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Can Technology Make Us Happy?

Ethics, Spectator’s Happiness and the Value of Achievement
  • Andreas SpahnEmail author
Chapter
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Part of the Happiness Studies Book Series book series (HAPS)

Abstract

The chapter introduces a distinction between a person-related and a circumstance directed type of happiness in order to investigate in which way modern technology can contribute to human happiness. This distinction is elaborated as the difference between ‘achiever’s happiness’ and ‘spectator’s happiness’. Looking at the ethical tradition, it is argued that moral philosophers have certain expectations about what should count as true happiness for human beings, who can act in accordance with moral values. The essay presents three arguments for the superiority of achiever’s happiness from a moral point of view. Looking at modern technology it is argued that we find both in an optimistic and a pessimistic evaluation of modern technology valuable insights into the role that technology can (and can not) play for the human striving for happiness. Finally persuasive technologies are presented as one type of recent technologies that promises to contribute to achiever’s happiness if developed while taking ethical requirements into account.

Keywords

Modern technology and happiness Human happiness Happiness and contemporary society Spectator’s happiness and achiever’s happiness Ethical ideal of happiness 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy and Ethics of Technology, IE&ISEindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands

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