Ethical Theories

2 Ethical theories by Plato

Ethical Stories are statements by ancient philosophers. The statements in which they taught us the course of action we should adopt when we come across an ethical dilemma. Plato, Aristotle is very famous for their profound ethical theories. Without further ado, let’s find out in detail what Plato has to say about the ethics and moral wellbeing of a human being.

Plato’s ethical conception is based on the eudemonistic approach. It’s based on virtue, well-being, and happiness. To get excellence (virtue), happiness (eudaimonia) is the main aim we should try hard to attain.


In this article, we will talk about two of his world-famous ethical theories. These include:

1: Happiness and the desire for self-completion

2: Virtues of state and soul

1: Happiness and the desire for self-completion:

Symposium and Phaedrus are presented by Plato. The main reason for writing these dialogues is to indicate the individual soul and not the communal life. Plato emphasized the importance of self-completion. According to him, love is an incentive for all creatures of the world. We humans have an innate desire for beauty and goodness. Moreover, ‘Happiness’ is their main requirement, for which they always strive.

Even when it comes to objects, they always choose those which they think can fulfill their desire for happiness and are the good ones.


Humans strive for improving and restoring their selves. For achieving self-eternity, humans follow three kinds of approaches. Firstly, they produce biological children. Secondly, they make use of the works of art to produce children of the mind. Thirdly, they develop proper order in the cities. Then the justice and moderation make the environment more profound and useful. For example, more adequate humanitarian laws have been established in modern civilized European nations and that made them more superior and attractive for humans around the world.


Virtue is the underlying feature of beauty. It is made under the constitution of laws made by the public and society in which humans live. We can say that good order is determined as an important aspect of “Beautiful Good”. For example, we tend to be more attracted towards having a living in societies that have a high standard of social laws and order.


2: Virtues of the state and soul:

Our society is divided into three classes. Each class has different functionality. Plato describes the social order construct by talking about ‘the four cardinal Platonic virtues. These include:

  • Wisdom
  • Courage
  • Moderation
  • Justice

According to his theory, Piety is a religious practice. It’s not that similar to virtue. It is only relevant to Apollo at Delphi(427b-c) and old religious dialects. When the three virtues are achieved by society, only then the fourth virtue (justice) would be achieved and will prevail appropriately.

First, he has talked about ‘wisdom’ (Sophia). It is in his opinion, the pure intellectual virtue. And, it’s owned by the rulers. The good council plays a vital role in making decisions. Internal and external affairs come under its jurisdiction.


The second is Courage. It’s the soldier’s virtue or the steadfastness in human nature. Thirdly, he talked about Moderation. That means humans tend to support order which is essential for a good life. The upper classes rule the world and the lower class includes their desires. When we talk about who should rule and be ruled in the concept of harmony and moderation. Humans give consent for who should rule the society. The fourth concept is justice. It refers to doing their own thing. Everyone has their share of society. Whatever belongs to him neither anyone can snatch from him, nor he can deprive anyone of his/her belongings. For example, law and order in our societies and social norms don’t allow us to do anything like robbery, snatching, etc.


In short, Plato’s theories have depth. We should adopt good habits to enhance the quality of our lives. Obviously, ‘the good’, happiness, and virtue are undenied aspects and desires of our souls and never difficult to be achieved. Plato’s work shall be studied by almost everyone to get benefits in societies and to achieve the utmost satisfaction of human nature.