Lyceum (2007)

Kristian Urstad
Douglas College
Callicles holds a desire-fulfilment conception of happiness; it is something like, that is, the continual satisfaction of desires that constitutes happiness for him. He claims that leading the happy life consists in having many desires, letting them grow as strong as possible and then being able to satisfy them (e.g. 491e, 494c). For Callicles, this life of maximum pursuit of desires consists in a kind of absolute freedom, where there is very little practice of restraint; happiness consists of luxury, unrestraint, and freedom (492b-c). Socrates develops his objections to Callicles’ life of freedom by appealing to two myths once told to him by a wise man. I draw out what I think are the two primary objections and consider to what extent they might be seen to damage Callicles’ position. I conclude that Callicles’ view on freedom can adequately meet one of Socrates’ objections but not the other.
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