For centuries, celebrated philosophers and important thinkers have pondered the relationship between ownership and sense of self, ultimately asking the question, “What does it mean to own something?” To an extent, I agree with Plato, Sartre, and Aristotle. Owning something implies control over an object. With ownership, there comes responsibility, which agrees with Artistotle’s belief that ownership of goods helps develop moral character. One has to be careful not to let the objects one owns define them, however. Otherwise, owning those objects can be detrimental to a person’s character, as Plato says. Sartre proposes that ownership extends beyond objects to include proficiency in a skill or knowledge. If owning objects is the basis of a person’s self esteem, then it is hollow and trivial; but ownership of knowledge and skill creates a positive definition of oneself. Plato argues that owning objects is detrimental to a person’s character. In modern day America, the upper classes are extremely competitive and materialistic. Having many possessions is too often a gauge of success. People lose sight of what life is really about, and though it may seem so, possessions do not define a person. Who you are is so much more. To develop a positive self-identity, one must have virtues and morals that come from within you. Objects do not make you who you are; in fact, they may distract you from your true being. Sartre believed that instead of owning possessions, if one “owns” a skill or knowledge, that is much more valuable. Possessions can be lost, stolen, or squandered. However, a skill or knowledge of something is yours forever. Owning an object really means nothing and can never truly make you happy. Some believe that owning a lot of things is relevant to a person’s character. Owning tangible things includes a responsibility to take care of them and to learn the value of hard work, learn not to steal from others, etc. Though I do agree with Aristotle’s...
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