Philosophers refer to individuals who critically analyze and make conclusions on various issues in the society. Ethics refers to the acceptable code of conduct in the society. Individuals are expected to behave in a given manner as asserted by their best practices in their communities. Plato and Aristotle viewed ethics from various dimensions. Their views on ethics had both similarities and differences. For instance, they both asserted that virtue is vital for people to have a praiseworthy character and that an admirable character is driven by people’s soul. On the other hand, Plato claims that a virtuous character must be learnt while Aristotle argues that it is not learnt but gained from the daily practice. In addition, Plato argued that ethics is a through way to happiness while Aristotle held that ethics does not necessarily make one happy. Plato also argues that all the virtues that constitute virtuous conduct succeed each other while Aristotle argues that they are not connected.
This paper explicates the similarities and differences between Plato’s and Aristotle’s view of ethics.
Both Plato and Aristotle claimed that ethics is brought about by virtue. According to research, they both viewed ethics as a product of virtue. They emphasized that virtues such as courage are vital for people to have a praiseworthy character. Both of these philosophers’ view ethics as a product of the virtues. Thus, this makes it dependent on the vital virtues (Robert, 102). Research asserts that they both claimed that if one is consistent in his virtues such as courage then he is likely to be ethical in all his actions. This means that the forces that exist around them do not easily compromise individuals, but they are driven to behave in the acceptable way by their virtues. They argue that virtue leads to excellence in human beings. When proper virtues are observed, then the individual would be excellent in serving the entire community in the most acceptable manner possible. The individual who thus observes issues relating to courage and justice would act in a good manner, to preserve the worth in these virtues. Plato and Aristotle were of the view that human beings should uphold all the virtues perceived admirable in the society to achieve ethics and behave in the most ethical manner possible.
They both asserted that one’s ethics is driven by the soul. According to Plato and Socrates, the soul drives the reasoning and actions among human beings. This is thus vital in determining good conduct hence ethics. Research asserts that they both asserted that the soul’s conduct of human reasoning and desires determines how one would ultimately behave. One would behave unethically if the soul comes up with reasoning and desires that are not acceptable in the society (Irwin, 202). For instance, they claimed that if the soul is driven by the desire to murder another person, then the individual will go ahead and execute it. In addition, research intimates that both of these philosophers claimed that the cleanliness in the reasoning and decisions of the soul would lead to an admirable behavior, which is a product of ethics. Ethics in itself is determined by one’s desires and actions arising from the soul.
Plato and Aristotle had differences in the views relating to ethics. Plato asserted that ethics is achieved when one is taught the bet codes of conduct. Aristotle’s emphasis was that ethics is a result of one’s daily practice and not education. Research intimates that Plato emphasized that one would only be ethical if taught (Irwin, 220). One would only behave in the acceptable manner if given direction on how to behave. He claimed that ethics is gained through social sciences relating to human conduct and acceptable behavior in society. On the other hand, Aristotle was of the view that ethics is a practice that comes about due to one’s everyday life. He claimed that one becomes ethical through his daily experiences and practices (Aristotle, 155). According to research, Aristotle was of the view that ethics is a result of the daily experiences and challenges. Thus, it is a gradual process that comes about as one interacts with his environment.
In addition, Plato asserted that ethics automatically leads to happiness while Aristotle claimed that one could be ethical but not necessarily happy. Plato emphasized that for one to be happy in life he must be ethical in whatever he does. This is brought about by the excellence that an individual encounters throughout his life. Excellent results arising from ethics make one happy because of the ultimate praise from others and self-satisfaction (Irwin, 190). According to research, Plato asserted that for one to be happy he must achieve self satisfaction that comes about because of ethics. On the other hand, Aristotle was of the view that ethics does not necessarily lead to an individual. He emphasized that happiness would only come about if the individual behaved in the manner that satisfied him even if it meant harm to others. He stated that the uprightness of an individual would not necessarily make him smile. In his argument he cited Oedipus, he claimed that he could have been ethically upright, but he was not a happy man in his life (Robert, 160). This was in support of the view that ethics is not a through way to happiness. Research further intimates that the two philosophers are a variance on this issue because ethics does not necessarily yield satisfaction that leads to happiness.
Plato was of the view that the virtues leading to an admirable behavior are related thus succeeding each other. On the other hand, Aristotle said there is no connectivity among the virtues leading to ethics. Research intimates that Plato viewed virtues such as courage and justice as being related and hence having connectivity. He emphasized that ethics is brought about by consistency of the virtues. His argument was that the virtues leading to ethics succeed each other hence making an individual more reasonable in his reasoning. He then claimed that the connectivity enables the virtues to lead to ethical behavior (Irwin, 175). He said that one admirable virtue would lead to another praiseworthy virtue hence ultimately developing ethical behavior in an individual. On the other hand, Aristotle objected this perception by claiming that virtues leading to ethics are not related in any way. Individuals’ initial admirable virtues do not make them ethical (Aristotle, 210). He held that virtues are not related hence would not constitute one’s virtuous behavior. Ethics would not be created from the relatedness of the virtues but independently from any virtue.
In conclusion, philosophers reason and analyze vital issues before coming up with conclusions. Ethics is the acceptable behavior the society. A person needs to judge fairly before acting to uphold ethics. Plato and Aristotle’s view on ethics has both similarities and differences. For instance, they both view ethics as a product of virtues. In addition, they both asserted that the soul determines a person’s ethical behavior because it governs reasoning and desires. On the other hand, Plato emphasized that admirable virtues must be taught for one, to be ethical. Aristotle claims that ethics comes about because of the daily practices and thus cannot be taught. In addition, Plato viewed ethics as a through way to a person’s happiness. Aristotle, on the other hand, objected this by claiming that ethics would not necessarily make one happy. Happiness is only brought about by self satisfaction.
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