What Is The Greek Sense Of Eudaimonia?

By Geoffrey Migiro on February 27 2020 in World Facts

Eudaimonia often translates to finding divine happiness.
Eudaimonia often translates to finding divine happiness.
  • Eudaimonia is a Greek term that commonly translates to blessedness, human prosperity, welfare, or happiness.
  • Socrates, just like all the other ancient philosophers, believed that everyone on the planet needed eudaimonia more than everything else.
  • According to Aristotle, eudaimonia involves various activities that exhibit virtues in accordance with reasoning.

Eudaimonia is a Greek term that commonly translates to blessedness, human prosperity, welfare, or happiness. Eudaimonia is a noun derived from the Greek words ‘’daimon’’ referring to a guardian spirit and ‘’eu’’ which means ‘’well.’’ It refers to a divine and positive state-of-being that human beings strive towards and attain. A literal view of this phrase defines eudaimonia as always being protected by a caring deity or achieving a state-of-being that resembles that of a benevolent god. Since it is the most favorable state an individual can be in, eudaimonia is translated to ‘’happiness’’. Incorporating divine-nature in this phrase expands its meaning to include the idea of being blessed or lucky. Many of the early philosophers disagreed on the exact link between eudaimonia and ‘’ethike arête’’ (virtue of character). Therefore, there are numerous varieties of eudaimonism.

Main Views On Eudaimonism And Its Relation To Arête

Socrates

Socrates, just like all the other ancient philosophers, believed that everyone on the planet needed eudaimonia more than everything else. Socrates believed that virtue is sufficient and necessary for eudaimonia. He thought that some virtues like loyalty, wisdom, courage, self-control, and other related qualities of the soul and mind are essential for a happy and good life. Virtues can guarantee anyone a happy life. Socrates disagreed with all those who believed that a eudaimon life is a life full of pleasure of honor and rebukes the Athenians for caring more about honor and wealth than their souls.

Plato

Plato’s work, the Republic,was devoted to responding to Thrasymachus’s challenge. Thrasymachus claims that conservative morality prevents strong individuals from achieving eudaimonia. Callicles and Thrasymachus argued that justice prevents someone from achieving eudaimonia since convectional morality demands that we should control ourselves and live with many un-satiable desires. Plato refuted this claim by proving that justice is mandatory for attaining eudaimonia. According to Plato, a virtue is a state of a person’s soul. Plato claims that the soul of a just individual is harmonious and ordered, while that of an unjust person is chaotic. The lack of inner unity and peace will prevent an unjust person from achieving eudaimonia even if he manages to satisfy his desires. Plato’s theory maintains that achieving eudaimonism depends on an individual’s virtues.

Aristotle

According to Aristotle, eudaimonia involves various activities that exhibit virtues in accordance with reasoning. Eudaimonia requires rational action and good character. Aristotle maintains that for an individual to live in accordance with reasoning, he must attain excellence. For example, if becoming the best scientist demands impressive mathematical skills, one could say ‘’doing math perfectly is mandatory to be a successful scientist’’. An individual must exercise the rational parts of his mind in accordance with virtue of reasoning to achieve eudaimonia. While Aristotle was emphasizing on the benefits of the rational part of the mind, he didn’t ignore the significance of factors like power, wealth, and good friends in a eudaimonic life. Aristotle doubts the possibility of being eudaimonic if an individual doesn’t have various external goods like beauty, good children, and good birth. Therefore an individual who has lost good friends or children through death or is isolated might not be eudaimon. Aristotle claims that dumb luck can hinder someone from attaining eudaimonia.

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