Socrates Section Two







Section Two

Question One:

Of the four ideas, the most implausible is one that postulates that people tend to engage in wrong doing because of ignorance. This is not normally the case especially with individuals who are moral beings. It is their obligation to acquaint themselves with all facets of the societal functioning. It should also be noted that most individuals do wrong knowingly. In this respect, they always seek to test the mode of governance or simply out of curiosity. At this point, it can be ascertained that a very insignificant percentage of the society do wrong out of ignorance. On the contrary, the most credible idea pertains to passing judgment based on knowledge of an individual. It is often considered an objective and rational activity to base all decisions on credible information. In this respect, it can be ascertained that wise judgment is entirely derived from informed decisions. Just as Socrates’ midwifes pass judgment on the basis of knowledge and experience, humans need to follow suit. This enhances the quality of the decisions made and ensures that justice is maintained at all levels.

Question Two:

In this Socrates is looking for a definition that has a universal application as opposed to one that is derived from or can be applied to specific situations or contexts. Euthyphro’s explanation in this regard can be considered one that is implicit rather than explicit. It is a complicated summation that does not provide specific details with regards to the meaning of piety. In this, it is notable that instead of providing a single definition that could be likened to piety, Euthyphro presents a list of items that are pious. In this regard, it can be contended that just like Socrates noted, Euthyphro did not possibly understand the question.

Socrates criticizes Euthyphro’s second answer by pointing out that in most instances; the gods also tend to quarrel with each other. According to him, one god might consider an activity to be pious while another god can consider the same activity not to be pious. Essentially, it is worth acknowledging that no single activity can assume both states of being pious and non pious. From a critical point of view, this definition cannot hold in instances where there is one god. This is because the god is likely to assume a single perception of this conception. In particular, the respective god would consider the action under review to be either pious or non pious. It would be unlikely for the quarrel to ensue as there would be no third second party. Any possibility of an internal position is likely to culminate in incidences of indecision that would not have any implications on the wellbeing of the god (Melchert 87).

Question Three:

Chaerephon was a great friend of Socrates who sought to find out whether there existed any man whose wisdom was more than that of Socrates. He thus visited the oracle at Delphi and asked it to ascertain this. The oracle affirmed that indeed, there was no man who was wiser than Socrates. Socrates was puzzled by this answer because he believed that he did not know the extent of his ignorance. In addition, he believed that he did not have any wisdom whatsoever and that what the oracle had said was merely a paradox. As such, he decided to visit the individuals that he considered to be holders of wisdom in the society. These included artisans, statesmen and poets that resided in Athens. This was in a bit to find out the truth from them and have the facts with which he would be able to refute the answer of the oracle. After extensive questioning of these men, Socrates found out that the oracle said the truth. It is because unlike other men, he was aware of the fact that he had some degree of ignorance. Other men only thought that they were wise and failed to appreciate their level of foolishness.

I agree that this is the only kind of wisdom that can be employed by man. It is because by knowing the degree on one’s ignorance, an individual can be in position to work on this and fill the inherent gaps. Thus at the end of the day, the respective individual can be in position to attain the highest degree of wisdom as he would have concentrated in eliminating his weakness. On the contrary, an individual who considers himself or herself to be wise would concentrate on his wisdom and is likely to forget about other areas that he would be weak in. The ability to acknowledge one’s weaknesses and take steps to address this would be impeded by the resultant pride and the tendency to consider oneself to be better than the rest.

Question Four:

During his defense, Socrates employs the analogy of the horse. This is effective for his defense because it indicates that just like the horse trainer; he did not have any underling bad intentions. Instead, he was equipping the youth with sufficient knowledge to help them deal with life’s challenges with ease. In this consideration therefore, it is certain that he was helping the society by inculcating in the youth viable ideals that are imperative for addressing the emergent challenges. He argues that a person would possibly not corrupt his or her neighbor as this could yield detrimental effects and he could possibly harm himself in the process. Essentially, the neighbor would begin by attacking the person, rather than moving beyond his neighborhood. At this point, Socrates indicates that even if he was corrupting the youth, this was not intentional as he would suffer the consequences.

I think Socrates s not guilty of corrupting the youth; rather he enlightens them on how to deal with the emergent difficulties. Notably, his teachings trigger rational and objective thoughts that would enable the youth to address the emergent difficulties. This can also be considered a sustainable measure as they would certainly pass on the ideals to future generations. Most importantly, it would enable them to act as societal regulators with respect to keeping the society in check. At a time when the society was experiencing a host of challenges, this was a fundamental measure that is aimed at safeguarding its holistic welfare.

