Plato 's Gorgias, Socrates And Callicles Essay

703 Words May 5th, 2016 3 Pages
In Plato’s Gorgias, Socrates and Callicles engage in a debate about what it means to be happy and to live a flourishing life. According to Callicles, a person is happy and flourishing when he or she is living as ambitiously as he or she possibly can. Living the good life includes chasing one satisfaction after another and having a constant influx of pleasure. In contrast, Socrates emphasizes on the idea of eudaimonia, according to which a happy and flourishing person is one that lives an orderly life, in which the person maintains discipline and control over oneself.
The present account will discuss Socrates’ responses to Callicles’ position on what it is that makes a person’s life good. First, I will provide a reconstruction of the two arguments made by Socrates. Secondly, I will give a critique on the arguments. The first response given by Socrates in response to Callicles is the ‘mixed sensations’ argument, which states the following: (i) a person is either doing well or doing poorly, (ii) pleasure is always mixed with pain, so (iii) pleasure is not the same as doing well and pain is not the same as doing badly. With this argument, Socrates seeks to dismantle Callicles’ position. He does so using hunger as an example. Hunger is a deficiency that causes pain, and eating would induce pleasurable feelings because it will satiate the deficiency. A person feels both pleasure and pain, simultaneously, when he or she eats to satisfy his or her hunger pains. Callicles…

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