Sample Paper on Describe the Argument and Action of Plato’s The Republic.

Essay Questions

Essay Question Part One

Explain John Locke’s doctrine of the “state of nature” in light of the end and purpose of government.

John Locke’s doctrine of the state of nature was based on the argument that liberty and equality are fundamental conditions ruling the State naturally through self-evidence. Locke also emphasized self-preservation ought to be deprived vicious features. Thus, he asserted that, equality coupled with authority leads human beings to inevitable and incessant wars. This is because human beings are guided by the nature of classifying each other in similar kinds enabling equal treatment with respect purposed to maintain humanity without promoting animalism. Human beings should therefore enjoy similar advantages of nature as an obligation to achieve and sustain mutual love, charity, and justice (Christopher, 2009).

John Locke also applied this doctrine to lay a foundation for a fully functional liberal order guaranteeing civil rights mainly through the government. His main purpose therefore was to render absolute power illegal hence, creating order breeding citizens rather than subjects. The doctrine of state of nature with regards to the government was also developed to emphasize life is a matter of motion. As a result, science of man ought to be derived from natural sciences allowing human beings to be accessed and analyzed in a similar certitude as stars. Human beings were therefore regarded as violent and brutal beings in need of unlimited government or leviathan in order to curb their nature (Christopher, 2009).

The government on the other hand ought to fulfill the sole role of being protective to human beings as they have the right to live. The theoretical foundation of the government was also compared by Locke as the limited role to ensure rule of law is rational, good to human beings, and protective of man’s inalienable rights. The state of nature is therefore compared to the cornerstone for civil society and law. The assumption of the doctrine is based on the fact that moral and political traditions should not influence man’s absolute rights. Instead, the traditions should ensure liberty and equality are maintained as civil rights as well as laws as they are duties rather than entitlements. The government should therefore provide human beings with guaranteed perfect freedom and law of nature while teaching self-preservation without harming humans’ health, liberty, life, and possessions (Christopher, 2009).

John Locke’s doctrine can therefore be described as the government’s role to preserve humankind. It should utilize the power to execute law by ensuring it is enforced and stressed in administering justice. Human beings who suffer injuries against properties and health should therefore undertake the role of enforcing law of nature. Consequently, the government should strive to achieve perfect equality in order to provide all human beings with equal powers to punish offenders against health, life, property, and liberty. This should be achieved through punishment that is compatible to the nature of crime. This is because executive powers should neither be arbitrary nor absolute empowering executioners to exercise calm reason and conscience dictatorship while measuring retribution. Consequently, the government ought to ensure crime is not bargained, as the penalties must be proportionally severe to the offence allowing human beings to live tighter within reason. This ensures human beings should not live without a common superior on earth. More so, they should have the authority to judge each other based on the guidance of a proper state of nature by the government. The moral, social, and political philosophies maintained by the government should therefore be based on religious and social contract theories and laws denoting that, human beings making societies ought to organized and controlled. This role is fulfilled by the government (Christopher, 2009).

Essay Question Part Two

Describe the argument and action of Plato’s The Republic.

Plato’s republic was developed to challenge justice by preaching creed of subjective morality to the wealthy yet non-believers of subjective truth and morals. This is because sons of Athens who were considerably wealthy did not think or believe in absolute right or wrong decisions. Instead, they assumed all actions ought to be advantageous or disadvantageous to people undertaking them. They therefore believed and encouraged people to engage in advantageous actions while refraining from disadvantageous actions. The logic conclusion based on this argument was therefore to claim that law and morality are mere rules and principle. People are therefore provided with the option of evading justice and illegality as it is an advantageous action on a personal context. This is based on the assumption that, justice is only advantageous to the strong. Thus, social, religious, and moral norms are disadvantageous conventions hampering people adhering to them while beneficial and advantageous to parties flouting them. More so, persons behaving unjustly have the natural power to gain power and undertake the role of leadership due to strong abilities to rule the society. Weak persons in the society on the other hand are regarded as stupid and incapable of behaving in actions that are not in accordance to justice as they are disadvantaged (John, 2014).

The reading of Plato’s Republic therefore seeks to assert that, norms of justice are conventions formulated and implemented to promote rulers interests. The rulers have the advantage of promoting personal interests at the expense of the community as they are determined to remain in position of the advantageous and beneficial position. This therefore poses challenges in proving that justice is good, desirable, and beneficial to the society. For example, justice promotes standards of morality. This is however challenged by The Republic through the principle of specialization striving to ensure the wealthy and powerful remain in an advantageous position and the poor and weak in a disadvantageous position. Plato therefore asserted justice should be politically and structurally sound and soul guided by the principle of specialization in order for all members of the society to participate in building a universally advantageous community. This is because the principle of specialization prevents a single party from being both the warrior and ruler. Instead, it promotes separation ensuring classes in a society remain in a fixed relation of power and influence. Consequently, rulers can control while producers can avoid addressing political affairs in order to concentrate on commercial and business activities to achieve socioeconomic growth and development (John, 2014).

