The Idea of Happiness [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 23 (1):134-135 (1969)

This particular volume differs from other members of the series, in that it is historically as well as dialectically oriented, and is also less encyclopedic than the others. The first part develops six different theories of happiness and the second presents different controversies about happiness. In the first chapter, the author proposes Aristotle's eudemonism [[sic]] as the most complete and most influential of all theories of happiness, and he uses it as a matrix for most of the discussions in the second part. Chapters following this initial exposition of Aristotle treat Plato's "mixed" eudemonism [[sic]], Stoic suppression of desire, concepts of transcendent happiness in Plotinus, Augustine and Aquinas, Kant's valorization of duty and Hegel's critique thereof, and Bentham's and Mill's utilitarianism. Moral issues discussed in the second part include: self-realization, happiness vs. performance of duty, fulfillment vs. prudence, and eudemonism [[sic]] vs. hedonism. The last thirty pages focus on contemporary pursuits of the good life, centered around the issue of self-actualization. This section is predominantly psychological, and treats very briefly some theories of Kurt Goldstein, G. W. Allport, Robert W. White, A. H. Maslow, Marie Jahoda, Carl Rogers, and Fromm. Although the author take sides, he does stimulate reflection about the good life through expositions which avoid more difficult philosophical problems but which definitely evoke practical individual and social overtones.--C. M. R.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph1969231176
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