The quest towards developing the ideal human character is sought after in both the Bhagavad-Gita and Confucius’ The Analects. In the Bhagavad Gita, the concept of sacred duty is prevalent throughout the text, as the warrior-prince Arjuna faces a moral dilemma throughout the story. In Confucius’ The Analects, filial piety is a virtue which impacts an individual’s character in relation to the Confucian religion. Sacred duty within the Gita requires the protection of one’s dharma, which is defined as the religious and moral law that manages an individual’s actions. Within Confucian thought, filial piety is a virtue of respect for one’s elders, ancestors, and parents within a community. Despite the differences between the contextual meanings of developing the ideal human, both the Bhagavad Gita and The Analects utilize their teachings towards developing ideal human character within the themes of sacred duty and filial piety with the goal of establishing a set of communal ethics to be maintained through different caste systems, essentially protecting the existing social structure. To argue this claim, I will begin by analyzing the similar intentions of deviating from selfish actions and thoughts to develop ideal human character. I will then express how the nature of this character leads towards the development of one’s sacred duty and filial piety. I will then connect these two ideas to show how together they work to develop a communal set of ethics aimed at maintaining order
The Crito and the Republic were both works of Plato. Plato’s works were divided into early, middle and late dialogues. The Crito falls into the category of the formal while the Republic falls into the category of the latter. In his early dialogues, Plato was influenced by Socratic philosophy but as he ages, he starts to develop his distinct and independent philosophy. Justice is the fundamental concept that will be discussed in this paper. The scope of discussion will mainly revolve around the Crito, the Apology and the Republic. In Socrates’ submission and acceptance of his sentence lies the implication that Socrates agrees with democracy as a political system. Plato, on the other hand,
The Roman Empire is well known for their patriarchal society, and for being a society in which a person’s morals and virtues were a prudent portion of their identity. In ancient times, Roman’s based a majority of their philosophy off of their moralistic standards. The Romans began to distinguish themselves through applying their morals and virtues to their philosophy, and in turn became a society in which an individual’s actions were governed in large part, by their moral compass. A classic example of this application can be seen in the Roman concept of pietas. For Roman citizens, the idea of pietas, or “dutifulness” was a highly important aspect of an individual’s life (Sayre, 2015). Although the concept of pietas was applicable to all Roman citizens, it was especially important to males, particularly fathers, who were to be regarded with the upmost respect and revered to the greatest extent possible. The following essay will discuss the definition and significance of the Roman concept of pietas, and will provide the reader with a example of how Roman’s applied this concept to their everyday lives.
In the Analects, the virtue of humanity centers around reverence, generosity, diligence, honesty, and kindness towards others. In seeking to attain each of these virtues, the goal is to become a true junzi, a gentleman (Confucius, Analects, 2). Men are thoroughly instructed upon how to deal with other people. They are treat everyone with kindness and righteousness (Confucius, Analects, 1). Reverence is to be shown to superiors, and harmony maintained with those not on his “level”. The dignity of a gentleman's actions are what gain him respect (Confucius, Analects, 1-2). He is to “expect” no more that what one is capable of in service, but to be “pleased” by nothing less than true following of “the Way” (Confucius, Analects,
Virtue ethics is a normative theory whose foundations were laid by Aristotle. This theory approaches normative ethics in substantially different ways than consequentialist and deontological theories. In this essay, I will contrast and compare virtue ethics to utilitarianism, ethical egoism, and Kantianism to demonstrate these differences. There is one fundamental aspect of virtue ethics that sets it apart from the other theories I will discuss. For the sake of brevity and to avoid redundancy, I will address it separately. This is the fundamental difference between acting ethically within utilitarianism, egoism, and Kantianism. And being ethical within virtue ethics. The other theories seek to define the ethics of actions while virtue ethics does not judge actions in any way. The other theories deal with how we should act, while virtue ethics determines how we should be.
The idea of striving for goodness has always been something that has been instilled in our minds since birth. We were always taught to the do the right thing. But why? What are the benefits of being a good person versus being bad? This is question that Colin Mcginn tackles in his article, “Why Not Be a Bad Person?” In it, he explains why he think virtue is the more intriguing moral standard, and explores why some people may disagree with him.
Background Cicero was one of the greatest orators in Ancient Rome. He was not of noble birth, but in 64 BCE became consul, one of the most powerful offices in the Roman Republic. Cicero's time as consul was difficult, and he successfully prevented an overthrow of the Republic and his own assassination. Once Julius Caesar began to amass more and more personal power, however, he receded from active politics because he believed the ideals of the Republic would be diffused with tyranny. Once Caesar was assassinated, Cicero again became popular but because of his dislike (public and private) of Mark Antony, as Antony's power grew, Cicero's diminished. He was killed in December 43 BCE after being declared an enemy of the Republic.
