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Aristotle's Approach To Ethics/Plato's Divided Line

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Aristotle's Approach To Ethics/Plato's Divided Line

Post  Pete2002 on Sat Jan 30, 2010 7:09 pm

Erin E Philosophy 103 October 9, 1996 Philosophy Take-Home Test I. PLATO 3) Explain the so-called ‘Divided Line’. What do the different levels mean? How does this apply to ethics? How does this apply to Knowledge, perception, and/or awareness? Explain in depth and detail. Plato’s ‘Divided Line’ is a model indicating not only levels of knowledge, but basically levels of everything. It is divided into four levels and two sides. The left side consists of ways we know, become aware of, and perceive things, while the right side consists of the objects of knowledge, awareness, and perception. The bottom half includes those things in the physical realm and the top half includes those things in the spiritual and intellectual realm. The highest point in the physical realm is the sun, and the highest point in the spiritual realm is the form of the good and beautiful, both of which are essentially impossible to reach. The different levels mean different things. On the lowest level, the left side is made up of our imagination, perception, and conjecture. The right side is made up of shadows and mirages. The next level up, on the left, is where we believe something because we see it. The right side of this level is where we find all physical things. At the top of the physical realm before entering the spiritual realm, is the sun. The next level up is the lowest level in the spiritual realm. The left side of this level includes thinking from hypotheses, while the right side includes objects of math and science. The top level in Plato’s model contains true knowledge and dialectical thinking on the left. The rite contains all forms and ideas. The topmost point, the forms of the good and beautiful, is the ultimate goal of human happiness, or eudaimonia. These non-physical forms are the ultimate reality, the ideal perfect model of all that exists. These different levels apply to knowledge, perception, awareness, and ethics in the same way. For each of these things, the higher one goes in the model, the higher one goes in any of these particular areas. For example, regarding different levels of knowledge, the lowest level is on the bottom and the highest level is on top. Therefore, the closer one gets to the top of the model, the more knowledge one has Eskildsen, p.2 and vice-versa. The same holds true for the other areas, as well, and they are all related to each other. Using knowledge in another example, the higher level of knowledge one reaches, the higher one’s ethical standards are, as well. Because of these relationships, Plato’s ‘Divided Line’ relates to all areas of life. II. ARISTOTLE 1) Explain fully Aristotle’s approach to Ethics. What is the goal of the ethical life? What type of soul is capable of realizing the good life? How do we go about accomplishing this goal? What are the possible lifestyle choices we may lead? Are any of these conducive to leading the good life? The goal of the ethical life, according to Aristotle, is good. All human activity is directed toward this good, the highest of which is Eudaimonia. There are two kinds of good, intrinsic and instrumental. Intrinsic goods are those which are good in and of themselves. The only thing that is completely intrinsic is happiness, or Eudaimonia. Instrumental goods are those which are good only because they are used for some other thing or purpose. Money is the most obvious instrumental good, as it is used to obtain other goods. Any individual with a virtuous soul is capable of realizing the good life. One must live with moral and intellectual virtues, excellences, and high standards to accomplish this goal. There are three lifestyles one may lead: the vulgar, the political, or the contemplative. The vulgar lifestyle is based on instant gratification. Goods are simply pleasures one enjoys immediately and temporarily. This lifestyle is guaranteed to fail in the quest for Eudaimonia. The political lifestyle in one in which happiness is determined by honor achieved. There are two types of honors one can obtain in the political life, the real and the bogus. Bogus honors are simply to gain status in society and could be bought, but real honors are awards for doing good and helping others. While politics itself is the study of the good, one could easily disgrace oneself and become ostracized from the community. The contemplative lifestyle is one based upon speculation and reflection into one’s own life. This lifestyle is ethical and is the best way to guide one towards the good life and true happiness.


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