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Questions (Pick Two)

1. In class, we started our historical survey of ethics by looking at the preSocratic philosophers. These philosophers were convinced that discussions about morality are dependent upon prior metaphysical convictions. Why did they think this? Do you think their insights were correct? If so, what metaphysical convictions might be necessary for grounding the idea of moral facts? In your essay, discuss the various metaphysical positions proposed by these early philosophers, mention the Sophists’
critique of these proposals, include Socrates’ response to the Sophists, and provide your conclusion of how modern ethicists might benefit from the metaphysical discussion of these earlier philosophers.

2. Explain and discuss Plato’s critique of democracy. Do you agree or disagree with his critique? Defend your position. In your essay, make sure you explain Plato’s definition of politics, his understanding of how a just society ought to be governed, and the relationship between reason, desire, and appetite.

3. Do you think moral values are in the eye of the beholder? What would it mean to say that moral values are objective? What would it mean to say that moral values are relative? Defend your position. Present and explain one argument for the claim that moral values are objective, and present and explain one argument against the claim that moral values are objective.

4. Augustine argued that the early Greek philosophers “have wished with amazing folly, to be happy here on earth and to achieve bliss by their own efforts.” This sentiment led him to change his view of government. For the Greeks, the purpose of government is to produce a virtuous society with virtuous citizens. For Augustine, government cannot produce a virtuous society because everyone (including the government) is sinful. Therefore, Augustine argued that the purpose of government is to simply restrain evil. What do you think about the purpose of government? Defend your position. In your essay, make sure you address the challenge of governing a diverse with diverse moral values.

5. Compare and contrast the ethics of John Locke with Karl Marx. How do the central ideas of Locke and Marx inform our understanding of the current debates over school choice? In your essay, make sure you cover the philosophy of “life, liberty, and property”, Locke’s approach to managing diversity, and Marx’s idea of class warfare (between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat).

Plato's Views on Democracy

Philosophers all around the world have given their theories and idea related to various aspects of ethics and moral concerns (Calabresi & Vickery, 2014). It is very important to interpret their idea in a better way so as to have a society where most of the people are satisfied. Plato was one of the first of his own kind who did not appreciate the democratic form of government. This report highlights the two different ideas given by two distinct philosophers on the various ethical concerns of the society.

In earlier times, when there was more of a monarch culture and was followed in most part of the world. Plato one of the eminent philosopher of the world had a very different kind of idea about the democracy and its practice. In earlier era democracy was considered to be more unstable and was not considered as a better way of governing the states and people. In the dialectical work ‘The republic’, Plato has mentioned about the five forms of government (Badiou, 2011). He described democracy as the unstable form of governing a state as well as government that is one step away from that of tyranny. Plato argues that democracy comes as a result of discontent with small group of individuals ruling a state and will become tyranny once quest for complete freedom generates into autocratic rule (Seitz, 2018). Plato considered democracy as the penultimate step inevitable descent into cruel government for the societies that are decaying in political sense. His idea of democracy is that it is a cruel government of the majority.

In my view his idea of democracy was more theoretical than what is practically judged. I disagree because he fails to account for the fact that why democracies have flourished in the history and why it is one of the most successful and widely accepted forms of government. In the modern times it is one of the most necessary forms of the government and has empowered people to have their views in the development of the society which is essential for the growth of any society. It has been seen that democracy reduces the quest for having the power. The idea of democracy ‘to the people, for the people, by the people’ gives everyone an equal power to participate in the process of governing the whole nation as well as providing equal opportunity to the people of the nation to grow at a constant pace. It also safeguards the rights of the individuals which is very important for the development of the society. In the time of Plato, the quest for power was everywhere and hence basic ethics did not have so much value. This might have led him to have such conclusions regarding democracy.

Plato and Aristocracy

Plato considered politics of that time to be unjust and almost beyond redemption. He thought that until the political places were taken by the philosophers; government cannot be good. In the views of Plato he considered aristocracy as one of the best form of government that he advocated. He considered that when in aristocracy philosopher king rules the regime, then it is the most effective form of government. He understands other form of the government to be something that is forced on the people.

Plato has argued for the psychology of justice in his ‘The Republic’. It provides the rudiment of a defensible distinction between appetites and rational desire. Plato had a view that all desires are rational desires. He expressed rational desires to be experienced decisions that necessarily involve some conceptions of agent’s own good, and have their sources in a power to order and integrate one’s motivations and hence fostering self-control (Lodge, 2014). He attached desire with pleasure. His ideas of desire had shifted from early work where it considered it to be good. His views on pleasure and illusion contradict his earlier thought of desire (Moss, 2018). He in his lines states that Desire is good until it reaches at stage where it becomes pleasure. On the other hand he described appetites as a felt desire that necessarily independent of evaluative thoughts, which in human being arise and increase at faster rate in a way that creates a situation of chaos and internal conflict. When it comes to his view on desire it is rather more converged towards the view of Socrates who advocates that individual desires must be postponed in the name of the ideals that are higher than self.