Plato also believed individual justice ought to be a correct structural relationship among parts of the society. The relations comprising of separate seats of desire and motivation ought to achieve and maintain honor, rationality, truth, power, and knowledge. Consequently, they can rule and enforce rational convictions that should be obeyed while dictating the overall objectives pursued by human beings to identify with truth. Ultimately, Plato connected different forms including the line, cave and sun to define the irreplaceable role of politics. For example, Plato asserted the sun was the ultimate form of good causing other forms and ensuring goodness, beauty, and truth in the world is created and identified. Plato therefore aimed at showing that, justice is worthwhile as it involves good actions and activities engaging immediate advantages. The portrait of a just man based on The Republic is therefore described as a human positioned to fulfill personal interests while experiencing all types of pleasure in accordance to the rules of sustaining justice (John, 2014).

Essay Question Part Three

What was Machiavelli’s intention in writing The Prince?

Machiavelli authored The Prince with the intent to write useful quotes and phrases to readers capable of understanding the effectual truth through imagination. The Prince was also authored to serve the purpose of criticizing works of Aristotle among other philosophers with imagined republics and principalities that have not existed before. Machiavelli therefore authored The Prince to distinguish his works from other works produced by diverse philosophers including Aristotle while examining and differentiating the real from imagined republic (Leo, 2008).

According to Leo Strauss, Machiavelli’s goal in authoring The Prince was to create an outline in order to build a powerful and successful republic. This is because writing about creation of a successful republic should be based on realistic truths.  Machiavelli therefore directly discussed the effectual truth or realistic republic in order to explore imagined republic. The Prince mainly discusses a neither republic that the author and reader are able to create, see and interact with in order to forego a republic that has neither been seen nor known to exist. Comparing Machiavelli and Aristotle’s writings, it is evident that imagined republics were considered more famous as they were guided by theoretical rules. Conversely, Machiavelli had to write about a realistic republic guided and ran by practical rules, as he believed a republic could not be build based on idealistic views. Machiavelli believed republics ought to build based on true and viable reality. This does not involve scientific intentions and descriptions, as it is defensible. The Prince relied on helpful and properly understood descriptions and characteristics forming a treaty and a territory (Leo, 2008).

As a result, Machiavelli provides three indications of subject matter by incorporating knowledge of actions undertaken by great ancient and modern men. He also dared princely government discussions while giving rules. This is because he possessed knowledge with regards to the nature of princes. Based on the Epistle Dedicatory, knowledge of actions undertaken by great men historically involves supply of materials for building knowledge describing a princely government. The Prince’s universal knowledge was therefore conveyed generally providing the reader with the ability to distinguish individual philosophic and scientific experiences and reasoning. The Prince is therefore a treatise setting forth general teachings with lucid plans and proceeds in relation to art or prudence in managing official government affairs and management of diverse principles (Leo, 2008).

Recently, the New York Times interviewed an award-winning author. The author asserted that, the current United States president ought to read The Prince while affirming the book is at least five hundred years old. This is because Machiavelli frequently used moral and just norms in order to build a viable republic able to apply social, economic, and political principles to achieve growth and development. This therefore affirms that, The Prince is still a compelling composition of literature viable in modern times to ensure republics are not helpless or faced with challenges to achieve growth and development. The political treatise being the most influential argument in determining and justifying moral political authority should therefore be adopted and applied by current republic leaders desiring to promote their governments. Although defining the actual intention of Machiavelli while authoring The Prince, it is evident the author strived to publish the book in order to assist maintaining balanced powers. Political, religious and cultural leaders should therefore evaluate their intentions. This involves ensuring their intentions are consistent and acting against faith, mercy, frankness, humanity, and religion as these principles preserve republics and States. Tyrants and dictators should therefore not be empowered. Instead, their evil deeds should be exposed in order to ensure defenders of republics are identified and allowed to protect States with a purpose without fear (Leo, 2008).

Essay Question Part Four

Explain Rousseau’s doctrine of “state of nature” and his politics of compassion in light of his Discourse on Acts and Science.

Jean Jacques Rousseau’s doctrine of “state of nature” was developed under the theme of conflict, disruption and inequality. Rousseau identified inequality as a serious issue challenging the quality of modern life. Modern societies comprise of human beings required to compete in order to access, afford, and utilize the scarce resources available. This has led to expansion in inequalities as the powerful and wealthy are victorious at the expense of weak people who have to depend on them for help. The physical definition of inequality according to Jean Jacques Rousseau involves the harsh yoke of necessity. This overlain and exacerbates conventional and/or artificial inequality originating from antagonism and exploitation. Physical necessity with regards to dependence can be divided into strong and weak as well as master and slave groups (Cole, 2015).

Jean Jacques Rousseau therefore had to differentiate these groups defining inequality to determine their nature, physical, moral, and political qualities. Rousseau asserted that, inequality among human beings is established by nature. It is consisted in health, age, quality of mind and soul as well as bodily strength in order to define moral and political inequalities depending on the kind of convention established and authorized. Thus, there exist diverse privileges either enjoyed or prejudiced by men depending on wealth, power, honor, and position to exact obedience (Cole, 2015).

Jean Jacques Rousseau therefore discussed inequality among human beings based on the notion state of nature. This notion was applied to assert that, human beings could live in an animal state with the level of pure sensation in order to satisfy basic needs. Consequently, they lack supernatural, artificial, and social traits of civilized human beings through the state of nature, which is an amoral existence through conscious limitations. Jean Jacques Rousseau was concerned with the role of demonstrating origins of inequality. As a result, he reviewed the transition from state of nature to civil life. The process was characterized by growth of consciousness of freedom among individuals transcending conditions of subjection to mechanical forces in order to exert freedom (Cole, 2015).

Jean Jacques Rousseau asserted that, capacity of human beings to achieve perfection should involve generating several complex modes of being diversely. This also distinguishes humans in a primitive state from animal state while possessing free will. Thus, free will is a vital resource through which human beings are able base and define their actions, levels of morality and dignity and sense of instinct. The spiritual power of free will also enables human beings to differentiate human from animal states of seeking, achieving, and sustaining perfection in relation to level of potentials, moral senses, impulsions, and existence of instinctual (Cole, 2015).

Jean Jacques Rousseau therefore remains an influential being in a historical framework to define philosophy on political, moral, and social contexts. He influenced thinkers on philosophical and psychological views to ensure negative interests that are promoting self-interests, tyranny of opinions, and alienation are reviewed to achieve natural compassion. This is because it preserves human freedom in a global society comprising of human beings dependent on other peoples’ needs and levels of satisfaction. This can be discussed with regards to material and psychological contexts. Ultimately, Jean Jacques Rousseau proved human beings ought to derive sense of self, freedom and desires from other peoples’ opinions and destructive authenticity. Consequently, social and political contexts in a community can be built freely and equally while upholding sovereignty, growth, developments, and autonomy without destroying individual and societal self-interests (Cole, 2015).

Essay Question Part Five

Explain Aristotle’s virtue ethics as character formation

Virtue of ethics refers to the approach of emphasizing rules, acts, places, and consequences focusing on the kinds of people existing. This determines peoples’ rights and intentions in order to evaluate the consequences of either bad or good actions. Peoples’ characters or traits can therefore be good or bad as well as admirable or shameful. These character dispositions are deeply entrenched or referred to as the second nature of human beings. The first nature refers to the innate and tendencies human beings acquire through birth. This therefore translates to children or infants neither being vicious nor virtuous. However, as they grow and develop they form freely selected traits that are more or less attributed to certain kind of actions undertaken by an individual (Garth, 2011).

Aristotle therefore studied characters among people to determine where the virtue lies. He asserted that, virtues often lie between two vices. For example, the virtue of courage lies between cowardice and rashness. Thus, the virtue of courage determines levels of confidence and fear, anger, and anxiety. It is therefore asserted that Aristotle’s virtue of ethics can be applied to determine rightness and wrongness of actions being undertaken by human beings. Virtue of ethics can also be applied to either criticize or praise institutions. For example, if an institution promotes or hinders growth and development the members can apply cultural and religious descriptions to describe it as either a hero or villain formed to influence characters among individuals (Garth, 2011).

Aristotle also asserted that cultures determine and/or influence virtues among human beings. He also affirmed cultures could be conflicting. For example, Greeks were regarded as serious cultural individuals striving to achieve and sustain virtues allied to pride, seriousness, and honor. Conversely, Christians strived to sustain virtues allied to humility and industriousness. Aristotle therefore had to apply this notion to emphasize that human beings ought to examine moral philosophies and responsibilities in order to sustain the nature of virtues and vices. Human beings can also undertake moral evaluations in order to achieve happiness in human life. This is because character of personality empowers people to be either evil or responsible and caring individuals. Consequently, level of happiness determines the quality of living well based on the ordinary notions discussing wealth, power, pleasure, comfort, honor, and adequacy (Garth, 2011).

According to Aristotle, voluntary actions can be produced by external forces or duress from outside agents. The agents however are not responsible for the actions. Human beings should therefore acknowledge they are responsible for their voluntary and involuntary actions. Consequently, they should not shift blame or ignore the principles sustaining moral philosophies among human beings. Deliberate actions on the other hand were defined as dispositions of acting in certain ways and maintained through specific occasions and thinking capacities. The virtue of ethics therefore is ultimately developed to encourage human beings to rely on the capacity of thinking and reasoning in order to maintain morals and unity across societies and communities (Garth, 2011).

 

References

Christopher, L. (2009). John Locke’s State of Nature and the Origins of Rights of Man. Lazarski University.

Cole, G. (2015). Jean Jacques Rousseau: The Social Contract and Discourses (1761). London and Toronto, J.M Dent and Sons.

Garth, K. (2011). Aristotle: Ethics and the Virtues, the Goal of Ethics. Creative Commons Attribution Licensing.

John, U. (2014). The Republic-Plato: Justice as the Advantage of the Stronger. Retrieved on 28th July 2015 from: http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/republic/themes.html

Leo, S. (2008). Machiavelli’s Intention: The Prince. The American Political Science Review, 51(1), 13-40.