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Ethics: Reverence versus Fear

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The Founding of Modern Ethics

The Greek philosopher, Plato, founded a school of philosophy in Athens called the Academy. A young man named Aristotle traveled there to study.

On papyrus scrolls in 360 B.C. Plato wrote down the first treatise on ethics known to the civilized world. Ten years later the student, Aristotle, developed a practical branch of ethics called The Golden Mean.

The influence of teacher on pupil is evident in their writings:

Mankind censure injustice, fearing that they may be the victims of it and not because they shrink from committing it.

Plato: The Republic (360 B.C.) Translated from the Greek by Benjamin Jowett

For the generality of men are naturally apt to be swayed by fear rather than by reverence, and to refrain from evil rather because of the punishment that it brings than because of its own foulness.

Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics  (350 B.C.) Translated from the Greek by F.H. Peters

Plato and Aristotle, Marble Panel, Florence
Aristotle and Plato
Conversing on Philosophy

Marble panel from the Campanile
(Bell Tower) in Florence, Italy
Georgena S. Sil
Saskatoon, Canada
Physicist & Technical Writer
Alumnus: University of British Columbia
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Copyright © 2008-2019 Georgena Sil. All Rights Reserved.