, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 419-431
Date: 08 Nov 2011


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Joy has not received much philosophical attention. While joy is sometimes mentioned in discussions of hedonism, happiness, desire, or religion, it is rarely considered in itself. It generally appears in discussions only as a by-product of more significant matters, such as living a good life or attaining clarity of mind. Much about the nature of joy has remained unclear, such as whether it is a distinctive state, a feeling, or an emotion, and also why it is experienced and if it has a functional role. By understanding the nature, role, and importance of joy, we can see that joy is an intense, positively toned emotion, whose inherent connection to the desire for self-preservation renders it inappropriate for providing the basis for theories of morality.


Joy is often regarded as a kind of happiness, pleasure, and a fleeting feeling, but none of these notions adequately captures the nature of joy. For the most part, accounts of happiness fall into two categories, either concerning psycholo ...