Plato on Well-Being

In Guy Fletcher (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being. London, UK: pp. 9-19 (2016)
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Plato's dialogues use several terms for the concept of well-being, which concept plays a central ethical role as the ultimate goal for action and a central political role as the proper aim for states. But the dialogues also reveal sharp debate about what human well-being is. I argue that they endorse a Socratic conception of well-being as virtuous activity, by considering and rejecting several alternatives, including an ordinary conception that lists a variety of goods, a Protagorean conception that identifies one's well-being with what appears one to be one's well-being, and hedonistic conceptions.

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Eric Brown
Washington University in St. Louis


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