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Flourishing (Philosophy)

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Positive Psychology
Well-Being
The Self
Optimal Functioning
Human Strengths
Psychopathology & Therapy
Flourishing (Philosophy)
The Good Life (Philosophy)
Existentialism (Philosophy)
Humor and Laughter
Interpersonal Relationships
Social Influence
Thinking and Reasoning
Cognitive Illusions and Fallacies


Vulnerability, Agency, and Human Flourishing (Health and Human Flourishing, 2006) A. Carse
Pluralism, Truthfulness, and the Patience of Being (Health and Human Flourishing, 2006) W. Desmond
Desire Formation and Human Good (Preferences and Well-Being, 2006) R. Arneson
Preference Formation and Personal Good (Preferences and Well-Being, 2006) C. Rosati
Leading a Life of One's Own: On Well-Being and Narrative Autonomy (Preferences and Well-Being, 2006) J. Brannmark
Well-Being, Adaptation and Human Limitations (Preferences and Well-Being, 2006) M. Qizilbash
Preferences, Deliberation and Satisfaction (Preferences and Well-Being, 2006) P. Pettit
Preferences, Paternalism, and Liberty (Preferences and Well-Being, 2006) C. Sunstein, R. Thaler
Happiness and the Highest Good in Aristotle and Kant (Rethinking Happiness and Duty, 1996) S. Engstrom
Rationality and Happiness: From the Ancients to the Early Medievals (Rationality and Happiness, 2003) J. Yu, J. Gracia
Happiness, Rationality and Egoism in Plato's Socrates (Rationality and Happiness, 2003) D. Morrison
Plato on Rationality and Happiness (Rationality and Happiness, 2003) C.C.W. Taylor
Will Aristotle Count Socrates Happy? (Rationality and Happiness, 2003) J. Yu
Human Flourishing and the Appeal to Human Nature (Human Flourishing, 1999) D. Rasmussen
Flourishing Egoism (Human Flourishing, 1999) L. Hunt
Human Flourishing versus Desire Satisfaction (Human Flourishing, 1999) R. Arneson
Happiness and Human Flourishing in Kant's Ethics (Human Flourishing, 1999) T. Hill
Politics, Neutrality, and the Good (Human Flourishing, 1999) R. Kraut
Is Happiness Still Possible? (The Conquest of Happiness, 1930) B. Russell
Why the Enlightenment Project of Justifying Morality Had to Fail (After Virtue, 1984) A. MacIntyre
Happiness (The Examined Life, 1989) R. Nozick
Well-Being (What We Owe to Each Other, 1998) T. Scanlon
Making Sense of my Life as a Whole (The Morality of Happiness, 1993) J. Annas
Happiness, Success, What Matters, and the Demands of Virtue (The Morality of Happiness, 1993) J. Annas
Socrates' Question (Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy, 1985) B. Williams
Foundations: Well-Being (Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy, 1985) B. Williams
Reasons and Persons: Concluding Chapter (Reasons and Persons, 1984) D. Parfit
What Makes Someone's Life Go Best (Reasons and Persons, 1984) D. Parfit
Goods and Lives (Goods and Virtues, 1983) M. Slote
The Importance of What We Care About (The Importance of What We Care About, 1988) H. Frankfurt
Personal Well-Being (Morality of Freedom, 1986) J. Raz
What is the Good Life?: The Meaning of the Question (What Is The Good Life?, 2005) L. Ferry
The Wisdom of Nietzsche, or The Three Criteria of the Good Life (What Is The Good Life?, 2005) L. Ferry
A New Approach to the Question of Happiness (What Is The Good Life?, 2005) L. Ferry
Happiness, Tranquility, and Philosophy (In Pursuit of Happiness, 1995) C. Griswold
Happiness in Motion: Desire and Delight (In Pursuit of Happiness, 1995) M. Miles
Happiness in the Confucian Way (In Pursuit of Happiness, 1995) Tu Wei-Ming
The Therapy of Desire (The Therapy of Desire, 1994) M. Nussbaum
