Both Socrates and Aristotle are ancient philosophers. Both taught on the topic of ethics and virtues in their writings. They supported virtues, but their concept of what it meant to be good was different (Lutz, 1998). This is why their teachings on virtue, as well as their lives and decisions, contradicted. This paper examines the differences between Aristotle’s view of virtue and that of Socrates.
Although the similarities between these schools are numerous, they all held to the same basic premise: humans can develop their intellect and become more virtuous if encouraged by teaching them what it means to be good. Both philosophers were certain in people’s intellectual virtues.
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Because of this, modern people face several ethical questions. The two philosophers had similar ideas on the topic. Virtue is an important quality for anybody to have. The two thinkers claimed that having virtues was beneficial. There are, however, significant distinctions in how each philosopher perceived and dealt with the issue.
The divergent interpretations of virtues by the two philosophers are revealed in both their teachings and their lifestyles. Both Aristotle and Socrates were convicted of heresy, yet their varying views on what is good and proper led them to different courses of action. When Socrates was sentenced to death, he accepted it gracefully and submitted himself to execution.
He was accused of taking money from the business owner. When asked to pay a fine, he refused. He also refused to sail away in a boat that had been prepared for that purpose, as Plato and his pupils urged him to do. Socrates is famous for living what he preached (Sherman, 1997). Even in the face of death, he refused to break the law, hoping to provide an excellent example to his pupils. He answered some questions he had posed regarding virtue and bravery through his deed in a way.
He also proved that he was a man who believed in friendship and the genuine sense of togetherness. This is why, when most people thought he would flee, Socrates accepted his death sentence. Socrates felt that fleeing from authority equated to rebellion against the common will of his community. Aristotle, on the other hand, refused to accept his charges and fled as a result of this thinking (Sherman, 1989).
When Socrates was charged with impiety, he took the easy way out and ran away. He chose to flee rather than face the allegations. This displays a lot about Aristotle. It is also reflected in his contention that people’s ultimate aim in life is pleasure. According to him, living an honorable existence is enjoyable. The honorable man takes joy in living an honorable life, according to his argument.
In his argument, it appears that a person can’t be happy without qualities. It’s as though the link to pleasure is virtue. This is in contrast with Socrates’ theory, which claims that focusing on self-improvement rather than acquiring material goods is the ideal lifestyle (Lutz, 1998).
Socrates never offered solutions or the truth. Socrates never taught his pupils how to discover the truth for themselves, but rather instructed them on how to find it on their own. He simply instructed his students to figure out. Socrates recognized that no one could completely comprehend the terms bravery, honor, and obligation when it came to courage, virtue, and duty. People just claimed to be brave and honest without understanding what these words implied (Sherman, 1989).
According to Aristotle, being good was something that people could learn and achieve. In rejecting Socrates’s notion that ethics is primarily about moral qualities, Aristotle disagrees with him on this point. According to Socrates, a person can have virtues without possessing the type of knowledge possessed by natural science or mathematics experts.
Aristotle is able to show that ethics and personal interest are related, that ethics is well-suited to common sense, and that a good person can make sound judgments. Aristotle also made the distinction between two types of virtues: ethical and intellectual. Moral virtues are developed through regular behavior. He maintained that humans have within them the ability to live a virtuous existence from birth.
According to Aristotle, education is necessary for the development of human potential to generate good habits. According to Aristotle, people must act virtuously as much as possible in order for them to develop into good people. He also feels that ethical qualities should be accompanied with enjoyment. He thought that humans could not be virtuous if they were subjected to pain. He believes that a person cannot be considered virtuous if he is exposed to suffering as a consequence of his actions (Sherman, 1989).
In his view, too much and not enough were always wrong. He maintained that good acts are always located between two vices: excess and deficiency. This is in contrast to the notion of Socrates, who believed that being good didn’t involve any compromise or flexibility. Aristotle’s idea of virtues allows for adaptability. According to Socrates, ethics was the most essential possession, and life should be lived in order to achieve goodness (Sherman, 1997).
Aristotle and Socrates both believed in the value of virtues, but it was Socrates who emphasized their importance more than Aristotle. In his opinion, there is no middleman; people must be good. In Socrates’ view, happiness and pleasure introduce a component of compromise into the equation. It is Socrates who best exemplifies a good life in between the two philosophers.
Today, in modern times, people construct their culture and relationships on the ideals of ethics pioneered by such thinkers as Socrates and Aristotle during ancient Greece. The idea of virtue as the image of a man’s moral perfection is one of the fundamental ideas that underpins the ethical school.
The term “virtue” has two meanings. In addition, it may be interpreted as the right way to live a better life that is full of light and good. Socrates and Aristotle are regarded as the pioneers of ethical ideals. Socrates was the first to conceive of virtue, while Aristotle built on his ideas.
