Happiness and Human Good

Philippa Foot

in Natural Goodness

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780198235088
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597428 | DOI:
Happiness and Human Good

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Foot considers the view that practical rationality is nothing but the pursuit of happiness, which constitutes an objection to the account of practical rationality developed in the preceding chapters. Foot considers the different ways happiness is predicated of human beings, distinguishing happiness as humanity's good from enjoyment and contentment. She argues that the common view that happiness is a state of mind, detachable from beliefs about special objects, is in error because happiness does not have the same logical grammar as words like excitement or pleasure. Foot concludes that happiness is a protean concept, appearing in many different forms; however, happiness may be thought of as humanity's good in such a way that combining happiness with wickedness is ruled out a priori. This understanding of happiness as humanity's good is close to Aristotle's eudaimonia, insofar as it means operation in conformity with the virtues; as Foot understands the term, happiness is the enjoyment of good things, meaning the pursuit and attainment of right ends.

Keywords: Aristotle; contentment; enjoyment; eudaimonia; happiness; pleasure; virtues; wickedness

Chapter.  7484 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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