Socrates And His View On Happiness (2023)

Socrates lived in Athens Greece his entire life (469-399 BC), cajoling his fellow citizens to think hard about questions of truth and justice, convinced as he was that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” While claiming that his wisdom consisted merely in “knowing that he knew nothing,” Socrates did have certain beliefs, chief among them that happiness is obtainable by human effort. Specifically, he recommended gaining rational control over your desires and harmonizing the different parts of your soul. Doing so would produce a divine-like state of inner tranquility that the external would could not effect. True to his word, he cheerfully faced his own death, discussing philosophy right up to the moments before he took the lethal hemlock. Through his influence on Plato and Aristotle, a new era of philosophy was inaugurated and the course of western civilization was decisively shaped.

Socrates – A Little Background

Socrates has a unique place in the history of happiness, as he is the first known figure in the West to argue that happiness is actually obtainable through human effort. He was born in Athens, Greece in 460 BC; like most ancient peoples, the Greeks had a rather pessimistic view of human existence. Happiness was deemed a rare occurrence and reserved only for those whom the gods favored. The idea that one could obtain happiness for oneself was considered hubris, a kind of overreaching pride, and was to be met with harsh punishment.

Against this bleak backdrop the optimistic Socrates enters the picture. The key to happiness, he argues, is to turn attention away from the body and towards the soul. By harmonizing our desires we can learn to pacify the mind and achieve a divine-like state of tranquility. A moral life is to be preferred to an immoral one, primarily because it leads to a happier life. We see right here at the beginning of western philosophy that happiness is at the forefront, linked to other concepts such as virtue, justice, and the ultimate meaning of human existence.

A Case Study of a Happy Person

The Roman philosopher Cicero once said that Socrates “wrested philosophy from the heavens and brought it down to earth.” Prior to Socrates, Greek philosophy consisted primarily of metaphysical questions: why does the world stay up? Is the world composed of one substance or many substances? But living amidst the horrors of the Peloponnesian War, Socrates was more interested in ethical and social issues: what is the best way to live? Why be moral when immoral people seem to benefit more? Is happiness satisfying one’s desires or is it virtuous activity?

(Video) Happiness according to Socrates and Plato

Famously, Socrates was more adept at asking such questions than spoon-feeding us the answers. His “Socratic method” consisted of a process of questioning designed to expose ignorance and clear the way for knowledge. Socrates himself admits that he is ignorant, and yet he became the wisest of all men through this self-knowledge. Like an empty cup Socrates is open to receive the waters of knowledge wherever he may find them; yet through his cross examinations he finds only people who claim to be wise but really know nothing. Most of our cups are too filled with pride, conceit, and beliefs we cling to in order to give us a sense of identity and security. Socrates represents the challenge to all our preconceived opinions, most of which are based on hearsay and faulty logic. Needless to say, many people resented Socrates when he pointed this out to them in the agon or public square.

The price Socrates paid for his honest search for truth was death: he was convicted of “corrupting the youth” and sentenced to die by way of Hemlock poisoning. But here we see the life of Socrates testifies to the truth of his teachings. Instead of bemoaning his fate or blaming the gods, Socrates faces his death with equanimity, even cheerfully discussing philosophy with his friends in the moments before he takes the lethal cup. As someone who trusted in the eternal value of the soul, he was unafraid to meet death, for he believed it was the ultimate release of the soul from the limitations of the body. In contrast to the prevailing Greek belief that death is being condemned to Hades, a place of punishment or wandering aimless ghost-like existence, Socrates looks forward to a place where he can continue his questionings and gain more knowledge. As long as there is a mind that earnestly seeks to explore and understand the world, there will be opportunities to expand one’s consciousness and achieve an increasingly happier mental state.

Socrates Three Dialogues on Happiness: The Euthydemus, The Symposium, and The Republic

Although Socrates didn’t write anything himself, his student Plato wrote a voluminous number of dialogues with him as the central character. Scholarly debate still rages as to the relationship between Socrates’ original teachings and Plato’s own evolving ideas. In what follows, we will treat the views expressed by Socrates the character as Socrates’ own views, though it should be noted that the closer we get to a “final answer” or comprehensive theory of happiness, the closer we are to Plato than to the historical Socrates.

