Maximization and the Good

  • Valerie TiberiusEmail author
Part of the Happiness Studies Book Series book series (HAPS)


The idea that we should maximize the good is a compelling one. After all, if you know what is good—that is, what is objectively worth pursuing—it makes sense to say that you should produce as much of it as you can. But the idea that we should maximize happiness is not obviously right; this idea depends on the assumption that happiness is the only thing that is objectively worth pursuing and this assumption is doubtful, particularly if happiness is understood as pleasure. After some consideration of the historical context of the idea that happiness should be maximized, I argue that the good for a person includes more than happiness. The good is more plausibly thought of in pluralistic terms. Finally, I argue that pluralist theories of a person’s good make maximizing problematic because they do not provide a single target and, further, because they include items (such as friendship) that are not appropriately maximized.


Positive Affect Good Life Happy Life Subjective Theory Prudential Reason 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of MinnesotaSouth MinneapolisUSA

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