South African Journal of Philosophy 23 (4):336-342 (2004)

Authors
Pedro Tabensky
Rhodes University
Abstract
Happiness: Personhood, Community, Purpose (Happiness from now on) is, among other things, a book about the holistic interrelationship that exists between the concepts of happiness, rationality and ethics. The conception of happiness at issue is, in broad outline, Aristotle's, which is to say that it is about the meaning of life. He referred to this conception as eudaimonia. Perhaps the fundamental guiding question that has motivated me to write Happiness in the first place is ‘Why even bother about being ethical?' After a long period of nihilistic scepticism regarding the possibility of properly addressing this question, I came to see in Aristotle a possible solution, and I ran with it. I am still running. The relevant sense of rationality at issue allows us to claim that we are rational creatures as opposed to the sense that is most directly related to our characterisation of persons as creatures capable of conscious rational thinking. I argue that happiness is a rational ideal, understood as a manner of operating. And this manner of operating cannot properly be understood in isolation from an understanding of the ethic from which human goodness flows. Moreover, I argue that individual happiness cannot be separated from what I characterise as collective eudaimonia and what this in effect means is that the theory of happiness that I advance entails a particular conception of the political domain. The conception at issue, as we shall see, is, in key respects, very un-Aristotelian. That said, it is in an other sense very Aristotelian indeed insofar as I argue that being ethical is constitutive of happiness and, presumably and in some sense, we all want to live happy lives. Being ethical, moreover, involves working to create and perpetuate the social conditions for human flourishing. S. Afr. J. Philos. Vol.23(4) 2004: 336-342
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DOI 10.4314/sajpem.v23i4.31401
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References found in this work BETA

Three Varieties of Knowledge.Donald Davidson - 1991 - In A. Phillips Griffiths (ed.), Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 153-166.
Three Varieties of Knowledge.Donald Davidson - 1991 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 30:153-166.

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