The Euthydemus

This is the first piece of philosophy in the West to discuss the concept of happiness, but it is not merely of historical interest. Rather, Socrates presents an argument as to what happiness is that is as powerful today as when he first discussed it over 2400 years ago. Basically, Socrates is concerned to establish two main points: 1) happiness is what all people desire: since it is always the end (goal) of our activities, it is an unconditional good, 2) happiness does not depend on external things, but rather on how those things are used. A wise person will use money in the right way in order to make his life better; an ignorant person will be wasteful and use money poorly, ending up even worse than before. Hence we cannot say that money by itself will make one happy. Money is a conditional good, only good when it is in the hands of a wise person. This same argument can be redeployed for any external good: any possessions, any qualities, even good looks or abilities. A handsome person, for example, can become vain and manipulative and hence misuse his physical gifts. Similarly, an intelligent person can be an even worse criminal than an unintelligent one.

Socrates then presents the following stunning conclusion:

“So what follows from what we’ve said? Isn’t it this, that of the other things none is either good or bad, and that of these two, wisdom is good and ignorance bad?”

(Video) Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness - Socrates on Self-Confidence

He agreed.

“Well then let’s have a look at what’s left,” I said. “Since all of us desire to be happy, and since we evidently become so on account of our use—that is our good use—of other things, and since knowledge is what provides this goodness of use and also good fortune, every man must, as seems plausible, prepare himself by every means for this: to be as wise as possible. Right?”

‘Yes,” he said. (281e2-282a7)

Here Socrates makes it clear that the key to happiness is not to be found in the goods that one accumulates, or even the projects that form the ingredients of one’s life, but rather in the agency of the person himself who gives her life a direction and focus. Also clear from this is a repudiation of the idea that happiness consists merely in the satisfaction of our desires. For in order to determine which desires are worth satisfying, we have to apply our critical and reflective intelligence (this is what Socrates calls “wisdom”). We have to arrive at an understanding of human nature and discover what brings out the best in the human being–which desires are mutually reinforcing, and which prevent us from achieving a sense of overall purpose and well-functioning. No doubt we can also conclude from this that Socrates was the first “positive psychologist,” insofar as he called for a scientific understanding of the human mind in order to find out what truly leads to human happiness.

The Symposium

This dialogue takes place at a dinner party, and the topic of happiness is raised when each of the partygoers takes a turn to deliver a speech in honor of Eros, the god of love and desire. The doctor Eryximachus claims that this god above all others is capable of bringing us happiness, and the playwright Aristophanes agrees, claiming that Eros is “that helper of mankind…who eliminates those evils whose cure brings the greatest happiness to the human race.” (186b) For Eryximachus, Eros is that force which gives life to all things, including human desire, and thus is the source of all goodness. For Aristophanes, Eros is the force which seeks to reunite the human being after its split into male and female opposites.

(Video) Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness -- Socrates

For Socrates, however, Eros has a darker side, since as the representation of desire, he is constantly longing and never completely satisfied. As such he cannot be a full god, since divinity is supposed to be eternal and self-sufficient. Nevertheless, Eros is vitally important in the human quest for happiness, since he is the intermediary between the human and the divine. Eros is that power of desire which begins by seeking physical pleasures, but can be retrained to pursue the higher things of the mind. The human being can be educated to move away from the love of beautiful things which perish to the pure love of Beauty itself. When this happens, the soul finds complete satisfaction. Socrates describes this as a kind of rapture or epiphany, when the scales falls from one’s eyes and one beholds the truth of one’s existence. As he says:

If…man’s life is ever worth the living, it is when he has attained this vision of the soul of beauty. And once you have seen it, you will never be seduced again by the charm of gold, of dress, of comely boys, you will care nothing for the beauties that used to take your breath away…and when one discerns this beauty one will perceive the true virtue, not virtue’s semblance. And when a man has brought forth and reared this perfect virtue, he shall be called the friend of god, and if ever it is capable of man to enjoy immortality, it shall then be given to him. (212d)

While Socrates and Plato seemed to believe that this mystic rapture was primarily to be achieved by philosophy, there will be others who take up this theme but give it either a religious or aesthetic interpretation: Christian thinkers will pronounce that the greatest happiness is the pure vision of God (Thomas Aquinas), while others will proclaim that it is a vision of beauty in music or art (Schopenhauer). In any case, the idea is that this one overwhelming experience of truth, beauty or the divine, will make all the sufferings and tribulations of our lives meaningful and worth experiencing. It is the Holy Grail that comes only after all our adventures in the wild.

The Republic

In Plato’s masterpiece The Republic, Socrates wants to prove that the just person is happier than the unjust person. Since, as he already argued in the Euthydemus, all men naturally desire happiness, then we should all seek to live a just life. In the process of making this argument, Socrates makes many other points regarding a) what happiness is, b) the relationship between pleasure and happiness, and c) the relationship between pleasure, happiness, and virtue (morality).

The first argument Socrates presents concerns the analogy between health in the body and justice in the soul. We all certainly prefer to be healthy than unhealthy, but health is nothing but the harmony among different parts of the body, each carrying out its proper function. Justice, it turns out, is a similar kind of harmony, but among the different parts of the soul. Injustice on the other hand is defined as a “sort of civil war” between the parts of the soul (444a): a rebellion in which one rogue element—the desirous part of our natures—usurps reason as the controlling power. In contrast, the just soul is one that possesses “psychic harmony:” no matter what life throws at the just man, he never loses his inner composure, and can maintain peace and tranquility despite the harshest of life’s circumstances. Here Socrates effectively redefines the conventional concept of happiness: it is defined in terms of internal benefits and characteristics rather than external ones.

(Video) Aristotle: How to Be Happy

The second argument concerns an analysis of pleasure. Socrates wants to show that living a virtuous life brings greater pleasure than living an unvirtuous life. The point is already connected with the previous one, insofar as one could argue that the psychic harmony that results from a just life brings with it greater peace and inner tranquility, which is more pleasant than the unjust life which tends to bring inner discord, guilt, stress, anxiety, and other characteristics of an unhealthy mind. But Socrates wants to show that there are further considerations to emphasize the higher pleasures of the just life: not merely peace of mind, but the excitement of pursuing knowledge, produces an almost godlike state in the human being. The philosopher is at the pinnacle of this pursuit: having cast off the blinders of ignorance, he can now explore the higher realm of truth, and this experience makes every merely physical pleasure pale in comparison.

Perhaps the most powerful argument, and the one Socrates actually ‘dedicates to Zeus’ (583b-588a) can be called the “relativity of pleasure” argument. Most pleasures are not really pleasures at all, but merely result from the absence of pain. For example, if I am very sick and suddenly get better, I might call my new state pleasurable, but only because it is a relief from my sickness. Soon enough this pleasure will become neutral as I adjust to my new condition. Nearly all of our pleasures are relative like this, hence they are not purely pleasurable. Another example would be the experience of getting high on drugs: this can produce a high state of pleasure in the short-term, but then will inevitably lead to the opposite state of pain. Socrates’ claim is however that there are some pleasures that are not relative, because they concern higher parts of the soul that are not bound to the relativity produced by physical things. These are the philosophical pleasures—the pure pleasure of coming to a greater understanding of reality.

A few hundred years after Socrates, the philosopher Epicurus would take up Socrates’ argument and make a very interesting distinction between “positive” and “negative” pleasures. Positive pleasure depends on pain because it is nothing but the removal of pain: you are thirsty so you drink a glass of water to get some relief. Negative pleasure, however, is that state of harmony where you no longer feel any pain and hence no longer need a positive pleasure to get rid of the pain. Positive pleasure is always quantifiable and falls on a scale: do you have more or less pleasure from sex rather than from eating, for example. Positive pleasures are bound to be frustrating as a result, since there will always be a contrast between the state you are in now and a “higher” state which would make your present experience appear less desirable. Negative pleasures, however, are not quantifiable: you cannot ask “how much are you not feeling hungry?” Epicurus concludes from this that the true state of happiness is the state of negative pleasure, which is basically the state of not experiencing any unfulfilled desires. Needless to say, one can also make connections between this perspective and the Buddhist concept of achieving nirvana through the removal of desire, or the modern writer Eckhart Tolle’s injunction to experience the simple stillness of being without the interference of positive thoughts and emotions.


Socrates (as seen through the lens of Plato) can be said to espouse the following ideas about happiness:

  • All human beings naturally desire happiness
  • Happiness is obtainable and teachable through human effort
  • Happiness is directive rather than additive: it depends not on external goods, but how we use these external goods (whether wisely or unwisely)
  • Happiness depends on the “education of desire” whereby the soul learns how to harmonize its desires, redirecting its gaze away from physical pleasures to the love of knowledge and virtue
  • Virtue and Happiness are inextricably linked, such that it would be impossible to have one without the other.
  • The pleasures that result from pursuing virtue and knowledge are of a higher quality than the pleasures resulting from satisfying mere animal desires. Pleasure is not the goal of existence, however, but rather an integral aspect of the exercise of virtue in a fully human life.

Further Readings

The viewpoints on happiness shared by the three following philosophers can also contribute to pursuit of happiness:

(Video) How To Use The Socratic Method To Find Lasting Happiness

  • Confucius on Happiness
  • Mencius and Happiness
  • Zhuangzi: A Pioneer of Happiness


Socrates And His View On Happiness? ›

For Plato's Socrates, happiness (eudaimonia) requires virtue, and virtue requires knowledge. Unfortunately for the non-divine, the Socratic dialogues do not present an optimistic outlook regarding the human pursuit of happiness. Socrates' quest for the knowledge of virtue is replete with failure.

What are Socrates and Plato definition of happiness? ›

For Plato's Socrates, happiness (eudaimonia) requires virtue, and virtue requires knowledge. Unfortunately for the non-divine, the Socratic dialogues do not present an optimistic outlook regarding the human pursuit of happiness. Socrates' quest for the knowledge of virtue is replete with failure.

What does Socrates say about justice and happiness? ›

Socrates takes the basic challenge to concern how justice relates to the just person's objective success or happiness (Greek eudaimonia). In Book One, he argued that justice, as a virtue, makes the soul perform its function well and that a person who lives well is “blessed and happy” (352d–354a, quoting 354a1).

What does Socrates say about happiness in the apology? ›

However, though Socrates does argue that virtue is necessary for happiness, he does not consider it instrumentally sufficient for happiness. In the Apology and Crito, however, Socrates claims that virtue is sufficient for happiness and that it cannot be taken away, as Chapter III shows.

What is happiness according to Aristotle and Socrates? ›

Happiness is an absolute state of mind, where a person can realize the ultimate contentment in their life regardless of circumstances. Happiness is the end of every desire, after which nothing is desirable.

What is Plato's view of happiness? ›

In the Republic, Plato teaches that a life committed to knowledge and virtue will result in happiness and self-fulfilment. To achieve happiness, one should render himself immune to changes in the material world and strive to gain the knowledge of the eternal, immutable forms that reside in the intelligible realm.

What did Socrates believe? ›

Socrates himself believed in the universality of the inner rational being. He believed that: The unexamined life is not worth living! The best manner to examinee that life is through reasoning which employs the dialectical method of inquiry.

Is virtue necessary to attain happiness according to Socrates? ›

Socrates view of the relation between virtue and happiness is sometimes stated like this: virtue is both necessary and sufficient for happiness. Virtue is necessary for happiness in the sense that you can t truly be happy without being virtuous.

