Because moral virtue makes up the health of the soul, all people should desire to be virtuous. Plato said that people sometimes do not seek to be virtuous, but only because they do not realize that virtue produces happiness. He taught that only ideas are real and that all other things only reflect ideas. This view became known as idealism. According to Plato, the most important idea is the idea of good.
Aristotle believed “virtue is a matter of developing the unique ability to reason.”(Pacquette 268) Being virtuous to Plato and Aristotle also meant, “doing things- no matter what these things were- in a way that reflected rational thought and involved making the best of one’s skills, talents and opportunities.” (Pacquette 268) Aristotle and Plato both agreed that a person’s good moral character and reason guided their ethical choices. A good moral life to them would lead to “eudaimonia, an ancient Greek word that translates into English as happiness.” (Pacquette 268) Though Plato talked and wrote about virtue and happiness, Aristotle went into great detail about his ideas. Aristotle is known as the creator of the theory of virtue ethics. “Aristotle held that there are three forms of happiness. The first form of happiness is a life of pleasure and enjoyment.
Basically, Plato's vision of utopia lies on the fundamental premise that the philosopher who has seen the light will "either in public or private life" fix his eye on this light (517c). In other words, he believes that the philosopher who has attained the idea of good will necessarily become good. But there is no justification for such a belief (at least not in the allegory) and hence, his idea is not obviously sound. Work Cited Plato. Republic.
What I have found to be most interesting about both Deontology and Utilitarianism isn’t their approach to ethics, but rather their end goal. Deontology promotes “good will” as the ultimate good; it claims that each and every person has duties to respect others. On the other hand, Utilitarianism seeks to maximize general happiness. While these may sound rather similar at first glance (both ethical theories essentially center around treating people better), a deeper look reveals different motivations entirely. Deontology focuses on respecting the autonomy and humanity of others, basically preaching equal opportunity.
Rather, the good life for a person is the active life of functioning well in those ways that are essential and unique to humans. Aristotle invites the fact that if we have happiness, we do not need any other things making it an intrinsic value. In contrast, things such as money or power are extrinsic valuables as they are all means to an end. Usually, opinions vary as to the nature and conditions of happiness. Aristotle argues that although ‘pleasurable amusements’ satisfy his formal criteria for the good, since they are chosen for their own sake and are complete in themselves, nonetheless, they do not make up the good life since, “it would be absurd if our end were amusement, and we laboured and suffered all our lives for the sake of amusing ourselves.” Happiness can be viewed as wealth, honour, pleasure, or virtue.
However, key differences in each of their writings is how virtue is acquired. Plato held the socratic belief that knowledge is virtue is in and of itself. That knowing what is the good thing to do will lead you to doing the good action. Through knowledge and wisdom is how all other virtues become clear in terms of right and wrong. Finally, Plato believed that virtue was sufficient in order to achieve happiness.
The Happy Life “So don’t merely give us a theoretical argument that justice is stronger than injustice, but tell us what each itself does, because of its own powers, to someone who possesses it, and that makes injustice bad and justice good”.1 In this quote from Plato’s Republic, Adeimantus challenges Socrates to demonstrate that justice is good in itself, and ultimately, to prove that the just life is the happiest life for a human being. Both Plato and Aristotle, two of antiquity’s greatest philosophers, concern themselves with the issue of human happiness. Neither thinker considers fate to be the definitive factor for achieving happiness. Rather, Plato and Aristotle argue that our actions and thoughts play a significant role in creating a happy life. This argument, as presented in Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, also asserts that a life in accordance with justice is the happy, or good, life.
We, as humans, simply wish to lead a good life, and the best component of a good life is achieving our desires and goals. However, I am not saying that we should wildly chase those desires. Indeed, it is important that we have a method for the acquisition of those pleasures which we will inevitably find ourselves working to achieve. For that reason, I adhere to the teachings of Machiavelli which are found in his work, The Prince, because his ideas are the best that were presented in the modern time of philosophy. I believe that by applying these principles, we can achieve a good life, because a good life is fulfilling our desires and creating a successful future for ourselves, and doing so orderly and properly.
Secondly, some virtue theorists suggest instead that we can determine what the virtues are by figuring out what the excellent human life is. Once we know what it means to be the best human being possible, then the virtues are whatever character traits enable us to live at the heights of excellence. Aristotle suggests this theory too. However, identifying the "flourishing life" is itself a major task. Also, if we look very closely at the notion of a "flourishing life," we will find that instead of helping us determine what the virtues are, it actually begs the question, since the flourishing life already contains value judgements.
The main point that Plato is trying to get across is that being happy does not always mean being just. In all cases, Plato’s argument is more accepted and supported throughout the world. Plato believes people should strive to be virtuous in order to achieve true goodness. Our souls live on, long after our mortal selves do, and Plato does not believe in consequences. We should live our lives, let go, and ignore the consequences, since we have many lives left, after the ones we are currently partaking in expires.