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Happiness theories of the good life

Abstract

The paper starts with a presentation of the pure happiness theory, i.e. the idea that the quality of a person’s life is dependent on one thing only, viz. how happy that person is. To find out whether this type of theory is plausible or not, I examine the standard arguments for and against this theory, including Nozick’s experience machine argument. I then investigate how the theory can be modified in order to avoid the most serious objections. I first examine different types of epistemic modifications of the theory (e.g. the idea that a person’s happiness is more valuable for her if it is based on a correct perception of her own life), and then turn to a number of modifications which all make the value of a person’s happiness depend on whether the evaluative standard on which her happiness is based satisfies certain requirements. In connection with this, I present and defend my own modified version of the happiness theory.

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Correspondence to Bengt Brülde.

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Brülde, B. Happiness theories of the good life. J Happiness Stud 8, 15–49 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-006-9003-8

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Keywords

  • autonomy
  • good life
  • happiness
  • hedonism
  • prudential value
  • rational desire
  • well-being