Who has the happiest life according to Socrates and Plato? ›

Socrates once said “the just man is the much happier than the unjust, but a just man 's life is only pleasant”.

What are the 3 ideas of Socrates? ›

These principles are what Socrates thought were the most important goals of philosophy.
  • Discover and Pursue Your Life's Purpose. Strive to discover who you are, what is your life mission, and what you are trying to become. ...
  • Care for your soul. ...
  • Be a good person and you will not be harmed by outside forces.

What is the famous line of Socrates? ›

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing. I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.

What is the main point of Socrates apology? ›

Specifically, the Apology of Socrates is a defence against the charges of "corrupting the youth" and "not believing in the gods in whom the city believes, but in other daimonia that are novel" to Athens (24b).

What is Aristotle's view on happiness? ›

According to Aristotle, happiness consists in achieving, through the course of a whole lifetime, all the goods — health, wealth, knowledge, friends, etc. — that lead to the perfection of human nature and to the enrichment of human life. This requires us to make choices, some of which may be very difficult.

What is the good life according to Socrates? ›

He defined a good life as one living according to virtue. “Virtue is knowledge,” Socrates said. According to Socrates, a good life is guided by reason, virtue, and moral principles. He believed that pursuing knowledge, self-improvement, and personal growth are essential to living a good life.

Who said virtue is sufficient for happiness? ›

Aristotle's virtue ethical theory famously lays out two central concepts, virtue and happiness.

What is the concept of happiness? ›

happiness, in psychology, a state of emotional well-being that a person experiences either in a narrow sense, when good things happen in a specific moment, or more broadly, as a positive evaluation of one's life and accomplishments overall—that is, subjective well-being.

What philosophers say about happiness? ›

Some philosophers believe happiness can be understood as the moral goal of life or as an aspect of chance; indeed, in most European languages the term happiness is synonymous with luck. Thus, philosophers usually explicate on happiness as either a state of mind, or a life that goes well for the person leading it.

What is happiness quotes by Plato? ›

"The man who makes everything that leads to happiness depends upon himself, and not upon other men, has adopted the very best plan for living happily" — Plato, lived in 4th century BC.

What is the difference between Plato and Aristotle on happiness? ›

So, while Plato believed that virtue was sufficient for happiness, Aristotle believed that virtue is necessary for achieving a good life.

What are the beliefs of Socrates and Plato? ›

Socrates believed the soul is immortal. He also argued that death is not the end of existence. It is merely separation of the soul from the body. Plato believed the soul was eternal.

What is the moral lesson of Socrates life story? ›

We can learn from Socrates that we should get to know ourselves as best as we can and to always questions ourselves and our environment. Socrates helped others by helping them gain insights about themselves. He believed that real insights can only come from within. They cannot be taught or imposed by others.

What did Plato think of Socrates? ›

Plato's great admiration for Socrates was all the more remarkable because it coexisted not only with a recognition of why Socrates was considered dangerous but also with his belief that Socrates was, to some degree, guilty of impiety and of corrupting the young.

What does Socrates say about happiness a person has to live a virtuous life? ›

To me, this means that to be happy, truly happy, we must make the pursuit of virtue a practice that ends only when our life ends. Through the active pursuit of virtue, we become virtuous.

Did Socrates believe in eudaimonia? ›

Socrates on Eudaimonia

That is, he saw numerous virtues—justice, piety, courage as united. That is, all were one, and they were all knowledge. Socrates viewed this knowledge as required for us as humans to achieve the 'ultimate good', which was eudaimonia.

What is virtue and happiness according to Plato? ›

Like most other ancient philosophers, Plato maintains a virtue-based eudaemonistic conception of ethics. That is to say, happiness or well-being (eudaimonia) is the highest aim of moral thought and conduct, and the virtues (aretê: 'excellence') are the dispositions/skills needed to attain it.

Who was the philosopher who believed that the good life is a happy life? ›

It has intrinsic value rather than instrumental value. So for Aristotle, the good life is a happy life.

