30 April 2007

A Philosopher in the Cave

I've spent too much time there and can testify: the place is as wide as it is long; one gets to it from above, by descending through a passageway. Within, it is dark. Men sit stretched out and view flickering images on a wall. Behind them and higher up, where they never look, there is a great and very bright fire, before which men who stay hidden behind a wall make it so that images and likenesses pass by--and these cause the images, as it were shadows, to be cast upon the wall.

And yet, and yet.... occasionally a philosopher will descend to this place. Not only that, but occasionally a philosopher's visit is even scheduled, as for instance this Wednesday evening, at 6pm. Yes, a philosopher is going to speak to those in the cave, not by compulsion but freely.

T 1 Special Make Up Screenings!
Casablanca - 8:00, 10:00

Cambridge Center for Adult Education Presents
Galway Kinnell - 6:00
(See description for ticket information)

W 2 Harvard Book Store Presents
Martha Nussbaum - 6:00
(Tickets are $5.00 and are available at Harvard Book Store or by phone with a credit card at 617-661-1515.)

Repertory Series
Recent Raves! - repertory series

Recent Raves!
Comedy of Power - 8:00

Recent Raves!
Zodiac - 10:00

At the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square, one may see Casablanca today and tomorrow, and Martha Nussbaum the day after.

(In know I said I wouldn't post, but this isn't really a post--it's simply fun.)

Blogging to Resume, After All, Friday May 3

Ah the fragilty of goodness! ... How delicate, it seems, is the biosystem in which a daily blog can thrive.

My travels over, I find myself behind in other work: It's looking unlikely that I can resume blogging before this Friday, May 4. I'll see if I can come up with a last word, too, on Two Births, Two Origins.

However, for your amusement, two stories.

(1) Recently my 3 year old son, Gregory, asked to be excused from the dinner table. I told him that he may be excused, if he behaved, once excused. To which Gregory replied, "But I AM hāved!" (Now, how do I explain to him that, although, pace Quine, sakes really do exist, hāves do not? Also, I continue to wonder how he was so sure that he was already hāved.)

(2) We had to take two long road trips yesterday, during which I played with everyone else in the car, "Punch Buggy", i.e. the first person who sees a Volkswagen Beetle shouts out "Punch buggy, don't punch back!" and gets credit for one 'buggy' sighting--the person with the most at the end of the day being the winner. We have in our apartment a picture of my wife standing next to a yellow Beetle. In between trips, Joseph, 6 years old, asked whether he could count the Beetle in the picture for the purposes of the game. I told him that he could not count it, and of course he knew that he couldn't. But the interesting question was why he couldn't, and yet why he was tempted to ask. "Why shouldn't that Beetle in the picture count?" (I asked), "Because you can't drive it anywhere," was the response--and good enough for both of us.

I didn't have to ask him why he was tempted to ask. I know that he likes jokes, and philosophy.

19 April 2007

Blogging to Resume Friday, April 27

I'll not likely post for the next week, as I'll be traveling --and, besides, I wanted to mull over Thomas Johansen and David Sedley's comments (for which many thanks). Until then!

17 April 2007

Two Births, Two Origins

I had asked if you could discover what the flaw was in Mahoney's reply, and it is this. He presumes that ge/nesij in the context means 'birth', and then he tries to find an explanation for why Plato might have referred indefinitely (with peri\ th_n ge/nesin) to the time of birth.

And yet ge/nesij, in contexts in which Plato has in mind the origin of a human being, typically means incarnation, the joining of the soul and the body, the soul's 'coming to be in the form of a human' (although it may loosely be translated as 'birth').

It's clearly used in that way in the Timaeus: when Plato contrasts the first ge/nesij of human beings as males (41e3), with their second ge/nesij as females (42c1), he certainly cannot mean two journeys through the birth canal!

Thus, the problem that Mahoney actually has to face, is to explain why Plato should at 90d1-2 have referred indefinitely to the origin of a human being, when (i) Plato typically understands this to occur at a moment, viz. the moment when the soul and body are joined; and (ii) as we have seen, Plato actually uses language indicating a precise moment in the passage to which, on Mahoney's view, 90d1-2 refers.

