This undergraduate philosophical paper was originally written as a two-page reflection paper in partial fulfillment of the requirements for PHIL 1043.
On Plato’s Ethical Theory
. . . Let us take nothing away from Plato, Idealism, Cosmology . . . wheresoever philosophical discourse transpire, occur or take its course in the affairs of man throughout the history of thought there, to a greater or lesser extent, emerges the indurate principles of politics, justice, virtue and truth—the tenor of hitherto philosophical inquiry beseeks (or challenges) objective knowledge as personified in Plato versus the Sophists, thus the archaic “What’s out there?”
If in a sense the Sophists had been somewhat modest in abstaining from assenting universally binding knowledge, by remaining rhetoricians of skepticism: Plato (427-347) the founder of the Academy constructed a prominently faithful system aimed at Truth.
Plato’s ethical theory revolves around the question, “What is the good life?” This is in accordance with the Socratic philosophy ‘Virtue is Knowledge’ that is, to know the good is to do the good. For Plato, the highest and happiest kind of living is best exemplified through the use of reason. He maintains that knowledge provides the individual with the fundamental precept upon which his passion and appetite must conform. Such harmony of the three distinct faculties of man namely reason, passion and appetite equates to the Platonic conception of justice.
The ideal system of Plato’s ethical theory is buttressed by two essential pillars: the doctrine of teleology and the theory of the Forms. The doctrine of teleology states that everything in the universe is pre-determined and has in them an inherent purpose. On the other hand, the theory of the Forms constitutes the total-aggregate of each and all the concepts and ideas as manifested in the material world. Each is the relentless corroborate of the other. Simply put, the core of Plato’s philosophical thought clearly illustrates the poignant picture of idealistic credo.
It may have been one well-crafted a portrait Plato’s narrative, a protruding schematization stabilized by the vibrant and elaborate colors of his idealistic panorama of the world —a Mona Lisa of ingenious ideas. Yet on the opposite side of the gallery, there, in a streak of dancing lights, arises another brand of creative thinkers: the Sophists. If Plato’s masterpiece echoes the idea of justice as absolute and immutable, impressing upon the individual a pre-formulated concoction from which each of them must not stray, the Sophists, on the other hand, offers the antipode, emphasizing the function of man as a barometer for his own self. Justice, according to the Sophists, is relative to the individual’s caprice. The Sophists deny the existence of justice in the absolute; their narrative may be gleaned in the words of the Sophist Protagoras (ca. 490-420) that ‘Man is the measure of all things’. Continue reading “On Plato’s Ethical Theory”