Which Greek philosopher argued the goal of life is happiness? ›

Aristotle argued that the goal of life is happiness or wellbeing (eudaimonia) and that this state is best achieved through the cultivation of certain intellectual and moral virtues.

Which Greek philosopher believed that happiness is the greatest good? ›

We saw that the ancient philosopher Aristotle believes that happiness is the greatest good for human beings.

What are Socrates 5 virtues? ›

In early Plato, Socrates advances two theses regarding virtue. He suggests that virtue is a kind of knowledge, similar to the expertise involved in a craft; and he suggests that the five virtues (wisdom, temperance, courage, justice and piety) form a unity.

What are Socrates 4 virtues? ›

For Socrates and Plato, there are four primary virtues: courage, moderation, wisdom and justice.

What was Socrates core teachings? ›

Socrates professed not to teach anything (and indeed not to know anything important) but only to seek answers to urgent human questions (e.g., “What is virtue?” and “What is justice?”) and to help others do the same.

What was Socrates last request? ›

Socrates' last request

That is the reason why the sign never interfered with me, and I am not at all angry with those who condemned me or with my accusers. And yet it was not with that in view that they condemned and accused me, but because they thought to injure me. They deserve blame for that.

What is ironic about apology of Socrates? ›

The irony is the incongruity in Socrates' ignorance leading the questioning of citizens thought wise. Socrates believes he acts as a provocative stimulus to arouse drowsy, apathetic people to realize that they do not know themselves and moreover do not know what they claim to know.

Why does Socrates not fear death? ›

Socrates ultimately does not fear death because of his innocence, he believes that death is not feared because it may be one of the greatest blessings of the soul.

What are the 4 types of happiness? ›

Aristotle distinguished between four different levels of happiness.
  • Happiness level 1: Laetus. Happiness from material objects. ...
  • Happiness level 2: Felix. Ego gratification. ...
  • Happiness level 3: Beatitudo. The happiness from doing good for others and making the world a better place. ...
  • Happiness level 4: Sublime Beatitudo.

What is the highest form of happiness according to Aristotle? ›

For Aristotle, eudaimonia is the highest human good, the only human good that is desirable for its own sake (as an end in itself) rather than for the sake of something else (as a means toward some other end).

Is happiness the purpose of life Aristotle? ›

Aristotle said, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” For him, and most of his contemporaries, happiness referred not to an emotion but the long-term pattern of action, the sum of which was your moral character.

What is Socrates view of virtue? ›

Based upon first-hand knowledge of the Greek texts, my thesis is as follows: man's virtue, according to Socrates, is wisdom (skill or knowledge-how) to act effectively or correctly in a given situ- ation, grounded in and based upon absolutely certain knowledge (intellec- tual knowledge-that) .

What is the most important thing in living a life of excellence according to Socrates? ›

Socrates put this view in his own words when he insisted that the philosopher is a lover of wisdom and that the wise man is a man in pursuit of excellence. Excellence is the parameter of human dignity and worthiness that Socrates sought when he wanted to find the meanings of truth and freedom.

What is the good life according to Socrates in Plato's Apology? ›

Socrates asserts that a good life is the seeking of truth and wisdom for the improvement of the soul and developing a way of making the correct decisions based on virtue and the soul, in what he terms as a competency in living and that it can only be achieved through the love of wisdom.

Is happiness the highest virtue? ›

According to Aristotle, happiness is the highest good and the ultimate end goal—for it is self-reliant.

What is the nature of happiness? ›

Happiness can be defined as an enduring state of mind consisting not only of feelings of joy, contentment, and other positive emotions, but also of a sense that one's life is meaningful and valued (Lyubomirsky, 2001). Happiness energizes us and is a highly sought after state of being.

Is happiness a life of virtuous activity? ›

He says, not that happiness is virtue, but that it is virtuous activity. Living well consists in doing something, not just being in a certain state or condition. It consists in those lifelong activities that actualize the virtues of the rational part of the soul.

