I need to make a flash card of this but my notes aren't sufficient for information and I can't find anything online. From what I have in my notes he believes the Good is not pleasure and the Bad is not pain, but what else is there?

  • See his arguments in The Republic, especially 583b-588a. For instance: "[W]hen it is next to the painful repose looks pleasant and next to the pleasant, painful; and in these appearances there is nothing sound, so far as truth of pleasure goes, only a certain wizardry." (584a)
    – user3017
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 15:08
  • "[B]etween bodily health and sickness there is an admitted difference or dissimilarity, and what is dissimilar craves and loves dissimilar things. Hence the desire felt by a sound body is quite other than that of a sickly one." (The Symposium 186b)
    – user3017
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 15:56
  • That sounded to me like the Philebus -- might be worth a look too
    – Joseph Weissman
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 4:11

1 Answer 1


The short version is that good is virtue, not pleasure, and bad is the loss of virtue. If someone does something immoral for pleasure or to avoid pain then they are not taking good actions. For instance in the Apology Socrates states that it would not have been good of a soldier to abandon his post, though it may help him avoid death, because it would be a breach of his duty.

However I suggest you share notes with one of your class mates so that you can get the most accurate sense of what your professor intends for you to learn.

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