Something in Between (Well-Being and Morality, 2000) L. Sumner
The Central Conflict: Morality and Self-Interest (Well-Being and Morality, 2000) J. Raz
Welfare and Happiness (Welfare, Happiness, and Ethics, 1996) L. Sumner
Equality of What? On Welfare, Goods, and Capabilities (The Quality of Life, 1993) G. Cohen
Commentary on Cohen's Equality of What? (The Quality of Life, 1993) C. Korsgaard
Value, Desire, and Quality of Life (The Quality of Life, 1993) T. Scanlon
Private Irony and Liberal Hope (Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, 1989) R. Rorty
Self-Creation and Affiliation: Proust, Nietzsche, and Heidegger (Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, 1989) R. Rorty
The Worth of Happiness (Justice and the Human Good, 1980) W. Galston
The Vulnerability of the Good Human Life (The Fragility of Goodness, 2001) M. Nussbaum
Desire and the Meaning of Life (Being Good, 2001) S. Blackburn
Happiness as an Aim of Life and Education (Happiness and Education, 2005) N. Noddings
Happiness and Human Good (Natural Goodness, 2001) P. Foot
Truth and Happiness (True to Life, 2004) M. Lynch
Taking Socrates' Question Seriously (The Pursuit of Unhappiness, 2008) D. Haybron
Happiness, Well-Being, and the Good Life (The Pursuit of Unhappiness, 2008) D. Haybron
Happiness, the Self, and Human Flourishing (The Pursuit of Unhappiness, 2008) D. Haybron
The Pursuit of Unhappiness (The Pursuit of Unhappiness, 2008) D. Haybron
Happiness, Well-Being, and Capabilities (The Idea of Justice, 2009) A. Sen
Prolegomenon to Flourishing (What Is Good and Why, 2007) R. Kraut
Happiness: Introducing the Concept (A Brief History of Happiness, 2006) N. White
Conflicts, Perspectives, and the Identification of Happiness (A Brief History of Happiness, 2006) N. White
Doing Without the Concept (A Brief History of Happiness, 2006) N. White
Good Lives: Prolegomena (The Good Life and the Human Good, 1992) L. Becker
Well-Being and Excellence (Finite and Infinite Goods, 1999) R.M. Adams
Nietzsche's Theory of Value and the Good Life (Value and the Good Life, 2000) T. Carson
The Quest for the Good Life (Pleasure and the Good Life, 2004) F. Feldman
A Study of Goethe's Ethics: Varieties of Happiness (Dare to be Happy!: A Study of Goethe's Ethics, 1993) J. Prandi
Philosophy, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life (The Little Philosophy Book, 2008) R. Solomon
Measuring Well-Being (Free Markets and Social Justice, 1997) C. Sunstein
Conceptions of Happiness (Conceptions of Happiness, 1995) I. Gotz
Four Notions of Happiness (Analysis of Happiness, 1976) W. Tatarkiewicz
Definition of Happiness (Analysis of Happiness, 1976) W. Tatarkiewicz
The Concept of Happiness and Its Variants (Analysis of Happiness, 1976) W. Tatarkiewicz
The Concept of Happiness Down the Ages (Analysis of Happiness, 1976) W. Tatarkiewicz
Happiness and Mental Health (Analysis of Happiness, 1976) W. Tatarkiewicz
Happiness and the World (Analysis of Happiness, 1976) W. Tatarkiewicz
Happiness and Time (Analysis of Happiness, 1976) W. Tatarkiewicz
Obstacles to Happiness (Analysis of Happiness, 1976) W. Tatarkiewicz
Factors of Happiness (Analysis of Happiness, 1976) W. Tatarkiewicz
Sources of Happiness (Analysis of Happiness, 1976) W. Tatarkiewicz
Character and Happiness (Analysis of Happiness, 1976) W. Tatarkiewicz
Happiness and the Subjectivity of Human Good (Moral Disquiet and Human Life, 2008) M. Canto-Sperber
The Present Alone Is Our Happiness: An Interview (The Present Alone is Our Happiness, 2009) P. Hadot
The Value of the Present Instant in Goethe and in Ancient Philosophy (Philosophy as a Way of Life, 1995) P. Hadot


