Goodness and Badness

Topics: Virtue, Seneca the Younger, Good and evil Pages: 4 (1231 words) Published: December 3, 2007
It's very common to hear of a person being good, whether it's through conversation with friends or through the media. I have often asked myself where this judgment comes from. What makes a man or woman good? Is it that they are born a virtuous person, or do they earn virtue by their actions? On what basis can a person say someone is good? Do they know they are good because they have followed certain rules of being good? If so, these rules would have had to be created at one point. Are the creators of these rules virtuous themselves? Perhaps all people are made good by God, but it is their actions that say otherwise. In this discussion, the definitions of a good or moral decision will be visited, as well as the driving force behind these decisions.

To help us answer such questions, we can study the beliefs of philosophers who sought to explain such mysteries. Among these are Plato, Aristotle, Mencius, and Seneca. There are many different ways to define goodness, as can be seen in the explanations of good and evil by each philosopher. Plato's concept of goodness relates to his belief that saying that something is good is to talk about something within the object itself which exists independently of the item. This abstract reality within that object is a Form. He believed that the highest of these ideas and the essence of being was the Good. It was defined by many as the perfect idea and blueprint. This idea and blueprint was God's purpose in creating the universe. Therefore, this belief of goodness is defined as anything that increases the universe's ability to reach God's purpose for it. Anything that decreases that level is considered bad or evil. This belief can be classified as transcendental realism. What in an individual's mind makes these decisions? In Plato's Republic, Socrates aims to describe a just man by describing the attributes of a just city. This city consisted of craftsmen, soldiers, and guardians, each with their own occupation. "Each citizen...
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