Happiness for Humans

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-12-29
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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InHappiness for Humans, Daniel C. Russell takes a fresh look at happiness from a practical perspective: the perspective of someone trying to solve the wonderful problem of how to give himself a good life. From this perspective, "happiness" is the name of a solution to that problem for practical deliberation. Russell's approach to happiness falls within a tradition that reaches back to ancient Greek and Roman philosophers--a tradition now called "eudaimonism." Beginning with Aristotle's seminal discussion of the role of happiness in practical reasoning, Russell asks what sort of good happiness would have to be in order to play the role in our practical economies that it actually does play. Looking at happiness from this perspective, Russell argues that happiness is a life of activity, with three main features: it is acting for the sake of ends we can live for, and living for them wisely; it is fulfilling for us, both as humans and as unique individuals; and it is inextricable from our connections with the particular persons, pursuits, and places that make us who we are. By returning to this ancient perspective on happiness, Russell finds new directions for contemporary thought about the good lives we want for ourselves.

Author Biography

Daniel C. Russell is Professor of Philosophy at the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom, University of Arizona. He is the author of Plato on Pleasure and the Good Life (Oxford, 2005), Practical Intelligence and the Virtues (Oxford, 2009), and the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Virtue Ethics (Cambridge, forthcoming).

Table of Contents

Abbreviations and translations of texts used
Part 1. Happiness, then and now
1. Happiness, eudaimonia, and practical reasoning
2. Happiness as eudaimonia
3. Happiness and virtuous activity
4. New directions from old debates
Part 2. Happiness then: the sufficiency debate
5. Aristotle's case against the sufficiency thesis
6. Socrates' case for the sufficiency thesis
7. Epictetus and the Stoic self
8. The Stoics' case for the sufficiency thesis
Part 3. Happiness now: rethinking the self
9. The embodied conception of the self
10. The embodied conception and psychological well-being
11. The Stoics' case against the embodied conception
Works cited
Index locorum
General index

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