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The telos of the State: Self-sufficiency, Happiness, and ta prosēkonta

Hye Kyong Kim 1

1인제대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

When Socrates leads the discussion about the beginning of a (theoretical) city in Republic, self-insufficiency and various needs which individuals undergo are the founding reasons of that establishment. So, it might seem natural to take that the very self-sufficiency would be the task and aim of his city. In this paper I’ve reexamined the thesis that the self-sufficiency was the real ideal, telos of Plato’s state. Aristotle’s interpretation and critic on that point have been reconsidered. One may also argue that the division of labor, the running principle Plato has advocated, serves his city only as a tool for the efficiency. But the division of labor is not a “simple” tool to utilize the fulfillment of necessities. It was a intentional efficiency to the aim of the state from the very beginning. Happiness (eudaimonia), not self-sufficiency is the proper aim of Plato’s state. But Socrates himself had met some serious challenges in the course of immediate dialogue. That is, he has not allowed his guardians the happiness they deserve. The success of defense (apologia) against that challenge mainly depends on the clarification, or reorientation of ‘happiness’ and the interpretation of the concept of ‘what are appropriates (ta prosēkonta)’.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.