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The Most Important Idea in the World: An Introduction

  • Joar VittersøEmail author
Chapter
Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)

Abstract

The notion of eudaimonia is complex, but important. Numerous terminologies compete to describe it, but the disagreement between psychological and philosophical ideas of “the good life” is the most crucial. This chapter refers to the two approaches as Happiness 1 and Happiness 2, respectively. Many philosophical theories of eudaimonia are compatible with the notion of Happiness 2. The more controversial debate is whether it makes sense for Happiness 1 researchers to include the concept of eudaimonia in their models. Proponents maintain that subjective goodness must include the fulfillment of our human nature. Activities and experiences included in, or resulting from, the development of valuable individual potentials and social relations are central to this formula. These elements of eudaimonia, they argue, are psychological, but not accounted for by pleasure or life satisfaction. Arguments against the idea of eudaimonia as a Happiness 1 concept come in many forms, and one of them claims that pleasure and life satisfaction already account for these forms of goodness. A second opposing argument is that eudaimonia may have unique mental elements, but these should not be included in a psychological concept of happiness/well-being. A third criticism holds that all the different ideas associated with eudaimonia are too broad and confusing for a scientific concept to carry.

Keywords

Happiness 1 Happiness 2 Eudaimonic well-being Hedonic well-being Subjective well-being Taxonomies 

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UiT The Arctic University of NorwayTromsøNorway

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