According to Socrates, morality refers to the creation of as well as adherence to the rules which govern the way a human behaves. This behavior is based on the concept of the idea of right from wrong. Therefore, with morality, one will be able to address the human capability to recognize and choose right from wrong. Socrates, therefore, believed that there is no individual who willingly chooses to engage in wrongful deeds. He further claims that no person seeks to cause harm upon himself or herself. In his view, all the wrongs one engage in results from ignorance. This further implies that it is difficult, if not impossible for a person to do wrong voluntarily since their instincts for self-interest prevents them from engaging in wrongful activities. Any action categorized as morally wrong results from a misunderstanding of the right thing by the agent (Kolak and Garrett, 513). Therefore, moral wrongdoing is considered to be an intellectual wrongdoing because all the other cases of wrongdoing can be explained as wrongfully believing that some action is best.
The important Socratic imperious ‘know thyself’ more often than not take on the special instances of Socrates’ views that people tend to seek what they consider to be their personal welfare and hence cannot intentionally do otherwise. According to Socrates’, people who appear to do distasteful things do so with some definitive good in their minds. This implies that people engage in distasteful acts for the sake of the good. Additionally, if one acts for any reason whatsoever, such an individual does not desire the action but its objective. According to Socrates, the issue of good or harm is determined by the benefits accrued to the soul. However, Socrates statement is an extraordinary statement that many people, Aristotle being among them tend not to believe. The statement seems contrary to the fact that no person does a wrong knowingly. People can choose to partake things they think are wrong in the eyes of others. Nevertheless, people can also do things they believe are wrong for other people while at the same time trying to benefit from those actions. However, people avoid things they perceive to be harmful during that decision-making process. Personal intuition plays a big role in the selection of a particular action or a coercion to indulge into a particular wrong even if that action causes harm.
Aristotle does not agree with Socrates ideology. At some point in time, human action is self-imposed hence not considered as a product of instinct. This implies that individuals can be held responsible for their self-caused actions. Aristotle was able to explore moral responsibility through the theory of knowledge, as well as the conceptual dissimilarities between choice, wish, voluntary and deliberation. Moral responsibility arises because of the investigations conducted on the connection between desire, knowledge and the correct action (Kolak and Garrett, 608). Additionally, Aristotle’s discussions focused on whether those who long for evil do it voluntarily or because of ignorance and error. Aristotle uses several conceptual tools to evaluate moral responsibility. They include actions done as a result of ignorance and actions done in ignorance and four causes. These conceptual tools allow him to explain for moral responsibility and particularly wrongdoing in a more comprehensive way. Aristotle connects the means and the ends hence making it easier for him to distinguish between involuntary action and voluntary action. Conclusively, it can be deduced that Aristotle does not agree with Socrates’ stand.
Kolak, Daniel, and Garrett Thomson. The Longman Standard History of Philosophy. New York: Pearson/Longman, 2006. Print.