Plato: Chapter One
(427 - 347 B.C.) raised in household committed to tradition of public service and democracy; lived through period of moral degeneration and political turmoil; many youthful disappointments with politics; death of Socrates shattered faith in politics and in democracy
Plato: Nature of Man
man is composed of three basic elements: reason, spirit, and appetite; how each individual develops each element determines his character; proper development of the elements leads one to be just and morally virtuous
Plato: Nature of Existence
believed in the doctrine of Teleology; maintains that everything has a purpose, including men; man's purpose is to become virtuous through the pursuit of ethical ideals: justice, temperance, and courage
sense experience is faulty and transient; our senses often deceive us; true knowledge cannot be obtained from the natural world; material substance is less real than the idea (form); the reality of the ideal is eternal, immutable, and perfect; one achieves knowledge through dialectic - critical examination of ideas, pushing each to a logical conclusion in order to find the truth
Plato: Ethics and Morality
No man knowingly does evil, but when overcome by pleasure, evil occurs; if man knew and act was wrong, then he would not perform it; knowledge of the evil of acts restrains us
Plato: Summum Bonnum
Knowledge is the greatest good.
Plato: Good Life
The good life is achieved through the examination of the perfect, immutable, and eternal world of forms, which helps us to attain wisdom
Aristotle: Chapter One
(384 - 322 B.C.) Father was a doctor & the personal physician of King Amyntas II of Macedonias; studied at Plato's Academy; unhappy with the acadmemy, he left with a group of students to continue his studies; founded the Lyceum; taught, wrote, and researched; developed one of the greatest libraries on the ancient world; left Athens in the the wake of anti-Macedonian sentiment, which may have threatened his security; considered himself a Platonist, but developed new and opposing directions of his own; worked out interpretations of Plato that he felt were more in keeping with reality; wrote on virtually every subject known to man; knew all there was to know at his time in history
Aristotle: Nature of Man
Reason is the obvious essence of man's nature; man is the rational animal; reason is the one things that distinguished man from all other living things
Aristotle: Nature of Existence
change is the manifestation of a thing moving toward its essence; "entelechy" --> final purpose; Nature makes nothing in vain, so everything is designed to reach its natural end; the goal of every things is to achieve the end from which it was made, to move from its potential to its actual; everything seeks to fulfill the essence of its being, to become what the combination of form and matter was meant to be.
it is not enough or man's intellect to gain philosophical wisdom without the ability to translate that wisdom into human action; we must pursue truth to gain philosophical wisdom, but we must also have practical wisdom, which is wise conduct
Aristotle: Ethics and Morality
Moral virtue is developing the habit or predisposition to do good. The person who can control those desires which could lead him into immoral choices is morally good.; since we all have desires and passions, these are not essentially evil; the just man acts in accordance with all virtues; one must choose the "Golden Mean", the virtue itself, not its excess or deficit.