Socrates’ Goods

  1. External Trappings
  • Wealth
  • Health
  • Beauty
  • Good birth
  • Power

2)  Internal Virtues 

  • Temperance (self-restraint)
  • Justice
  • Courage
  • Wisdom

Merely having ‘good’ things is not sufficient for happiness because there is a distinction between ”having” (possessing) and ”using” or applying – the latter implies activity, a ‘working on’, a creative act. It involves using the bare stuff of existence to actively create a better life as opposed to a futile and meaningless accumulation of goods. Socrates’ pupil Clinius concludes that the right use of good things is sufficient for happiness –  the application of internal virtue to the external trappings. Crucially you need to possess both the external and internal goods in order for the first set (external trappings) to be beneficial . Therefore an application of a certain attitude or intention onto the goods (wisdom or ignorance)  determines whether they are good or bad. In and of themselves, however, the external goods are indifferent, empty vessels. For Socrates, what is of supreme importance are the internal goods of virtue/character.

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