Happiness and the Limits of Satisfaction

Front Cover
Rowman & Littlefield, 1996 - Philosophy - 218 pages
In classical and medieval times, happiness was defined as 'well-being, ' a notion that included moral goodness. Today happiness is most often defined as 'well-feeling, ' and identified with subjective states such as satisfaction and peace of mind. Deal Hudson argues that the prevailing view is dangerous in politics as well as ethics, creating individuals with no other sense of obligation than finding personal satisfaction, regardless of the moral and spiritual cost to themselves and others. Hudson calls for a return to the classical tradition: no one should be called 'happy' who cannot also be called morally good. However, a contemporary version of happiness should also go beyond the classical notion by making room in the happy life for suffering and passion. Using the history of the idea of happiness as a backdrop to a critique of contemporary views, Hudson examines happiness from philosophical, religious, psychological, sociological, literary, and political points of view--for example, he shows how the tension between the two definitions of happiness is at the heart of the Declaration of Independence. The result is an excellent overview of the history of an idea as well as a compelling argument for moral and political change in our time.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Popular Views of Happiness
1
The Case of Anna Karenina
17
The Rejection of Psychological Happiness
37
The Shadow of Eudaemonism
59
The Enigma of Jeffersons Pursuit
77
The Science of Happiness and Its Results
95
Recent Philosophical Views
109
Happiness and Pain
133
Imperfect Happiness
149
The Passion of Happiness
167
Bibliography
187
Index
209
About the Author
217
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1996)

Deal W. Hudson is the editor of the magazine Crisis and former Associate Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University. He is the editor of Sigrid Undset on Saints and Sinners and co-editor, with Dennis Moran of The Future of Thomism, among other books.

Bibliographic information