For Socrates, virtue is necessary for happiness, and virtue is sufficient for happiness. You may not be a supermodel or the most financially successful person in the world, but if you are honest, wise, fair, courageous and self-controlled, your life and character will merit praise and respect. If you go beyond simplistic common sense and skill yourself in reason, you can become truly wise. If you cultivate courage, wisdom, justice, and self-control throughout your entire life, then even if you achieve nothing else, you will have lived a truly meaningful life.

In the reading and Apology video, Socrates is trying to prove his innocence to the Athenians and argue he is doing the right thing by asking questions of their assumptions of wisdom. What, from his perspective, is the problem that most of his fellow citizens have and how can philosophy help? What are the values that Socrates defends? Do you agree with Socrates or disagree? Why or why not? What kind of knowledge and virtue is required for a meaningful life? Why?

SOURCE: de Botton “Consolations of Philosophy” pages 3-42 and Apology video


In this paper, you are to address each of the following questions in relation to the topic above:

  1. Introduction with a thesis. Tell me what you will be doing in your paper and introduce the subject (3-4 sentences, please no more than 6)
  2. Explain in your own words that philosopher’s theory and ideas Do not use the pronoun “I” here. (This is will be about 1.5 pages)
  3. Give your critical analysis of the philosopher’s ideas and arguments. DO NOT APPEAL TO FEELINGS OR BELIEFS. Tell me your critical thoughts. Personal feelings are irrelevant to discussing the philosopher’s ideas in paper. You may use the pronoun “I” here. (about 1-1.5 pages) Make sure to also have a conclusion.

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