Free Report Exploring Morality: Insights from Socrates to Fanon

Published: 2024-01-20
Free Report Exploring Morality: Insights from Socrates to Fanon
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Racism Philosophy Moral development
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1579 words
14 min read

Morality is the principles that distinguish between right and wrong or good behavior from bad one (Cooper, 2013). Many philosophers have argued differently on the issue of morality, giving different views about it. The goal of this paper is to analyze the opinions provided by various philosophers on morality. Socrates, a renowned Greek philosopher, has contributed positively to the philosophy of ethics and morality. According to him, he argues that living a just life is more meaningful than living a life of injustice (Cooper, 2013). He documents the argument in his Book IX, and his opinion is analyzed. In his discussion, Socrates argues that just individuals live as the happiest individuals (Cooper, 2013). The soul, according to Socrates, is divine, and with divinity, it possesses its desires (Cooper, 2013). A just individual thus can accomplish positive desires that keep the individual happy (Cooper, 2013). Divinity is not involved with disorder and upheaval; therefore, a just life can provide the peace and happiness that a human being desires hence making justice outweigh injustice.

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Further, Socrates states that life with justice is life with pleasure compared to life with injustice. The soul can receive real pleasures when the objects of its desire are proper; therefore, satisfaction is obtained. A life of justice is thus pleasurable and happier than a life of injustice (Cooper, 2013). In the conclusion of Plato's Republic, he concludes by the myth of Er, which is a legend. From the tale of Er, Plato can justify his arguments on morality. The myth of er explains human beings' social living; it urges that individuals should live dearly with one another and to the gods (Rosen, 2008). There is a reward for living dearly at the end of life, as the myth of er states (Rosen, 2008). Thus, the tale serves as a function of justification of arguments of morality and motivation to practice righteousness in the daily lives of human beings.

Nietzsche being an influential philosopher, has explained the two types of morality in his documentation. In distinguishing the kinds of morality, Nietzsche used an analogy of the lamb and prey birds. He contrasts the birds of prey with the lambs, where he states that the lambs consider the birds of prey to be evil because they kill and carry off the lambs (Schacht, 1994). The primary reason why Nietzsche uses the analogy is to understand the concept of goodwill among living things. The birds in his analogy are considered evil by the lambs because they kill, whereas the lambs think themselves right. The metaphor thus explains slave morality and master morality in his documentation. It also helps articulate the two types of morality as it explains both. Slave morality is likened to the lambs. Slave morality is described to be detaching the doer from the deed and is driven by a feeling of resentment (Schacht, 1994). Further analysis shows that slave morality is much more refined compared to master morality.

The master morality, however, attaches the doer and the deed (Schacht, 1994). The lambs, in his analogy, do not kill because they cannot kill. The origin and dominance of slave morality are attributed to justice in society. The laws in the community are an accelerator to slave morality, according to Nietzsche. Slave morality is unhealthy in Nietzsche's philosophy because it does not encourage a sense of agency in character (Schacht, 1994). Human beings should live a life with morals that they are accountable for their deeds. The idea of morality should attach the doer of the action to the act. It should not incline humans to believe that activities performed by influential individuals because they can achieve them are immoral compared to actions performed by humans that cannot complete the same.

Freud analyzes civilization, and in his document 'Civilization and its Discontents,' he expresses his tensions between civilization and the individual. The primary cause of misery for human beings is the quest for enlightenment and freedom of instincts (Marcuse, 2015). The major causes of individuals' suffering are the individual's body, the world, and the social relations between individuals. According to Freud, the human body is a cause of suffering because it expresses feebleness, weakness, and mortality (Marcuse, 2015). However, the world expresses anguish to individuals because of the superiority of nature and the natural catastrophes beyond human control. In social relations, social legislation causes suffering to humans as it limits individuals from satisfaction and pleasure (Marcuse, 2015). An analysis of the causes shows that human instincts bring them about. However, they are seen to be the demands of any society thus accelerating individual human suffering.

Civilization is also a source of discontent among human beings. According to Freud, civilization seems to be a solution to human misery, but it's, however, a cause of suffering to human beings (Marcuse, 2015). The reason Freud outlined why civilization is a cause of suffering is that it limits humans from exploiting nature's resources. Further, it regulates the mutual relationship among human beings as it establishes conventions of interaction (Marcuse, 2015). Therefore, human beings are not allowed to pursue their hearts' desires fully due to civilization, thus creating unhappiness. However, humans have developed methods to cope with the discontents that are brought about by civilization. Among the methods, humans have learned to accept the actions legalized by civilization. Through the action of acceptance, humans have learned to manage and control their pleasures to meet the standards that have been set by civilization. Human beings are, therefore, able to cope with the discontents of civilization.

Sartre, in his article about human freedom, states that existence precedes essence. The phrase that has been used is regarded as a claim of existentialism as it reverses the ancient view of philosophy (Roberts, 2004). According to ancient philosophy, the essence is more vital than existence. The statement by Sartre, 'existence precedes essence,' means that a previously designed model or purpose does not, in any case, build the personality of humans (Roberts, 2004). The statement thus distinguishes human beings from objects made by man since human beings' purpose is not predictable before and after their existence. Therefore, human beings stand out to be different from man-made objects whose purpose is determined by design. Albert Camus, however, documents that human lives are full of absurdity (Foley, 2014). An analysis of his statement shows that the meaning of the statement is that human lives are set by two attitudes that make it absurd. The attitude of positivity and the attitude of negativity collide in human living, making it absurd (Foley, 2014). Suicide has also been considered a philosophical problem because human beings consider living a life without meaning as worthless. The idea of living a meaningful has been born by different philosophies, and when human beings cannot achieve the dream of living a life of purpose, they resolve to end their lives.

The problem of racism has been dominant among human beings, Fanon analyzes the problem, and in his writings, he states that identity-based solutions are not enough to solve the idea of racism. According to philosophy, identity-based solutions are not enough for racism because human beings are destined for different purposes (Roberts, 2004). Therefore, the existence of human beings shows that there are different purposes to be achieved by humans. Therefore, the identity of humans in their existence is not enough to solve the issues of racism as it does not guarantee full freedom to human beings. In conclusion, it is important to note that morality plays a vital role in the well-being of individuals as it offers them basic life skills and even happiness.


Cooper, J. M. (2013). Pursuits of Wisdom: Six ways of life in ancient philosophy from Socrates to Plotinus. Princeton University Press.

Foley, J. (2014). Albert Camus: From the absurd to revolt. Routledge.

Marcuse, H. (2015). Eros and civilization: A philosophical inquiry into Freud. Beacon Press.'s%20civilization&f=false

Roberts, N. (2004). Fanon, Sartre, violence, and freedom. Sartre Studies International, 10(2), 139-160.

Rosen, S. (2008). Plato's Republic: A study. Yale University Press.

Schacht, R. (Ed.). (, 1994). Nietzsche, Genealogy, Morality: Essays on Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals (Vol. 5). Univ of California Press.

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