The origins and ideals of greek ethics

History of ethics pdf

The first is to acquire the knowledge which is the basis of virtue; the second is to instill in the appetites and emotions--which cannot grasp the knowledge--a docility so that they react in a compliant way to what reason knows to be the best thing to do. Said in the context of his trial, this statement is both about himself and a fundamental claim of his moral teaching. This latter phrase is significant because it implies that just following natural impulse is not enough. Activity that expresses the virtue of moderation is also excellent activity when it comes to the bodily appetites. The famous answer is that philosophers should rule as kings d. Aristotle thinks that what counts as too much, not very much, or a balanced amount can vary to some extent from individual to individual. After all, such things as health and wealth cannot just be dismissed since they are something like the raw material of virtue. He claims that sensation is the only standard of measuring good and evil. Rather than heaping up riches and honor, Athenians should seek to perfect their souls in virtue. According to the Cynics, there are two groups of people: first, the wise people living a perfect and happy life — they cannot lose their virtues once they achieved this condition similar to Aristotle — and, secondly, the fools who are unhappy and make mistakes Diogenes Laertios VI, 1 and 2; Zeller ; Long Being courageous, just, and moderate is valuable for the virtuous person because these virtues are inextricably linked with happiness.

Here, the emphasis lies on the practical wisdom - as the capacity of ethical reasoning and decision-making - rather than on adhering to single ethical virtues, even though Aristotle claims that it is impossible to be practically wise without having ethical virtues and vice versa.

This conclusion is reinforced by other parts of his teaching. One might object that eudaimonist theories reduce morality to self-interest. His ethics, which he mainly put forth in the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of MoralsCritique of Practical Reasonand Metaphysics of Moralsis one of the most prominent and highly respected theories in modernity.

Greek ethics and morality

Being courageous, just, and moderate is valuable for the virtuous person because these virtues are inextricably linked with happiness. Happiness, then, integrates the virtue of managing bodily appetites and pleasures in the world of becoming with the pleasures of learning in the world of being — but definitely gives greater weight to the latter. Each animal has an impulse for self-preservation; it has an awareness of its constitution and strives to preserve its integrity. His position is called radical quantitative hedonism. The following briefly depicts Kantianism in its original form and the main features of utilitarianism. A similarly strong statement about wrong-doing is found in the Crito, where the question is whether Socrates should save his life by escaping from the jail in Athens and aborting the sentence of death. The order and harmony of the soul is, of course, good for the soul because it provides what is good for each of the parts and the whole, and so makes the parts function well, for the benefit of each and of the whole person. Dividing goods into external goods, those of the body, and those of the soul, he states that his account of happiness agrees with those who hold it is a good of the soul. However, they do not come from a non-rational part of the soul but are false judgments about the good. One is not more virtuous because healthy nor less virtuous because ill. It should be noted, however, that the stoic philosopher Panaitios of Rhodes — BC had already published an important book on the notion of duty prior to Cicero. While each part treats the others justly, so to speak, it is not clear what justice among the parts of someone's soul has to do with that person treating other people justly. A knowledge of these Forms is possible only through long and arduous study by philosophers but their eventual enlightenment will qualify them, and they alone, to rule society. Epicurus, like his predecessors in the ancient moral tradition, identified the good as something psychological.

We can distinguish correct impulses into those which treat virtue as the only good and those which treat things indifferent as indifferent. Even during the most obscure times during the Middle Ages, a copy of the Organon, or maybe fragments of it, could be found in all prestigious libraries.

When citing an essay from our library, you can use "Kibin" as the author. Pyrrhonian Skeptics Pyrrho, a murky figure, contemporary with Epicurus and Zeno the Stoic, left no writings.

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Ancient Ethical Theory (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)