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Values and Society Lecture 2.docx

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Byron Williston

Values and Society – Lecture 2 Ethical Egoism Moral rules are the rules that establish a system of trust. Ethical Egoism: the view that it is best to perform only these actions that are aimed at fulfilling our own desires and interests, regardless of the effects such actions have on others (being selfish). Glaucon’s Question Why should I be moral, rather than simple doing whatever is to my advantage? Why people behave ‘justly’: There are two scenarios as to why people behave justly. 1) (Best) To do injustice and not be punished. 2) (Worst) To suffer injustice without being able to retaliate. Glaucon believes we long for scenario 1, but fear scenario 2. He believes justice not chosen simply for its own sake, but instead chosen as the lesser evil. We only choose justice to avoid being victims of injustice. He also believes that law is a tool of the weak (and those who use it, use it only so they can avoid being victims). 3 Options Surrounding Justice: 1) Forego rules of justice. That is, every person for themselves. (Glaucon believes that everybody wants this) 2) Establish and be bound by the rules of justice, but to do so grudgingly. 3) Be bound by these rules willingly, which is to believe that justice and morality are right. Ring of Invisibility Scenario: Glaucon proposes that anyone who had this ring of invisibility would act in the same way that Gyges does (kills the king and becomes a tyrant). He believes that if anyone could get away with injustice without being punished, that they would. Socrates Answer: The unjust person has a disordered soul. They may be cheerful, but there is a difference between cheerful and happy, and anyone with a disordered soul is unhappy. A disordered soul occurs when one cannot help fulfilling desires. The Tripartite Soul: Reason (voice of consciousness) Spirit (Willfulness, courage) Appetite (Desire) If reason and appetite are flipped, you have a disordered soul and are a tyrant. Plato believes a tyrant cannot be happy because they constantly desire things, and hunger after things causes pain. The tyrant is insatiable. Glaucon responds to this answer by saying who cares about a disordered soul, if you go through your entire life without realizing you are unhappy because you are cheerful? Aspects of a Tyrant: - Constantly unfulfilled desires that tend to become more bizarre. - Pathological paranoia due to creating so many enemies
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