ashford ethics discussion |

After reading the “Ring of Gyges” story from Plato’s Republic, think about what you would do if, like the shepherd who found the ring, you were able to do whatever you felt like doing without anyone knowing. What is one thing that you are unable to do now, but would do if you had that ring? (The more honest everyone is, the more interesting this discussion will be. No judging, just thinking and discussing!)

A. Would most people in our society consider what you do to be ethical or unethical (or are there too many different views to really be able to say)?  Why do you think this is, exactly? 

B. What is the reason you would do that?  Would the answer to the previous question matter to you if you had that ring?  Why or why not? 

C. Thinking back to the text, what does Glaucon’s view imply about human nature? In other words, what ultimately motivates us as human beings? From Glaucon’s perspective, read the posts of your peers and suggest how Glaucon might respond to their answers to parts (A) and (B). Use this as a springboard to discuss whether you think Glaucon is right about human nature and why we have the standards of morality and justice that we do (for instance, if a peer suggests how Glaucon would respond to your answers, reply back to that with your own perspective).

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