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Plato’s Argument about Justice and Health at the End of Republic IV
1. All happy people are healthy people.
2. No unjust people are healthy.
\ 3. No unjust people are happy.
The Analogy of the Sun
• The act of seeing something requires three things: the eye, the object seen, and the
sun, which is the light that illuminates the object in order for the eye to see.
• Likewise, the act of knowing something requires three things: the soul (mind), the
object known (truths in one’s understanding), and the form of the Good, which is the
rational light that illuminates the rational object in order for the soul to know.
1. The act of seeing is LIKE the act of knowing.
2. The sun is the condition of possibility for sight.
\ 3. The form of the Good is the condition of possibility for knowledge.
The Happiness Argument (NE I.1-5)
1. “Every art or applied science (i.E., skill) and every systematic investigation (i.E.,
question), and similarly every action and choice aims at some good.”
2
2. If every skill, question, action, and choice aims at some good, then these things
can be arranged into an order of means and ends.
3. If every skill, question, action, and choice can be arranged into an order of means
and ends, then there is some ultimate intrinsically good goal for a human which is
never of instrumental value but from which all instrumental values derive their
worth.
4. “Happiness” (eudaimonea; flourishing or living well; do NOT equate with mere
pleasure) is word that human beings use to refer to the ultimate intrinsically good
goal for a human which is never of instrumental value but from which all
instrumental values derive their worth
\ 5. There is an ultimate intrinsically good goal for a human which is never an
instrumental value but from which all instrumental values derive their worth and
this is called “happiness.”
The Function Argument (NE I.7) and corresponding Pleasure Argument
1st Principle (def: “function”): If only an x and every x can do F, then F is the
function of x.
2nd principle (def: “good”): x is good only if x performs F well.
1. Only humans and all humans are, by definition, rational.
2. Living a rational life is the function of the human being. {1, 1st Principle}
\ 3. The good human being is one that lives rationally excellently. {2, 2nd Principle}
1. Non-human animals experience mere pleasure.
2. Pleasure cannot be the function of a human being. {1, 1st Principle}
\ 3. Pleasure cannot be the ultimate human good. {2, 2nd Principle}
More Arguments against Pleasure as the Ultimate Good
1. Pleasure can be bad.
2. Goodness cannot be bad.
\ 3. Pleasure cannot be goodness. [Plato]
1. If pleasure depends on the activity that produces it, then figuring out which
pleasures are choiceworthy requires that we first figure out which activities are
choiceworthy.
2. Pleasure depends on the activity that produces it.
\ 3. Figuring out which pleasures are choiceworthy requires that we first figure out
which activities are choiceworthy. [Aristotle]
1. All activities that constitute the proper function of a human being are
choiceworthy activities for a human being.
2. Rational activities constitute the proper function of the human being.
\ 3. Rational activities are the choiceworthy activities for a human being. [Aristotle]

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