The pursuit of happiness is a defining theme of the modern era. But what if people aren't very good at it? That is the question posed by this book, the first comprehensive philosophical treatment of happiness, understood here as a psychological phenomenon. Engaging heavily with the scientific
literature, Dan Haybron argues that people probably know less about their own welfare, and may be less effective at securing it, than common belief has it. This is largely because human nature is surprisingly ill-suited to the pursuit of happiness. For the happiness that counts for well-being is not
a matter of what we think about our lives, but of the quality of our emotional conditions. Yet our emotional lives are remarkably difficult to grasp. Moreover, we make a variety of systematic errors in the pursuit of happiness. These considerations suggest that we should rethink traditional
assumptions about the good life and the good society. For instance, the pursuit of happiness may be primarily a matter of social context rather than personal choice.
This book offers an extensive guide to philosophical thinking about happiness and well-being, correcting serious
misconceptions that have beset the literature. It will be a definitive resource for philosophers, social scientists, policymakers, and other students of well-being.
Part I: Fundamentals of Prudential Psychology
1. Taking Socrates's Question Seriously
2. Happiness, Well-Being, and the Good Life: A Primer
3. What Do We Want from a Theory of Happiness? Or how to make a mongrel concept hunt
Part II: The Nature of Happiness
4. Hedonistic Theories of Happiness
5. Life Satisfaction Theories of Happiness
6. Emotional State Theories of Happiness
7. Happiness as Psychic Affirmation
Part III: The Nature of Well-Being
8. Well-Being and Virtue
9. Happiness, the Self, and Human
Part IV: Pursuing Happiness
10. Do We Know How Happy We Are?
11. The Pursuit of Unhappiness
12. Happiness in Context: Notes on the Good Society
There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.
Daniel Haybron is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University. His research interests centre on several issues in ethics: well-being and the good life, moral evil, and the virtues.