Single Idea 1665

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 4. External Goods / a. External goods]

Full Idea

Those who say that a man who is being tortured and has suffered terrible calamities is happy if he is a good man are willy-nilly talking nonsense.


'Happy' is the Greek word 'eudaimon', also sometimes translated as 'flourishing'

Gist of Idea

It is nonsense to say a good person is happy even if they are being tortured or suffering disaster


Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics [c.334 BCE], 1153b19)

Book Reference

Vlastos,Gregory: 'Socrates: Ironist and Moral Philosopher' [CUP 1992], p.224

A Reaction

Someone expressed this extreme idea, and the Stoics sympathised with it. Happiness is life going well. Making a supreme sacrifice for an enormous good seems like life going well.