Eudaimonia

EUDAIMONIA is ‘welfare’. Other translations are ‘prosperity’, ‘well-being’, ‘blessedness’ and also ‘happiness‘. It refers to a condition which is the final result of all virtues combined together. Else we could say that <eudaimonia> derives from the one and only Virtue, which is ‘living a virtuous life’. In fact, ‘living a virtuous life’ includes all the qualities we usually consider as singular virtues. Since a virtuous life requires at least some training, another way to describe <eudaimonia> is as the final outcome of all trainings (<askesis>).

Sokratiko Logo

Stoics regard virtue as necessary and sufficient for <eudaimonia>. The ancient Greek word for virtue is <arete>. Nonetheless, the traditional Greek idea of <arete> does not match the term virtue as we know it. Our notion of virtue features Christian traits of charity, patience and rectitude. Instead, the Greek <arete> embraces non-moral virtues like physical strength and beauty. But it is the Stoic idea of <arete> that we find much closer to the Christian notion of virtue. Closer does not mean identical. For instance, unlike Christians, Stoics do not emphasize in ‘virtue’ the ideas of mercy, forgiveness, self-abasement, charity and self-sacrificial love. It is true that in Stoicism these aspects are sometimes praised, but we know that Stoicism puts its accent on righteousness, honesty, moderation, simplicity, self-discipline, resolve, fortitude¬†and courage.

In conclusion <eudaimonia> is ‘welfare’. A specific well-being depending on the practice of virtue. This practice is, of course, neither episodic nor shallow. Our philosophers always request that we are virtuous every day (even in the most banal situations). Also they want us to practice virtue with all our convictions, energies and determination. And virtue is an idea which could change in its details although quite stable in its leading principles.