16 April 2007

A 53 Billion Dollar Metaphysical Question

Are only wooden things made from wood? Would charcoal, for instance, also be made from wood, since the process of making charcoal begins with wood?

Similarly, are only sugary things made from sugar? Is the artificial sweetener, Splenda, also made from sugar, if it is produced by beginning with a sugar molecule, and then replacing some of its constituents with chlorine?

Arguably a metaphysician is needed to decide such questions. But, if so, then there is now a legal case in which the expert most relevant to serve as an expert witness would be a metaphysician (and presumably an Aristotle expert too, since Aristotle speaks most directly to such questions)! Expect $500/hour, minimum. (One never knows when a 'liberal art' will prove relevant.)

Merisant, the maker of Equal, is suing McNeil Nutritionals, the maker of Splenda, on the grounds that McNeill's claims on behalf of the product ($53 billion annual sales) are misleading.

From last Friday's Wall Street Journal:

McNeil says that it has used the same promotional claims for Splenda -- "Made from sugar, tastes like sugar" and "Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar" -- in all packaging and advertising since its launch. It declines to comment on having dropped the "But it's not sugar" line. McNeil stands by its claims.

Merisant lodged a complaint with the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in late 2004, four years after Splenda's launch and two years after privately complaining to McNeil.

McNeil then sued Merisant in Puerto Rico, seeking a judgment that its ads are not misleading, and alleging that Merisant complained after a judge in Puerto Rico had barred Merisant from selling a product with packaging that closely resembled Splenda's.

Merisant responded by filing suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in November 2004, where the case will now be heard before a jury. McNeil then consented to the dismissal of its case in Puerto Rico, according to a memorandum by federal District Judge Gene E.K. Pratter.

Jurors will have to endure a heavy-duty chemistry lesson. One of Splenda's main ingredients is sucralose, a chemical entity manufactured in a lab that McNeil makes from sucrose, or table sugar.

Its patented technique replaces some of the chemical groups found in sugar with chlorine, creating a substance that McNeil says is not recognized by the body as a carbohydrate and has no calories.

Merisant alleges that Splenda shouldn't be able to claim that it's "made from sugar," since sugar is not one of the ingredients on its product label and the use of the phrase misleads consumers into thinking the product is natural or contains sugar. McNeil said in a statement that Splenda is made from pure cane sugar by a patented process that makes three atomic changes to the sugar molecule.

McNeil presumably chose Puerto Rico as a favorable venue because that is where massive quantities of cane sugar used in the making of Splenda are grown and purchased! But if McNeil's lawyers had really been canny, and recognized the dispute as primarily a metaphysical one, which venue should they actually have sought? Princeton? Cambridge? Los Angeles? The Southern District of New York?

13 April 2007

Perinatal Perception

Mahoney responds to Sedley's rejoinder, with an explanation of why Plato might have wished to "stress the approximateness of the temporal reference": according to Mahoney, Plato thinks that the "corruption of the revolutions in our heads" begins when we first begin to perceive, but Plato would plausibly have regarded perception to begin, not exactly at birth, but rather 'around the time of birth', peri\ th_n ge/nesin:

Plato suggests that the disruption takes place at a very specific time: 'it was just then, at that very instant' (kai\ dh_ kai\ to&te e0n tw|~ paro&nti, 43 C7). When is this exactly? Sedley and Zeyl agree that the disruption occurs at birth, but this may not be accurate. The disruption begins to occur when a person first encounters external stimuli, which happens no later than the time of birth, but perhaps even earlier. An expectant mother often feels the movements of the child within her womb. It is not unreasonable to think that such movements are the reaction to soem stimulus that has been transmitted to the foetus within the womb. If so, then the disruptions to the revolutions begin even before birth. This would mean that we cannot make any general rule about the precise time at which human revolutions begin to be disrupted, so the most accurate way to describe the time at which these disruptions begin with with a suitably approximate expression such as peri\ th_n ge/nesin, 'around the time of birth', the exact phrase that Plato uses.
But Mahoney's explanation contains a flaw. Can you see what it is? (A hint: it involves an equivocation.) And yet in spite of that his interpretation is, I think, ultimately sustainable, although on slightly different grounds.

