What It Does It Mean to Be Moral

Topics: Ethics, Justice, Morality Pages: 2 (695 words) Published: December 14, 2005
Paper #1

What does it mean to be moral? This is the question that Plato has tried to answer in the passages from his famous work the Republic. He has attempted to explain how humans can define and live morally, a task that is truly complicated and uncertain. It is important to identify morality because it plays a crucial role in formulating ethical theories. As Socrates states, "we are discussing no small matter, but how we ought to live." In his writings he has describes two contrasting views of the important issue that is ultimately asking the question, why be moral? Plato and Thrasymachus represent the different and some-what opposing ideas on this topic of morality and self interest. Thrasymachus believes that the right thing to do is act unjustly or unmorally because one should always proceed to act in one's own self interest. He states, "Why should I be moral when it is not in my interest to be so?" This is called egoism proper. In his mind the perfect life would be to have a great reputation for living in perfect justice while being completely unjust. This would constitute a life of benefits, pleasure and rewards of injustices while still maintaining the reflection of a good character. The other strong point Thrasymachus feels is, "everyone ought always to act in his or hers self-interest." This outlook is called ethical egoism. "Egoism is a challenge to morality", this is according to Louis P. Pojman, the author the reader Moral Philosophy.

Plato has opposing ideas that object to Thrasymachus' and wonders if life is worth living or even better if you acted perfectly just even at the though of being unjust. This meaning that Plato believes life is worth living for its own sake and not just its benefits and rewards. To Plato acting morally is worth pursuing and is in one's best interest. That is where he partly where he agrees with Thrasymachus, serving one's best interests. He distinguishes between seemingly self-interest and...
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