually constitutes a large proportion of our population. That is why Philippines can still be considered a poor country, belonging to the third world. The classification of the people today is somewhat the same with what Plato and Aristotle had described. However, there are

Comparing Plato and Aristotle

2127 words - 9 pages mastery of these abilities is called intellectual virtue. There are many similarities between Plato's and Aristotle's work considering Plato was once Aristotle's teacher. However there are also many differences. Plato claims there are three virtues in a stable state: wisdom, courage, and moderation. Aristotle says there are only two virtues: intellectual and moral. In Book II of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics he uses the idea of the mean to

Plato and Aristotle

1272 words - 5 pages Plato and Aristotle Plato and Aristotle have two distinct views on wellness. However, each man’s opinion on wellness is directly tied in to his respective opinions on the idea of imitation as a form of knowledge. Their appreciation or lack thereof for tragedy is in fact directly correlated to their own perspective on wellness and emotion. Firstly, it is important to consider each man’s view of wellness—that is how does each man go about

Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle

856 words - 3 pages Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, three men considered to be the quintessential basis of ancient Greek philosophy. Not only were they responsible for Greek enlightenment, but also foreshadowed the coming of Christ in there speculations. Plato, the protégé of Socrates, became the first to document the philosophy of his teacher, which in turn is passed down to Aristotle. This process of mentoring aided ancient man in the intellectual evolution

The Notion of the Good in the Ethical Views of Plato and Aristotle

1636 words - 7 pages The Notion of the Good in the Ethical Views of Plato and Aristotle 1. Discuss the notion of "the good" in the ethical views of Plato and Aristotle. State which of potentiality would lead to normal life. Plato explored such subjects as beauty, justice, and good government. Plato's ethics were ethics of happiness. He based his ethical theory on the proposition that all people desire happiness although, of course, people sometimes

The Perspective of Plato and Aristotle on the Value of Art

1389 words - 6 pages same fundamental assumption: that art is a form of mimesis, imitation. Both philosophers are concerned with the artist's ability to have significant impact on others. It is the imitative function of art which promotes disdain in Plato and curiosity in Aristotle. Examining the reality that art professes to imitate, the process of imitation, and the inherent strengths and weaknesses of imitation as a form of artistic expression may lead to

Similar Essays

The Views Of Reality Of Plato And Aristotle

1015 words - 4 pages The Views of Reality of Aristotle and PlatoIntroductionThe purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast the views of reality of both Aristotle and Plato. Plato and Aristotle, two of some of the greatest philosophers of Ancient Greece, were connected in studies. Plato was taught by Socrates, then Aristotle studied at Plato's Academy. Plato was the first of the two to study, and Aristotle then studied there. And, upon learning this, one would

A Comparative Study On The Philosophies Of Plato And Aristotle

1803 words - 7 pages Plato and Aristotle are undoubtedly the greatest of philosophers that the world has seen. Both Plato and Aristotle formed unique and distinct theories about the Greek city states. While most people believe that Plato and Aristotle are complete opposites of one another, it is not completely true. For those who have studied the works of both the philosophers, the theory proposed by Aristotle is just a development of the Platonic system because

Arguments Of Plato In The Republic And Aristotle In Poetics

1195 words - 5 pages What does imitation (mimesis) involve for Plato and Aristotle? Explain its different features. Mimesis, the ‘imitative representation of the real world in art and literature’ , is a form that was particularly evident within the governance of art in Ancient Greece. Although its exact interpretation does vary, it is most commonly used to describe artistic creation as a whole. The value and need for mimesis has been argued by a number of

Aristotle And The Book Of Nicomanchean Ethics

950 words - 4 pages Florida International University Aristotle and the Book of Nicomanchean Ethics Haley Beahn (2697300) PHI 2600 Professor Henry Maklakiewicz 16 April 2014 Aristotle and the Book of Nicomanchean Ethics In Book I of Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle states that the ultimate human goal or end is happiness. Aristotle then