What if You Could Get Away With Anything? (Plato) [3:44]


This video discusses Plato’s myth the Ring of Gyges, the mythical ring that could turn you invisible.  The thought experiment explores the purpose and nature of ethics.  If we could get away with anything, which having the ring would allow, then it seems like we have no reason to be selfless, moral or follow the rules.  Plato argues we do have reason to be just and good even when we can avoid punishment.  For Plato, being just directly affects who we are and our happiness.  A person who would use the ring selfishly is a selfish person, and selfishness itself makes us unhappy.

Discussion Questions

  • What is the Myth of the Ring of Gyges?
  • What would you do with the ring?
  • What is Plato’s response to the myth?  Is justice inherently valuable?
  • Do you think its still wrong even if you can get away with it?  Why?

Keywords: Plato, philosophy, ethics, morality, selfishness, Gyges, parable, thought experiment,


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