Things that will be beneficial always: Xenophon's eudaimonology and the happiness of socrates

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Xenophon has a practical conception of happiness insofar as it depends on the pleasures derived from concrete accomplishments one can perform during life and on the awareness of success in doing so. In this framework, Socrates embodies the maximal degree of happiness, even though his achievements do not match the attainments of other Xenophon's heroes in practical domains such as household management, politics and military campaigns. By challenging the assumption that this kind of hard work (ponos) is a necessary condition for happiness, this article argues that Socrates achieves a greater amount of happiness without the burdens of the hard work required by these other activities, precisely by promoting both self- enhancement and the improvement of his friends and other people who have engaged with him. Therefore, the pleasures that Socrates enjoys in his educational enterprise are qualitatively superior to the pleasures involved in the hardships of these other activities, and also, the value of the accomplishments pursued in moral education is superior to the achievements pursued in the other practical realms.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationXenophon, the Philosopher
Subtitle of host publicationArgumentation and Ethics
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9783631891773
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2023


  • Ethics
  • Happiness
  • Pleasure
  • Ponos
  • Socrates
  • Xenophon

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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