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The Quest for the Good LifeAncient Philosophers on Happiness$
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Øyvind Rabbås, Eyjólfur K. Emilsson, Hallvard Fossheim, and Miira Tuominen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198746980

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198746980.001.0001

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On Happiness and Godlikeness before Socrates

On Happiness and Godlikeness before Socrates

(p.28) 1 On Happiness and Godlikeness before Socrates
The Quest for the Good Life

Svavar Hrafn Svavarsson

Oxford University Press

The Greek moral philosophers shared the idea that happiness as the final good of human beings consists in godlikeness. Humans become godlike, if they exercise in as unadulterated a form as possible their intellect, because god is, for the philosophers, intellect. The chapter sketches the historical background to this conception. Greek approaches to happiness have one point of reference in common: Where there is happiness, there is deity, to which all inferior states are compared. There seem to be three clusters of attributes that characterize god: (i) God is excellent above all, and endowed with those qualities that afford him supreme honor. (ii) God is self-sufficient and immortal. (iii) These attributes afford god pleasure and serenity. They are associated with god in Homer and Aristotle, presented as objects of human desire, as perfect happiness.

Keywords:   happiness, godlikeness, ancient ethics, excellence, god

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