Posted at 01.01.2019
The goal of this newspaper is to reconcile Plato's doctrine that "no one does incorrect willingly" shown throughout his works with the story of Leontius which suggests wrong can be done willingly. I will do this by wanting to clarify how Leontius is still congruent with Plato's doctrine, implemented up by an examination of the arguments using Galen Strawson's ideas on moral responsibility. From here, I am going to then consider the implication that incongruency may be inescapable, and I'll finish with my very own solution to the problem.
Firstly I am going to reacquaint us with the story of Leontius. One day Leontius was walking along when he spotted the executioner's stop. Beside the stop he found the sight of some corpses which resulted in him having an interior conflict between the logical part of his soul, and the appetitive part of his soul. His appetites gained the day and he ran towards corpses sharing with his wretched eyes to look at the beautiful eyesight. Not surprisingly, the spirited part of his spirit caused Leontius to become very irritated at succumbing to his appetites. This story is actually told as a way to make an argument for the spirited area of the soul.
This history would be another story demonstrating a Socratic basic principle if not for the actual fact that
it seemingly runs against another concept - that no one does incorrect willingly. It could be argued
that Leontius do wrong in succumbing to his appetites and was inclined in the end to give directly into his wants. Here I will question the idea that Leontius did incorrect willingly.
In light of this personal target, I surmise that I've two possible conclusions. The first which i am wrong, and Leontius performed a wrong take action willingly, or second, I am accurate and Leontius didn't do an action incorrect willingly. In order to complete my aim I am going to need showing one of two possible effects:
Leontius did not do anything incorrect in his actions.
Leontius was not inclined in his action.
Here I am going to commence with the assertion that Leontius did not commit a wrong action. Initially this appears as though an absurd thing to state but consider the activities that Leontius underwent. One thing he does was succumb to the wishes of his appetites. After succumbing, Leontius proceeded to stare at the corpses while cursing himself. Is either of these actions wrong?
First of all consider succumbing to your appetites. The appetites are an integral part of the human heart and soul regarding to Plato and do in my opinion therefore seem more natural than inherently bad. However, I do agree there are some dreams that the urge for food produces that should never be acted on such as murder, while at the same time there are appetites that generally should be acted after such as love, and compassion. Succumbing to the appetites is right or wrong depending upon the desire to be fulfilled.
I change my focus on the other action of Leontius, the action of staring at the corpses. The
question remains, is looking at corpses wrong? I know that we now have often when staring
at a corpse is permissible, and arguably even righteous. Surely medical students cannot learn proper medication without the utilization of cadavers to practice on. At exactly the same time, looking at a corpse at a wake allows the living one previous chance to state good bye to the deceased. That in itself seems like a good thing.
In fairness, there are also times when staring at corpses is frowned upon, and arguably wrong. Grave robbers for example, are doing wrong in looking at corpses looking for items of the deceased to take. This generally comes after in american societies from the right given to the dead to get their grave site reputed. From this same respect it is obviously wrong to grab from the deceased as well, but that's not the problem at play in looking at corpses, which was the action of Leontius.
In light of this understanding can we differentiate if it was wrong for Leontius to stare at the corpses by the executioner's stop? To answer this question we have to know the determination behind Leontius' appetite in attempting to go through the corpses. Was it interest? If it was then Leontius might not be so different from the medical pupil wanting to look at a cadaver. If this holds true then Leontius may have done no incorrect. Conversely, was the inspiration a fetish encompassing the enjoyment of viewing useless beings? If this is true then Leontius may be more similar to the activities of the grave robber and he likely committed wrongdoing. Perhaps the corpses were his foes and he wished to see them useless, or alternatively, these were his friends and he wanted to say good bye. Much more likely, Leontius did not know who these were. There are many different possibilities that could have been the intended desire to start to see the corpses for Leontius' appetite. The wrongness or rightness of every particular desire is blurry at best.
Without any longer information than that which was given in the storyplot of Leontius, it would be difficult to prove Leontius' activities were permissible or even outright good. So, I will now consider the alternative hypothesis, that Leontius had not been ready in his action of looking at the corpses. The first opportunity I'll consider here is that of Akrasia, or weakness of will, as
a opportinity for taking over a human's choice within an action.
Akrasia is a simple concept to relate to as a individual. I could think of that time period where my will has been weakened by a solid desire to have something. The something may differ, whether for gluttonous reasons related to drink and food, or for physical pleasure, or anything in between. Obviously akrasia is intuitively related to the individual experience.
There is merely one problem - Socrates argues in the Protagoras that akrasia must be impossible. Supplying in to one's bad wants is akin to ignorance. Conversely, having the ability to control oneself is intelligence. No one does indeed wrong willingly, even with the prospect of a weakness of will for no person strives towards anything but what's good. That is true even though someone is overcome by desire.
With no weakness of does it seems again that our nice excuse exhibiting that Leontius did not do incorrect willingly is currently gone. It is still possible however, that Leontius was not willing if rather than a weakness of will there is some sort of biological lack of choice at play.
This is where Strawson's debate that humans cannot be morally responsible comes into play The argument operates that nothing can be the cause of itself, or causa sui, and only things that are the reason behind themself can make their own activities morally. As humans are not causa sui, they therefore cannot be held morally in charge of their actions. In other terms, as humans are the total consequence of our hereditary endowment, and our environmental upbringing, both of which are the way to obtain our actions, we cannot be presented morally sensible as humans haven't any choice in the forming of either their own hereditary endowment or environmental upbringing.
