Nicholas the youth to value their souls over

Nicholas SakkosProfessor Avery GoldmanPHL 10017 December 2017Final Paper            Socrates, Aristotle, Nietzsche and Arendt,all present valid arguments about how to view a soul. Their arguments are validbecause they all talk about components of life like wealth, deliberation andconscience. While each of them feel strongly that their interpretation iscorrect, each philosopher presents a sound point that would go against theother philosopher’s case. After reading each of their pieces, I have tried tocome to the fairest interpretation of the soul that all four philosophers wouldhave an agreement on. Regardless of whether somebody believes that the soul andbody are separate, one should try to live life through reason and better theircharacter by doing good for themselves and society.”I go around doingnothing but persuading both young and old among you not to care for your bodyor your wealth in preference to or as strongly as for the best possible stateof your soul” (pp.

34, Apology, 30b). Socrates says this to a jury during histrial where he is accused of corrupting the youth of Athens with hisphilosophical teachings. He has been trying to persuade the youth to valuetheir souls over their bodies because their souls will carry the truths ofthemselves if there is a separation from their bodies at death.

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If somebodylived a life greed and gained wealth as a result, the greed of the person willbe the truth that gets attached to their soul. It is crucial to note that whileSocrates does not know for certain if our souls are immortal, he wants to makesure that if there is an afterlife, he will have a good soul.”Wealth does not bringabout excellence, but excellence makes wealth and everything else good for men,both individually and collectively” (pp. 34, Apology, 30b). Socrates uses thisstatement as part of his philosophical teachings to place a larger emphasis onthe soul than the body. Pursuing only wealth does not bring out the best in theindividual or society. Instead, trying to be excellent at something and makinga positive impact on society will lead to wealth and prosperity for both theindividual and society.

According to Socrates, the soul will be in goodcondition if the individual tried to do well for himself and the rest of hispeople. Contrary, if the individual only pursued wealth and focused on the bodyin life, his soul will be tarnished because he was not caring about the peoplearound him. To Socrates, if there is indeed an afterlife, a good soul will leadto a positive afterlife, and a tarnished soul will lead to a harsh afterlife. Socrates alsoemphasizes the soul over the body to the members of the jury when it comes topossibly facing death.

He believes that he is god’s gift to the people ofAthens, and mistreating god’s gift may result in far worse harm to the jurythan to him. If there is an afterlife, the jury will find their souls to betarnished for killing a man like him. While the jury can decide to convictSocrates and hurt his body, Socrates will still have a good soul. He wants thejury to understand the possible consequence for their action.While Socrates tried topersuade a change in character by preaching that the soul may be immortal,Aristotle tried to stress good deliberation as a way to and make betterdecisions and live a life of virtue.

Deliberation is a long and carefulthought. However, Aristotle believes that humans do not deliberate about justanything. “We deliberate not about ends, but about what promotes ends” (pp.

35,Book III, C3, S11). For instance, a paramedic does not deliberate about whetherhis victim is going to survive. Alternatively, a human being deliberates abouthow which job offer is the best to accept. We set out a goal, and weinvestigate the ways that we can achieve it.When something has anunknown outcome and the right way to perform is undefined, we deliberate aboutit. For example, there is a college student who has to decide between two joboffers to accept once he graduates. When he is sitting down to think about whatjob offer is the best, he thinks about factors like salary and benefits.

Thecollege student is in full control of the situation, and it is a difficultdecision to come to since there is no ‘right’ answer. Once he makes a decision,the outcome of accepting the job offer will be whatever he makes of it. At somepoint during his time at the company he decided to work for, he will be theonly one to look back and see if he deliberated well about choosing the ‘right’place to work. He deliberated about the action that he could do, and the actionis for the purpose of things like retirement. For this reason, “we deliberateabout things that promote an end, not about the end” (pp. 36, Book II, C3, S15)If people deliberateabout ends, they are wasting their time.

A paramedic deliberating about whetherthe person he is trying to save from massive earthquake is going to live servesno purpose. It is his job to work in medical emergencies. He must try to savethe person who is injured, and get them to the nearest hospital. Rather thandeliberating about saving somebody injured, the paramedic should deliberate aboutwhat steps will be best method to take to safely remove the person from thearea without putting himself at harm. The paramedic should deliberate aboutwhat it is that he is going to be able to do. If the paramedic deliberatesabout things that he can control, he will be more productive compared todeliberating about whether the victims will live.            Ultimately, if human beings deliberate aboutthe right things and analyze the effects of the consequences of their actions,they will be make good decisions.

