Ignorance is Not an Excuse

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Ignorance is Not an Excuse We only choose what we think is good and if anyone chooses evil it must be through ignorance. Plato believes that we always choose good unless we are ignorant. Plato claims being ignorant would be the only excuse for choosing evil. His views of this are apparent in the Meno. As I read up on whether or not we deliberately choose evil I realized there are many sides, many ways to answer this question. My opinion is not as clear as I thought. In this paper I will go through numerous writings on this subject, such as the Meno. The writings by Augustine and Descartes basically support Plato's argument. While comparing all the writings I hope that I can come up with a conclusion of my own. During the conversation between Meno and Socrates Socrates urges Meno, through his method of asking questions, that nobody really desires evil. At the beginning Meno believes people do desire good and evil. Socrates says to Meno, that to desire an evil is to desire harm and misery. Meno eventually admits that no one desires evil because no one would ever desire harm or misery. They come to this conclusion, but they make sure to point out that ignorant people can still desire evil because they believe the evils to be good. This still goes along with their belief; no one truly desires what they know to be an evil (Pojman 67). Overall, I think Socrates and Meno come to this conclusion very rationally. I would agree that anyone who does not desire harm or misery would not choose evil unless they are ignorant and do not really know it is evil. On the other hand I do believe there are some horrible people who do desire harm or misery. Unfortunately, we know in our world today that people choose to... ... middle of paper ... ...forgetfulness, of its prior), and so evil is remedied by the soul's experiences of love" (http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/p/plotinus/htm). I find this to be so beautiful and truthful. After all my reading and contemplating over what I believe, this is it. People choose evil because they have forgotten what they have learned, what they know to be right. Somewhere along the way they have lost their morals they need for deciding between good and evil. This does not mean they don't know it's evil, they do. They are for some reason not choosing to listen to the little voice in their head telling them not to choose the evil. Plotinus and I believe that through love from an outside source they can remember. They can recall their misplaced desire for good and evil. Maybe this is too much of a dreamer's view, but I always like to look at the bright side of things.

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