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Nicholas D. Smith
Lewis and Clark College (Portland, OR 97219-8091)
Socrates on Knowledge, Virtue, and Happiness

Writing toward the publication of a book that argues for a new interpretation of Socratic virtue, finding happiness through honing a set of practical skills.

A book that articulates the connections Socrates makes (in Plato's early or Socratic dialogues) between knowledge, virtue, and happiness. In this project, I make the case that these connections have been misunderstood in the scholarly literature because scholars have insufficiently understood an important consequence of the Socratic conception of the relevant knowledge as craft or skill. Briefly, the achievement of skill occurs by degrees and with practice. I show how this effects the Socratic view of virtue and happiness, and how these are connected, in a way that is gradable. In the Socratic view, then, our project as human beings is to improve our life skills, our degree of achievement in virtue, and thus the extent to which we can be happy.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Classics; Epistemology; History of Philosophy

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2019 – 7/31/2019