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The importance of virtues in platos republic

These materials are copyrighted c 1998 by Harry J.

  • They found Aquinas treatise on happiness Summa I-II, question 2, "On Those Things in Which Happiness Consists" a particularly "relevant" reading, for they could classify all their friends and all their favorite characters in fiction as pursuing one or another of the candidates for happiness that Aquinas listed, explored — and refuted;
  • However, both his explicit definitions of justice and the deeper intuitions that inspire his definitions differ from ours;
  • Plato first formulated them, but he did for virtue only what Newton did for motion;
  • The survival of the whole depends on each one performing their functions properly;
  • No one can feel good about himself unless his activities grow out of his own ideals and self-perceptions;
  • What a great new notion of courage!

Gensler; but they may be distributed freely. God and Ethics Plato's Euthyphro focuses on the meaning of "good" or "holy" and how this connects with God's will or "what the gods love".

  1. A mercenary, for instance, is not courageous because his motive for fighting is not the good of the homeland or the welfare of his fellow countrymen; rather, his motivation is for money.
  2. There are many more virtues than these — there is always more — for "there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Yet each has a necessary role to play.
  3. For instance, we can discover that it has three distinct faculties or abilities or powers.
  4. If we did so, I suspect life would become a little better than it is now, in our confused and atomized world. These materials are copyrighted c 1998 by Harry J.

God's desire doesn't MAKE a thing good or bad. Plato seems to hold intuitionism which says that things can be inherently good or bad.

Individuals and Ethics In Plato's Republic, the four cardinal virtues are wisdom, temperance, courage and justice. These reflect the nature of the soul.

  • Justice is sticking to one's role, doing one's own work and not interfering with others;
  • He has knowledge of himself and society; he knows what it is to be virtuous; he has a certain amount of equanimity, and he never loses control over himself;
  • Not just folly, recklessness, not just physical strength, not even just physical courage, the ability to endure pain, but moral courage, the willingness to act on your convictions even if it costs you something, such as convenience or social acceptance;
  • The guardians, who are philosophers, govern the city; the auxiliaries are soldiers who defend it; and the lowest class comprises the producers farmers, artisans, etc;
  • Harmony, cooperation, togetherness, working as one, each doing the thing he can do best for others, for the community, doing your own thing and communalism at once.

The soul has three parts. Our reason thinks; when it does this well, it has wisdom. Our appetite desires; when it does this well, it has temperance self-control, soberness.

Our "high spirit" shows emotions fear, anger, respect, etc. Justice consists of the proper interplay of the three parts of the soul. In the just person, reason controls the "high spirit" -- and both control the appetite. Society and Ethics In Plato's Republic, society mirrors the individual soul. And the virtues of society mirror the virtues of the individual soul. Society has three groups. The aristocrats are the educated; they should be wise. The workers merchants, commoners do the work; they should be temperate have self-control.


The soldiers guardians protect the city; they should be courageous brave. Justice in society is the proper conformity of the three groups to their social roles.

Each group has its own place, according to its natural abilities. The aristocrats are to rule wisely, and the other groups are to obey and to do their own tasks. This will promote the happiness of the city and of its members. It isn't pleasure, since there are bad pleasures.

The GOOD is an object of reason. The highest reality and knowledge isn't that of the visible world. Rather, the highest reality and knowledge is of the intelligible world the world of reason, of ideas, of the forms. The GOOD is the ultimate source of the existence and knowability of this higher world.

Plato's Ethics

We know the GOOD by the rational grasp of first principles like the axioms of geometry. We grasp these by our recollection from a previous existence. These first principles are the source of the wisdom that the "philosopher king" of the Republic requires.

  • We have here a bold new prescription for human happiness;
  • They knew nothing about the real Puritans, of course;
  • For example, the divisions of the state correspond to divisions of the soul;
  • If we are to rebuild our civilization, or if we are to build a new one, we need to build on foundations whose posts reach down into our own being, at least.

But this wisdom is beyond our ordinary ways of thinking, as the allegory of the cave shows.