essay about gyges.docx

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2 May 2012
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Content of the ring of Gyges: was mentioned in the Plato’s Republic
The ring granted its owner the power to become invisible at will. Through the story of the ring, Republic
considers whether an intelligent person would be moral if he did not have to fear being caught and
punished.
What does glucogon think?
Glaucon asks whether any man can be so virtuous that he could resist the temptation of being able to
perform any act without being known or discovered.
Glaucon suggests that morality is only a social construction, the source of which is the desire to maintain
one's reputation for virtue and honesty.Hence, if that sanction were removed, one's moral character
would evaporate.
He thinks tatht he life of the unjust is better, due to
Moral life/just life only coems about when people are tired of surring injustice, and they come
with agreement about how people should behave, which is morality
o ‘contractarian’ theory
M: this is a circular reasoning . it can’t count as injustice until there’s morality;
and estab,lishing a agreement , is presupposing that the convention of morality
already exist , other wise, the promise involved won’t have power to predict the
value of ppl’s behavior
You only behjave just when forced to : ie Glaucon thinks that no one is willing just, so all men
believe that injustice is more profitable than justice
o M: you only compare pure and extreme cases, wehre unjust peron with all benefits of
seeming just, with those just persons, with all disadvantage of seeming umjust
But in real life , no pure cases
Life of the unjust is better than the just
o M: their life is only depicted by others as better or worse of quality, but it’s only
themselves who can tell whether their life is good or bad, whether they feel happy or not
they can still be better person when they are seen and described as having poor life
What you learn
Why should I be moral, when glaucon raised the question’ the life of the unjust is better’
--as what Socrates believes:
it’s my real best interest to be moral, I donnt need to be forced to be moral or virtuous; and
o prudence and morality can be combined together
mention the difference between morality and prudence
behaving moral in itself makes me happy , not for anything else
I learnt aht being mroal, I can be happy
Based on the two reasons in the last section
how did socrates ( a copy of Plato, teacher of aristotole) answer?
Socrates ultimately argues that justice does not derive from this social construct:
(social construct from Glaucon: what construct me to be a virtuous person, is that I want to construct this
virutous and hoset reputation, not becuase of the virtue itsel--the intrinsic desire)
the man who abused the power of the Ring of Gyges has in fact enslaved himself to his
appetites, and tempation( instrumental desire)
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