The world we live in is filled with crime, evil, and injustice, but do people have the desire to do bad things knowing that they are bad, or do they do them thinking that they are good? In this essay, I examine Socrates argument, found in Plato’s Meno, that no one knowingly desires bad things. If Socrates were right, it would mean that it is impossible for someone to perform a bad action based on their desire for that bad thing. Instead, all bad desires result from the ignorance of the person performing the action in falsely believing that the action is good. Though Socrates presents a compelling argument, I argue that it is possible for someone to act badly, all the while knowing that what they desire is bad. In order to establish my thesis, I will start by stating and explaining the argument that Socrates presents, I will
According to the Oxford dictionary, a gadfly is a fly that bites and agitates livestock. In Plato’s Apology, it is claimed that Socrates compares himself to a gadfly that is attached to the city of Athens (29e). Then, in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. mentions Socrates in his letter to the clergymen and compares himself to Socrates claiming, “so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society…” (89-90). In both passages, there is an importance to be a gadfly in society and by being a gadfly, both men are able to create a change in their societies. It is undeniable that both men’s work caused an agitation of thought in their respective societies which opened a path for beneficial change. However, both
The dialogue between friends, Crito and Socrates, shows the similarities in each thought process as both men are eager to display their integrity to their community. My analysis will show an evaluation of the parallels between Crito’s and Socrates’ understanding of what is morally appropriate. First, I will elaborate on Crito’s argument in which a plan to escape prison is the best choice for both himself and Socrates. Second, it will be important to discuss Socrates’ rebuttal to Crito. This comparison will be accomplished in this paper by contrasting both of their viewpoints. Lastly, I will explain to the reader why Socrates’ convictions are stronger and more important because he asserts a moral attitude into his decision. In any just or unjust
To be just or to be served an injustice and obey, this is the very basis of the philosophical dialogue between Socrates and Crito. The Crito begins as one of Socrates’ wealthy friends, Crito, offers Socrates a path to freedom—to escape from Athens. Through the ensuing dialogue, Socrates examines, as a man who is bound by principles of justice, whether an unjust verdict should be responded to with injustice. In the dialogue between Socrates and Crito, Socrates outlines his main arguments and principles that prevent him from escaping under such circumstances.
What is the essence of a life well-lived? This question has been asked for millennia, and many have suggested answers. Plato, an ancient Greek philosopher, presented his own hypothesis (at least partially) in a dialogue entitled Meno, in which Plato’s teacher, Socrates, led a disciple of the sophists, Meno, through a discussion of virtue. As an abrupt start of the dialogue, Meno asked, “Can you tell me, Socrates, whether virtue is acquired by teaching or by practice; or if neither by teaching nor by practice, then whether it comes to man by nature, or in what other way?” (Plato 35). While Socrates never answered the former of these questions definitively, by focusing on the latter, Socrates hypothesized that virtue cannot be taught but is learned through divine inspiration and cannot be handed down. And although Plato’s final hypothesis on the definition of virtue, that virtue is the power of attaining goodness with justice, is true, it is not complete. In addition, his conclusion about the teachability of virtue is mistaken. In accordance with Plato’s definition, virtue is excellence, but in contrast to Plato’s view, virtue can be taught through the Scriptures.
Each of us has a different sense of what is good and what is bad. Despite the differences in perspective, overall everyone gets a sense of what differs between the two. So it is true that a person may know between what is right and what is wrong, but it is not to say that their choices determine what kind of person they are. Inside all of us there exists both good and bad, and there is a constant struggle as to plays a big part in who they become. For example, during the Iraq War, innocent children were handed grenades and told that doing so was for right and for the good of their community. In these children's hearts they truly believed they are acting justly, but to those they are attacking it is a sad thing to see. This example raises the question, how can these people let their innocent children kill themselves so recklessly? They have to believe that their sacrifice will make them better people, even without thought that as they are protecting their country that they are depriving these children of their lives. It
In The Republic, Socrates has some interesting views on the idea of what it means to be just and what a perfect and just society would look like. To me, some of his ideas made sense, while others seemed ridiculous. Despite some of Socrates’s faulty ideas, the way he uses reasoning and examples to justify his thoughts is noteworthy. Socrates seems to place wisdom, justice, and goodness above all other virtues, and he repeatedly comes back to these themes when he describes the perfect state and people who should live in it.
Plato's Republic is centered on one simple question: is it always better to be just than unjust? This is something that Socrates addresses both in terms of political communities and the individual person. Plato argues that being just is advantageous to the individual independent of any societal benefits that the individual may incur in virtue of being just. I feel as if Plato’s argument is problematic. There are not enough compelling reasons to make this argument. I believe that
In The Republic, Plato, speaking through his teacher Socrates, answers two questions. What is justice? Why should we be just? Book I sets up these challenges. While among of both friends and enemies, Socrates launch this question, “What is justice?” He disagrees with every suggestion offered, showing how it has hidden contradictions. But he never offers a definition of his own, and the discussion ends in a deadlock, where no further progress is possible and the interlocutors don’t feel sure of their beliefs anymore.
In Crito Socrates in locked up in jail awaiting his death after being convicted and tried. While he is in jail a friend, Crito, visits him worried about Socrates and his impending doom. He wants to help Socrates escape. Crito at first want to help Socrates for his image. He fears the majority and what they can say about him favoring money over friends. Crito then continues to say that Socrates should not fear the implications his escape can have on his friends. Then he goes on exclaiming that letting himself die for nothing is unjust, Socrates would be betraying his sons and what he is doing by staying is not only evil but also shameful. Socrates does not believe so. Socrates exclaims that “whether we should act in this way or not, as not
Starting from scratch, Socrates in Book II of Plato’s The Republic attempts to visualise an ideal city in order to explore further the notion of political justice and where it fits within the boundaries of that city. He attempts to figure out the essential components that a utopia of his time’s standards needs to consist of and initially proposes a model of a city characterised by simplicity, moderation and the production of resources just enough to satisfy people’s basic needs. Glaucon, on the other hand, calls this model a “city of pigs” initiating further discussion as to what is necessary, ideal and appropriate for a human being. He insists on introducing luxury on all aspects and other elements necessary for the symposium (which was considered
Plato saw that the best way to rule a city was to have a just ruler who worked to keep all citizens doing their jobs. Plato defines morality, or being just, as being aware of your specific function in society and sticking to your pre-ordained path. Justice is every part of the soul doing what it is supposed to do, without meddling with other parts. A city is considered just when the rulers rule over the producers with the help of the auxiliaries, and a soul is considered just when reason rules over the appetites with the help of the spirit. This is a good state to be in if one wants to be a ruler, since a just person is “polite and innocent,” while an unjust person is rude and guilty (349b). Apart from saying that a just person is better and
Plato wrote a lot of important philosophical works during his lifetime, but some of the most important ones are his works involving Socrates. With these works, Plato touched upon important beliefs that seem clear-cut to us but are much more complicated than believed. One of these beliefs involves the meaning and importance of knowledge. Plato writes to describe knowledge in his works Protagoras, Euthydemus, and Meno. There are three points he brings up involving proper knowledge: the importance of good teaching, the necessity of knowledge to do good in the world, and how virtue is a type of knowledge. In the end, I will explain why I agree with the argument of knowledge that Plato has raised in these three points.