MoralityThe question of morality came up when Socrates and Cephalus were having a conversation about money.
Cephalus says someone who has led a bad life will have nightmares and a person who leads a good life will not have such dreams and will be happy. Cephalus says being true and giving things back is morality. Socrates gives an example were you can do something good by not gibing something back. His example was if you borrow a weapon from a friend, and he is sane at the time and at the time you should give it back your friend is insane then you shouldnt give it back so you can protect him from doing harm which is also good.Order now
Cephalus agreed that Socrates was correct that this was doing something good so Socrates said if that is the case than the definition of morality isnt to tell the truth and give back whatever one has borrowed. Polemarchus interjected saying that morality is to tell the truth and to give back whatever one has borrowed if you believe Simonides. Polemarchus says what Simonides was trying to say was friends owe friends good deeds not bad ones. Socrates responds by saying, what Simonides meant was we give back to people what is appropriate for them, or owed to them.
Polemarchus said to be consistent with what I said earlier it has to be the art of giving benefit and harm to friends and enemies respectively. Socrates makes a point that morality only seems to be useful when something is not being used, for example when money needs to be saved. Socrates asks if a moral person can harm anyone and Polemarchus agreed that a moral person could harm an evil man. What Socrates was trying to get at was well if this man was really moral why is he trying to harm anyone. Socrates goes on saying many things but one main point he made was as follows It is not the job of a moral person to harm a friend or anyone else, it is the job of his opposite, an immoral person.
Polemarchus agreed to this, which basically went against everything he said in the opening of this conversation. Socrates says that the claim that its right and moral to give back to people what they are owed, if this is taken to mean that a moral person owes harm to his enemies and help to his friends, turns out to be a claim no clever person would make. What amazed me was Polemarchus agrees with this, which absolutely contradicts the beliefs he had earlier. Thrasymachus walks in while Polemarchus and Socrates start to agree. I feel a good point is made by Thrasymachus towards Socrates he says if you want to know what morality is, then dont just ask questions and look for applause by refuting any and every answer you get, because youve realized that its easier to ask questions then to answer them.
He says this and sounds so intelligent but falls into Socrates trap anyway and goes on to talk about it. In the end Socrates and Thrasymachus agreed that a moral mind and a moral person will live a good life and an immoral person will live a bad life.