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Diagnosing Socrates: Was Socrates Happy?

Andrew Turner
Harvard University


Socrates’ general definition of happiness was unachievable as the telos of wisdom, the character of which seems largely undefined. While nowhere in Plato’s Dialogues does Socrates explicitly contend that a final and complete wisdom is necessary for happiness, I find that the implication is evident if considered against the broader backdrop of the concept of ultimate objectives and ends in Greek philosophy. Furthermore, I argue that Socrates could have only claimed happiness in terms of the search for wisdom and not in terms of the telos of wisdom. This is important since it indicates a contradiction in the larger Greek notion of the importance of results, ends, and objectives (rather than processes).[1] (more…)