But more of this on Monday, as I'll be travelling over the weekend.

12 April 2007

"Around the Time Of..."

Yesterday I sketched a dispute over the translation and interpretation of a passage in the Timaeus. Mahoney's reasons in favor of the standard view seemed strong. But Sedley has a rejoinder. Recall that the passage is Timaeus 90d1-2:

...ta_j peri\ th_n ge/nesin e0n th|~ kefalh|~ diefqarme/naj h(mw~n perio&douj e0corqou~nta...
Against taking the highlighted phrase to refer to some time, viz. "at the time of birth", Sedley objects:
...the only point of a chronological peri/ could be to stress the approximateness of the temporal reference--"around the time of ...", and I cannot see what would motivate this in the present context.
The point is strengthened when one considers that Mahoney, as was said, wishes to understand Timaeus 90d1-2 as referring back to 43c-e, and yet in that earlier passage Plato speaks of the corruption of the revolutions in the head as occurring at a definite point in time:
The motions produced by all these encounters would then be conducted through the body to the soul and strike against it... It was just then, at that very instant (kai\ dh_ kai\ to&te e0n tw|~ paro&nti), that they produced a very long and intense commotion (c4-8).
So why would Plato have referred indefinitely to something he takes special pains to identify as occurring at a precise time?

Tomorrow I'll give the reply that Mahoney develops in his article.

11 April 2007

Corrupted Revolutions in Our Heads

I've been reading, to write a review, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, summer 2003, and in that volume Timothy A. Mahoney's, "Moral Virtue and Assimilation to God in Plato's Timaeus" raises a point of translation that is perfect for this blog.

Mahoney disputes David Sedley's reading of a passage in the Timaeus. Today I'll give Mahoney's main arguments; tomorrow I'll give Sedley's rejoinder; and the next day I'll give Mahoney's final reply. There's a flaw, I think, in Mahoney's final reply, and my question for you will be whether you can spot it and, if so, whether the flaw is fatal to his position.

The background for the dispute: Sedley and Mahoney differ over what a human being's assimilation to God amounts to for Plato. Sedley has maintained that, for Plato, such assimilatio requires that we put aside all practical matters and enter a state of pure contemplation; Mahoney disagrees and thinks that it involves our having and using the moral virtues, especially justice.

The specific point of dispute concerns a phrase in
Timaeus 90d1-2:

...ta_j peri\ th_n ge/nesin e0n th|~ kefalh|~ diefqarme/naj h(mw~n perio&douj e0corqou~nta...
Mahoney follows Zeyl and translates in the received way:
"We should redirect the revolutions in our heads that were thrown off course at the time of birth."
Sedley suggests a clever change and wishes to translate:
"We should correct the corrupted revolutions in our head concerned with becoming."
That translation fits better with Sedley's view of assimilatio, because then the passage seems to be recommending that that we turn completely away from any occupation with becoming, and thus with those things that moral virtue would govern.

Mahoney objects to Sedley's translation on two grounds:
1. "The phrase peri\ th_n ge/nesin is naturally taken as adverbial with diefqarme/naj." (He acknowledges Zeyl for this argument.)
2. 90d1-2 should be understood as referring back to 43c-e, where Plato seems to say that the disturbances of the revolutions in our heads began at birth.
Tomorrow I'll give Sedley's rejoinder, which perhaps you anticipate, if you've looked at that earlier passage, also here.

09 April 2007

Mystery Passage ID

The third mystery passage:

From the final chapter ("The Value of Philosophy") of Problems of Philosophy, by Bertrand Russell.
If the passage is not merely ad hominem as regards a readership Russell thinks is still in the thrall of Idealism--which I don't believe--then doesn't it tend to call into question Russell's notion that there are two distinct, fundamental sources of interest in philosophy, morality and science?

But I'd be interested to hear your reactions, reflections.

06 April 2007

On Being Properly Affected (by Vice)

What is our reaction when we recognize that someone else has a vice?

