Sample Essay on Why should we be moral according to Plato? Evaluate his Reason(s)

Establishing a viable justification on the explicit reasons why an individual should be moral is a remarkably challenging task. A number of philosophers in the history of moral philosophy proposed such justifications, which have since remained contentious. Plato, one of the ancient philosophers, analyzed the fundamental question on the exact reasons why an individual should behave morally. The question on whether it is in the self-interest of an individual to be immoral, or one is still obliged to be moral, is explained in this document. In his idea on justice, Plato refers to the external actions and the state of one’s cognition or aspiration as crucial determinants of one’s decision to be moral. In essence, Plato’s ethics spins around his moral philosophy and approach on ‘how best to live’. The document gives an explicit clarification on the concept of morality as postulated by Plato and the reasons why an individual should be inclined towards being moral in a society.

The virtuous consequences of choosing to be moral are not what drive one to act morally; rather, such morally right deeds have good outcomes because they are good in themselves (Lodge and Rupert 34). The right actions are those that are ought to be done for the reason of yielding good consequences and any reasonable member of the society should subscribe to them. For example, a soldier in the course of discharging duty chooses to be moral simply because it is the right decision expected by the society. When one decides to be moral, then the reason is based on a personal choice to subscribe to what the society defines as good. A ‘good’ can be determined in terms of harmonizing certain elements of the soul to be in acceptance with one’s actions. This is because in every society, there are certain rules and policies that are expected of the members explaining why the soldier is under obligation to be moral. Just like the structure of a society, our actions comprises of three dissimilar parts (Lodge and Rupert 36). The first part of our actions analogized as the ruling part instigates that a ruler is like the reasoning ability of one’s soul. This reasoning ability comprehends the truth or the significance of what it implies to ensure one exists in prudence and in harmony prompting one to be moral. This cognition part is driven by strong virtues of wisdom that further helps one to discern a moral behavior from an immoral one. The other part of an individual’s actions is also described as the ‘enforcement part’ (also what drives our actions, the spirit and the commitment) (Lodge and Rupert 39). The ‘guardians’ (security such as police) who are responsible for the implementation of our philosophical principles exemplify this ‘enforcement part’. The ‘guardians’ have a strong virtue of courage that helps in controlling and propelling our moral or immoral actions (Lodge and Rupert 34). The last part of our actions is the ‘productive part’ (or the ‘get-things-done part’) that is responsible initiating our actions. The ‘productive part’ encompasses one’s craving and desires (both rational and irrational). When all the three parts of our actions coexists in harmony, then reasonableness will ensue and our actions will be inclined towards acting morally upright. This is the reason why an individual will be in a position to act in accord with reason, behave in a manner deemed appropriate and moral in a society, and uphold the virtue of self-control (Lodge and Rupert 42). The excellence of humanity is, therefore, only possible when justice is manifested and the society take the interests of its members with the seriousness it deserves. Per se, the primary reason for choosing to be moral is to maintain peace with one’s self and to be accepted by the society.