In Plato’s The Republic and The Apology, the topic of justice is examined from multiple angles in an attempt to discover what justice is, as well as why living a just life is desirable. Plato, writing through Socrates, identifies in The Republic what he thought justice was through the creation of an ideal city and an ideal soul. Both the ideal city and the ideal soul have three components which, when all are acting harmoniously, create what Socrates considers to be justice. Before he outlines this city and soul, he listens to the arguments of three men who hold popular ideas of the period. These men act to legitimize Socrates’ arguments because he finds logical errors in all of their opinions. In The Apology, a different, more down-to-Earth, Socrates is presented who, through his self-defense in court, reveals a different, even contradictory, view of the justice presented in The Republic. In this paper, the full argument of justice from The Republic will be examined, as well as the possible inconsistencies between The Republic and The Apology.
Among the virtues, Cicero grants precedence to the fellowship of men and deems justice “the most illustrious of the virtues, on account of which men are called ‘good’” (9). Consequently, Cicero enumerates in detail the ways in which one can exemplify this virtue, so as to be considered a good man. The duties of justice concern themselves “with preserving fellowship among men, with assigning to each his own, and with faithfulness to agreements one has made” (7). For the political man, maintaining community among citizens is the foremost duty of justice. As to the subliminal caveat for the populace, which allows one to determine the justness of a man, Cicero posits, “on the question of keeping faith, you must always think of what you meant, not of what you said” (18). Furthermore, of injustice, Cicero asserts, “nothing deserves punishment more than that of men who, just at the time when they are most betraying trust, act in such a way that they might appear to be good men” (19). This interpolation, as Cicero completes the doctrine concerning justice, portends the purpose of his third virtue.
In this paper, I will present a similarity and difference between Aristotle’s concept of a virtuous act and Kant’s discussion of dutiful action. In The Nicomachean Ethics, The source of a virtuous action happens when your passions and thoughts are balanced. It is balanced when there is
The philosophy of virtue ethics, which primarily deals with the ways in which a person should live, has puzzled philosophers from the beginning of time. There are many contrasting interpretations regarding how one should live his or her life in the best way possible. It is in my opinion that the Greeks, especially Aristotle, have exhibited the most logical explanation of how to live the "good life". The following paper will attempt to offer a detailed understanding of Aristotle's reasoning relating to his theory of virtue ethics.
When most think of philosophy a list of people come to mind. You have your “greats” such as Plato, Nietzsche, and of course Aristotle. However, this does not mean that their ideas cannot be challenged and questioned, as no one is above criticism. Aristotelian Virtue Ethics have a major flaw that strikes at the heart of the idea. There is a severe lack of guidance both in what a virtue is, and what happens when they conflict. The mains question is, is one virtue more important than another?
One of the last major philosophers of Virtue Ethics was Plutarch who advocated virtue but disagreed with Epicurus because he believed there was no true pleasure. At this same time, between 400 B.C.- 40 B.C. Stoic philosophers such Cicero, who combined the philosophies of Aristotle and Plato, developed his idea on ethics and how everyone has a duty and should imitate virtue for others. He said duty has two points which are to achieve the Supreme Good, and follow the rules for daily living. Cicero was a strong believer in rationality incorporated Plato’s Cardinal Virtues into his three rules of conduct: master desires through reason, know true value of goals and be moderate in actions and lifestyle.
He tells us why we must not live only for our own advantage; because it is against our nature as humans to do so, because without the basis of this human characteristics, the whole human society would fall apart. The qualities we value most in our fellow human beings are the most natural to us because they were endowed to us from the gods so that the race of human beings and the human society could go on existing. We can know this from his words; "People who argue like this subvert the whole basis of humans community itself - and when that is gone, kind actions, generosity, goodness, and justice are annihilated. And their annihilation is a sin against the immortal gods. For it was they who established the society which such men are undermining." Cicero's belief in the natural goodness of the human race was stead-fast because he believed that it was endowed to us from the gods.
This essay will be examining the ethics of Plato (428-347 BCE) and Aristotle (384-322 B.C). I will firstly attempt to summarise the five fundamental concepts of Plato and Aristotle before providing my own opinion and view on their ethics. I will concentrate on their theories on the good life as a life of justice, censorship, knowledge and the good life.