Comparing Plato's Republic And The Nicomachean Ethics

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In both the Republic by Plato and the Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle the authors discuss what happiness consists of and why people should strive for happiness. For both authors happiness is the highest end that people should strive for because happiness cannot be used to reach another end unlike other means. Happiness and virtues go hand in hand because if one is virtuous they are also happy and if one is happy they are also virtuous. In order to gain happiness one has to gain virtues because they are the building blocks of happiness. Aristotle lists out specific virtues and explains what those virtues would look like in the two extremes. Being able to find and execute the balance between to two extremes of the virtues is imperative to becoming…show more content…
In Plato’s perfectly just society the rulers were known as philosopher kings and they were trained in how to rule a just society for their entire life, however their training was not just in how to rule a just society but also in how to be a just individual. The most important part of the philosopher king’s education was mathematics because everything in the entire world involves some aspect of math. For guardians their education was physical and musical but both of those skills merely teach through repetition. There is no actual knowledge gained, instead, it just becomes muscle memory. Happiness is not gained through repetition of medial tasks but instead it is gained through the gaining of knowledge. The more knowledge gained means the closer one is to enlightenment, which once one is at enlightenment they are truly happy. Plato shows the process of becoming enlightened through his allegory of the cave. He describes someone slowly being pulled out of a dark cave and learning what is real in the world. This allegory describes the painful the process of enlightenment is but it also describes the great joys that come once it is over. “The last thing to be seen is the form of the good, and it is seen only with toil and trouble. Once one has seen it, however, one must infer that it is the cause of all that is correct and beautiful in anything.”(Resp. 7:517b-c) Once one has reached the form of the good, there is no turning back from the knowledge that they have achieved. Reaching happiness means that one has gained all of the knowledge necessary for enlightenment and now understands what true happiness is. At the end of the allegory Plato states that the one who is enlightened has a duty to go back down to the cave, no matter how uncomfortable it is, and share his knowledge of the world. This same task is placed upon the philosopher kings because one who is truly happy has

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