Why Be Moral?
After reading this chapter, it should be clear that not all philosophers agree on “why” we ought to be moral, but regardless of whether it is a matter of principles or virtues, they can agree that mortality is necessary for a functioning society.
In book 2 of his Republic (2.359a–2.360d), Plato has one of his characters relate a story about a mythical Ring of Gynges. When a shepherd finds and wears the magical, mythical ring, he discovers that he can adjust it on his hand and become invisible. With this new gift of invisibility, he eventually seduces the queen, murders the king, and becomes the king himself. The point of the myth is that if any person believes he can get away with immoral behavior, he will behave immorally. It is only the awareness of others around us that makes a person choose to be moral.
In a well-developed essay, provide an argument which addresses for the following questions:
- What relationship, if any, is there between “doing good” and “being good”?
- Would it be possible for a person to be perfectly good and yet cause harm to innocent people?
- Could a person be wicked even if he or she never caused any harm at all?
- If a person does good things for other people but does them for bad reasons (such as fame, wealth, or even just the selfish desire to feel good about himself), why or why not do the wrong reasons or motivations negate the good he has done?
- Could someone be a morally good person but not enjoy the Good Life? (You will ned to define what you mean by the “Good Life.”)
- Be sure to discuss the philosophical ideas of at least two moral theories while addressing the prompt questions.
Please ensure that your essay addresses each component of the assigned questions and that your answer is well-organized, uses excellent, college-level prose, and makes judicious use of textual evidence. Your essay must follow APA formatting and should be 500-750 words long.
If you quote, paraphrase, or summarize from the textbook or any other source, you must include in-text citations and a References page.