Happiness and virtue in positive psychology

Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 37 (1):89–103 (2007)
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Positive psychologists aspire to study the moral virtues, as well as positive emotions, while retaining scientific objectivity. Within this framework, Martin Seligman, a founder of positive psychology, offers an empirically-based argument for an ancient and venerable theme: happiness can be increased by exercising the virtues. Seligman's project is promising, but it needs to pay greater attention to several methodological matters: greater care in defining happiness, so as to avoid smuggling in value assumptions of the sort suggested by the title of his book, Authentic Happiness; more attention to the gap between happiness as overall satisfaction and specific gratifications ; the danger of sliding to subjectivism by equating self-assessments of virtue with objectively-justified values of the sort Aristotle had in mind; awareness of how “positive” emotions and attitudes presuppose value assumptions



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Mike Martin
University College London

References found in this work

On virtue ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse - 1999 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Ethics of Authenticity.Charles Taylor - 1991 - Harvard University Press.
Republic.Plato . (ed.) - 2008 - Oxford University Press UK.

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