Sample Philosophy Paper on Socrates Idea about Living a Good Life

Socrates is one of the philosophers who brought about a recommendable
change in the social and rational development of the globe. Without his knowledge
arguments, history would profoundly be different. Socrates was known and is still
remembered for his association with Socratic methods of questions and answers,
especially on how people lived and the various perceptions about living a good life.
His perception of life and his definition of himself were found to be unreasonable at
his time but looking at his ideas and arguments carefully, Socrates discussed
important details through his arguments and questions about living a good life. This
paper will focus on how Socrates perceived a good life or what he meant by living a
good life. According to Socrates, living a good life is defined by our ability to control
our souls, be optimistic, focus on moral activities, make good decisions, utilize
everything we have wisely, and find pure Beauty in what we see.
Socrates spent his entire life in Athens, Greece, between (469-399 BC). He
always persuaded his fellow citizens to reason intelligently about truth and justice
queries as he always believed that unevaluated life was not worth living. According
to his argument, Socrates explained that his knowledge about life came from the
understanding that he knew nothing or, in simple terms, he was ignorant
(McPherran, 2010). Regardless of him strongly holding on this perception, Socrates
did have specific beliefs, the main one being that happiness is obtained from human
effort. He defined good life which is connected to happiness as the aspect of gaining
balanced control over one's desires and systematizing the various parts of one's soul
(McPherran, 2010). By practicing such a life, one would experience a sense of
internal serenity that the external world cannot interfere with. True to his words and
philosophy, he happily experienced his death, conversing his viewpoints right up to
the moment he took the deadly poison. Therefore, based on the question of living a

good life, Socrates' response would have been living a life is based on one's effort
where one is in full control of their soul and actions.
In his intellectual life, Socrates always emphasized truth and justice. He
explained that a good life was based on thinking positively and always preferred
moral ways than immoral ones (Graham, 2017). Regardless of his positivity in life, he
was surrounded by a culture that held pessimistic beliefs of human existence. During
his time, happiness or good life was deemed an infrequent incidence and only set
aside for the special beings favored by gods (Graham, 2017). The idea that one
could access a good life, which was full of happiness, was regarded as hubris, a kind
of deceiving pride, and was to be rewarded with punitive punishment (Graham,
2017). Regardless, Socrates always emphasized the importance of virtue, truth, and
justice and living a positive life (Graham, 2017). According to him, these were the
various factors that defined a good life, and for one to experience such life, they
need to be optimistic and always value moral activities and behaviors rather than
concentrate on the immoral beliefs and actions that can lead to one experiencing a
bad life or a life without happiness.
Socrates, although he was a great philosopher, he did not write any piece of
literature. Plato, who was his student, is the one who documented Socrates' ideas,
which were gathered from their conversations. One piece of philosophy developed
by Plato that discussed the idea of living a good life, as explained by Socrates, was
"The Euthydemus." From the piece, Socrates main aim was to bring out two main
points about living a good life or a life of happiness: happiness is always our desire,
and it is always an end goal to our actions and activities, and happiness is not
dependent on exterior qualities or possessions but how we use them to determine
whether we live a good life or not (Miller, 2010). For example, a wise person will use

his/her money right, and this makes their life better while a stupid individual will
spend their money wastefully ending up with an unpleasant life. Therefore, according
to Socrates, we cannot say that money or material possessions will make one live a
good life; something can result to a good life only when used in the right way.
Socrates' argument can be diverted for any external good: properties, abilities, good
looks, or qualities (Miller, 2010). Therefore, according to Socrates, living a good life
means making good decisions and utilizing everything we have wisely to obtain good
results and live a good life.
Socrates brought a connection between love and desire, and one living a
good life. This connection is evident in a discussion that takes place at a dinner
party, where the topic of happiness is raised, and each individual contributes to
delivering a speech to explain their ideas on Eros, the god of love and desire.
Socrates described Eros to be having both the dark and the bright side, and thus
Eros cannot be defined as a god (McPherran, 2010). Regardless, he goes further
and explains that Eros is vitally important in the human desire for a good life. He is
the connection between the mortal and the immortal. Eros is the power of yearning,
which is connected to looking for bodily desires, but humans can be reskilled to seek
valuable things in life (McPherran, 2010). According to him, people can be educated
to avoid the behavior of possessing the desire for beautiful things which expire, to
have the pure love of Beauty itself (McPherran, 2010). When one can find pure
Beauty in what they see or what they possess, according to Socrates, this is when a
person is living a good life (McPherran, 2010). He describes this as a kind of ecstasy
when the scales fall from an individual's eyes, and one clearly understands why they
truly exist.

In conclusion, according to Socrates, living a good life is defined by our ability
to control our souls, be optimistic and focus on moral activities, make good
decisions, utilize everything we have wisely, and find pure Beauty in whatever we
see. Therefore, to experience a good life, we should always be optimistic, make
good decisions, be optimistic, and have the desire to see pure Beauty in what we
see. Although Socrates was an ancient philosopher, his ideas about happiness and
good life still make a lot of sense today, and thus his response would still make a lot
of sense in reference to contemporary life.



Graham, D. W. (2017). Socrates as a Deontologist. Academic Journal Article: The
Review of Metaphysics .
Happiness. (2020). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,
McPherran, M. L. (2010). Socrates, Plato, Erôs and liberal education. Journal of
Oxford Review of Education,36,5, 527-541.
Miller, J. (2010). A Distinction Regarding Happiness in Ancient Philosophy. Social
Research,Vol. 77, No. 2, 595-624.