Good decisions will lead to good action, andgood action will lead to virtue. This is how our character will change for thebetter; our thinking will have a profound impact on the decisions we make.”What we deliberate about is the same as what we decide to do, except that bythe time we decide to do it, it is definite; for what we decide to do is whatwe have judged as a result of deliberation” (pp. 36, Book III, C3, S17).

Whatit is that people decide to do is the action that they deliberated about. So,deliberating about only the possibility of wealth will lead to a decision ofchasing wealth. Likewise, deliberating about how to positively contribute tosociety will lead to a decision of positive impact.            Aristotle conceives of the relation of thesoul and body with his belief that good deliberation leads to good action,which then leads to virtue. He believes that virtues are habits of the soulwhen somebody is acting through reason and not passion. So, virtuous actionsemit reason.

Virtues are obtained through both habituation and practice. Sincethat is the case, we can become virtuous by doing what we should at the propertime and in the right way. It is also important to note that a virtuous persontakes pleasure when acting in a virtuous way. Somebody who is giving money tothe poor just so that he can say that he is charitable is not virtuous.Instead, giving money to the poor because he knows that it is right to helppeople is virtuous.

“Different people havedifferent natural tendencies toward different goals, and we shall come to knowour own tendencies from the pleasure or pain that arises in us” (pp. 29. BookII, C9, S4). If somebody allows flawed ways of life to become habitual, he willbecome cruel. Virtue will not be easy to attain if we decide to follow ourpassions. Even though there is a natural desire for happiness that lies withinus, we must recognize that our passions will frequently lead us away from ourcorrect happiness. It is because of this that a good upbringing is important.Aristotle emphaticallydisagrees with the position that becoming virtuous involves being unaffected bypleasure and pain.

The reason for that belief is because he feels strongly thatvirtuous people are happy with doing what is good and noble, and they arepained at what is wrong. We need to learn to act right and feel right. If ayoung boy gets caught by the police for stealing from a store, he will surelylearn from that pain that stealing should not become a habit. Alternatively,personally paying for the item that he wants and leaving the store with noconfrontations will be pleasurable, and he will learn that carrying out thoseactions are good habits to have.

Aristotle also believesthat when it comes to the soul, the human soul differs from that of plants andanimals. He thinks that there is ranking when it comes to living things. Humansare above both plants and animals because they have the power of reason. “Wehave found, then, that the human function is activity of the soul in accordwith reason or requiring reason” (pp. 9, Book I, C7, S14). To Aristotle, thesoul is the grand total of the activity of a human.

We witness human good whenour activities involve reason.When we look atFriedrich Nietzsche’s criticism of the soul, he uses a term called the’internalization of man’. He believes that “all instincts that do not dischargethemselves outwardly turn inward” (pp. 84, Second Essay). In other words,instead of imposing cruelty on somebody else, we impose cruelty on our ownselves. It is important to note that Nietzsche believes that encountering guiltis ingrained in our desire to cause pain to show that we have power.

Hepinpoints a historical note between the German words “Schuld” (guilt)and “Schulden” (debt). He suggests that, initially, guilt did not haveanything to do with the accountability of not being able pay back the creditor.At the time, punishment was merely a comeback for not paying back the creditor.Nietzsche also believes that even if we join a civilized society where thoseactions are not allowed, there is still going to be an instinct of cruelty. Wewill still have the urge to find a way to show our power, and bad consciencecomes from this.Guilt and badconscience are different because while they both include a feeling ofdisappointment in an outcome, bad conscience does not include the feeling thatwe are responsible for our character.

For example, if I borrowed money from afriend and was unable to pay him back at the agreed time, there is a goodpossibility that I am going to feel badly because the consequence isunfortunate for me. I now have a friend that is probably going to be tougher toask for money in the future. However, it is very possible that I will not feelthat the action makes me a worse person. So, bad conscience can be described asa feeling of responsibility for the actions and feeling badly, but it does notinclude the feeling that carrying out those actions were wrong.

