Callicles on Moral Realism

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In Callicles argument on the Superior Individual, Callicles reasoned that in nature as well as humanity the strong dominates the weak. Also known as Moral Realism, Callicles argument on the Superior Individual is in fact one of interest because it is often deemed true, regardless of the false fallacies that exist. It is often believed that in nature as well as in humanity, strength and weakness are viable factors in determining levels of success, social roles and survival etc. Although, both strength and weakness often measure one’s ability, in this case it provided a glimpse into the falsehoods in Callicles claim.

Although logical, I will prove that Callicles argument is in due course unsound. His claim appeared unsound because it lacked credibility within one of the premises. Shortly thereafter, I will provide a logical objection to oppose Callicles claim. But before I could reason with Callicles argument I had to define two ambiguous terms; which lead me to my first definition. What is nature? Nature in accordance with www. dictionary. com is the, “natural world as it exists without human interaction or civilization. Given this definition I have concluded that whatever my reasoning’s for objecting Callicles argument, nature and its purity had to be considered. I would then define humanity. Humanity is the quality or condition of being human; human nature. [www. dictionary. com]. Most importantly I had to evaluate the given premises and the conclusion using logic and reason. As of now you may be wondering what he argued and I shall summarize: Callicles argued that since humanity ought to follow the laws of nature, then in both nature and humanity the strong dominates the weak.

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With that being said now I’ll evaluate each premise: In reference to the first premise which states that, “In nature the strong dominates the weak;” In my opinion this undoubtedly refers to natural selection- those who are best fit survives. According to evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin, natural selection operates to competitively distribute resources only to those most capable of sustaining. “…. as natural selection acts by competition for resources; it adapts the inhabitants of each country only in relation to the degree of perfection of their associates. (Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species 1989) In other words, for a superior individual to dominate the weak he/she must solely compete whether strong or weak for survival. [Emphasis added] Ultimately, the strong would win because of better qualities. The better qualities in return would make the stronger well suitable for their environment. For example suppose we monitored equal ratios of adults whom exercised over a period of time to those whom did not. We will see that the overall health and fitness of function will be greater in those whom exercised as opposed to those whom did not.

In order to fully comply with one of the components of natural selection known as Differential survival and reproduction; “Individuals possessing traits well suited for the struggle for local resources will contribute more offspring to the next generation. ” This revealed that one must be fit over another to ensure their lineage survives. Henceforth a true premise, in nature the strong does in fact dominate the weak. On the contrary premise two states that, “Humanity ought to follow the laws of nature. In order to adequately assess this premise I would need to define exactly what the laws of nature are. As per, Internet encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP), the laws of nature are as follows: “Within metaphysics, there are two competing theories of laws of nature. On one account, the Regulatory theories, laws of nature are statements of the uniformities or regularities in the world; and on the other account, the Necessitarian theory, laws of nature are the principles that govern the natural phenomena of the world.

This conveyed that by way of the Regulatory theory we describe what’s best for human nature and determine the way of the world, whereas the Necessitarian theory provides us with the ability to describe the world’s obedience to the laws of nature. [Emphasis added] Callicles metaphysical claim on moral realism appeared to fall within the regulatory theory and the necessitarian theory because it was simply subjective. What’s best for one may not be best for another, thereby contradicting what’s best for humanity and nature. Suppose Callicles insisted that humanity has a choice to follow the laws of nature then the remise would be true because who’s to say ones beliefs are superior over another. But Callicles claim fell short and seemed almost judgmental, for Callicles felt that humanity “ought” to follow the laws of nature. The use of the term “ought” like must and should silenced one’s ability to reason, almost shunning different belief systems. Take nature in its entirety with and without human interaction, there’s a unique process for which it flows, which brings me to my first objection: Humanity is not compelled to follow the laws of nature.

For example in plants we note that they participate in photosynthesis to provide them with energy and respiration. Unlike plants (nature), humans (humanity) consume proteins from meats to construct energy. Both nature and humanity have unique final causes which are dependent upon their initial existence. Although humanity relies on nature for the most precious resources, humanity does not necessarily have to rely on nature for complete survival.

With advances in technology, medicine, genetically engineered foods and other resources, humans are no longer stone-age nomads. As hinted above, advances in technology are resulting in humans ever vastly edging away from nature and into a more artificial world. With my objection front and center, how might Callicles respond? Callicles might respond by saying that nature and humanity are conventional, and dependent upon delights. Callicles might also add that nature is designed for the superior and it’s unjust and ugly to seek to get better of the majority. Convention and nature are generally at variance with one another: and hence, if a person is too modest to say what he thinks, he is compelled to contradict himself; and you, in your ingenuity perceiving the advantage to be thereby gained, slyly ask of him who is arguing conventionally a question which is to be determined by the rule of nature.. ” This objection would pose a problem to Callicles argument because it would again contradict his subjective views towards nature and humanity. Last, but not least I present you with my second objection to Callicles argument: The strong does not always dominate the weak.

Suppose we took a look at a more social approach in regards to humanity. As early as the Paleolithic era, the Common Era, and the 21st century and so on, men were considered stronger than the average women. These ideologies are seen within present day society and government. For centuries men have occupied higher social statuses and employment opportunities because of their alleged strength. But, what if strength is replaced with intelligence isn’t intelligence also a form of strength? With modern feminist movements ensuring women equality, women were given the opportunity to excel, seek wisdom and knowledge.

According to James Flynn a New Zealand-based researcher on IQ, “Over the last 100 years, everyone in the developing world has been gaining about three IQ points, but women have been gaining faster,” Flynn told ABC News. “This is the result of modernity. In every country where women have an equal chance of modernity, women have caught men [in IQ testing]. ” James Flynn findings support my objection that although women are said to be weaker than men, when intelligence became a factor over physical strength women outscored men. Therefore, counter-objecting Callicles argument that in nature the strong dominates the weak.

Callicles might respond to my objection by stating that my claim was again conventional, and that it resulted from the ideas of the superior. As you can see after evaluating Callicles metaphysical argument on the superior individual (moral realism), I’ve concluded that although it is valid it remaine unsound due to the falseness within the second premise and my objections that followed. Callicles argument evaluation consequently has positive effects on philosophy, nature and humanity. Overall, I have shown that within nature and humanity the strong does not dominate the weak, and humanity is not ought to follow the laws of nature.

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Callicles on Moral Realism. (2016, Dec 24). Retrieved from

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