6pia-Model-Essay-What-does-pleasure-have-to-do-with-the-good-life - What does pleasure have to do with the good life In Platos Gorgias the character of


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‘What does pleasure have to do with the good life?’ In Plato’s Gorgias , the character of Socrates advances a plethora of arguments against his interlocutor, Callicles, who holds that the good life is one of pleasures. Socrates claims that our understanding of the good life cannot be gauged by the pleasures it contains, as the two often do not coincide. In considering a number of the more prominent arguments Socrates explicates, we will see that the matter is far more complicated than it may initially seem. The first substantial argument that Socrates offers against Callicles’ assertion that the good life is lived by those who have the capacity to meet their ever-expanding desires, comes in the form of an analogy. Socrates asks his audience to imagine two jars; one leaky and the other sound. The life Callicles advocates, suggests Socrates, is akin to having a leaky jar; one will constantly be having to add to its contents in order for it to remain full. On the other hand, the sound jar, once filled, will remain so, and with it will its owner remain content. Unsurprisingly, it is the latter analogous life that Socrates champions, and, unfortunately, Callicles determines to attack, unconvincingly claiming that such a life of contentment would be akin to being dead or an inanimate stone. This line of rebuttal fails to persuade, for most have at least some inkling of how it feels to be content; and, even if it is stone- like, I suspect most wouldn’t object to it being proffered as the goal of a good life. Instead, the more promising argumentative avenue for Callicles
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  • Winter '14
  • Platonism, Pleasure, Pleasure P, Callicles

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