Happiness: A Philosophical and Historical Perspective

  • Surendra ArjoonEmail author
  • Álvaro Turriago-Hoyos
  • Bradley M. Braun
Reference work entry
Part of the International Handbooks in Business Ethics book series (IHBE)


This essay discusses “happiness” from a philosophical and historical perspective. Also discussed are attempts to measure happiness and to identify goods used to pursue and promote happiness. The focus is on two related but distinguishable concepts called hedonic and eudaimonic. We find that eudaimonic is fundamental to a person’s moral and psychological well-being. We also find that hedonic happiness is unsustainable in the absence of eudaimonic well-being. If these findings are true, we are one step closer to understanding what constitutes human nature and the goods a person ought to pursue to attain happiness, and what should guide government policies to promote social well-being.


Aristotelian-Thomistic virtue Hedonic happiness Eudaimonic happiness Subjective well-being Internal goods External goods Substantive goods Relational goods Human flourishing Human capabilities theory Easterlin Paradox 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Surendra Arjoon
    • 1
    Email author
  • Álvaro Turriago-Hoyos
    • 2
  • Bradley M. Braun
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Management Studies/Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of BusinessThe University of the West IndiesSt Augustine CampusTrinidad
  2. 2.Department of Economics and International FinanceUniversidad de La Sabana, International School of Economics and Business AdministrationChíaColombia
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA

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