I doubt that this question has an answer, as it is poorly formulated. To recognize that someone has a vice, presumably we must recognize that there even are vices, and we cannot do this, I think, without our being committed to some system (even if only commonsensical) for identifying and categorizing vices. And not everyone thinks in that way; and there are different systems, and that which we accept can vary, even, depending upon our own character. And then our response to vice will also vary depending upon our relationship to the other person--we respond differently to vices seen (if we can see them) in those under our authority, or those we love, than vices seen in strangers or enemies. Again, we react differently depending upon whether we think we have the same vice ourself, or could have had it.

But Thomas Hurka is certain that we all react to vice in the same way--with hatred. It's all very simple, apparently, and this forms the basis of his main objection to what appears to be a very subtle book by Gabriele Taylor on the 'seven capital vices' (pride, lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, envy, anger).

Taylor maintains that what principally makes a vice bad is the harm it constitutes to the person who has the vice. Hurka argues that, if that were so, our reaction to a vice would be pity; and yet that is surely not the case:

If the key feature of vice, the one that makes the vices vicious, is its frustrating its possessor's desires, then our primary response to vice as vice should surely be pity. 'He's arrogant and condescending, the poor man,' we should say. Or 'She wants our happy marriage to end -- how awful for her.' Now if we believe the vices can harm their possessors -- and one cannot finish Taylor's book without having that belief strengthened -- then we may indeed feel some pity for a vicious person. But that is surely not our principal reaction to his vice, and surely not the one we have to it as vice. Our principal reaction is hatred, with the more specific forms of anger at vices like arrogance and envy and contempt for ones like gluttony and sloth.

He tries to buttress his argument by a consideration of malice, which Hurka maintains is the worst of all vices and therefore the central case of vice. What holds for malice, then, apparently holds for all other vices:
Malice is arguably the worst of the vices, and therefore the central case of vice, yet it is surely not made such by its effects on the malicious person. And our principal response to malice, say to a sadistic torturer's glee in his victim's pain, is hardly pity... if [Taylor] retains her general view that what makes any vice such is the harm it causes its possessor -- and there is no indication that she does not -- she seems committed to holding that malice is vicious primarily because it makes the person who feels it unhappy, and that is surely not the intuitive view.
But his objection has clearly gone off the rails when he starts speaking of the 'feeling' of malice, and when he gives the example of some particular act of torture--since to consider someone else's feeling or action is definitely not to consider his "vice as vice", which is what was at issue.

Frankly, I don't know what to say to the view that anger and contempt are 'specific forms' of hatred. Is Hurka supposing that there we have only two ways of responding to things, pro (love) and con (hatred)? Perhaps someone who sees things in that way does react only with variations of hatred to the faults and vices of others.

And I suppose I'm included in Hurka's readership when he writes that "our principal reaction" to someone's vice is hatred. But if so, then I can report that his claim is false. When I reflect carefully on my own reactions, I would say that I feel the following. (I assume that it is the seeing of a vice in a bad action that is the occasion for the reaction.)
  • First, perplexity and astonishment--because I cannot usually understand what it would be like to be the sort of person who would act that way.
  • Second, fear, because I next consider that I and the other are the 'same stuff', and that what he does reflects on the sort of being that I also am.
  • Third, fear once more, from a combination of my first two reactions, since I next consider that perhaps my perplexity is unjustified, given that I am of the 'same stuff', and that I might be ignorant of a similar vice in myself, as presumably that other person is.
  • Fourth, sometimes pity, sometimes sorrow, for the other.
  • Fifth--very often--in my mind I qualify the preceding reaction by looking at the vice in a larger perspective, and then I view the other, as having that vice, as ridiculous, or absurd, or tragically brought down by something he cannot control. That is, I have a humorous or resigned reaction.
To the extent that I identify with the victims, if there are any, of actions which result from the vice, then I feel also anger and indignation. But I believe that nowhere in this tangle do I feel what I would describe as hatred.

But of course these descriptions of how we do feel have little weight; what is relevant is how we should feel. Yet no light is supplied in that regard by assertions about how we all, surely, feel.

