Happily Self-Deceived

Mike W. Martin

in Happiness and the Good Life

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199845217
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933068 | DOI:
Happily Self-Deceived

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Does illusion promote or diminish happiness? It might do either, depending on the situation. We are frequently mistaken about what will make us happy, and we can deceive ourselves about how happy we are. Within limits, many of these illusions augment happiness by bolstering hope and confidence. Yet honesty is even more important in the pursuit of happiness, for it helps us identify what we want most, keeps our expectations realistic, and in general keeps us in touch with reality. Examples include Peter Weir’s movie The Truman Show, Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck, and Eugene O’Neill’s Iceman Cometh.

Keywords: happiness; self-deception; illusion; hope; honesty

Chapter.  6605 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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