Gorgias Analysis

Satisfactory Essays
Callicles comes with a hedonistic belief that pleasure is to be associated with “good” and that pain is to be associated with “bad”, which means a good life is the one full of many pleasures. To refute Callicles belief, Socrates first uses the example of health and disease to explain to Callicles that good and bad cannot happen with a person at the same time, yet pain and pleasure can happen simultaneously. To further enforce his point, Socrates uses the concept of a coward and the brave to provide another argument that pain and pleasure cannot be the deciding factors for what is a good life. In both of his arguments, I believe Socrates is successful based on my personal belief that if someone or something is result in pain, it doesn’t mean that it is bad, and that everyone, good or bad, is capable of feeling both pain an pleasure.
Argument #1 and Response
The first argument that Socrates makes against Callicles view of the “good life” is that pleasure and pain cannot be connected with being the same as good and bad. The way he goes about in presenting his argument is with two steps: 1) first showing that good and bad are opposites and 2) that pain and pleasure can exist together. He first makes the point that good and bad are opposites by having disease represent “bad” and health represents “good”. He states, “What if he gets rid of his eye disease? Does he also get rid of his eyes health and so in the end he’s rid of both at the same time,” meaning that if something good is present in a human, then the opposite of that, the bad, must be gone. If a person is in good health, or if a person is strong, then they must be disease free and must not be weak. After this has been established, Socrates goes on to clarify that unlike...

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...who feel pleasure and enjoyment. Following the thoughts and beliefs of Callicles, then if the brave feels sorrow upon loses, then that means that they are experiencing pain, which leads to the conclusion that they are bad. This thought concept is not valid, because I believe that everyone has the capacity of feeling sorrow and enjoyment, and it can’t be used to confirm if someone has a good life or a bad life. Bravery comes in the absence of one being a coward, just like good comes in the absence of bad, however someone who is brave can experience both pain and pleasure. Someone who is brave or intelligent might be seen as superior in society, but that is because they have more respect and have proved their worth. It doesn’t mean that they have more pleasures in their life.

Works Cited

Plato, and Donald J. Zeyl. Gorgias. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub., 1987. Print.
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