As Leontius is a individual, he too is the consequence of his hereditary endowment and environmental upbringing. It can be argued that his wanting to stare at the corpses was merely a hereditary predisposition, or his upbringing told him it was alright to check out corpses. Given his anger at looking at the corpses, it would be safer to expect the ex - than the last mentioned. Leontius cannot have willed his final choice of action because he had been predisposed to in the end pick a
certain action. The only path showing Leontius was inclined to make his own action would be to either reject Strawson's argument, or admit Strawson's position on the condition that humans are in charge of either their genetic endowment, or environmental upbringing, and have free will.
The problem is that Strawson's view is well-rooted generally guidelines of biology. I'll thus have to keep Strawson's discussion in mind when i move towards my very own treatment for the Plato-Leontius dilemma. Moving on in this case is necessary as it could otherwise attract us away from the dilemma accessible, and onto the tangent of the endorsement or refutation of Strawson's discussion.
Thus exhibiting that Leontius have no incorrect, or he had not been inclined in his activities is not a simple task to accomplish. As such, I am going to now move on the possibility that the case of Leontius is fundamentally incompatible with "no one does incorrect willingly". I will preface this part of the discussion by saying I really do not believe this program probable, but instead consider it as only possibility.
If Leontius did however show a wrong action being done willingly then there's a gap in Plato's general ethics. This opening is established by the contradiction that one can seemingly do wrong willingly while theorizing at the same time that no-one can do wrong willingly. This is a diminishing action.
Before I enter my own theory, there is certainly another potential solution. In Laws and regulations X, the secret Athenian argues that humans accomplish individual works of free will to ascertain directions of change of character in the spirit that allow virtue to triumph vice. Further, many activities are invariably determined by dreams or other mental health states. It is possible that Leontius was determining his own action which caused his spirit to get mad and lead him further to the path of virtue. Otherwise perhaps Leontius was triumph over by his own desire to stare at the fresh corpses by the executioner's block. That Leontius sensed strongly his desires holds true to the original story so long as it is observed that is not akrasia, but rather a a reaction to a particular scenario. This does reignite the compatibility between the actions that Leontius had taken, and Plato's ethics generally.
With this at heart there is currently compelling data to believe the Leontius-Plato problem is solved. Further, it seems that Plato has tangled up his own loose ends somewhat than requiring outdoors help to make his works appropriate. There is however still the nagging experience that this dilemma might have been avoided all together without appealing to multiple works.
While I have looked at many possible answers I will now last but not least propose my very own theory which would steer clear of the Leontius/no one does indeed wrong willingly dilemma to begin with. By using the word "willing", the semantic framework relates to the idea of voluntariness. Was Leontius' choice to look at the corpse voluntary or not? However, with hook amendment to this is of eager used, I can replace voluntariness with the idea of readiness. This changes the issue of Leontius from an idea of voluntariness to an understanding of readiness to complete an action. As I stated before, Leontius was hesitant to look at the corpses, being struck by an internal controversy between his reason and his appetites. Therefore, Leontius had not been prepared to do wrong in my own view as he revealed no readiness to complete the action.
Another example that uses my definitional context of the word willing would be the case
of a murderer hesitating while pointing a weapon at his potential victim. As I explained before, murder is one particular desires that I'd consider the urge for food relating to it to be wholly bad. Related to readiness, if the victim has a chance to speak to the killer, and convince them never to kill them, then it is much more likely that the murderer will think before actually harming anyone. This hesitation means the criminal would not be eager to do incorrect, i. e. to kill another human being through murder.
By a definitional context of willing related to voluntariness on the other hands, the person positioning the gun may be happy to kill their victim. No matter their hesitation, the genuine pulling of the cause would imply before evaluation that the legal willingly taken their sufferer, and completed an incorrect action. This contextual understanding of wrongness and determination operates in this example outside the range of Plato's views.
Therefore we've two contexts of the word willing operating on the same subject, the killer. In my own context, the killer's hesitation demonstrates they are not willing in their action to take and wipe out their victim. On the other hand, the killer's eventual choice to pull the trigger, it doesn't matter how they noticed about their choice, proved intuitively that they have wrong willingly. It would be logical to summarize here a voluntariness classification of willing acts on the activities humans make outright, while my description of willingness, including readiness to complete an action, operates on the level of psychology and the thoughts. If someone hesitates, seems forced, does not think the action would be a good idea, but seems compelled for the action, then they are not prepared in my own view.
Let me be clear that my view is not similar to Plato's views, but it does provide another possible solution to the Leontius issue. It is important to keep in mind that the storyline of Leontius suits into the much larger framework of Plato's views on moral responsibility and ethics. Consequently, the possibility that Plato has a remedy, whether the one in Regulations X, or another perhaps undiscovered answer, is highly probable.
I have now considered the Leontius problem from the views that his looking at the corpses was not wrong, or on the other hand, the same action was not completed willingly. Out of this, I earned the issue of akrasia, and briefly handled on Strawson's theory of the impossibility of moral responsibility. Finally, I offered Plato's potential answer, and launched my own semantic theory. Discussing Leontius shows me that to understand positions on moral responsibility
by any given philosopher, a all natural, rather than acute analysis is essential. This style of analysis is important to better understand the idea of moral responsibility, an issue which is central to all human beings.