05 April 2007

Diversity in Ancient Philosophy

One must congratulate the recently founded Ancient Philosophy Society (recent, that is, for the time-scale on which we operate) for their good sense in holding their annual conference in Boston, and for their good taste in holding their annual banquet at the Gardner Museum. The program for the entire conference, which runs April 12-14, may be found here.

According to its mission statement:

The Ancient Philosophy Society was established to provide a forum for diverse scholarship on ancient Greek and Roman texts. Honoring the richness of the American and European philosophical traditions, the Ancient Philosophy Society supports phenomenological, postmodern, Anglo-American, Straussian, Tubingen School, hermeneutic, psychoanalytic, and feminist interpretations of ancient Greek and Roman philosophical and literary works. It is the intention that, within the larger aim of assessing the meaning and significance of ancient texts, the Ancient Philosophy Society serve as the site of critical engagement among these various schools of interpretation and that it encourage creative and rigorous independent readings.
--which is to suggest apparently that, outside of the Ancient Philosophy Society, one finds an insufficient diversity and richness, and that, within the Society, one distinctively finds 'critical engagement' among differing 'interpretations'.

But is either of these suppositions in fact true? A glance of the past programs of the society suggests that its conferences are not very different from what one finds elsewhere, except for a large dose of Heidegger thrown in. And it isn't clear that the conferences, at least, are especially structured to encourage critical discussion as to the merits, or weaknesses, in the various 'interpretations' mentioned in the mission statement.

Another interesting question is whether the supposition of different 'interpretations' should be made at all, and whether it is helpful to foster these directly. The Society's statement at the end seems to say that its ultimate aim is the fostering of creative, rigorous, and independent readings. Would it be preferable, perhaps, to aim directly at these things, and let diversity and richness of interpretation fall as they may?

One suspects that the Society is presupposing that inevitably everyone does fall within one of the mentioned 'interpretations', or some others not mentioned explicitly, and that, if this fact is not acknowledged, then creativity, rigor, and independence suffer as a consequence. But is that presupposition actually true? Couldn't a scholar aim--and largely succeed--at spurning 'feminist' or 'psycholanalytic' interpretations, or any other sort of interpretation such as that? Isn't the project, for instance, of explaining and evaluating, e.g. what Plato said and argued for, a viable project that is different from that of offering a specific 'interpretation'? But, if so, then the Ancient Philosophy Society, to the extent that it succeeded in being distinctive, would actually not be an ancient philosophy society--it would be a place where various 'interpretations' could meet and (perhaps) exchange their reflections on these 'interpretations', insofar as these reflections have been inspired by a relatively accidental encounter with ancient philosophy.

Against the charge that what appears to be a neutral position is actually an 'analytic interpretation', one may distinguish three approaches:
1. The use of tools in analytic philosophy in order to explain better and evaluate (e.g.) what Plato said and argued for.
2. The use of some tools, and principles, of analytic philosophy to read some ancient texts, on the supposition that the former are continuous with the philosophical project found in the latter.
3. Taking for granted some project which is motivated solely from within analytic philosophy (say, logicism, or specifically scientific reductionism or naturalism), and then looking to ancient philosophy for inspiration or assistance as regards the advancement of that project.
1. cannot be faulted, if accomplished with suitable sensitivity, except for being incomplete. (Yet this would not be an incompleteness that could be made up for with an 'interpretation'). 2. is perfectly respectable where the supposed continuity actually holds. Only 3. looks as if it is aiming at something analogous to a 'feminist' or 'psychoanalytic' interpretation; but 3., I take it, represents only a small slice of work in ancient philosophy over the last 50 years.

Admittedly a residual concern is false consciousness--someone thinks and claims he is making clear (e.g.) what Plato said and argued for, but, because he does not know himself, he has actually gotten that wrong and is, rather, advancing some 'interpretation'. And then, precisely because he thinks that he is neutral, and everyone else is offering a biased 'interpretation', he dominates the field and unfairly excludes others.

