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Virtue Ethics: Plato
Plato's philosophy of human nature
1. natural human goal: eudaimonia
2. three parts/capacities of the soul
"having a good guardian spirit"; happiness, flourishing, the "good life"
three parts/capacities of the soul
desire for things we need to survive or thrive physically, things which are usually pleasant -- food, water, warmth, sex, etc.
energy, drive, ambition, aggression, get-up-and-go
ability to analyze facts, evidence, and arguments in a detached and unbiased way
three classes in the Republic
1. working class
analogy between classes of the Republic and parts of the soul
1. working class -- appetites
2. military -- thumos
3. rulers -- reason/intellect
1. temperance (moderation)
2. courage (strength)
3. wisdom (prudence)
an attitude of moderation toward pleasure, especially physical pleasures of food, drink, and sex
an attitude of strength in the face of danger or in situations that cause fear or confidence
the ability to recognize the best possible goal or result in a given situation and to figure out what actions to take to get to that goal
fairness; giving people what they deserve; treating people equally
cardinal virtues in the Republic
1. working class -- temperance
2. military -- courage
3. rulers -- wisdom
4. the whole city/state -- justice
cardinal virtues in the soul
1. appetites -- temperance
2. thumos -- courage
3. reason/intellect -- wisdom
4. the whole soul -- justice
questions Plato leaves us with
1. will having the soul in harmony really make us just?
2. will being virtuous really make us happy?