Samantha McCarver

Please respond to the two discussions below. 250 minimum word count.

Samantha McCarver

Posted Date:

January 10, 2019 5:45 PM



Question 3: Plato and Aristotle held different views about the value of the influence of poetry, plays, and dramatic or literary narratives on people’s moral character and ethical knowledge. Briefly explain the views of each philosopher on the issue, and then compare their positions with the discussion in society today about the subject of violence in films, television, and video games. In your view, who gets it right, Plato or Aristotle? Explain and defend your choice using whatever evidence you believe to be relevant.

Plato recognizes poetry as a necessary and vital part of human society, he also sees it as a mark the fallen state that humanity has become. As elaborated in an article, “While modern and contemporary literary theorists tend not to accept Plato’s notion of art as being a dangerous social force, in fact, most literary theorists take exactly the opposite perspective of Plato…” (The Saylor Foundation, pg. 1). This shows that Plato acknowledged that poetry is useful in education and civil celebrations, but in the same breath, he regards it with suspicion. Plato’s ideal society was one where all were able to live harmoniously and without fear of violence or material possession. However, Plato also had a way of idealizing many things, including violence. As explained in a journal touching on philosophy, “Plato fails to account for the irrational nature of violence, then, although he does attempt to impose a cure for it. Violence grows according to a mimetic pattern in which individuals want to possess objects not because they desire them but because they are imitating other people around them” (Sieber, par. 8). Within society, there is the dialogue happening that violent violence in films, television, and video games influences the players and viewers poorly. So poorly that they start to become more violence just by watching a television program or playing a violent video game. Plato had this idea that people were violent because they were influenced and seen the violence occur, not because they actually wanted to be violent. In that sense, it would seem that Plato’s ideology agrees with the notion that violence in media makes people more violent.

When it came to poetry, Aristotle believed a work of tragedy, much like that in a poem/play of a people’s real life should be drawn out in a plot that is logical and flows in a reasonable and realistic manner. He did not like to see plays or read/write poems that did not have truth threaded throughout its contents. He believed that a poem/play becomes more interesting once it is more relatable and gives insight to the writer and their character. Aristotle also fully believed that the plays and poetry people liked the most or were fans of, gave insight to how they were as a person and what they believed to be morally correct. As explained in the article mentioned above, “A tragic protagonist, Aristotle argued, should be moral and inherently good, act appropriate to his circumstances, and be consistent and realistic in his actions” (The Saylor Foundation, pg. 2). This gives way to the thought that Aristotle believed works of literature should reflect the truth in which they are representing. When it comes to violence, Aristotle had differing views than Plato. Rather than believing violence makes people violent, he believed that being violent was a choice and a decision and was a question of someone’s moral compass. With that being said, it would feel to me that Aristotle gets it right when touching on the social issue of violence in films, media, and video games. I truly do not believe that seeing violence makes you more violent and that you have the conscious decision of whether you want to become violent or not. I also believe that violence in media makes one more tolerant of violence since they are viewing it all the time, but it does not serve as a reason to be violent.

Works Cited:

Siebers, Tobin. “Philosophy and Its Other—Violence: A Survey of Philosophical Repression From Plato to Girard.” Anthopoetics: the Journal of Generative Anthropology. Anthropoetics 1 no. 2., Fall 1995, Winter 1996.

 “The Early Origins of Literary Theory: Plato and Aristotle.” The Saylor Foundation.

Heather De Salvo

Posted Date:

January 9, 2019 9:33 PM



People often use the terms ethics, morals and values interchangeably as though they have the same meaning, they do not.  An individual is moral when they know the difference between good and evil and they choose good.  An individual who is willing to choose good despite the challenges andhurdles they may encounter demonstrates their morality and is considered ethical. Ethics are a system of moral principles that affect how an individual chooses to live their life. Values are the principles that an individual adheres to when making decisions, it is what people think about when trying to determine if something is good or ethical.

Philosophy is the love of wisdom and learning. The philosophical study of ethics covers things like how to live a good life, good versus bad and rights and responsibilities. The three main areas of philosophical ethics are meta-ethics, normative ethics and applied ethics. Meta-ethics consists in the attempt to answer the fundamental philosophical questions about the nature of ethical theory itself. Normative ethics is the study of what makes actions right or wrong, what makes situations or events good or bad and what makes people virtuous or vicious. Applied ethics consists in the attempt to answer difficult moral questions actual people face in their lives.

The philosophical examination of moral reasoning faces both how we recognize moral considerations and cope with conflicts among them and about how they move us to act – and distinctive opportunities for gleaning insight about what we ought to do from how we reason about what we ought to do (Richardson).

Morals are really a matter of opinion, they are the standards that people create personally  to help them make decisions between what they determine is right and wrong, good or evil and bad or good. I recall a situation about 5 years ago where my young nephew was faced with a very important decision based on his morals. He was at the mall one Friday evening, a few years back just hanging out and having a good time with his buddies, no special occasion, just grabbing some food and spending time with his friends. At some point during the evening one of the boys decided it would be fun to try and steal a small item from a trendy little store, just to see if he could get away with it. I guess this boy felt it would make him appear to be cool in the eyes of his buddies. My nephew had to make a decision right then whether he should continue to hang out with this group or walk away. He determined (based on his morals) that what his buddy was doing was wrong and that he did not want to take part in this type of bad behavior.

My nephew, had he not chosen to leave the group immediately would have been apprehended by the security agent and charged with theft along with his buddies who stuck around. Based on my personal experiences and those of others that I have witnessed, I do not believe that one must conduct a thorough examination of their morals to determine If they are right or wrong. Morals are a matter of ones opinion of what is good or bad based on their personalsstandards so there is not a right or wrong answer.

{Richardson, Henry S.},         {Moral Reasoning}, {The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy},{Edward N. Zalta},{Fall 2018},

               {Metaphysics Research Lab, StanfordUniversity}{\url{}},

Stanford Encyclopedia of Phylosophy

The three branches of philosophical ethics

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