But I don't see that there is any remedy for that sort of problem except: extreme care in reading texts; good scholarship (as that has always been understood); wide reading; historical senstivity; and --very important--a willingness to be changed through an encounter with an ancient text.

But if we place all of these things first, as apparently we should, wouldn't this be (again) to favor above all 'rigor, creativity, and independence', and let diversity fall where it may?

04 April 2007

Third Mystery Passage

To whom should we attribute these declarations about contemplation and greatness of soul? (Googling not allowed!)

For this reason greatness of soul is not fostered by those philosophies which assimilate the universe to Man. Knowledge is a form of union of Self and not-Self; like all union, it is impaired by dominion, and therefore by any attempt to force the universe into conformity with what we find in ourselves. There is a widespread philosophical tendency towards the view which tells us that Man is the measure of all things, that truth is man-made, that space and time and the world of universals are properties of the mind, and that, if there be anything not created by the mind, it is unknowable and of no account for us. This view, if our previous discussions were correct, is untrue; but in addition to being untrue, it has the effect of robbing philosophic contemplation of all that gives it value, since it fetters contemplation to Self. What it calls knowledge is not a union with the not-Self, but a set of prejudices, habits, and desires, making an impenetrable veil between us and the world beyond. The man who finds pleasure in such a theory of knowledge is like the man who never leaves the domestic circle for fear his word might not be law.

The true philosophic contemplation, on the contrary, finds its satisfaction in every enlargement of the not-Self, in everything that magnifies the objects contemplated, and thereby the subject contemplating. Everything, in contemplation, that is personal or private, everything that depends upon habit, self-interest, or desire, distorts the object, and hence impairs the union which the intellect seeks. By thus making a barrier between subject and object, such personal and private things become a prison to the intellect. The free intellect will see as God might see, without a here and now, without hopes and fears, without the trammels of customary beliefs and traditional prejudices, calmly, dispassionately, in the sole and exclusive desire of knowledge -- knowledge as impersonal, as purely contemplative, as it is possible for man to attain. Hence also the free intellect will value more the abstract and universal knowledge into which the accidents of private history do not enter, than the knowledge brought by the senses, and dependent, as such knowledge must be, upon an exclusive and personal point of view and a body whose sense-organs distort as much as they reveal.

To make this fun: if you don't know, say who you think it might be, who it sounds like. And no harm in remaining Anonymous.

03 April 2007

BACAP Lecture, April 12



On Names and Concepts: Mythical and Logical Thinking in Plato's Symposium

Professor Günter Figal
(Universität Freiburg)

Professor Dennis Schmidt
(Pennsylvania State University)

Heights Room, Corcoran Commons, Boston College
Thursday, 12 April 2007 at 7:30 PM

Also a seminar on
"Plato and Nietzsche on Soul"
Republic 435a-441c
Beyond Good and Evil, 19
Room 328 (21 Campanella Way)
Tuesday, 10 April 2007 from 4:30-6:30PM
Both the lecture and seminar are open to the public.

For more information, please contact:
Prof. Gary Gurtler, S.J., gurtlerg@bc.edu

02 April 2007

Does Socrates Have a View about Eudaimonia in the Apology?

On the relation between virtue and happiness in the Apology... Wouldn't the simple first step be to check Socrates' usage of eudaimonia in the dialogue? Senn doesn't do this. I looked at Reeve's discussion (Socrates in the Apology), and he doesn't do it (he turns to the Euthydemus or other dialogues). And I looked at a few other randomly selected sources and, strangely, could find no such thing.

Anyway, there are four occurrences. Here's my TLG search. I'll paste it in, links and all, for your convenience. (English texts below.)