What are the 3 keys to happiness? ›

Scientists have found that the three things that make people most happy are PLEASURE (doing things you enjoy), ENGAGEMENT (feeling interested in your activities and connected to others), and MEANING (feeling like what you do matters).

What are the three principles of happiness? ›

The theory suggests that happiness can be described as three distinct elements chosen for their own sakes: positive emotion, engagement, and meaning. These three elements are believed to be more measurable and definitive than happiness.

What is the best quote for happiness? ›

10 Happiness Quotes We Love
  • "Happiness depends upon ourselves." — ...
  • "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." — ...
  • "The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. ...
  • "Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it." —

What is the philosophers definition of happiness? ›

Some philosophers believe happiness can be understood as the moral goal of life or as an aspect of chance; indeed, in most European languages the term happiness is synonymous with luck. Thus, philosophers usually explicate on happiness as either a state of mind, or a life that goes well for the person leading it.

What is Aristotle's definition of happiness? ›

According to Aristotle, happiness consists in achieving, through the course of a whole lifetime, all the goods — health, wealth, knowledge, friends, etc. — that lead to the perfection of human nature and to the enrichment of human life. This requires us to make choices, some of which may be very difficult.

What is virtue the core component of Plato's happiness? ›

Part of Plato's case for his view that we must be moral in order to be truly happy rests on a discussion of the four cardinal virtues: wisdom, courage, moderation, and justice. Wisdom has to do with the intellect. For Plato, the wise person uses the mind to understand moral reality and then apply it to her daily life.

What is the difference between Socrates and Plato? ›

Socrates has his teachings centered primarily around epistemology and ethics while Plato was quite concerned with literature, education, society, love, friendship, rhetoric, arts, etc.

How different are Socrates and Plato's ethical views from Aristotle? ›

While Socrates casted fatalistic and monolithic dispositions in his analysis and elaborated his thoughts in dialectic form, Aristotle, in contrast, embraced freedom of choice and diversity (pluralism) and articulated the importance of contingent particularity of historical experiences.

What are the 3 philosophies of happiness? ›

The main accounts of happiness in this sense are hedonism, the life satisfaction theory, and the emotional state theory.

What philosophers said the pursuit of happiness? ›

John Locke (1632-1704) was a major English philosopher, whose political writings in particular helped pave the way for the French and American revolutions. He coined the phrase 'pursuit of happiness,' in his book An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, and thus this website is deeply indebted to him.

How does Aristotle explain happiness as the ultimate purpose of human existence? ›

Aristotle argues that happiness is a goal of human existence by pointing out that humans make decisions based upon what is pleasing to us. As humans, we strive to live good and happy lives, and therefore we will choose what our emotions say is something that will make us happy.

What is happiness according to Nietzsche? ›

"Happiness is the feeling that power increases - that resistance is being overcome." For Nietzsche, the famous mustachioed nihilist, happiness is a kind of control one has over their surroundings.

What is the greatest happiness according to Aristotle? ›

For Aristotle, eudaimonia is the highest human good, the only human good that is desirable for its own sake (as an end in itself) rather than for the sake of something else (as a means toward some other end).

What are Aristotle's three types of happiness? ›

Aristotle distinguished between four different levels of happiness.
  • Happiness level 1: Laetus. Happiness from material objects. ...
  • Happiness level 2: Felix. Ego gratification. ...
  • Happiness level 3: Beatitudo. The happiness from doing good for others and making the world a better place. ...
  • Happiness level 4: Sublime Beatitudo.

What is the famous line of Plato? ›

Here are some of Plato's most famous quotes: “Love is a serious mental disease.” “When the mind is thinking it is talking to itself.” “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion and knowledge.”

What is a virtuous person according to Socrates? ›

Socrates, says no one however wants willingly or knowingly to harm himself, since all wrong doing is harmful, no one does wrong willingly. Virtue is knowledge in the sense that whoever knows what virtue is will be virtuous, because he believes that- No one wants to harm himself.


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