Summary Of Plato's Republic And Cicero's On Duties

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Comparing and Contrasting Plato’s “Republic” and Cicero’s “On Duties” with an Emphasis on Self-Interest and the Common Good

In “Republic”, Plato argues that what is good for the ruler is good for everyone in the society. He claims that self interest derives from the common good; this suggests that according to Plato self-interest and common good are different entities. However in Cicero’s “On Duties”, self-interest and common good are considered to be identical, meaning that what is good for an individual equals what is good for the society. In this paper, I will argue that Cicero’s argument fails because self-interest and the common good are in fact not identical. Cicero’s argument about self-interest and the common good can be explained with these premises. Premise 1: What I ought to to do honourably and what I ought to do personally never conflict. Premise 2: What you ought to do for you is what is most good for you. Premise 3: What you ought to do for honour is what is good for everyone. Premise 4:Therefore, what is good for me and what is good for everyone never conflict. I believe that Cicero’s argument is a rather peculiar one because he believes in that communal life should be maintained with the help of civil laws (p.22, para.51). However, if self-interest and the common good were never to conflict as he said, then the society would not need a law system to regulate conflicting interests with laws. Also defining and understanding what is honourable and what is
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