Download e-book for iPad: A Brief History of Happiness by Nicholas P. White

By Nicholas P. White

Will we fairly understand what happiness is? should still happiness play one of these dominant function in shaping and orienting our lives? and the way do we care for conflicts among a few of the issues that make us chuffed? during this short background of happiness, thinker Nicholas White experiences 2,500 years of makes an attempt to reply to such questions. White considers the ways that significant thinkers from antiquity to the current day have taken care of happiness: from Platos inspiration of the concord of the soul and Aristotles account of healthiness or flourishing because the objective of a moral existence, to Aquinas notion of the imaginative and prescient of the divine essence, Benthams hedonistic calculus, and the modern day decision-theoretic inspiration of choice. We additionally come upon skepticism concerning the very suggestion of a whole and constant inspiration of happiness within the writings of Nietzsche and Freud. all through, White relates questions on happiness to vital issues in ethics and functional philosophy.

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Indeed, he seems to have thought it unavoidable. In his description of “the completely good man” (Rep. 427e), he describes the harmony of such a person’s soul or personality. Such a person doesn’t allow any part of himself to do the work of another part, or let the various elements in him interfere with each other. He organizes what’s really his own well, and rules himself. He puts himself in order, is his own friend, and harmonizes the . . parts of himself like . . limiting notes in a musical chord.

Limiting notes in a musical chord. He binds those parts together, and any others in between, and from having been many he becomes entirely one, moderate and harmonious. (Rep. 443d) Plato’s thinking is guided by two considerations, both of which turned out to be highly influential. One was the thought that a conflict among aims is bad for a person. The other was that unless happiness is some kind of harmony, no clear account of it can be articulated or understood. On the first point, Plato’s reasons were these: In the first place, he thought, a person whose aims aren’t consistent is doomed to frustration.

Likewise, by applying this strategy to many people simultaneously, the maker of social policy ought to be able to plan to maximize the happiness of a whole society or population, or even all humankind. Hedonism and the Measurement of Happiness ABHC03 43 1/11/05, 12:02 PM 43 It’s evident that a hedonism of the sort that’s just been described would have to use the word “pleasure” in a broader sense than it has in many colloquial uses. In ordinary contexts “pleasure” often refers simply to particular diversions and also to the enjoyment that comes from eating, drinking, sex, and other such activities.

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A Brief History of Happiness by Nicholas P. White


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