Vulnerability, Agency, and Human Flourishing, A. Carse

Our capacity for self-reflection and evaluative inquiry, and our ability to act on the basis of value judgments we make [are] purposes to which we deliberately commit. These capacities render us distinct in the universe of creatures. And this distinctness invites us to examine forms of vulnerability that are peculiarly human, distinctive ways that vulnerability configures human life and affects human flourishing.

Persistent devaluation or sustained mistreatment can concretize the degradation of our status. When this happens, human reality falls short of what morality demands. Often we suffer this degradation. But sustained devaluation may render us insensitive to violation, oblivious to disrespect; indeed, it is often a condition of diminished self-respect, a sign of an insufficiently vital and motivating sense of our own intrinsic value and worth, that others' devaluations fail to elicit our pain or protest.

First, it is in many cases precisely those factors essential to human flourishing that render us vulnerable. The loss of a child to illness or the rejection by a beloved can cast us into dark disorientation and pain—states of terrible yearning, grief, or desolation. Yet it is because we so deeply love our child or our friend that we are vulnerable to losing them.

It is clear, then, that our flourishing is subject to the vicissitudes of fortune, to disease and disability, to the powers of nature, and to the choices and conduct of others—in short, to a world that is, in many ways, outside our control. But these reflections reveal a second point as well, namely, that while our flourishing can be imperiled by our vulnerability, it also requires us to be vulnerable—that is, our flourishing is in crucial ways constituted by vulnerability.

Flourishing entails the capacity to let down our guard, relax a rigid agenda-driven orientation, take off our armor, and allow ourselves to be "raw"—exposed in our needfulness, dependency, attachment, and passions. As Aristotle wisely recognized, invulnerability would be—in Martha Nussbaum's words—"purchased ... at too high a price [in] a life bereft of ... important values." A life worth living is full of risk. To acknowledge human vulnerability is to face head-on our finitude, embodiment, profound interdependency, and moral susceptibility in ways that give the lie to a picture that holds us captive.

The predominant model of agency in terms of which our flourishing is conceived, and to which dignitary status is attached, is one highlighting self-sufficiency, independence, a capacity for deliberation and rational transcendence of emotion—that is, effective selfdetermination and self-control, grounded in our capacity as "willers." On this model, we are able to determine our own motivations and conduct on the basis of reasons, freeing ourselves from the forces of fear, desire, anxiety, grief, and the like. This is the dream of autonomy and "invincibility" that has held us captive.

Our standards of attractiveness and success, too, celebrate youth, vigor, and productivity; our adulation of athletes and our notions of strength and leadership center on mastery and control. Moreover, the in-control agent is a conception that informs dominant moralphilosophical paradigms, models, and exemplars—what is seen as morally mature and responsible. It thus represents a benchmark against which our frailties and failings as agents are assessed.

The myth of the in-control agent is morally costly, for there is much about the human condition that it obscures, ignores, distorts, and effectively denigrates in virtue of its silence about our vulnerabilities. This is what keeps it a myth rather than a meaningful and useful regulative ideal. The challenge is to explore how dignity and effective agency can be respected and sustained in an approach to flourishing that is frank about the limitations of our self-determination and control and the realities of our interdependency.

The sense that our experience defies language or shared, public understanding itself renders us insulated; suffering is exacerbated by our "unspeakable" condition and by the humiliation of our inability to mobilize language to secure the understanding of others and thereby ease the pain of estrangement and isolation.

Fourth, and deeply disturbingly, the social isolation of affliction is reinforced by the aversion and contempt it elicits in others. As Simone Weil writes, "Great affliction .. . arouses disgust, horror, and scorn." The well-bodied and thriving often resent and withdraw from those who are suffering or struggling, loath to confront palpable evidence of human vulnerability, and thus their own susceptibility to bodily breakdown, disability, death, or despair.

Much suffering that attends human vulnerability is in significant part a consequence of our attitudes toward our own and others' vulnerabilities. While there is a lot in life that is inescapably painful, we bring unnecessary pain upon ourselves through entrenched patterns of fear and denial. In the next paragraphs I explore ways we can take human vulnerability to heart in the service of human flourishing. In doing so, I will suggest that it is precisely in taking our vulnerability to heart—in embracing rather than fearing or denying it—that vital forms of human connection, crucial to our flourishing, are made possible.

Jodi Halpern writes that empathy involves "imagining how it feels to experience something, in contrast to imagining that something is the case." To engage empathically entails entering a state of "emotional resonance" with another, or, in Adrian Piper's words, "visceral," felt "comprehension] of [another's] condition."

It is important to emphasize, too, that the claim is not that we are to move into an unbounded descent into the state of the other. It is, rather, that effective responsiveness to others often entails forms of emotional attunement and openness that go beyond a mere poignant acknowledgment that another is suffering or in distress.

Second, it is important, of course, not to be too blithe or sanguine here. In attempts to be empathic, we must guard against the peril of inappropriate involvement—the danger that we might be intrusive in our presence, or, on the other hand, ourselves compromised—" vicarious[ly] possessed"—by the state of the other as we imagine it...A properly bounded caregiver must, on the one hand, be sufficiently respectful of and open to another in need while, on the other hand, sustaining the self-possession, emotional equanimity, and critical distance required to avoid unhealthy self-effacement.

