The ring of Gyges, By Plato

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Answer the following two questions using at least 400 words for the entire response (at least 200 per question). 

1. Usually when people discuss morality the view is that the moral thing to do is to avoid being selfish and take into account the needs of other people. Yet the story of Gyges involves a person with an invisible ring doing terrible things and acting selfishly. What do you think Plato's point is here about human nature and morality? What is the challenge to the morality? Use the following quote to guide your response (tip: 'the just' here means a  person who is morally good & 'the unjust' is a person who is morally bad):

"Suppose now that there were two such magic rings, and the just put on one of them and the unjust the other. No man can be imagined to be of such an iron nature that he would stand fast in justice. No man would keep his hands off what was not his own when he could safely take what he liked out of the market, or go into houses and lie with any one at his pleasure, or kill or release from prison whom he would, and in all respects be like a God among men."


2. The story of the ring of Gyges presents a challenge to morality. Do you think that people only act in their self-interest when they act 'good', or are there other reasons to be good to each other? Do we owe anything to other people? or have a responsibility not to harm others?

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  • DOne
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