Chapter

Pleasure, Virtue, and Happiness in the <i>Gorgias</i>

Daniel Russell

in Plato on Pleasure and the Good Life

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780199282845
Published online October 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602931 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199282846.003.0003
 						Pleasure, Virtue, and Happiness in the Gorgias

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This chapter argues that Plato's reliance on the directive conception of happiness explains the general course that Socrates' discussion takes with his companions in the Gorgias. It then takes a closer look at Socrates' own argument that virtue determines happiness. Not only does Socrates' argument articulate the nature of virtue as a skill, and the nature of success and flourishing for human beings, but it also removes the gap between virtue and happiness which hedonism — and all forms of the additive conception of happiness — takes to be there, requiring, as it does, that the pleasure of a virtuous life, rather than virtue per se, must be what accounts for the happiness of that life. The chapter concludes by discussing some alternative accounts of goodness in the Gorgias, focusing on the possibility that hedonism need require no such gap between virtue and happiness after all, on the grounds that virtuous activity and the greatest pleasure are identical.

Keywords: happiness; goodness; Socrates; virtue; hedonism

Chapter.  17880 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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