When reading about Plato the document I am reading says that he puts great value intro three attributes for a person. Those are virtue, courage and moral goodness.

What is the difference between virtue and moral goodness according to Plato?

  • What are you reading?
    – virmaior
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 12:41
  • @virmaior I am afraid it was just a magazine with an article about Plato.
    – Simd
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 12:42
  • 3
    It sounds somewhat confused. For Plato courage is a virtue. Also being just, which is at least a part of moral goodness, is a virtue. The four cardinal virtues in Plato are wisdom, justice, courage and temperance. Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 23:01

1 Answer 1


The word Plato uses is arete. It was a common word that was often used to describe athletic excellence, as well as other forms of excellence. The most obvious difference between arete and the right way to do things or to live, agathon (one should take caution with using a conception wholly unknown to Plato, "moral"), is that arete is more likely to be understood as what is fitting or proper to a certain class of things. What is becoming to women, for example, let us suppose one such characteristic is beauty, may not be properly fitting for a man. Socrates tries to push arete towards the higher, as he conceives of it, agathon, by making it a property of the human soul as such.

Plato never presents anything in terms of a doctrine or dogma, so the questions are open and more comes from further reading of the dialogues, plunging into contemplation, and further speaking with Plato.

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