Honors World Literature
April 29 , 2015
Moral ethics is the branch of philosophy which studies the nature of good and evil, right and wrong, duty and obligation. Both Plato and Aristotle have their own ideas about moral ethics.Ethics play different roles in deciding what makes a “perfect society” between both philosophers (“Plato Bio” 21). Plato believes that virtue is knowledge; Aristotle believes that one can have knowledge, but not practice it. Aristotle is perceived more valid because he states that to be happy is not only based on the feelings on the inside. One needs outside and physical objects too. Unlike Plato, Aristotle bases his ethics more on biological science which makes him more believable.
According to Plato, it is believed that the highest moral good is achieved when one, human or nonhuman, fulfills its true nature. To fulfill one’s true nature is to live up to one’s essence or form of what one really is. Plato believes human beings have three elements of their nature, and the highest good is, “fulfilling the three elements of ones nature with the proper harmony or order” (“Ideal” 55). This is better known as the Tripartied soul. The tripartied soul consists of the ability to reason, human spirited drives, and bodily elements. To balance these three elements will aquire and fulfill the three parts of oneself selfharmony. Human beings feel that pleasure is the highest good for themselves. They are known for gravitating to hedonism which is, “the life gratifying the bodily appetites” (“Ideal” 54). However Plato states if one seeks pleasure, as the height of goodness, it will consume oneself. The journey to “The good life” is when one harmoniously balances out one’s tripartied soul. The good life is a life of knowledge,
virtue, and human happiness; not a life to serve the flesh or, “aggressive drives” (“Ideal” 55).
Reason should dictate one’s spirited drives and bodily urges therefore gaining the good life.
Aristotle’s ethics devote purely to his concrete world concept and are necessary for the life of an Aristotelian. In order for one to live to their highest well being one must be in rational control of their morals. Controlling one's desires and needs is a key balance that must be achieved. This is the correct definition of morality needed for one to be happier and Aristotle believes that virtues such as courage are not good if someone lacks the perfect amount. The perfect amount involves having more than too little and not too much. Plato and Aristotle can reach points of contrast when Plato believes that virtue is being the key to reaching happiness. He therefore believes there is no such thing as luck. Plato