The Search For Happiness In Plato's The Republic

1943 Words 8 Pages
As Epictetus once said, “We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” The search for what is just or what is right has become so prominent that it overshadows the search for actual happiness. Although some believe that achieving happiness can be a challenge due to obstructions that occur in life, it is possible for everyone to find happiness. However, Plato, in The Republic, and Aristotle, in Ethics, show that happiness can be obtained by finding harmony between justice, friendship, and morality.
What is the goal and main purpose of life? Some say to become rich and famous, some say to get an education, and some say to travel the world.
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Justice is the main point of discussion in The Republic as well as in Ethics. In The Republic justice is defined by Glaucon as, “…the origin and essential nature of justice, that is a compromise between the best case, which is doing wrong and getting away with it, and the worst case, which is being wronged and being unable to retaliate.” (The Republic: Book 2, 359a-359b). This makes it seem as though people don’t truly act just for the sake of being just, but in fact act unjust and do not get caught. In retrospect Aristotle claims that “Human beings pray for these and pursue them, but they ought not, but ought instead to pray that the things that are good simply be good also for them, and choose the things that are good for them.” (Ethics: Book 5, pg. 80) Aristotle is saying here that justice should be acting respectably, and hoping for goodness for themselves as well as others. Another example of the importance of how justice is executed in Ethics is, “… the worst person is one who makes use of vice in relation to himself and toward his friends, while the best person is not the one who makes use of virtue in relation to himself, but the one who does so toward someone else, for this is a difficult task.” (Ethics: Book 5, pg. 81). Aristotle is stating that it is important for someone to act fairly and just …show more content…
Aristotle mentions this when he says, “friendship seems to be present by nature in a parent for a child and in a child for a parent, not only in human beings, but also in birds and other animals, and for animals alike in kind toward one another, and especially among human beings, which is why we praise those who are friends of humanity.” (Ethics: Book 8, pg. 144). Having friends and people who are kind towards one another is critical. It is no fun being alone, which is where friends come in handy. Because happiness is relevant for a satisfying friendship, friendship is just as imperative for having a prosperous life. Aristotle explains this when he says, “…what concerns friendship, since it is a certain kind of virtue, or goes with virtue, and is also most necessary for life.” (Ethics, Book 8, pg. 143). Friends hold such a crucial key to happiness and inner peace because they are there for you, literally and metaphorically, when you cannot be there for yourself. “…people consider a friend to be someone who wishes for and does good things… for the sake of the other person… who wants the friend to be and to live… someone with whom one spends time and who prefers the same things, or someone who shares in pain and enjoyment with a friend.” (Ethics: Book 8, pg. 167). In friendship, there are similarities and differences between one another, but that is what can make the

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