It is important, in addressing the isolation of affliction, to acknowledge the value of silent, supportive presence, a presence that sometimes communicates humbleness about the limitations of one's own comprehension at the same time that it conveys invested concern, or again, a presence that conveys respect for the sheer incomprehensibility and disorientation of pain or disablement the other suffers, along with a desire to do what one can to alleviate it.

The importance to healing of "feeling felt," of others' intervening to ease one out of concretized and frozen states of psychic pain, or of being "heard" in telling one's story all attest to the profound relationality of the self and its role in our capacity to flourish.

Empathy and compassion draw on and mobilize a constellation of character traits and excellences—patience; generosity; tender curiosity; humility; and a willingness to remain open in our interpretation of situations, to resist imposing our own interpretations and agendas on others, to invest in the other's well-being, and often to stay the course through rocky terrain. This in turn requires flexibility.

Crucially, all of these virtues and excellences constitute states of vulnerability, for they entail relaxing control and allowing ourselves to be affected, risking disappointment, disruption, and sometimes unnerving emotional contact with the pain and loss, the rage and despair, of another. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in this way requires courage.

Achieving the "common good" so construed requires a vital awareness of the vulnerability all of us confront as human beings, and thus a humble identification on the part of each of us with the weal and woe of others. Joining in solidarity with others goes beyond expressions of fellow-feeling to the work of creating practices and institutions responsive to suffering of all kinds—brought by illness, hunger, violence, loss, exclusion, and tragedy... It demands broad and pervasive conditions of mutual respect—a commitment to the equal intrinsic value and respect-worthiness of human beings as such. It also demands positive concern for, and investment in, the thriving of all human beings.

We must strive to combat divisions rooted in fear and indifference and to cultivate virtues of "acknowledged dependency" such as those we have been exploring. Virtues of empathy, compassion, and solidarity must thus work hand in hand.

When we are thwarted or "unhinged," our flourishing becomes especially dependent on the support of others, even others with whom we have up until now shared a basic equality of dependency and need. Moreover, asymmetries of dependency and need fundamentally configure many relationships that fill our lives (e.g., in youth or old age, as students or patients, when we are ill or disabled) in ways that are neither "abnormal" nor morally problematic as such. We need the protection and sustenance of others; our flourishing is threatened by others' neglect.

Our attachment to impoverished paradigms of control and self-determination in human life diminishes our potential to join others in meaningful forms of connection essential to human flourishing. Acceptance of our vulnerabilities, when combined with the virtues of empathy, compassion, and solidarity, can ground and motivate a moral call to provide all people with needed forms of sustenance and support—to ameliorate the isolating impact of suffering.

Pluralism, Truthfulness, and the Patience of Being, W. Desmond

How we understand truth cannot be disconnected from how we understand ourselves or from how we understand how we humans are to be. "How we are to be" indicates the human being as a creature with a certain promise of being that calls out to be realized in one way or other. Some ways will enable fulfillment of the promise if we are true to what we are. Some ways may betray the promise if we are false to what we are.

Not everything goes. There are different senses of being true, some more appropriate to more objective determinations of actuality, some more fitting for the elusive enigmas of the human heart. To be true to something is to enact a certain fidelity to that thing, hence, depending on that thing, our "being true" will be different.

Truth, with a capital T, is judged guilty of such a tyranny. We must not seek Truth, but truths, or as Nietzsche claimed, my truth. Let a thousand truths bloom. But this is entirely too passive: let us make a thousand truths. Again, in this view, everything tends to revolve around the power of creativity or the force of free imagination. In Nietzsche's writings, the poet or the artist generally enjoys a preeminence: they are the creators par excellence and, hence, in a sense dictate the truth that is to be. There is no truth that is; truth is to be what we determine it to be, and in terms of certain values we consider the most important for life.

An interesting issue is presented here. Perhaps we do not possess the absolute truth. Perhaps only God can and does. That we do not possess the absolute truth is not a postmodern view—it is as old as Plato. Human beings are not God, hence we do not—and in a sense cannot—possess the absolute truth. But the consequence does not follow that we are simply to construct what truths we consider relevant or interesting for ourselves. We do not possess absolute truth, yet we seek the truth or the true.... In short, we are intermediate beings: neither in absolute possession of truth nor in absolute destitution, but somewhere in between.

If we take seriously the intermediate nature of the human being, what becomes evident is quite opposite to an "anything goes" attitude to truth. Rather, there emerges in our very searching a call to fidelity to truth we do not possess, and yet that endows us with something eminently distinctive.

