The Key to “Eudaimonia”

In Friday’s class, there was a discussion on the different elements that make up happiness or “eudaimonia.”  Some of these components included the “measures of health: courage, wisdom, piety, moderation and justice, along with moral character and external characteristics.” Discussion also led into Socrates’ insistence on knowledgeability in academic regards as a key to happiness and virtuosity. I agree with Socrates in the sense that knowledge is truly important and with more wisdom comes the ability to make better decisions and in some light live a happier life.  However, I do not necessarily agree that academic prowess leads to a happier life for every individual.

2 responses to “The Key to “Eudaimonia”

  1. First, I think that post was really well-written and nicely structured. I completly agree with you that taking some time off school to embark on other opportunities, like traveling, can be just as- if not more beneficial to ones knowledge and over all happiness and well-being.

    Personally, I took a 6 months off of college to take advantage of an internship opportunity, in which I traveled the world. Most notably, Guadalajara Mexico. Where I saw first-hand the harsh reality of real poverty. I also learned what makes these people happy. And it was the simple things… being together, and celebrating. There was a celebration everyday, whether it was someones birthday, high school graduation, a soccer win, or just because. I think Americans, including myself, sometimes takes the simple things for granted.

    With that being said, I would not have had this internship opportunity if I did not qualify, academically. So in my circumstance, I guess my happiness and newfound knowledge abroad was because of my past academic performance. In a way academics and eudaimonia go hand in hand.

  2. I think that both your argument and Taylor’s response are both great interpretations of the connection between education, eudaimonia, and virtues. However, as I was reading your response and reflecting back on the text, I did not get the same impression that Socrates wholeheartedly believes eudaimonia and virtues directly correlate with academic ability and wisdom.

    Looking at the most recent section of Republic we will be talking about on Friday, Socrates directly states, “…virtues of the soul are akin to those of the body, for they aren’t there before hand but are added later by habit and practice” (page 190 518e). I think what Socrates is getting at in this particular section is that people do not come preprogrammed with virtues, but rather learn them through trial and error in addition to experience. And I further propose this statement encompasses both academic experience as well as nonacademic skills. Overall, I believe Socrates does not link virtues with academic experience or prowess, but I do agree with your argument that for eudaimonia people should also have experience outside the classroom.

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