So the philosophers’ interpretations of virtue have many similarities, although there are also significant differences in their methodologies for discussing virtue, which have an impact on the structure of their ethical systems. This key distinction is in identifying the source of morality as a moral category for Socrates. Socrates believes that goodness is the foundation for understanding people’s morality. Goodness can be defined as a complex concept made up of excellent human qualities and characteristics that he intentionally cultivates. Four primary virtues are identified by Socrates: good fortune, beauty, wisdom, and courage.
Prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude are the four virtues for men (Taylor, 2001). The men’s chance to live a better life is connected with all areas of people’s existence, including civil society and military service. When a guy does not know what the virtue is, he cannot follow its principles consciously. That is why having a moral life necessitates understanding what the concept implies.
The true knowledge is the source for the development of justice, temperance, and fortitude, according to Socrates. His claims are based on his belief that prudence (or wisdom) is linked with human reason or intellect, and knowledge is information (Taylor, 2001). So Socrates thinks that virtue and how to achieve it are synonymous with knowledge.
The real morality and goodness, according to Socrates, is knowledge of what is good and what is wrong (Taylor, 2001). The understanding of virtue as excellent is the path to moral fulfillment and a happy life. When a guy puts in a lot of effort studying and comprehending the world around him as well as improving himself, he can develop such virtues as wisdom, justice, temperance, and perseverance.
The human’s perception of himself and the actuality is his understanding of himself and reality. It is feasible to live a good life by learning any other set of norms and regulations, according to Socrates. Socrates thinks that ethics and moral ideals, which are based on them, are eternally valid and unchangeable. It’s possible to infer from Socrates’ ideas on excellence that he comprehends knowledge as the source for producing virtues, the most important of which is prudence, which reflects a person’s intellect (Taylor, 2001).
Aristotle advances Socrates’s concepts regarding virtue and describes his own ethical theory, which incorporates the distinction between right and wrong. As a result, Aristotle understands that being virtuous entails maintaining a balance or “golden mean” between two opposing ends in behavior and thoughts (Curzer, 2012). In order to lead a happy life, one must first find out where this “golden mean” is so that they may act accordingly to attain their objectives.
Aristotle combines the concepts of happiness and virtues since virtue is a human’s means to his or her pleasure, and the part of happiness as a whole. Happiness as a consequence of living a good life is also the moment in someone’s life when his mind controls his will, emotions, and feelings and directs him towards pleasure (Curzer, 2012).
Furthermore, Aristotle identifies several other qualities that have an impact on people’s lives. They include generosity, truthfulness, friendliness, forgiveness, and honesty among others (Gottlieb, 2011). According to Aristotle, all of the virtues can be divided into two categories: intellectual and moral. As a result of this division , intellectual virtues are influenced by human wisdom and will to obey them. Moral qualities are associated with humans’ emotional make-up (Gottlieb, 2011). They are reliant on people’s desire, will power, and intentions in order to be implemented.
The ethical concept is the basis for a person’s actions and behavior, according to Aristotle. As a result, he recognized the will, desire, and motivation of persons as the primary source of virtue, but not knowledge (Curzer, 2012).
The knowledge of virtue as goodness is developed by Socrates and Aristotle, who conceive the individual’s finest qualities as a whole. However, their approaches to determining the origin of virtues are quite different, representing the primary difference in their views on virtue as a moral category. Socrates’ notion that knowledge is the sole source of good was contested by his followers.
The notion that “virtue is knowledge of what the agent’s good is, and the agent’s good is knowledge,” to use Polanyi’s phrase, is highly contentious since it appeals only to the rational in humans and rejects their emotional motivations for behavior (Taylor, 2001, p. 70). Socrates does not make a distinction between knowledge and its application.
He considers that a person may act immorally and without adhering to the moral principles of a good life only because he is ignorant of them. Because it rejects natural human characteristics, this viewpoint might be seen as somewhat idealistic (Taylor, 2001).
In comparison with Socrates’, Aristotle’s understanding of the source of virtues can be regarded as more realistic. He is the first philosopher to focus on the voluntary element of personality and develop ethical ideas. The knowledge is general in nature, and the action is a consequence of personal volition.
Knowledge, ethics, and morality are all dependent on the will and desire to live a good life. It is feasible to comprehend what is right, but it is critical to have a desire to do so (Gottlieb, 2011). It’s vital to remember that anyone who knows about moral principles may not want to implement them or follow them.
That is why Aristotle’s view of virtue is “relevant to modern life in detail, rather than just in general terms” (Curzer, 2012, p. 4). In comparison with Socrates’ idea that virtues are manifestations of a person’s intellect, Aristotle’s position that virtues in action are the consequence of someone’s will appears more reasonable.
The idea of virtue is the fundamental category of ethics developed by Socrates and Aristotle. The primary principles of virtues proposed by these thinkers have a lot in common when it comes to virtue as a moral category, but there is a significant difference in their notions on the origin of goodness.