Being truthful is not an objective truth that lies out there somewhere, univocally fixed in advance. It has more to do with the immanent porosity of the human being to being as it is, and to what is good and worthy in itself to be affirmed.

The spirit of truthfulness in us points to something transsubjective in our own selves or subjectivity. As transsubjective, it is "objective" in the sense that it is other to us, even as it is in intimate relation to us.

Finesse is very important in a time such as ours in which I'esprit de geometric is often in the ascendant. Finesse is more a readiness for a more intimate knowing, with a bearing on what is prior to and beyond geometry. It bears on a mindfulness that can read the signs of the equivocality of human existence, and not simply by the conversion of these signs into a univocal science or a philosophical system....We come first to know of it, know it, by witnessing its exemplary incarnation in living human beings of evident finesse. There is no geometrical "theory" that could render it in an absolutely precise univocal definition.

Finesse has to do with a discernment of what is worthy to be affirmed in the ambiguity. It is not the indiscriminate glorification of ambiguity. It is the excellence of mindfulness that does not deny the ambiguity, is not false to it, but seeks to be true to what is worthy to be affirmed in it—and not everything is worthy to be affirmed.

Religion and art have been the great mistresses of finesse in the past. Without finesse, in circumstances of ethical ambiguity, there is no discerning ethical judgment. Without finesse, there is no serious and profound philosophy. Without finesse in politics, the huckster or worse usurps the place of the statesman.

Spinoza used the phrase [conatus essendi] to describe the essence of a being: the essence of a being is its conatus—and this is defined by its power to affirm itself and its range. This range for Spinoza is potentially unlimited in the absence of external countervailing beings who express their power of being in opposition to us, or in limitation. Conatus is the being of a being; it is the being of the human being.

One might infer from this, in the sphere of human relations, that an external other always presents itself as potentially hostile to my self-affirming. The other, so seen, while needful for my flourishing, is potentially alien to my self-affirmation, and hence one strategy of continuing the conatus will be for one to disarm that other in advance. Big fish, eating little fish, grow bigger. Such a relation of implicit hostility can define our embodied relation to the rest of nature. The latter as other can be as much the source of our sustenance as a threat to the integrity of our healthy self-affirming being.

Some of these concerns seem to me to be in the background of the constructivist theory of truth. We are not gifted with truth, or even with the power to discern truth as other to us, but we make it for ourselves: For we ourselves are the truth of the construction. We self-construct—even to the point of constructing and reconstructing the bodies originally given to us, or of which we are originally the victims, because we did not first choose our bodies.

Being patient, or being in the patience of being, is not here a defect. It is only a defect from the point of view of a conatus given over to the temptation to affirm itself alone, and hence closed off from the acknowledgment that it is at all because it is first affirmed to be: created. What I am saying is no denial of the conatus, but rather a changed vision of it that sees it as deriving from something other than itself. Again there is something received in our being given to be, something not constructed through our own powers alone.

Modern constructivism forgets or wants to forget this patience. There is even a hatred of that patience that can come to be expressed, for all patience is a reminder of our status as finite creatures, and hence is a constitutive sign of the fact that we are not the masters of being, not even of our own being. The weaknesses of the latter are often rejected, refused.... Hence, we find ourselves in the impossible situation of the flower trying to ingest its own ground—impossible, yet were it even conceivable, it would show the inner self-hatred of the flower that must only destroy itself in this way of absolutizing itself.

We have not taken the proper time nor respected the rhythms of time to attend to what is within us and before us, and hence to be truthful concerning our proper response to the promise of our being and indeed to its sickness, when we have deserted what is good in promising.

Buddhist view: Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. I take this to mean that more often than not we get in the way of ourselves, as it were; we let the conatus essendi unfittingly override the passio essendi. And to let the flow pass, or begin to pass again, we must get out of our own way, and then we are more truly on the way, and on the way as more truly ourselves.

Desire Formation and Human Good, R. Arneson

It can make sense to become passionately attached to a person or a bus, but not so attached that one is in thrall to that particular attachment and cannot withstand its demise. The love of Heathcliff and Catherine looks to be an instance of the vice that Robert Adams calls idolatry, caring for a finite good to an extent that would be appropriate only for an infinite good.