Question Five

According to Socrates, an individual is unlikely to be well versed with the entire functioning of the society. In addition, an individual usually has limited capacities that make it difficult for the same to be well informed about everything around him. As such, it is important to listen to the opinions of many individuals about a certain issue before making any decisions and or arriving at any conclusions. Socrates indicates that external opinions provide useful insights that are imperative for decision making. In addition, they enable one to make objective decisions that are based on a credible knowledge base. However, he also cites that we should lay greater emphasis on the opinions of the wise. Compared to those of the rest of the society, these tend to be informed and objective. They are important as they accredit the decision making process by ensuring that decisions made are well founded.

Despite being right, it should be appreciated that a democracy is unlikely to provide leaders that are efficient and effective in their duties. In this respect, it should be acknowledged that democratic leadership usually depends on different opinions. Ineffectiveness stems from the tendency of the leaders to lay undue emphasis on the need to further personal interests as opposed to objective decisions. In such cases, reaching a consensus is usually hard as multiple stakeholders need to be consulted before a decision is undertaken. This is further compounded by the need to include multiple interests in the ultimate decision. The relative lack of distinct guidelines with regard to decision making undermines the ability to enhance harmony. This further compromises the ability of these individuals to arrive at credible decisions that would reflect the complex interests of the entire leaders. This can be used to explain why it is increasingly difficult for democratic leaders to attain effective leadership.

Question six:

To begin with, Socrates believed that the urge to escape from prison would compel him to act in accordance with the expectations of the society. This according to him would be irrational because of the fact that the majority do not always provide a rational decision to one’s actions. Further, he cites that his escaping from prison would have had negative impacts on his quality of life. In this regard, it should be acknowledged that Socrates believed that the quality of life was much better than the life itself. He encouraged individuals to lay particular emphasis on improving their quality of life rather than just living. Escaping would also make the life of the guards miserable and this would contravene his fundamental principles.

Finally, Socrates believed that escaping would have detrimental effects on his soul. This is because he would be harming his soul too. Basically, he believed that harming others would bring guilt to the soul and compromise its ability to coexist in a harmonic manner. Harming others in this respect was an immoral activity as it significantly reduces the relative happiness that the individual experiences. Being in the position of Socrates, I would try to escape from prison. In this regard, it is certain that an individual can only be able to uphold good virtues and enhance happiness if s/he is happy. Prison conditions tend to be restricting and do not give one a chance to further this happiness. Furthermore, Socrates had a family to cater for and therefore refusing to escape from prison was an indication that he concentrated more on valuing his principles at the expense of the wellbeing of his family. This is a clear indication of self-centeredness that does not yield beneficial results.

Section Three:

Question One:

According to Plato, knowledge is certain while opinion is uncertain and can be likened to beliefs. He indicates that opinions are derived from sensational opinions as opposed to knowledge that assumes timeless forms. Thus knowledge can be used to accredit opinions while opinions cannot accredit knowledge. According to Plato, forms refer to ideas that exist independently from the mind and those that can be easily grasped by the same. One of the arguments that ascertain the existence of forms is the imperfection argument. In this, forms refer to actual entities that the human sensory system experience and in some cases correspond. Usually, judgments that humans make revolve around these distinct forms that have properties such as square, equal and circular. Notably, these are perceived regardless of the fact that they are in most cases not experienced.

Fundamentally, forms assume the above attributes even though they are hardly experienced perceptually. Ideally human forms have better attributes than the real humans. According to Plato, humans tend to strive to imitate these forms because they have the ideal attributes that they desire. Further, Plato considers the forms to be more real than the real humans because they are not only rational but also unchanging. This is unlike the physical appearances of the real humans that keep changing and hence their values keep changing too.

Question Two:

Justice in the soul is further translated to justice in the community because it determines the wellbeing of the individual. At this point is should be appreciated that the individual is the basic component of a community and therefore the wellbeing of the same determines the harmonic co existence f the community. The guardians are charged with the responsibility of providing leadership in the community. This is because they are enlightened and understand the important aspects of morality (Melchert 164). Morality influences justice in different ways and therefore, it is imperative for enhancing credible leadership. Furthermore, unlike the rest of the society, the guardians understand the functioning of the society and have the capacity to enhance good ideals. In addition, they have the ability to regulate the operations and ensure that they augment each other in a bit to enhance the entire functioning of the society.

Since they have the relevant skills and attributes, it is certain they can be able to uphold just leadership. I believe Plato’s politics are meant for a just society because the guardians who are well versed with the entire functioning of the society assume top leadership positions. In addition, the police are involved in leadership and therefore it can be posited that the views of the society are mainstreamed in leadership. This leadership can be preferred to democracy because it has an outlined format that ensures that decisions are made in a timely and effective manner. Further, its effective functioning is enhanced by the peaceful conditions that it seeks to maintain. Seemingly, the commoners whose activities tend to disrupt peace are shunned from the society. This is attained with the help of the police of defense segment of the population that is also allowed to participate in governance. Since the leaders are well informed about the entire needs of the society, the commoners have their needs addressed during decision making.

