Happiness for Humans

Research output: Book/ReportBook

70 Scopus citations


This book 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. The book's approach to happiness falls within a tradition going 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, the book 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, this book 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, the book finds new directions for contemporary thought about the good lives we want for ourselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages296
ISBN (Electronic)9780191745713
ISBN (Print)9780199583683
StatePublished - Oct 25 2012


  • Aristotle
  • Epictetus
  • Eudaimonia
  • Eudaimonism
  • Grief
  • Happiness
  • Human nature
  • Loss
  • Plato
  • Self
  • Socrates
  • Stoicism
  • Virtue
  • Welfare
  • Well-being
  • Wisdom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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