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Plato on Pleasure and the Good Life$
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Daniel Russell

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199282845

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199282846.001.0001

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Pleasure, Virtue, and Happiness in the Gorgias

Pleasure, Virtue, and Happiness in the Gorgias

Chapter:
(p.48) 2 Pleasure, Virtue, and Happiness in the Gorgias
Source:
Plato on Pleasure and the Good Life
Author(s):

Daniel Russell (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199282846.003.0003

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

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