Ethics has been one of the primary matters of discussions in the works done by various philosophers in the past. Many researchers gave their own idea regarding the ethics and its acceptance in the society. From the culture they have been in and the time in which they belong to was one of the primary reasons for their views on ethics. Both Locke and Marx have different view point regarding ethics.

Locke describes ethics as seeking out those rules and measures of human actions that leads to happiness and the means to practice them. This description of Locke’s ethics advocates that highest good or the happiness is the end of human action (Walsh, 2018). It is considered as the rule that governs human action or the power that commands human action. He also describes ethics as the ways and means by which the rules are practiced. To understand Locke’s ethics elements of the definition has to be understood

Locke's Ethics and Human Actions

On the other hand Marxist ethics is considered as the doctrine of morality and understood to be a form of ideology. It is a class character and is showcased in individual’s behaviour in different ways, in distinct historical conditions that too according to the interest of what social strata or class an individual advocates (Smith, 2011). There are two main methodological principle of Marxist ethics are dialectics and materialism. But the major part is concentrated towards being materialist: the ideals, virtues and standards that are prevailing in the society are understood to be the reflection of actually existing interpersonal relations (All about world view, 2018). It is also considered as the expression of interests and requirements of social groups and classes. His theory considers ethics as the property of behaviour of man conditioned by their social and historical existence as the moral values that bring together living beings.

Both the idea of ethics given by Marx and Locke gives a totally different kind of views on the ethics and it is different from what is discussed in the school. Locke’s idea of ethics relates human actions to that of happiness while that of Marxist relates it with the doctrine of morality and concentrates more on the individual’s behaviour. It is somehow the reflection of actually existing relations among individuals.

John Locke gave more ideal description of life, liberty and property in his philosophy where he justifies all the three as the natural right which an individual must have (Bishara & Westermann?Behaylo, 2012). He also advocates that others must respect the rights of others. All the individuals must not harm others in terms of his life, liberty, health or possession.

Locke has a distinctive idea about managing identity. He subjects that diversity can be managed through consciousness (Sweeney, 2018).  He suggests that human being is self-accountable for changing personal identity. He advocates that person cannot run from his past.

Marx idea of class warfare or struggle is a form of tension or antagonism that is prevalent in the society. This sets to exist because several groups of individuals have diversified interests. He mainly categorises class of people into two namely bourgeoisie who is having control of capital and the means of production and proletariat are those which provides labour. There is always struggle between the two classes.

Conclusion 

From the above based report it can be said that different philosopher has described ethics in their own way. Democracy was highly critiqued by the Plato which is not true in the modern times. Plato described democracy as the form of government that is one step away from that of tyranny. Locke and Marks have described ethics in a different manner especially in regards to what beings debated in modern times. Marx descried the category of the people into two categories who are interdependent on each other and there is struggle that is going on these two categories. 

References 

All about world view, 2018. [Online]. Available at: https://www.allaboutworldview.org/marxist-ethics.htm. [Accessed on: 31st January 2018].

Badiou, A. (2011). The democratic emblem. Democracy in what State, 6-15.

Bishara, N. D., & Westermann?Behaylo, M. (2012). The Law and Ethics of Restrictions on an Employee's Post?Employment Mobility. American Business Law Journal, 49(1), 1-61.

Calabresi, S. G., & Vickery, S. M. (2014). On Liberty and the Fourteenth Amendment: The Original Understanding of the Lockean Natural Rights Guarantees. Tex. L. Rev., 93, 1299.

Lodge, R. C. (2014). Plato's theory of ethics: the moral criterion and the highest good. Routledge.

Moss, J. (2018). [Online]. Pleasure and illusion in Plato. Available at: https://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/philo/faculty/moss/PleasureandIllusion.pdf [Accessed on: 31st January 2018].

Seitz, S. (2018). Plato critique of Democracy and contemporary politics.  [Online]. Available at: https://politicstheorypractice.wordpress.com/2017/03/22/platos-critique-of-democracy-and-contemporary-politics/. [Accessed on: 31st January 2018].

Smith, D. W. (2011). Deleuze and the question of desire: Towards an immanent theory of ethics. Deleuze and ethics, 123-41.

Sweeney, M.M. (2018). Analysis of Locke’s “On Identity and diversity”.  [Online]. Available at: https://mmsweeney42.wordpress.com/2015/11/16/analysis-of-lockes-on-identity-and-diversity/. [Accessed on: 31st January 2018].

Walsh, J. (2018). [Online]. Locke: Ethics. Available at: https://www.iep.utm.edu/locke-et/. [Accessed on: 31st January 2018].

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