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Philosophical dialogue (Essay Sample)

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Socrates and Protagoras are having an argumentative dialogue on virtue and unity. The aim of the dialogue in relation to the arguments of the two philosophers is to formulate a platform of exploring issues beyond their consideration. The dialogue will consider the position of Socrates on the unity of particular virtues with virtue itself.

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Philosophical Dialogue
Virtue and Unity
Socrates and Protagoras are having an argumentative dialogue on virtue and unity. The aim of the dialogue in relation to the arguments of the two philosophers is to formulate a platform of exploring issues beyond their consideration. The dialogue will consider the position of Socrates on the unity of particular virtues with virtue itself.
Protagoras: Can virtue be taught?
Socrates: My brother, virtue cannot be taught.
* Socrates states that virtue cannot be taught while Protagoras maintains that virtue is teachable.
Protagoras: I am a teacher of virtue
Socrates: I am not a teacher of virtue
* The dialogue indicates that Protagoras is a teacher of virtue while Socrates cannot teach virtue. Phenomenology of morality affirms that virtue cannot be taught by appealing to democratic practices. It is better to appeal to phenomenology to get a certain interpretation. On his side, Socrates is not doubtful there are virtuous people. He thinks that people pick up virtue on their own. He critically rejects the view that virtue can be taught.
Socrates: Virtue is not teachable because of the following:
* We listen to all in matters of policies as there are no experts that have knowledge and in matters where things are taught, we listen to experts and what they say goes
* Good people don't necessarily have good children as they can teach them some things but can't teach them sound judgment
* Good people send their children off to experts to teach them sound judgment but they fail just as the good people failed (Plato 6).
Protagoras: Let me respond to your argument that virtue cannot be taught by adducing to the
following myths.
* Story of the creation of society and the role of the gods in it
* Without sound judgment we can't be a defined species
* Hermes gives us the skill of association and the art of politics - can't band together and defend ourselves without this but we could survive
* Shame guides us to act well and justice enables us to act well
* Art of politics, sense of shame and justice, is given to all unlike craft
Protagoras: Teaching virtue is the initial development of a talent within us.
Review
Even though Protagoras has a theory to support the claim that virtue can be taught, he does not provide conclusive evidence to support the assertion. He does not prove that virtue is taught. Protagoras fails to convince Socrates that virtue is teachable because he does not provide appropriate proof.
Socrates: I am appealing to the practices of ethics
* Callicles could have stated that he prefers an argument on the nature of virtue to the conventions of virtue.
On the nature of virtue;
Protagoras: Punishment is a form of taking vengeance
* Protagoras still insists that virtue is teachable, contrary to the arguments of Socrates
* Anger and pity show different kinds of commitment
* Pity is shown to someone when something happens to them and cannot be blamed for it
* However, anger and punishment hold someone responsible. The evidence of this assertion is that the response of a person who fails to develop as a moral person is anger.
Explanation
The development of the argument indicates that experts cannot teach virtue. People learn to be virtuous when they are still young. The different stages of development of virtue comprise habituation. For instance, learning a language is something that anybody else can gain. However, it does not apply to virtue. Learning a language is conventional while morality is not a convention. Thus, Protagoras may be good at teaching morality than other things.
Socrates: I support the unity of virtues. Virtues are interconnected to each other. In any instance
where you are committed to one value, you are committed to other virtues.
Protagoras: Justice and piety are parts of the same thing.
Socrates: All names such as justice, piety, courage can be for a single thing. "Are virtues many
or one?" (Plato 7).
Protagoras: Do some people have one part, or do you necessarily have all the parts if you
have any one of them? By no means, many are both courageous and unjust while others are not wise but just.
Socrates: I still insist that if you possess one virtue, there is the possibility of having all
* Justice, piety, and courage mean different things and apply in different contexts, but in the theory that Socrates is arguing for, they have the same thing underneath which is wisdom or knowledge. Virtues are necessary to attain happiness so wisdom is now necessary to attain happiness.
Justice and piety
* Justice is just, but not unjust while piety is pious, but not impious. Additionally, justice is pious and piety is just.
Explanation: There is absurdity in justice being impious or piety being unjust. Hence, justice is the same as pious, or nearly the same, and vice versa. In this case, Socrates manages to argue that there is unity of virtues. He argues that different words can mean the same thing.
Socrates wins the argument because he is factual in his thinking. He criticizes Protagora...
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