Thursday, March 9, 2000

Plato vs. Aristotle

There are many different views on what makes a good society.  Is a good society a place where no one works alone, they do what they are good at and get there other necessities from someone else that is good at the particular thing.  Is a good society a place where we all live together in friendship, pleasure, virtue, honor, and wealth, and all these items fit together?
            In today’s society a good society is viewed as justice, equity, rule of law, opportunity, right to own things, freedom of speech and many more.  The United States I think is viewed as a good society; people come from all over to America to achieve their dreams in the United States. 
            According to Wikipedia, A society, or a human society is a group of people involved with each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or social territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations.  ( A society I see as being viewed as a good society in my opinion is the Amish community.  They are a group of people that feed off of each other, and they help each other out to be successful.  They are viewed as being successful, they produce there goods, and then sell them to other people.  They also have their own set of rules to follow, and if the rules are broken there is justice.
            Plato was an ancient Greek philosopher, he was a student of Socrates, and he was a teacher to Aristotle.  Plato studied things like justice, beauty and equality.  Plato was also a founder of the Academy of Athens; it was one of the first college’s in the Western world.   
Plato studied under Socrates; Plato’s life question was the question of virtue and the formation of a noble character.  Plato’s views were expressed in his book called The Republic, Socrates never wrote anything down, and so the first book was thought to be a dialogue of Socrates thoughts.  Plato thought that societies were formed for a particular reason.  His thought was that no one working alone could get all the necessities of life by themselves.  We all gather together for the common good of all, so we can all work together.  Plato thought that the separation of functions and people specializing in areas were the key to a successful society. 
            In The Republic Plato considers the nature and value of justice and the other virtues as they appear both in the structure of society as a whole and in the personality of an individual human being.  (  The justice was to find out who the subject at hand was, and then there is a process that needs to be gone through to find what the real justice that should be done.  One account was saying that justice was nothing more than telling the truth, and repaying one’s debts, on another account justice is giving to each what is owed.  It was thought that justice is those in position of power use that power to what is right. 
            Another question that Plato looks at in The Republic is why do we form a society?  Plato believes that societies are formed for a particular reason.  Plato thinks that individuals are not self-sufficient, someone working alone cannot obtain all the things in life, there needs to be communities so the people can achieve their common goals in life.  His thought is that if we all work together, and specialize in something, that everyone will have their own specialty.  One can be a baker, one a cattle person, and one a blacksmith, all these people can exchange goods, and this will make a good society.     
            Plato also purposed an additional class of citizens, this people would be the ones responsible for the management of the society.  In of the classes would be there to defend the society, against outside forces, the second class this class would settle disagreements, and they would make the decisions about the public policy, they would be the justice.  This people would have to specialize in understanding what is best for the people, and they had to have good judgment on what people are like.
            Aristotle was an ancient Greek philosopher that studied under Plato.  After studying under Plato for almost twenty years, Aristotle went on to start in own school, the Lyceum, in Athens, Greece.  This is where is spend most of his life teaching and writing.  His writing covered many areas physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology.  After Plato died Aristotle came to believe that all peoples concepts and all of their knowledge was ultimately based on perception. 
            Aristotle was a teacher, and he was appointed to the head of the royal academy of Macedon.  Aristotle gave lessons to three people that would eventually would become kings.  They were Alexander the Great, Ptolemy and Cassander. 
            Aristotle thought the principle concern is the nature of human well-being.  He thought that what we needed to live well was friendship, pleasure, virtue, honor, and wealth and these items all fit together.  Aristotle considers happiness as an activity, and we have to work to be happy.  He believed that instead of having all property owned by everyone, that there needed to be some properties that are individually owned. 
            Since friendship is an important feature of the good life and virtuous habits can be acquired through moral education and legislation.  Aristotle regarded life within a moral community as a vital component of human morality.  (  Justice is considered with being treated equal and the fairness of people.  His thought was that when considering someone’s wrongs that we should also be considering all the rights that they have done.  An example of this in today’s society would be someone getting out of jail early, on the account of good behavior.  Aristotle was like Plato in the thought that there had to a separation of what people did for labor, but he disagreed with Plato on that people should be able to own some of their own property.  Plato thought that everything should be commonly held, but Aristotle thought that some property could be privately owned. 
            Aristotle also thought that a good person, would still be a good person outside of the society, Plato thought that a good person relied solely on the society to be a good person.  Aristotle also thought that there were six kinds of social structure.  A State with only one ruler this was a monarchy or a tyranny.  A state with several rulers that was an aristocracy or an oligarchy.  The last two are a state that all rules are either a polity or a democracy.  Aristotle thought that the best one was a monarchy, because they are concerned with what is best for the people, and they are not after their own agenda, or personal interests.  
            Aristotle thought on people is that there are differences of opinion about what is best for human beings.  When need to fully understand things before we can make an opinion, and flourish on those things. (  Aristotle wants to know what is good, how do you make up a society; it is good to have friends, pleasure, health, be respected, and courage.  Aristotle was is search of the highest good, his thought was that there were three characteristics of it, it is desirable for itself, it is not desirable for the sake of some other goods, and all other goods are desirable for its sake.  Happiness is its own, each person is after a different happiness, and only they can find their own happiness.   
            Aristotle thought that you could take the society that we have, and make improvements on it.  People need to find their happiness; they need to do what is best for the people, if people are happy they can achieve their goals in life.  A good society is one with justice, and where people get a fair chance at justice.  When they are looking at people they will look at what good things they have done also, when they are deciding their justice.  People have to look into their soul to find happiness, and once that is found they can be a good part of society. 
            When you are looking at Plato and Aristotle on what makes a good society, you can still see in our society what they were saying.  Plato thought was that we needed a community for a good society, and that really is what we have in the United States, the companies specialize in something that we are not good at, and we can purchase from them.  You can be good at more than one thing.  Aristotle with happiness we still have today, if someone is happy they really do, do what is best for the people. 
            I believe that the United States is a good society, and the people of the United States are nice people.  Here is the United States you can achieve your dreams, and anything is possible, no matter if you are born into a poor or rich family.  If you are born into a poor family, I do believe that you have to work harder for it, you need to find a way to pay for school, and purchase clothes for a job. 
            We have government in the United States that is supposed to being working for the good of the people, even though I think there are several people with their own agendas, we really are a state that is for the people.  We are not dictated by someone, we have freedom of speech, we have a right to our own opinion, and we can work where we want, and we can believe what we want.
            We have a justice system that works, and the government is always changing the laws, so they do what is best for the people.  We still till this day use Aristotle thoughts on when someone is in jail, they can get out early for good behavior.  When someone is on trial they always have witnesses that will talk to the good character of the person on trial. 
            I believe we in the United States have a great society, and we use things that Plato and Aristotle have taught us, so we can remain a good society.  We have so many things to be thankful for, and if you are good to other people, and treat them and things with respect.  We need to understand that people have different beliefs and opinions, and if we can do all that, we will continue to be a good society.     

Kemerling G; Philosophy Pages;; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike; Plato; The State and the Soul
Kemerling G; Philosophy Pages;; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike; Aristotle: Politics and Art
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc; 2013;
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc; 2013;
A+E Television Networks LLC; 2013;

No comments:

Post a Comment