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Philosophical Happiness

How Should a Person Live His or Her Life?

Happiness is enjoying and showing satisfaction marked by joy. Most people contemplating about being happy, consider having a good feeling inside. There are many categories of happiness that are conveyed in many ways. Individuals show their happiness in different ways. Some smile and their face glows in desire and satisfaction while others do not show their happy sentiments physically. They mostly keep their emotions inside. Real happiness has nothing to do with possessions, environment or health. It comes from being happy with one’s life and accepting who you are and what you have in life.

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There are different types of happiness. Some types fade away while others remain with you for the rest of your life. Individuals can be happy with the minor things they do in their life while others can think like they are never happy. Happiness is a sensation that comes from within and cannot be taken away. The paper will discuss two philosophical writings on happiness each identical to a different sense of the term. Some people use happiness as a value of measure roughly similar to flourishing. The other group uses the word as a purely expressive psychological word, which is alike to depression. An important issue in the philosophy of happiness is getting clear on what different writers are talking about: what are the significant denotations of the name and how do they connect? While prosperity sense of happiness receives considerable attention in the present writing on well-being, the subjective sentiment is experiencing a renewal as a major focus of philosophical query, following recent developments in the science of happiness.

The Apology  by Plato in the analogy of philosophical happiness is an understanding that comprises of several aspects. Knowledge, wisdom and virtues are characteristics that explain the true meaning of philosophical happiness. It is understood that an individual who possesses knowledge is in a position to understand the meaning of true happiness.  The power related to knowledge is a tool that equips a person with how to handle different situations in life. A knowledgeable person will understand the sources of true happiness that is considered philosophical in nature. Understanding the true nature of the surrounding enables the acquiring of true knowledge. Wisdom is another virtue that brings out the understanding of true philosophical happiness. A person will differentiate between different types of happiness. The differentiation varies from possession of the property to individual success. Wisdom is an aspect that is acquired by an individual over a long period in his life. A person who seeks true happiness needs to be wise in different life scenarios. The challenges require a person to make wise decisions that will benefit the public in general. The experience in handling different choices will make an individual select the best option that will make a benefit of philosophical happiness to the public.  Virtues, on the other hand, are used to cement wisdom and knowledge. Two aspects being supported by virtues are a general receipt for philosophy. Virtues are expected to be enshrined with an individual. A person should have both general and private understanding.  The internal understanding should guide a person to acquire philosophical ideas and happiness.

The Apology approach to happiness is important to understanding philosophical happiness. A person will be able to appreciate his surroundings irrespective of the environment or the people. The general goal will be to make his area of concern peaceful to attain the final goal.

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Plato asserts that justice favors those who are just. He, however, does not believe that justice is good merely for its consequences but that it is an intrinsic good in itself. He demonstrates this through his argument that justice forms a part of a happy life. Plato also alleges that virtues cannot be the only key to happiness. They may fail to lead one to happiness in some situations, while in some cases the simple appearance of virtue may lead to happiness.

In The Republic, Plato classifies the soul into a tripartite segment: appetite, reason and spirit. He alleges that a just individual with an orderly soul has a happier living than any person whose soul is not in order, and that a person with an unjust and disorderly soul is miserable.

Several questions arise in relation to Plato’s writing on happiness in The Republic. For instance, in Plato’s connection between psychic justice and happiness, how is one to connect social justice with happiness? Another question that arises is if one’s soul determines their happiness, should one make a conclusion that a person who acts according to the public demands of morality will be assured of justice and happiness? Is behaving in accordance with social justice an important component of a happier life? Plato gives the example of a preferably just city in the construction of the Republic by arguing that the city’s justice is made up of all citizens performing their tasks in the work properly. This then brings about the question of whether social justice forms part of happiness. To give an answer to such a question one should contemplate whether a person’s own work in such a city would lead to a happier life.

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Plato’s philosophical thought on the aspect of happiness is evident in virtually all his dialogues. For instance, in The Republic, Plato declares that individuals are happy when they appropriately attain an equilibrium of the three energies of the soul. The implication of this holding is that a person who is moral is the person who is controlled by reason rather than appetite. This is, however, in Gorgias, that his concept of happiness is most obvious. For Plato, morality is essential to happiness. For personal happiness to exist there needs to be a moral attitude to the life of a person. The wish to attain happiness is what makes a depraved man become moral. This, in turn, implies that any immoral person would have to seek morality in order to become happy. Happiness, according to Plato, comprises of wisdom, justice, self-restraint and courage. With the lack of these fundamental virtues, an individual can never attain happiness. In the Symposium, Plato’s belief is that people are capable of attaining the eventual meaning. This is happiness only attained through the medium of love.

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