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North American Philosophical Publications Socrates on Goods and Happiness Author(s): George Klosko Source: History of Philosophy Quarterly , Vol. 4, No. 3, Plato and Aristotle Issue (Jul., 1987), pp. 251-264 Published by: University of Illinois Press on behalf of North American Philosophical Publications Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27743814 Accessed: 10-09-2016 00:21 UTC JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected] Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at http://about.jstor.org/terms University of Illinois Press, North American Philosophical Publications are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to History of Philosophy Quarterly This content downloaded from on Sat, 10 Sep 2016 00:21:28 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms
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History of Philosophy Quarterly Volume 4, Number 3, July 1987 SOCRATES ON GOODS AND HAPPINESS George Klosko THROUGHOUT the Socratic dialogues, Plato presents a variety of arguments concerning the relationship between virtue and happi ness. In section I, I attempt to untangle and analyze two of these, which I call the "knowledge" and "absolute" arguments respectively. It will be seen that the two arguments work rather differently, and involve different conceptions of the nature of virtue and happiness. In section II, I examine the possibility of working these arguments into a consistent moral posi tion. Finally in section III, I attempt to develop a more flexible account of the relationship between virtue and happiness that encompasses most? but not all?of the details of both arguments, and explain why the aspects this account leaves out should be regarded as inconsistent with Socrates' basic position.1 I We begin with the knowledge argument. Socrates' position here is that virtue and happiness are bound up with the proper conduct of one's affairs, with guiding them in accordance with a certain wisdom; in other words, virtue is knowledge. As is frequently the case, the details of Socrates' espousal of the knowl edge argument cannot be stated with assurance. But his basic position is clear. One of Socrates' recurrent themes is that the things that people generally believe to be good are not necessarily so; in fact they can be harmful as well as beneficial. Clear arguments to this effect are found in the protreptic sections of the Euthydemus (278e-282d, 288c-292e) and in the Meno (87d-89c). In each work Socrates examines a series of things ordinarily taken to be good, such as health, wealth, physical beauty, and the qualities generally regarded as virtues, e.g., courage and prudence.
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