By Nicholas P. White
Can we rather comprehend what happiness is? may still happiness play this kind of dominant function in shaping and orienting our lives? and the way will we care for conflicts among some of the issues that make us satisfied? during this short historical past of happiness, thinker Nicholas White studies 2,500 years of makes an attempt to respond to such questions. White considers the ways that significant thinkers from antiquity to the current day have handled happiness: from Platos inspiration of the concord of the soul and Aristotles account of health and wellbeing or flourishing because the target of a moral existence, to Aquinas inspiration of the imaginative and prescient of the divine essence, Benthams hedonistic calculus, and the modern day decision-theoretic suggestion of choice. We additionally come across skepticism concerning the very concept of an entire and constant notion of happiness within the writings of Nietzsche and Freud. all through, White relates questions on happiness to principal matters in ethics and sensible philosophy.
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Additional info for A Brief History of Happiness
That’s the position that Callicles is in. ” But Callicles doesn’t think that being in that state is a good thing. , that are present to consciousness simultaneously: synchronic conflicts. But there are also conﬂicts over time – diachronic conflicts – to deal with. These play a signiﬁcant role in Plato’s thinking. They’ll also be important later in connection with dynamic conceptions of happiness (Chapter 7). Plato doesn’t see the need for harmony only in response to synchronic conﬂicts. In the Gorgias and the Republic he’s also occupied with diachronic ones.
Of impartial concern for all parts of our conscious life . . [or] ‘that Hereafter as such is to be regarded neither less nor more than Now’. (The Methods of Ethics, p. 381) A Fondness for Conﬂict Plato greatly overestimated how obviously right his account of happiness would appear. For one thing, his particular conception of the harmony of the personality (and of the city-state) turned out to be much less convincing than he expected. Even more important, the same was true of the idea of harmony itself.
The goal of quantitative hedonism – a worthy goal – is a high degree of systematicity and theoretical power. Fully developed and exploited, it would enable us to measure the value of everything we experience and do, and the extent of its contribution to our happiness. Nevertheless quantitative hedonism has the defects of its virtues. It’s too powerful systematically. It’s too powerful to ﬁt the facts that it needs to ﬁt if it’s to be convincing. These are the facts about what human beings aim at and value, and even the facts about the things that they enjoy and take pleasure in.