Socrates describes the good character traits of individuals who rely only on their knowledge, while Aristotle focuses on the voluntary aspect when he examines all of these aspects and emphasizes on the natural features of personality. Because it is based on nature, Aristotle’s concept can be trusted more than Socrates’.
What makes a society significant? It is determined by the technology, laws, class systems, religious beliefs, and governments. However, it also depends on how an individual views the world and how their perspective may assist in societal progress. There were three great individuals named Socrates , Plato , and Aristotle who lived in ancient Greece. These men were not only the first but also the greatest philosophers of all time.
They questioned people’s worldviews and even the meaning of existence. The educational system in ancient Greece would have a significant impact on Western civilization’s development. Three men with three different concepts, but they all had one thing in common: an enthusiasm for philosophy.
These three people had very different upbringings, yet their paths would cross at some point in their lives. Socrates was born into poverty in the city of Athens, Greece. He was a stonemason and married when he was 13 years old. Socrates believed that present living was superior to future-oriented existence. Because he thought writing inferior to argument, he never wrote anything down himself.
Socrates spent the majority of his life in public places and marketplaces, where he engaged in debate and discussion. He would meet Plato there and enlighten him. Although they had similar interests, Plato was born into a different background than Socrates. When he was a youngster, he aspired to be an Olympic wrestler because of his tremendous strength, but that dream came to an end after he suffered a severe injury.
He came in contact with Socrates after some time, became open-minded to his ideas, and began studying under him. Plato spent hours recording Socratess deepest thoughts. However, Socrates was charged with blasphemy soon afterward and compelled to drink hemlock. He died smiling, proclaiming that it was preferable to die on my feet than live on my knees. Once the trial had concluded, Plato became dissatisfied with Athens. He then founded his own school called the Academy.
When people started to ask questions about how and what things are, it began. The individuals who inspired these inquiries were those who discovered that everything was not as it appeared. In 585 B.C., the community of Miletus first became a center for philosophy. Thales, one of Miletus’ early philosophers, left no writings behind; all we know about him is based on anecdotes by later writers.
He lived from 624 to 546 BC. His major advances in thought were his conviction that despite the many distinctions between things, there is a basic resemblance among them all. He thought that at the basis of everything physical lay a single principle of action or change, which he called ‘Anabasis.’ This principle being water, according on Anaximander. Another Miletus philosopher who studied under Thales was Anaximander. Although Anaximander believed something existed at the bottom of all physical reality, he did not think it was water or any particular element.
Protagoras, in the dialogues by Hippocrates, describes the infinite and limitless nature of everything he sees. Everything that came into being for him was characterized by an indeterminate boundless condition. An associate of Anaximander, Protagoras wrote about the boundless being the source of all things. He felt that Thales’s notion of a specific substance was too vague, so he combined Anaximander’s notion of the endless moving in one continuous motion with it. Air became Anaximenes’ primary substance from which all things originate.
The Miletus thinkers, on the other hand, did ask questions about the nature of things and made the initial direct inquiry into what stuff is composed of, but they did not build their ideas in the same way that modern scientists would. Pythagoras, a Samian from the island of Samos, introduced new philosophical ideas. Pythagoreans were followers of Pythagoras who were interested in mathematics. According to Pythagoreans, everything was made out numbers.
The Greek philosopher Pythagoras made the most significant theoretical contribution with his theory of form. To them, form meant limitation, and it was best demonstrated in music and medicine. Harmony is at the heart of both, and taking into account proportions and limits, you can achieve it. The influence of Pythagoras and his followers is evident in their impact on later thinkers. Many following philosophers attempted to explain change, including Heraclitus , who stated that everything flows.
Heraclitus’ changing of the world is best understood in terms of his doctrine of unity in difference. He saw this transformation as a coming together of many parts. The thing that was changing, according to Heraclitus, was fire. He thought fire was the fundamental reality and had discovered the principle of change itself. Paramenides (flourished 535?-485 BCE) established the Eleatic school of Philosophy after studying under Heraclitus. His main philosophical contribution was an innovative interpretation of change. He rejected Heraclitian notions on change as one and many, as well as the Miletus philosophers’ speculative theories about how things originated.
The Eleatic School was founded by Parmenides, who argued that change is an illusion and that if everything is composed of a single substance, as he believed, then change is logically absurd. Paramenides’ student Zeno of Elea opposed those who criticized his teacher, and his main objective was to defend him against detractors. Zeno thought our senses were deceiving us; rather than trusting our feelings, we should go by reasoning. To show that movement is impossible, Zeno produced four arguments: the racecourse, Achilles and the tortoise, The arrow, and The relativity of motion.
Zeno’s point was that motion has no precise meaning, that it is a relative notion. Empedocles used arguments for and against motion and change to strengthen his case. He discovered a method of demonstrating both the presence of change and the immutability of reality. Anaxagoras initiated one of philosophy’s most significant advances when he introduced an innovative take on substance’s formative process. His key idea was the theory of mind (nous), which he distinguished from matter.