Happiness and Meaning: Two Aspects of the Good Life

Social Philosophy and Policy 14 (1):207 (1997)
Abstract
The topic of self-interest raises large and intractable philosophical questions–most obviously, the question “In what does self-interest consist?” The concept, as opposed to the content of self-interest, however, seems clear enough. Self-interest is interest in one's own good. To act self-interestedly is to act on the motive of advancing one's own good. Whether what one does actually is in one's self-interest depends on whether it actually does advance, or at least, minimize the decline of, one's own good. Though it may be difficult to tell whether a person is motivated by self-interest in a particular instance, and difficult also to determine whether a given act or decision really is in one's self-interest, the meaning of the claims in question seems unproblematic. My main concern in this essay is to make a point about the content of self-interest. Specifically I shall put forward the view that meaningfulness, in a sense I shall elaborate, is an important element of a good life. It follows, then, that it is part of an enlightened self-interest that one wants to secure meaning in one's life, or, at any rate, to allow and promote meaningful activity within it. Accepting this substantial conception of self-interest, however, carries with it a curious consequence: the concept of self-interest which formerly seemed so clear begins to grow fuzzy. Fortunately, it comes to seem less important as well. In Reasons and Persons, Derek Parfit distinguishes three sorts of theories about self-interest–hedonistic theories, preference theories, and what he calls “objective-list theories." Hedonistic theories hold that one's good is a matter of the felt quality of one's experiences
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S0265052500001734
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
God, the Meaning of Life, and a New Argument for Atheism.Jason Megill & Daniel Linford - 2016 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 79 (1):31-47.
Value in Very Long Lives.Preston Greene - forthcoming - Journal of Moral Philosophy.
Recent Work on the Meaning of Life.Thaddeus Metz - 2002 - Ethics 112 (4):781-814..
Relational Good and the Multiplicity Problem.Connie S. Rosati - 2009 - Philosophical Issues 19 (1):205-234.
The Good Cause Account of the Meaning of Life.Aaron Smuts - 2013 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):536-562.

View all 25 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
The Good Cause Account of the Meaning of Life.Aaron Smuts - 2013 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):536-562.
Happiness, Contentment and the Good Life.Thomas L. Carson - 1981 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 62 (4):378.
Happiness and Meaningfulness: Some Key Differences.Thaddeus Metz - 2009 - In Lisa Bortolotti (ed.), Philosophy and Happiness. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 3-20.
What is This Thing Called Happiness?Fred Feldman - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
The Habitual Route to Environmentally Friendly (or Unfriendly) Happiness.Cheryl Hall - 2010 - Ethics, Place and Environment 13 (1):19 – 22.
On Happiness.Hon-Lam Li - 2011 - World Policy Journal:4-5.
Philosophy and Happiness.Lisa Bortolotti (ed.) - 2009 - Palgrave MacMillan.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-08-31

Total downloads

705 ( #1,574 of 2,172,658 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

38 ( #6,888 of 2,172,658 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums