The Nature and Value of Happiness provides a historic and contemporary overview of the philosophy of happiness, with critical evaluations to help students analyze the material and trace the evolution of a deeply nuanced concept. Addressing how the modern notion of happiness has changed from its ancient origins, Christine Vitrano attempts to clarify the precise value of happiness. This search leads Vitrano to examine topics such as the moral requirements of happiness and whether happiness can be considered the greatest good or simply one good among many. The philosophical theories are presented in a way that is accessible to anyone interested in learning about happiness, regardless of previous philosophical study. All technical terms and concepts are clearly explained, and illustrative examples tied into the text bring the material to life and help establish the relevance of the subject to readers. The ultimate goal is to reach a definition of the nature of happiness that best reflects the way we use the word today. This book is a welcome addition to the growing literature on happiness and is ideal for initiating provocative discussions in courses on happiness and ethics.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Steven M. Cahn Introduction Chapter One: Happiness as Pleasure The Varieties of Hedonism What Is Pleasure? Ancient Hedonism Modern Hedonism Contemporary Hedonism Should We Be Hedonists About Happiness? Chapter Two: Happiness as Virtue: Plato and the Stoics Platonic Happiness Stoic Happiness Chapter Three: Happiness as Virtue: Aristotle Is Virtue Necessary for Happiness? Chapter Four: Happiness as Desire Satisfaction The Simple Satisfaction View The Simple Satisfaction View: Second Formulation The Simple Satisfaction View: Third Formulation The Simple Satisfaction View: Final Formulation Chapter Five: Happiness as Something More than Satisfaction The Normative View Happiness as Appraisal: First Formulation Happiness as Appraisal: Second Formulation Conclusion Chapter 6: Happiness as Life Satisfaction The Life-Satisfaction View Is There One Concept of Happiness? Are Mistakes About Happiness Possible? Is Life Satisfaction Arbitrary? Chapter 7: Happiness and Morality The Happy Immoralist Morality or the Appearance of Morality? Chapter 8: The Pursuit of Happiness Conclusion Appendix: The Experience Machine Index