Common Good concept According To Plato


The concept of the common good is an important element of philosophy as is defines the condition that allows individuals to attain happiness and fulfillment at ease. To many, common good describes the principles that individuals are to follow in their social lives. As the term indicates, the common good is an ideology shared by everyone, and cannot be individually divided to meet individual needs and lifestyles. Common god suggests responsibility by every member of a community meaning that all individuals are expected to play a role in the attainment of common good in their respective social settings. Communities that have accepted and participated in activities that fall under the concepts of the common good are seen as the most successful communities in the society.  This is because such societies focus on remaining at the service of humanity through the assurance of happiness and fulfillment for the members of their communities. Put simply, they aim at attaining good for the community as a whole. Philosophers agree that the common good involves society as a complete entity and no one is exempt from attaining and developing it. One such philosopher is Plato, who published ideas concerning this theory in his literary works, The Compendium and The Apology. Through his student, Aristotle, plato presents his ideas on common good linking common good with human happiness and contentment. Plato agrees to the notion that common good “common” meaning that it is easily identifiable by all individuals. Identifiable in this case would mean that it is the responsibility of all the individuals who make up the “common” society. While discussing the concept of happiness and living a life of moderation, Plato explains that humanity should live their lives for the achievement of a goal or objective. This goal, however, should not be based on the individual. i.e. it should not the fashioned to meet individual needs. Instead, the goal should be to achieve what is best for humanity as a whole. He explains that this is the only way that human beings can achieve happiness and contentment in their lives. In a section of The Apology, he also gives the example of death, whereby he explains that death is a common good for all, which is why humanity has to depart this life at a point. He compares death to happiness, as human being are unable to experience bad feelings as they are at a level of content that is similar to no other. Accordingly, he also argues that the achievement of common good is the responsibility of the society as a whole especially the institutions that provide governance to these societies. He argues that such institutions should aim their activities towards fulfilling the needs and requirements of the individuals who make up the societies. This includes the attainment of peace, provision of essential services, acknowledging human rights, freedom, and the protection of the environment among other things. Conclusively, Plato compares the inability to act towards the achievement of common good to immorality. Meaning that failure to achieve common good is wrong both at the individual and societal level. For that reason, he encourages humanity to act morally by focusing their activities on the achievement of common good. To Plato, common good defines the social and community element of performing the moral good.



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