September 4, 2011
When someone does a bad deed, they do not desire the negative effects of the deed, but the ones that will benefit them; hence they believe it is good. While people’s deeds bring about bad, it is not the bad they desire. Socrates does not claim that what a person desires is good, but that they think that it is good. They are simply trying to get the pleasure out of it; negative effects just seem to follow. For example a smoker does not desire lung cancer as an effect. They smoke for the calmness it possess or for whatever reason. While they would recognize the negative effects that come with it, this is not what they do truly desire. This action is directly harming the smoker with obvious effects, yet they continue using for the slight good they believe smoking acquires. The negative effects always seem to be oblivious to the positive effects, although a smoker never knows which cigarette will cause their lung cancer or their unborn child’s birth defect. They simply only desire that mere pleasure. If Plato is correct that we cannot knowingly do something that will harm us, causing long-term unhappiness to us, then there would be no such thing as sinning, since sinning involves willingly doing some action is wrong, realizing that it is wrong. There is a difference between someone thinking that some action will be perceived as being wrong to someone else, and a person thinking that some action is wrong for that person to do. For instance, a murderer will kill someone thinking that it is best for them to kill that person, and may realize that others, especially the victim, would consider that it is wrong to kill him or her; however, Plato is also saying the murderer will only kill the victim in ignorance, mistaking bad things for good things, and thus they still desire good. Few people actually chose to do what is evil. Instead of it being “evil” it is a “good under subjectivism”. Few people chose to act to harm others, but...
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