The ultimate positive end to our moral actions and possible ways of attaining such results is another reason why one may choose to be moral. Each of these parts of our actions are associated with certain vices and virtues that are appropriate when making a decision on morality. A person’s cognition may either be coherent or irrational encouraging an individual to behave in a certain manner (Lodge and Rupert 45). The emphasis is on the inclination to act in such a way that every other member of the community will consider such actions as reasonable and moral. With a strong desire to maintain a peaceful soul, being moral determines an individual peaceful coexistence with one’s self. In addition, the strong urge to do what is right and just explains why one may choose to be moral. When a person is resolute about satisfying the purported self-interests, there might be some inward conflicts on either to choose being immoral at the expense of the self-interest or to maintain their morality (Cornford and Francis 17). The conflict in one’s soul is ‘evil’ and should be eliminated at all costs to prevent any clash of interest and the development of immoral behavior. As such, when an individual chooses to be moral, the decision is based on the individual decision to coexist in the society. This desire to coexist dominates our desires to live an honesty life and to be committed towards the achievement of one’s life goals and principles through a strict observation of morality. For example, in a work setting, when one fails an integrity test, the minor desires subdue the inner yearnings to be moral and may ultimately act immorally (Cornford and Francis 19). Such a decision to be immoral may be initiated based on specific self-interests and not one’s intrinsic decision to act immorally. Essentially, there is an opposition between one’s self-interest and that of the society, but the desire for a reconciliation of the though pattern may prompt one to be moral. Additionally, justice and morality are passionately interconnected because an individual action ultimately transcends down to the society (Adam and Adela 12). In the current society, most people are striving really hard to be perfect and to be good and meaningful citizens in the society. However much we try to perfect our actions, one can never achieve moral perfection. For example, a person owing a friend some cash will decide to pay the debt on the interest of justice and moral requirement of the society. Similarly, a corrupt state official may decide to transform based on being rational and choosing to be moral as an inherent fulfillment of fundamental desires. The relation of some of the reasons why we as a society should be moral is based on to this inherent thought of rationality. This ultimately maximizes the gratification of an individual’s desires implies maximizing the self-interest of that particular person. In a society where wants are unlimited, every person possess certain needs that they are determined to satisfy irrespective of the means. When fulfilling these desires, an individual is should act on the interest of justice and morality. Indeed, it is very rational to be moral and our actions should be admissible as the best option for maximizing our inner desires to satisfy our inclinations (Adam and Adela 14).

Remarkably, morality also entails the way we network with other members of the society and the ruling class who are likely to determine how our actions may be motivated. As such, an individual, must strive to behave in a certain satisfactory manner that is appropriate and conventional (Kelsen and Hans 16). The influence of self-interest in determining one’s behaviors cannot be underpinned whatsoever. For instance, purely self-interested persons may not be in a position to accept the perception that an immoral act may ultimately affect their tranquility and peaceful cohabitation (Kelsen and Hans 19). Based on the idea of fairness to other members of the society, one should be obliged to be moral at the interest of justice (Karayiannis, Anastassios and Aristides 622). A thief may justify the actions as self-motivated, but then, such actions must be justifiable and be deemed moral as required by the society. As such, an individual should act morally simply because it is a rational decision irrespective of the interests one is in pursuit of. From one of Plato’s work, the Republic, an explicit account of individual moral actions that are driven by an inner desire to be what the society describes as good is given (Karayiannis, Anastassios and Aristides 625). The inner nature of humanity grants the possibility of being driven purely by moral motives persuading individuals to be moral. Another reason for being moral is based on our passionate element and desire to be motivated to pursue what is moral and desirable. That inner urge to fulfill our fundamental inclinations based on self-interest and the motivation to act justly also explains why one should be moral.

The position of Plato as explained in the Republic on a good life is elucidated based on the concept of morality as explained in this document. The desire to lead an equally good life fully of harmony and personal fulfillment explains the society insists on the significance of leading morally upright life. An individual has a duty to be moral in the interest of justice to the society and to facilitate the achievement of self-interests and desires. An individual should be ready to act against own self-interests and desires to serve the purposes of justice. Per se, being moral is generally a justifiable way of increasing personal pleasure and happiness in the society.

Work Cited

Adam, Adela Marion. Plato: Moral and Political Ideals. Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Cornford, Francis MacDonald. Plato’s cosmology: the Timaeus of Plato. Routledge, 2014.

Karayiannis, Anastassios D., and Aristides N. Hatzis. “Morality, social norms and the rule of law as transaction cost-saving devices: the case of ancient Athens.” European Journal of Law and Economics 33.3 (2012): 621-643.

Kelsen, Hans. Essays in legal and moral philosophy. Vol. 57. Springer Science & Business Media, 2012.

Lodge, Rupert Clendon. Plato’s theory of ethics: the moral criterion and the highest good. Routledge, 2014.