Essay on The Weakness Within

Submitted By tiplubandar
Words: 1334
Pages: 6

The Weakness Within

What is weakness of will? Is it a concept that truly exists or is it just something we have grown to accept because of its wide acceptance in society? The concept is a time less notion that has been a topic of discussion dating back as early as the era of the ancient Greeks. In fact, weakness of will was one of the major concepts discussed in Protagoras, one of the ancient Greek philosopher, Plato’s finest works. Protagoras is mainly composed of Plato’s accounts of a debate between Socrates and Protagoras, two prominent philosophers of the time the time. The debate began with Socrates challenging Protagoras, a self proclaimed teacher of virtue, on the credibility of the notion that virtue was in fact a skill that could be thought. After a long discussion on that topic along with many others, a dialogue about knowledge emerges and the debate concerns, the true importance of knowledge. Socrates and Protagoras both agree that the view of the mass is that while knowledge is present in a man, but knowledge is not what rules him, it is weakness of will that is embedded in anger, love, and fear among other things that rule a man and the knowledge is just a slave. They both agree that this view is incorrect and that knowledge is capable of ruling a person, so that if someone were able to know what is good and what is bad, he would not be forced to act by anything other than what knowledge dictates and make a conscious. The way in which Socrates presents it, his argument is all encompassing of any possible scenario and always holds to be true. Socrates conducts a dialogue as if he is speaking to the masses and intermittently asks Protagoras if he agrees with the arguments and conclusions that Socrates is making. First, through a series of questioning, Socrates established the premise that defines good as anything pleasurable and bad as anything painful. He establishes that the claim made by the masses that in a moment of passion one can be over come my pleasure and experience weakness of will can also be interpreted as choosing immediate pleasure over future pain. He also explains that in the opposite scenario, in a case like enduring the immediate pain of a medical procedure, one is making a conscious decision to choose that immediate pain in order to experience pleasure in the future. He does this by using the example of perception, in that things that are close seem larger and things that are far away, so as to say that immediate pleasure seems a lot more significant than the pain it may cause later. Being in the immediate proximity of pleasure causes one to perceive it to be a lot larger than it is and thus can be the root of the idea of being “over come by pleasure.” Socrates claims that every time one makes a decision, it is placed on a sort of sliding scale, where the one end is good therefore pleasurable and the other is bad and therefore painful. The art, he claims is, in weighing a certain amount of good over a bad and vice versa, an art that stems from knowledge. So to say that one was simply “over come my pleasure” and experienced a “weakness of will” is the ultimate form of ignorance. The argument that Socrates makes are very dramatic and for that reason it can, initially be subjected to a wide array of criticisms. One of the major sources of criticisms that can be made about Socrates argument includes the example of a strong drug addiction for example Heroin. Yes, the first time the addict got high, he/she made a conscious decision to choose pleasure over pain, probably being fully aware of the addictive consequences. That does not change the fact that once they are addicted, it is no longer a conscious decision to pick good over bad, the body has a physical need of the drug and the person is nothing but a slave that acts on impulse. Another source of criticism can arise when looking at a very particular set of conditions. For example, say that some criminal is holding a family hostage