In the case of guilt,we are only able feel guilty if we believe that we are responsible for ouractions and our character. When we feel guilty, we start to favor the differentsolutions that could have dealt with the situation. So, when I do not pay myfriend back at the agreed time, I will feel two senses: a sense ofresponsibility for that action, and a sense of guilt for failing to keep mypromise.

I will feel bad about my character because I want to be thought of asthe sort of person who can be trusted to pay back money on time. Afterexperiencing this situation, I will make it a priority to make sure thatregardless of who I borrow money from, I am going to be able to pay it back ontime.While Nietzsche triedto explain the development of our conscience, he also tried to explain theimportance of finding a second nature. “We implant a new habit, a new instinct,a second nature so that the first nature withers away” (pp.

22, On theAdvantage and Disadvantage of History for life). A first nature is a habit thatwe have been practicing for so long that it seems natural; a second nature is anew habit that makes the first nature fade away. Nietzsche thinks that thisimportant because it is not good for human beings stop pursuing knowledge. Heunderstands that it is very difficult to deny what we think we know, but humanbeings should not be stuck on what we learned in the past. If we try to find asecond nature, we will never stop knowing what is good because of the differenthabits we adopt.The last philosophicalview of the soul to look at is Hannah Arendt’s differentiation of labor, workand action. She believes that those three categories make up the vitaactiva, or ‘active life’; vita activa is the basic condition of ourexistence.

Labor consists of the actions that help support life; it is thenecessity of the human condition. Manufacturing shelter is a basic example;labor includes anything that humans do to devour. Work consists of all theactions that help us convert the world; it is not a necessity of the humancondition. To Arendt, people work when they invent something.

Action consistsof all the activities with humans. Arendt was inclined to recognize action withpolitical activities, but things people do that involve any relations can bethought of as action. A good soul can come from carrying out these threecategories because we are maximizing our abilities to benefit ourselves andothers. The problem with thisdifferentiation is that not too long after she describes the three categories,she says, “The problem of human nature, the Augustinian quaestio mihi factussum, seems unanswerable in both its individual psychological sense and itsgeneral philosophical sense” (pp. 10, Human Condition).

Essentially, shebelieves there is nothing that gives us the license to assume that humans havea nature. If there is a human nature, Arendt also believers that a god could bethe only one to know and explain it. If that is the case, it eliminates all ofthe value attached her entire analysis of the three categories of vitaactiva. Since god is the only one who can explain our human nature, thatmust mean that surely, he is the only one who can define our human existence. Ipersonally agreed with her analysis of the three categories of vita activa,but she made a mistake by including that human nature is unanswerable. It isnow a question mark as to how she would address the question of the soulbecause of the two conflicting statements.Each philosopher firsttalks about how we can potentially better ourselves, but they all mention howour personal improvements can also help others. Socrates wants an individual topursue excellence; this makes everything good for the individual and everybodyelse collectively.

Aristotle wants an individual to deliberate about the rightthings so that we can perform better actions to better everybody including theindividual. He wants individuals to follow reason and not their passions sothat their actions lead them to virtue. Nietzsche wants an individual to denywhat they think is right, and try to explore what they think is wrong so thatwill not be stuck with their first nature. A second nature will come from this,and everybody else will benefit from more insight.

Arendt wants an individualto carry out the three categories of vita activa so that he can takecare of himself and convert others.While each philosopheragrees that we need to better ourselves, they do have some disagreements.Aristotle and Arendt could get into an argument about the purpose of our humanexistence. Arendt mentions nothing in our readings about living virtuously, andAristotle will argue with her that human beings need to prioritize actingvirtuously in order to become virtuous. Socrates and Nietzsche would probablyhave a fierce disagreement about whether human beings need to focus more onlife on earth or after death. Nietzsche talks about how to better oneselfduring the existence on earth, but Socrates is concerned about how life onearth can affect the possible afterlife. While there are some arguments to behad, all four philosophers are just trying to educate their audience on how tobetter society.

We all share this earthtogether, and we will feel the decisions that each of us make. Everyphilosopher believes that as a result of a better individual, there will be abetter world. They all challenge human beings to follow some sort of reason,and do not follow our desires. If human beings hold themselves to live thatkind of life, it will better life individually and collectively. So, livingthrough reason and not passion, and trying to live virtuously will do good forthe individual and others.

 

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