Socrates, Plato, And Plato's Philosophy Of Happiness

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Around 300 BC in ancient Greece, one of the most influential philosophers in history pondered the questions of life. Socrates, among many accomplishments, was one of the first people to question happiness and what it means to live a happy life. One of Socrates’ most notable observations of happiness was that all people desire a joyful life. Socrates thus began the timeless discussion regarding what it means to be truly happy and how or if we can achieve this. Many other philosophers have attempted to answer this question and some of the most notable ones were from the time of Socrates. Plato, Socrates’ student, and Aristotle, Plato’s student, both expanded on this idea and developed vast complex theories concerning what happiness is and …show more content…
This part of Plato’s philosophy of happiness was described in detail in book IV of ‘The Republic’. In this book Plato explains the fundamentals of ‘Plato’s City’, which is what Plato believes to be the ideal utopian society. In this city Plato explains that all people are to be placed into three classes, rulers, guardians or auxiliaries, and workers. The rulers, like the title suggests, are those who govern the city. In Plato’s opinion “There will be no end to the troubles of states, or of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers” (Plato), meaning rulers must be wise and open-minded philosophers. Plato believed that democracy was flawed as people do not question their choices enough and the wise rulers should have majority and power over all in a benevolent dictatorship. Aside from the flaws in leadership that would be changed, Plato also observed that people needed new ‘celebrities’ to admire and strive to become. These role models were to be the guardians of the city; they would be noble wise and modest and the most well respected of all in the community. Finally there would be the workers. These would be the people who provide for the city, maintaining it, building it, and producing exports as well as resources. Plato made an analogy between the city and the three parts of the soul; he stated that the city was like parts of soul and should be just. This justice of the city is maintained by being guided by the rulers, supported by the guardians, and provided for by the workers. In the opinion of Plato, happiness is a state of harmony within the soul of the individual and of a community and in following the cardinal virtues and structuring a community as Plato would, one can achieve

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