Timeline created by Kassandra Berino
  • 469 BCE

    SOCRATES (469 - 399 BC)

    SOCRATES (469 - 399 BC)
    Socrates was an Athenian Philosopher whose opinions clashed with the current course of Athenian politics and society. According to Socrates, “no one commits an evil act knowingly and doing wrong arises out of ignorance.” According to him people only did wrong when at the moment the perceived benefits seemed to outweigh the costs. Hence, the development of personal ethics is mastering what he called “the art of measurement,” correcting the distortions that skew one’s analyses of benefit and cost.
  • 428 BCE

    PLATO (428 - 348 BC)

    PLATO (428 - 348 BC)
    Plato held that moral values are objective in the sense that they exist in a spirit-like realm beyond subjective human conventions. He held that they are absolute, or eternal. Plato’s main concern is to challenge the views most people have about goodness, for it is here that they go disastrously wrong in trying to live happy lives. According to Plato virtue as a minor good, or even an impediment to living a happy life is incorrect. For it is only by being virtuous that we can hope to be happy.
  • 384 BCE

    ARISTOTLE (384 - 322 BC)

    ARISTOTLE (384 - 322 BC)
    The ethics of Aristotle is concerned with action, not as being right in itself irrespective of any other consideration, but with actions conducive to man’s good. Aristotle sets himself to discover what this good is and what the science corresponding to it is. Aristotle argued that virtues are good habits that we acquire, which regulate our emotions. Aristotle’s “The Golden Mean Principle” states that to be happy, live a life of moderation.

    Thomas Hobbes believes that human beings are basically selfish creatures who would do anything to improve their position. According to Hobbes, people would act on their evil impulses if left alone for themselves; therefore, they should not be trusted to make decisions on their own. In addition, Hobbes felt that like people, nations are selfishly motivated, each country is in a constant battle for power and wealth. Hobbes’ moral positivism anticipates the chaotic outcome if laws are not abided.
  • JEREMY BENTHAM (1748 - 1832)

    JEREMY BENTHAM (1748 - 1832)
    Bentham was the father of utilitarianism. He advocated that if the consequences of an action are good, then the act is moral and if the consequences are bad, the act is immoral. Central to his argument was a belief that it is human nature to desire that which is pleasurable, and to avoid that which is painful. He is defined as the "fundamental axiom" of his philosophy the principle that "it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong."
  • JOHN STUART MILL (1806-1873)

    JOHN STUART MILL (1806-1873)
    The ethical theory of John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) is most extensively articulated in his classical text Utilitarianism (1861). Its goal is to justify the utilitarian principle as the foundation of morals. This principle says actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote overall human happiness. So, Mill focuses on consequences of actions and not on rights nor ethical sentiments.

    The utilitarian ethics is best explained by the maxim, “Do whatever produces the greatest good for the greatest number.” The theory argues that what makes an act right is its consequences and not the motive of the action. The effects or consequences determine the goodness or badness of an action. An act is good if and when it gives good results, if it works, if it makes you successful, and if it makes you attain your purpose. Otherwise, it is bad.