Here is my essay assignment:
In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle argues that the virtuous person relates to himself as to a very close friend. In particular, the virtuous person is in concord with himself: “He is at one with himself, and desires the same things in his soul considered as a whole…[and also] shares his own griefs and joys with himself” (IX.4 1166a). Bad people, by contrast, “are in internal conflict, and have an appetite for one thing but wish for another, and so “their soul is in a state of conflict, and have an appetite for one thing but wish for another, and so “thier soul is in a state of strife…” (IX.4 1166b). However, Socrates has a somewhat different explanation of what virtue is. for example, Aristotle notes that Socrates believed all the virtues of character “to be forms of knowledge” (IV.13 1144b). In this paper we will consider what Aristotle would make of Socrates’ portrait of the philosopher in the Phaedo, in light of these comments on friendship, and how Socrates might respond.
Write an essay addressing the following questions:
(a) What is it about the virtuous person that leads or allows him or her to “desire the same things in his soul considered as a whoe”? Explain based on Aristotle’s account of virtue of character in Nicomachean Ethics Books I-II, and illustrate with a representative example that shows the difference bewteen a virtuous and vicious person on this point.
(b) Does Socrates in the Phaedo display this sort of unity or concord within himself? How or how not?
(c) If Socrates displays this kind of concord or friendship with himself, how does he explain how he and other philosophers are to achieve it and how is this different from the way Aristotle suggests?
(d) If Socrates does not display this kind of concord or friendship with himself, then does that mean that he is an ethically degenerate person? Explain. Would Socrates accept Aristotle’s ideal of concord as desirable? how might he respond to Aristotle’s claims?
Support your work with specific references to the text, in a standard style. I recommend using MLA citation style. When citing Plato, refer to the Stephanus numbers and letters, rather than the page numbers of our particular edition. When citing Aristotle, refer to the book, chapter, and Bekker page numbers, as in the example (Nicomachean Ethics III.5 1113b-1114a).
You are covering several points in this paper, so be sure to give proper attention and development to each point. Part (a) is crucial as setup, but it is really only the beginning of the interesting part, so try to contain it ro about the first 1.5 pages and leave yourself 1.5-2 pages for (c) or (d). Based on your response to (b), you will probably either answer (c) or (d). However, if your answer to (b) is not entirely either “yes” or “no” then you may address parts of both (c) and (d).
the books we are using in class are Nicomachean Ethics Edited by Roger Crisp and Plato Five Dialogues Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo Second Edition.