Plato vs. Nietzche

Essay by Jon StewartHigh School, 12th gradeA, March 1997

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short paer on some views of Plato and Nietzche needs more examples, explanations

Plato Vs. Nietzsche: The Nature of Good

Plato and Nietzsche have opposing views on the nature of good. Plato, as demonstrated in the 'The Cave' and 'Apology,' believes that Good is absolute. This means that he is of the opinion that there is one perfect version of Good for all people, whether they are rich or poor, powerful or weak. However, Nietzsche believes in the relative nature of good. He thinks that the meaning of good can be different for different groups of people, specifically the upper (master) class and the lower (slave) class.

In 'The Cave' Plato shows that he believes in an absolute and '...essential Form of Goodness.' He believes that all earthly Good, i.e. wealth, intelligence, and wisdom, as well as virtues such as courage, patience, altruism, and prudence come from this Good. In the 'Apology' he states that '

evil can happen to a Good man.' By this he encourages all men to achieve this Goodness, which he claims should be the ultimate goal of men. Plato maintains that, in order to be good, a man '...ought not to calculate the chance of living or dying; he ought only to consider whether in doing anything he is doing right or wrong - acting the part of a Good man or of a bad.' From his writings in 'The Cave' and the 'Apology,' Plato shows his belief in an absolute, unalterable Good which man should prize above all else.

Conversely, Nietzsche feels that there are two different sets of morality dependent on class, meaning that the nature of good is relative. Nietzsche outlines these two systems of morality in 'Good and Evil Reconsidered.' The noble man, according to Nietzsche, follows a master morality...