Article

Who Is the Happy Warrior? Philosophy Poses Questions to Psychology

The Journal of Legal Studies (Impact Factor: 1.35). 06/2008; 37(S2):81-81. DOI: 10.1086/587438
Source: RePEc

ABSTRACT Psychology has recently focused attention on subjective states of pleasure, satisfaction, and what is called "happiness." The suggestion has been made in some quarters that a study of these subjective states has important implications for public policy. Sometimes, as in the case of Martin Seligman's "positive psychology" movement, attempts are made to link the empirical findings and the related normative judgments directly to the descriptive and normative insights of ancient Greek ethics and modern virtue ethics. At other times, as with Daniel Kahneman's work, the connection to Aristotle and other ancient Greek thinkers is only indirect, and the connection to British Utilitarianism is paramount; nonetheless, judgments are made that could be illuminated by an examination of the rich philosophical tradition that runs from Aristotle through to John Stuart Mill's criticisms of Bentham. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved..

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    • "For example, meaning-making activities, such as work and family, may not always improve one's happiness, although they may add meaning, and happiness activities may not always add meaning to one's life. The tension between happiness and meaning requires further analysis, as a focus on one without the other results in an incomplete conceptualization of wellbeing (Nussbaum, 2008). Finally, as Blanchflower and Oswald (2004) point out, there are " limitations to wellbeing statistics " and it is " unlikely that human happiness can be understood without, in part, listening to what human beings say " (p. "
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    • "So the pursuit of positive EMSs is a mistake: what really matters is fitting evaluations, not positive ones (cf. Nussbaum 2008). 9 Indeed, perhaps many of us should be less happy given all the problems in the world. "
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    • "Several other researchers support the concept of Gross National Happiness such as Diener (2000), Kahneman et al. (2004) and Layard (2005) while others have expressed doubts whether life satisfaction is comparable across individuals and countries (Burchardt, 2006; Frey and Stutzer, 2007; Nussbaum, 2009). Different cultural norms might hinder comparisons and the scaling of life satisfaction might vary according to personality traits, current moods, adaptation to certain situations and the phenomenon that individuals might mostly remember peaks and the last moments of a certain time period. "
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