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Happiness and the Good Life

Mike W. Martin

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199845217
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933068 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199845217.001.0001
Happiness and the Good Life

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Happiness in Good Lives explores happiness as an important dimension of fully desirable lives. Happiness is defined as loving one’s life, valuing it in ways manifested by ample enjoyment and a robust sense of meaning. As such, it interacts with all other dimensions of good lives, in particular with moral decency and goodness, authenticity, mental health, self-fulfillment, and meaningfulness. The book integrates philosophical issues with topics of broad human interest, and it includes chapters on how happiness connects with the virtues, love, philanthropy, suffering, simplicity, balancing work and leisure, and politics. Happiness is a moral value, as well as a self-interested value, which we have a responsibility as well as a right to pursue. Myriad specific virtues contribute to pursuing happiness, and in turn happiness contributes to or manifests an array of virtues such as love, self-respect, gratitude, and hope. Although happiness is by no means the entirety of good lives, it helps define some additional aspects of good lives, including authenticity, self-fulfillment, meaningfulness, and mental health. It also enters into understanding what it means to live a balanced life, and also a simple life centered on what matters most. The moral status of happiness is a central concern in the history of ethics. Recent “positive psychology” has breathed new life into traditional philosophical issues, and the book draws extensively on psychological studies. It also uses myriad examples from memoirs, novels, and films. One chapter is devoted to assessing the claim of Mary Shelley’s monster in Frankenstein: “Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous.”

Keywords: happiness; virtues; authenticity; suffering; paradoxes of happiness; philanthropy; love; work; Frankenstein; politics of happiness

Book.  288 pages. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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Table of Contents

Loving Life in Happiness and the Good Life

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Valuing Happiness in Happiness and the Good Life

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Betting on Virtue in Happiness and the Good Life

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Authenticity in Happiness and the Good Life

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Happily Self-Deceived in Happiness and the Good Life

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Suffering In Happy Lives in Happiness and the Good Life

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Paradoxes of Happiness in Happiness and the Good Life

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Happy To Help in Happiness and the Good Life

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Shared Pursuits In Love in Happiness and the Good Life

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Balancing Work and Leisure in Happiness and the Good Life

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