By Susan Suave Meyer
This is often the 1st finished consultant and in basic terms sizeable undergraduate point creation to historic Greek ethics, masking the moral theories of all of the significant philosophers (including Socrates, Plato, Aristotle) and colleges (Stoics, Skeptics, Epicureans, Pyrrhonism) from the earliest instances to the Hellenistic philosophers reading their major arguments and assessing their legacy.
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Additional info for Ancient Ethics
Gorgias, 491e8–492a3) The ‘wisdom’ (phronesis) that Callicles here attributes to the person who is living well is quite different from the ‘using craft’ conceived of by Socrates (cf. Gorg. 521b). The great person, in Callicles’ eyes, is wise about how best to fulﬁll his desires, not about whether it is good or bad to get what he wants. Callicles defends this picture of the good life by invoking hedonism – the thesis that pleasure is the good (Gorg. 495a). Such a life is better, he claims, than the restrained alternative proposed by Socrates at 492e because it contains more pleasure (494a–495a).
This knowledge of good and bad, or what we might call ‘the using craft’, is what one needs, according to dialogues such as Laches and Charmides, in order to be excellent. One might then expect that the ruler’s job is to impart this knowledge to the citizens (cf. Euthd. 292c–d). But do the rulers in the city described in the Republic inculcate such knowledge in the citizens whom they are supposed to be beneﬁting? No clear answer is given in Books I–IV of the Republic, which we have been considering so far.
Without a ﬁrm and stable commitment to the ethical truths under examination, and without proﬁciency at dialectic (as practised in geometry, astronomy, and the other intellectual disciplines of the philosophical curriculum), frustration at the difﬁculty of ﬁnding the rationale behind such common precepts of justice as ‘return what you’ve borrowed’ or ‘keep your promises’ can lead to doubt of the precepts themselves. It might open one up to persuasion by the arguments of those who criticize justice as ‘another’s good’, thus leading to the amoralism and scepticism that were popularly feared to be the results of the kinds of inquiry inaugurated by intellectuals in the 5th century, and that led to the charges against Socrates.