David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Theoria 74 (3):219-238 (2008)
The most popular concepts of happiness among psychologists and philosophers nowadays are concepts of happiness according to which happiness is defined as "satisfaction with life as a whole". Such concepts are "Whole Life Satisfaction" (WLS) concepts of happiness. I show that there are hundreds of non-equivalent ways in which a WLS conception of happiness can be developed. However, every precise conception either requires actual satisfaction with life as a whole or requires hypothetical satisfaction with life as a whole. I show that a person can be "happy" (in any familiar sense that might be relevant to eudaimonism) at a time even though he is not actually satisfied with his life as a whole at that time. I also show that a person can be "happy" at a time even though it is not correct to say that if he were to think about his life at that time, he would be satisfied with it as a whole. My thesis is that if you think that happiness is the Good, you should avoid defining happiness as whole life satisfaction.
|Keywords||welfare eudaimonism Richard Brandt Wayne Sumner prudential value happiness Wladyslaw Tatarkiewicz whole life satisfaction well‐being Elizabeth Telfer|
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Dan Haybron (forthcoming). Happiness. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Lisa Bortolotti (ed.) (2009). Philosophy and Happiness. Palgrave MacMillan.
Gary Watson (1983). Kant on Happiness in the Moral Life. Philosophy Research Archives 9:79-108.
Daniel M. Haybron (2005). On Being Happy or Unhappy. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (2):287–317.
Fred Feldman (2010). What is This Thing Called Happiness? Oxford University Press.
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