Law and Happiness

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Eric A. Posner, Cass R. Sunstein
University of Chicago Press, Apr 15, 2010 - Law - 368 pages
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Since the earliest days of philosophy, thinkers have debated the meaning of the term happiness and the nature of the good life. But it is only in recent years that the study of happiness—or “hedonics”—has developed into a formal field of inquiry, cutting across a broad range of disciplines and offering insights into a variety of crucial questions of law and public policy.

Law and Happiness
brings together the best and most influential thinkers in the field to explore the question of what makes up happiness—and what factors can be demonstrated to increase or decrease it. Martha Nussbaum offers an account of the way that hedonics can productively be applied to psychology, Cass R. Sunstein considers the unexpected relationship between happiness and health problems, Matthew Adler and Eric A. Posner view hedonics through the lens of cost-benefit analysis, David A. Weisbach considers the relationship between happiness and taxation, and Mark A. Cohen examines the role crime—and fear of crime—can play in people’s assessment of their happiness, and much more.

The result is a kaleidoscopic overview of this increasingly prominent field, offering surprising new perspectives and incisive analyses that will have profound implications on public policy.

 

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Contents

Introduction to the Conference on Law and Happiness
1
Preferences or Experiences?
5
Happiness Inequality in the United States
33
Who Is the Happy Warrior? Philosophy Poses Questions to Psychology
81
Two Recommendations on the Pursuit of Happiness
115
Hive Psychology Happiness and Public Policy
133
Illusory Losses
157
They Shouldnt Be Just about Pain and Suffering
195
Death Happiness and the Calculation of Compensatory Damages
217
Happiness Research and CostBenefit Analysis
253
What Does Happiness Research Tell Us About Taxation?
293
The Effect of Crime on Life Satisfaction
325
Index
355
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About the author (2010)

Eric A. Posner is the Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including The Perils of Global Legalism. Cass R. Sunstein is the Karl N. Llewellyn Distinguished Service Professor of Jurisprudence in the Law School and the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago.

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