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Happiness and Human Flourishing

Part of the Virtues and Economics book series (VIEC,volume 1)

Abstract

The chapter explores the concept of human flourishing drawing on two traditions, the Aristotelian–Thomistic virtue ethics tradition, and the new research tradition of positive psychology . These traditions may seem very different in origin, but they have some fundamental similarities. Martin Seligman , one of the founders of positive psychology has summed up human flourishing using the acronym PERMA , where each letter indicate one element; Positive emotions, Engagements, Relationship, Meaning and Accomplishment. Seligman emphasizes the problems of hedonic pleasure and “happyology” in describing human flourishing.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Macintyre (1966: 177) stresses that Aquinas cannot mean by the Latin names of the cardinal virtues entirely what Aristotle meant by their Greek equivalents. For example, Aquinas explicitly acknowledges the biblical virtue ‘humility’. “…In Aristotle’s account of the virtues where anything resembling humility is mentioned, it is a vice….”.

  2. 2.

    To give one example of an operationalization of virtues, consider the virtue of wisdom and knowledge. According to Seligman (2002) there are six routes to this special virtue; (1) Curiosity/interest in the world. (2) Love of learning, (3) Judgment/critical thinking/open -mindedness, (4) Ingenuity/originality/practical Intelligence/ street Smarts, (5) Social Intelligence/personal intelligence/emotional intelligence, (6) Perspective. For every route, the researchers developed different statements and the respondents are expected to rate the different items and add the score.

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Correspondence to Knut J. Ims .

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Ims, K.J. (2017). Happiness and Human Flourishing. In: Rona, P., Zsolnai, L. (eds) Economics as a Moral Science. Virtues and Economics, vol 1. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-53291-2_7

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