Is Advantageous To Himself But


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is advantageous to himself but Socrates/Plato in Euthyphro/Republic


I.In the Euthyphro, Euthyphro himself gives three proposals of piety.  First, the pious is to prosecute the wrongdoer and the impious is not to prosecute the wrongdoer.  Socrates disputes this example as lacking generality.  He believed that in order to define piety, one had to find the form that made all pious acts pious.  An example of a pious act does not in turn define piety.  Euthyphros second attempt stated that the pious is loved by the gods, while the impious was hated by them.  Again, Socrates objects, saying that although it passed the generality requirement, there was no conformity among the objects dear to the gods.  After all, the gods had different opinions as did humans.  Euthyphro then tries to modify his second attempt by narrowing the requirement to what is loved by all gods or hated by all gods.  Socrates deflates this notion as well.  He questions wether the pious is loved because the gods love it, or do the gods love it because it is loved.  To be loved is a quality given by an act of love.  The mere fact of being loved by a god does not give meaning to piety or make the act pious.  The point was to find out what a pious act is before declaring it to be god-loved.  Euthyphros third proposal was to say that piety is a knowledge of how to give to, and beg from the gods, or a part of justice concerned with care of the gods.  However, Socrates was pretty blunt in pointing out that the gods lack nothing a human could provide, therefore making those acts of prayer or sacrifice, nothing but for the pleasure of the gods.  The acts would then fit under what is beloved by the gods, which was already defeated as the second proposal.  The definition of justice was left for a later discussion in the Republic.
In the Republic, the first attempt at defining justice was by the father of Polemarchus, Cephalus, who believed that speaking the truth and paying off ones debts made one just.  Quickly, Socrates asked wether it would be just to return a gun owed to a friend out of his mind, who had originally lent the gun when he was sane.  Those involved in the discussion agreed on the need for further refinements to the original statement, but before they could continue a gentleman by the name of Thrasymachus wanted to interject and force Socrates to give his definition of justice.  After Socrates states that he doesnt know and would like to learn, Thrasymachus then says that justice is nothing other than the advantage of the stronger, the stronger being the established rule.  Socrates rebuttal was to say that the ruler actually rules for the benefit of his subjects, the ones he is craftsman of.  For to be a ruler is a craft and a craft was established as that which provides what is advantageous to its subject.  Then to continue their discussion, Socrates wanted to address Thrasymachus view of wether the life of an unjust person is better, or more profitable, than that of a just one.  Thrasymachus declared that injustice was stronger and had more power than justice - that it was better to be unjust than just.  He said that to be unjust was to be clever and good, while to be just was the opposite.  They went on to debate which was clever and good and which was bad.  It was discussed that who tried to outdo whom defined the clever and good versus the bad.  After a lengthy talk, Socrates was able to turn Thrasymachus definition of a just person into its opposite and got his audience to agree that justice is virtue and wisdom and that injustice is vice and ignorance.
At the end of Book I, it appeared that Socrates had won the argument over just being better than unjust, but he was not completely satisfied.  During all their discussion, they had not finished their original quest of defining justice.  In Socrates view, a good definition would include generality and conformity for all examples of its defined term.  It could not merely give reference to the notion of, but ... more

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Confucius



As Confucius' philosophy still remains in the heart of many Chinese people, his images of
the greatest professional teacher of all time, the greatest philosopher in Chinese history and his
influence toward the future and the past 2000 years of Chinese civilization has made his thought
the essence of the Chinese culture. He always said the importance of teaching could change the
future of the civilization. And he also encouraged his students to explore the various things to
learn, but be very selective and careful. The purpose of Confucius' teaching was practical and
designed to help each person improve his character and conduct, and perhaps become prepared
for an official position in the court. According to one passage in the Analects, Confucius taught
four things: culture, conduct, loyalty, and truthfulness.1
Culture consisted of literature and music. Confucius suggested the value of each: "Let a man be
stimulated by poetry, established in character by the rules of propriety, and perfected by music."2
These pursuits were means by which one may achieve the higher ideal of following the Way. "The
gentleman extensively studies literature and restrains himself with the rules of propriety. Thus he
will not violate the Way."3 And also "Set your heart upon the Way. Support yourself by its virtue.
Rely on goodness. Find recreation in the arts."4 Confucius put the moral duties before the arts as
the essential activities of the gentleman. "A young man's duty is to behave well to his parents at
home and to in love to all, and to cultivate the friendship of the good. If, when all that is done, he
has any energy to spare, then let him study the cultural arts."5
Confucius taught many topics around these subjects, but the most importance of these is the
propriety, ritual and the Way of being a Gentleman. From these to achieve the Jen. Confucius had
one overwhelming message: if we are to achieve a state of orderliness and peace, we need to
return to traditional values of virtue. These values are based entirely on one concept: Jen, which is
best, translated as "humaneness." This humaneness is a relatively strange concept to Western
people, because it is not primarily a practicable virtue. The rules of propriety offered a code of
accepted behaviour that demonstrated to themselves and others that they were cultured and
proper gentlemen. For Confucius, the gentleman knew and behaved according to the rules of
propriety. In the first chapter of Analects, Yu-Tzu gives the value of the rules of propriety.
"Among the functions of propriety the most valuable is that it establishes harmony. The Way of
the ancient kings from this harmony got its beauty. It is the guiding principle of all things great
and small. If things go amiss, and he who knows the harmony tries to achieve it without
regulating it by the rules of propriety, they will still go amiss."6 Confucius explains what can
happen if conduct is not guided by propriety. "Courtesy not bounded by the rules of propriety
becomes tiresome. Caution not bounded by the rules of propriety becomes timidity, daring
becomes insubordination, straightforwardness becomes rudeness."7 Nevertheless, Confucius did
not believe in over-wallowing in ceremonies, and the feelings should be proper to the situations.
"In ceremonies it is better to be sparing than extravagant. Funeral ceremonies should be observed
in deep sorrow rather than in fear."8 By the same mean, "When substance, one becomes pedantic.
When substance and refinement are properly blended, then one is a gentleman."9 Confucius knew
that the ancient routes had been reduced in his time, and that such reduction was politic. "Were
anyone today to serve his prince according to the full rules of propriety he would be thought a
sycophant."10 Many Confucius' students were interest to become officials in government and so
as Confucius himself, wanted the opportunity to advise rulers. His aim is to put his knowledge
into practice. "A man may be able to recite the three hundred Odes; but, if when given a post in
the government, he does not know how to act, or when sent on a mission to far parts he cannot
answer specific questions, however extensive his knowledge may be, of what use is it to him."11
Nevertheless, an official must improve himself and regulate his own conduct before he could hope
to rule over others. Hence, self-improvement was prerequisite to engaging in politics. "If a
minister makes his own conduct correct, he will have no difficulty in assisting in government. ... more

is advantageous to himself but

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