The Soul and Ethics

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The Soul And Ethics
The philosophies of Plato and Aristotle differ on many issues. The most important thing is the examination of their differing views on ethical theory, and how the soul is connected. We could find many conflictions between the ethical theories of Plato and Aristotle. But, the most important points are their differing views on the human souls function and its role in ethics. Each philosophy contradicts eachother and provides a variety of arguments to which we will explore. The two philosophers Plato and Aristotle both had theories concerning the body and soul. Plato was a dualist, believing the body and soul where two separate parts to a person. Aristotle did not. Plato believed that the soul was the single most important part of a person and he believed in the importance of moral concepts, ideas and the afterlife. Aristotle however, was more interested in the physical world and the forces adopted within this. He was interested in observation and his theories unlike Plato's were based on the functions of physical things and how well they perform. Plato believed the body and soul were seperate. The soul he concluded is immaterial and belonging to the "world of the forms" as part of the "form of the good". He believed that the soul was implanted within a human longing to return back to the "forms". The soul , in Plato’s view, is immortal and unchanging and the only link between a person and full understanding is knowledge. The second part of a person is the body, which Plato says is the physical part enabling us to perform actions such as talking or touching. Forming the outer appearance the body uses senses to make opinions about the physical world in which it belongs. However in Plato's opinion it could not reach the "world of the forms" in any way. The body is constantly changing and therefore not truly real.

Plato believed that a healthy and virtuous soul is one that functions harmoniously. He thought of the soul as being divided into three different parts. Those three parts are reason, spirit, and appetite. Plato believed in a weakness of will. When we are faced with a difficult choice we connect with a part off our soul. He identifies the soul as being divided when being challenged to do something we need to do and something that we want to do. His characterization of the soul sounds a lot like an persons will and conscience. The reason part of the soul is the one that tells us to do the right thing. The appetite part is the one that tells us to do the thing we want to do and forget about all of the other stuff, kind of like lust. To do what you want to do because it will make you feel good. The spirit part of our soul is the one that can never decide what is best for us because it is too concerned about honor. Plato also identified the human soul with four virtues. Those virtues are temperance, courage, wisdom, and justice. Temperance is self control; a soul that isn’t inflicted by appetite. Courage is necessary to control our fearsand take on new taks . Wisdom happens when the rational part of our soul is healthy and in control. Justice is then the result of all three working harmoniously. Aristotle believed that the body and soul are two interdependent parts to a human as the support and rely on each other. One example is movement. He would say that only the body can move, however it needs the soul to be able to move or tell the body what to do, unless it does so accidentally. He implies that without one the other would not be able to perform the tasks it takes on. They rely on each other. Therefore Aristotle is saying the two entities are intertwined and belong together and cannot exist optimally without the other. Therefore unlike Plato's ideas suggesting that the "perfect" or morally good part of a person is within the soul or connection to the "form of the good" Aristotle would in fact say that in order to be a morally good person you would have to function in the best way...
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