Question Three:

Essentially, Plato indicates that objects are considers to resemble each other because of the fact that they share a common form. Because they are copies of the common form, they resemble this form too. However, it is argued that the relative resemblance need to be explained using another form too. In this regard, it is argued that similar objects can be explained through a third form. Unlike the theory of forms that does not provide an explicit explanation of this resemblance, the third man argument indicates that this resemblance can be explained effectively through the employment of a third form. For instance, explanation of the similarity that exists between a form of man and a man requires the employment of another form of a man. In this, it is certain that the explanation of the similarity is transferred to the third form as opposed to employment of initial forms. Aristotle criticizes Plato’s approach to forms by indicating that it fails to include the basic conceptions of order and permanence that characterize the world. Plato has been implicated for making it impossible to give a credible explanation through his separation of material realms. At this point, it can be ascertained that Plato’s metaphysics do not provide a credible description f the nature of reality. Its exclusion of critical concepts pertaining to permanence and order that is fundamental for explaining reality present inherent gaps that imply that the explanation is not credible.

Question Four:

With regards to organic development, Aristotle argues that this development is important as t enhances the growth of a given species. Notably, growth is also perpetuated by development and this yields both intrinsic and instrumental benefits to the environment as well as to other organisms. This is further enhanced by the fact that it is a natural and flexible process that can always occur at any time. Teleology refers to a comprehensive evaluation of the purpose or ends of the nature of organisms and things. From a philosophical point of view, it is argued that things and organisms exist for a certain purpose. This is important as it provides ideal guidelines that enhance behavioral development and ensure that these are in line with the ethical and moral expectations. Entelechy on the other hand constitutes a condition of an organism or a thing in which its essence if realized fully. It enhances self actualization and is imperative in motivating and individual towards attainment of self fulfillment. Entelechy is related to teleology in the sense that the later contributes to the attainment of the former. In this regard, it can be ascertained that teleology is an inherent conditions that all things and organisms have.

Entelechy on the other hands constitutes an inner drive or aggression and cannot be realized before the appreciation of teleology. In other words, for an individual to be motivated in to realizing his or her optimal potential and attaining self fulfillment, s/he must have an inherent purpose. This forms the basement upon which any other effort is based. I believe in the world of teleology and appreciate that all individuals and objects exist for a certain purpose. As indicated earlier, individuals as well as objects cannot exist individual. The society within which they thrive is socialized and it requires dependence on each other for survival. This can be used to explain why the respective society is diversified. Individuals and objects have limited capacities and are compelled to complement these with others for them to attain satisfaction. The function of each individual and object thus becomes imperative for effective functioning of an individual.

Question Five:

Aristotle believes that happiness is a form of good that humans should strive to attain at all levels. He likens this to morality and argues that a just individual is obligated to enhance his level of happiness by pursuing what is god. Virtues according to him are fundamental for attainment of this status and should be furthered in order to attain happiness. This is because they have an equal value to morality that has intrinsic goodness. He justifies this by indicating that humans have distinctive functions that differentiate them from other animals. They deserve to be happy because they are moral agents who can exercise rational thought with ease. According to Aristotle, happiness refers to the ability of an individual to strike a balance between reason and desires. In this respect, happiness is not depended on the amount of material things that an individual can have, rather it is valued through the intrinsic pleasure that culminates from moderation of desires and reason.

Aristotle believes happiness sis related to reason because reason enables one to control desires that can have detrimental effects on the welfare of an individual. This explanation is persuasive because without reason, an individual cannot be able to control both positive and negative desires. It should be appreciated that happiness is emotive in nature and it s greatly influenced by the ability to control these desires. Without use of reason, it is unlikely that an individual can be able to control feelings of happiness and anger to be in line with the respective conditions. The resultant conflict of these extreme feelings is likely to culminate in feelings of depression and distress. At his point therefore, it can be ascertained that reason is a fundamental aspect and is imperative in enabling one to attain the highest degree of happiness.

Question Six

Aristotle refers to virtue as a sense of excellence that derives from a fulfillment of a given activity. This is also likened to a mean or a middle ground between two extremes of a negative and a positive. This mean is determined after a function or activity has taken place through a practical procedure that is employed by a person that is considered to be normal. Aristotle posits that an individual becomes courageous by imitating the activities that are assumed by a person that is considered to be courageous. This in return derives these ideal from intelligence and practical application of reason in determining situations that are dangerous and those that are safe. In order to attain this, the courageous person requires critical and judgment skills. These are imperative for effective determination of the nature of the conditions under review.

I think Aristotle ethics do not offer useful guidelines with respect to living a good life. In fact, it can be argued that they contravene important ethical principles that prescribe rational thought. It is important for an individual to act in an objective and rational manner and based on informed decisions. Merely aping what other individuals do on the premise of imitating courage can be considered unacceptable in ethical spheres.

Work Cited

Norman, Melchert. The Great Conversation. Oxford: University Press, 2006.

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