1. Plato Phil., Apologia Socratis. {0059.002} Stephanus page 25 section b line 7. (Browse)
pa&ntwj dh&pou, e0a&nte su_ kai\ 1Anutoj ou)

fh~te e0a&nte fh~te: pollh_ ga_r a1n tij eu)daimoni/a ei1h peri\

tou_j ne/ouj ei0 ei[j me\n mo&noj au)tou_j diafqei/rei, oi9 d' a1lloi

2. Plato Phil., Apologia Socratis. {0059.002} Stephanus page 36 section d line 9. (Browse)

ei1 tij u(mw~n i3ppw| h2 sunwri/di h2 zeu&gei neni/khken 0Olumpi/a-

sin: o( me\n ga_r u(ma~j poiei= eu)dai/monaj dokei=n ei]nai, e0gw_ de\

(e.) ei]nai, kai\ o( me\n trofh~j ou)de\n dei=tai, e0gw_ de\ de/omai. ei0

3. Plato Phil., Apologia Socratis. {0059.002} Stephanus page 41 section c line 4. (Browse)

diale/gesqai kai\ sunei=nai kai\ e0ceta&zein a)mh&xanon a2n ei1h

eu)daimoni/aj; pa&ntwj ou) dh&pou tou&tou ge e3neka oi9 e0kei=

a)poktei/nousi: ta& te ga_r a1lla eu)daimone/steroi/ ei0sin oi9 e0kei= (5)

4. Plato Phil., Apologia Socratis. {0059.002} Stephanus page 41 section c line 5. (Browse)

eu)daimoni/aj; pa&ntwj ou) dh&pou tou&tou ge e3neka oi9 e0kei=

a)poktei/nousi: ta& te ga_r a1lla eu)daimone/steroi/ ei0sin oi9 e0kei= (5)

tw~n e0nqa&de, kai\ h1dh to_n loipo_n xro&non a)qa&natoi/ ei0sin, ei1per

(There's also
emakarisa used in a sense similar to 1. at 20b9 here.)

Some puzzles.

1. and 3. use eudaimonia to indicate a blessing, or 'stroke of good fortune', that happens apart from anything we are striving for. (It just turns out that, unlike every other case, being an expert is the rule in the cultivation of character in youths. It just turns out that the afterlife is an unending conversation with great men about philosophical topics.) In these passages, then, eudaimonia is not a 'good attainable through our own efforts.' (One of our 'distinctions in goodness' proves to be a useful tool!) However, 2. uses the word to indicate something that Socrates can produce. (Or is that said only to make a rhetorical parallel, and what Socrates means is that he produces what leads to eudaimonia, or might aptly be blessed with eudaimonia?--It doesn't matter. Even so, it would show that Socrates does not regard himself obliged to keep to any consistent usage.) --Or does Socrates mean 'I make you happy' in the sense that 'I am a blessing sent by the god for you', in which case 1. and 3. actually are compatible?

4. seems to carry along the implicature that some people 'here' are happy, at least in some respects (whatever that might mean). Maybe Socrates has in mind that some persons here are happy to the degree that they are virtuous. However, given the proximity of 4. to 3., wouldn't one expect the word to carry a similar sense in both instances? So then presumably it means that the men 'over there' are 'blessed', not directly through their own efforts, in various ways other than being immortal--and that some men 'here' are to some extent blessed. But then how would that point fit into Socrates' larger claim, that the men 'over there' won't want to execute Socrates for spending his time in philosophical dicussions?

Isn't it a bit odd in 2. that, after talking about happiness, Socrates next talks about his neediness?--One would think that the argument presupposes that he is happy (which is why he can make others happy), and yet wouldn't it be strange for him to say in the same breath that he is needy?

What conclusion might one draw from all this? Wouldn't it be that Socrates simply does not express any considered philosophical view about happiness in the Apology? We're likely forcing the text to look for one. If he has any view at all, it's that happiness is a gift or blessing, which we cannot attain through our own efforts, but which perhaps 'happens' to us if we are virtuous. But, even still, it seems a stretch to say that this is Socrates' view of happiness in the dialogue.

1. Certainly it is, whether you and Anytus deny it or agree; for it would be a great state of blessedness in the case of the youth if one alone corrupts them, and the others do them good.

2. For he makes you seem to be happy, whereas I make you happy in reality; and he is not at all in need of sustenance, but I am needy.

3. To converse and associate with them and examine them would be immeasurable happiness.

4. At any rate, the folk there do not kill people for it; since, if what we are told is true, they are immortal for all future time, besides being happier in other respects than men are here.