This essay explores the normative standards that might guide the formation of desire. Consider the problem of a social planner whose task is to devise institutional arrangements and changes in practices to maximize some function of human well-being. A part of her task is to consider the impact of proposed changes in institutions and practices on education and socialization of individuals. A part of this subtask is to devise education and socialization arrangements that will influence the formation of desire so as to boost people's well-being. Finally, a part of this component of the task is to propose policies that will alter the formation of each individual's preferences in such a way as to boost the well-being of that very person. This essay explores how three different accounts of well-being would generate standards for assessing the work of the social planner engaged in the project just described.

According to a subjectivist view, human good is satisfaction of basic (noninstrumental) desires. The greater the extent to which a person satisfies her basic desires (weighted by their comparative importance as rated by that very person), the more she gains what is good. The more she gains what is good over the course of her life, the greater the degree to which her life goes well for her. The idea of a

A straightforward implication of a desire satisfaction view of human good is that one can increase a person's well-being by bringing it about that her present basic desires are satisfied to a greater extent or by bringing it about that she acquires different basic desires that are easier to satisfy and that are satisfied to a greater extent than her initial desires would have been. In principle the one strategy is as good as the other. Either one can achieve the same effect: the person's basic desires are satisfied to a greater extent.

If human good or well-being is the satisfaction of desire, then a person's lifetime well-being level can be raised either by changing the world so that it conforms to her desires or by changing her desires so that they conform to the way the world is. By either route, desire satisfaction increases, and thus well-being rises. Developing cheap, easy-to-satisfy tastes is a way of changing one's desires so that they more readily and easily conform to the way the world is....The general point is that if well-being is lifetime desire satisfaction, a person who cares for the well-being of another and strives to increase it can sometimes accomplish this task by bringing it about that her desires change in ways that increase lifetime desire satisfaction.

One might then speculate that coming to believe in the desire satisfaction account of human good and striving to become a prudent person by its lights by themselves tend to diminish the degree to which one's embrace of one's own desires is confident and wholehearted. If true, this speculation implies that people will be better off, other things being equal, if they do not believe the desire satisfaction account of human good and try to be prudent by its lights.

I maintain that what fuels resistance to the idea of a bare person implicit in subjectivism is the thought that a basic desire can be mistaken insofar as it is directed toward an object that is not truly worthwhile. If my central life ambition becomes counting the blades of grass on courthouse lawns (Rawls's example), many would say I have suffered misfortune. My main desires fail to track what is truly valuable. The advocate of the desire satisfaction account of human good should not attempt to accommodate this objection, which amounts to blanket denial of subjectivism. The response should rather be that the objection draws its considerable plausibility from the assumption that we can vindicate the idea that some basic aims can be shown to be objectively more valuable than others. The subjectivist denies that this assumption is supportable.

A weaker version of this view holds that the contribution that satisfaction of a desire makes to a person's well-being varies with the extent to which the desire was autonomously formed, so other things being equal, autonomously formed desires have more weight in determining the degree to which a person leads a life that is good for her. To the degree that the person is autonomous in the process by which a particular preference of that very person is formed, we count the preference as autonomous and its satisfaction counts for more.

As a bare person, I aim to maximize my lifetime well-being, and I interpret well-being as desire satisfaction (or desire satisfaction qualified in some way). It might be thought that in so conceiving my aims, I am conceiving my desires as mere means to some further goal, the maximization of desire satisfaction.

An objective list account of human good or well-being merely denies subjectivism. According to the objective list account, a life goes well (for the person whose life it is) to the extent that the individual attains items that occur as entries on a list of objectively intrinsically valuable things. If one gets some item on the list, one's life thereby goes better, independently of one's subjective attitudes or opinions toward getting that thing.

The status of desire satisfaction according to the objective list account depends on whether or not desire satisfaction can or should appear as one entry on the objective list. My sense is that desire satisfaction should be excluded. The core of the objective list idea is that there are desires whose satisfaction contributes nothing at all to well-being.

Compare Parfit's characterization of the objective list account: 'According to this theory, certain things are good or bad for people, wrhether or not these people would want to have the good things, or to avoid the bad things.'

According to the objective list account of the good, so interpreted, desire and for that matter desire satisfaction contribute to the desirer's well-being, if at all, only as helps or hindrances to the attainment of items on the objective list. Looked at from a certain angle, the view that desire satisfaction and frustration in and of themselves have nothing to do with well-being is just as paradoxical and opposed to common-sense as the subjectivist view that desire satisfaction is the alpha and omega of well-being.

Ordinary common-sense lore on happiness and well-being probably allows that desires can be mistaken in the sense that they are directed toward inappropriate objects. Common sense surely affirms that desires can become disproportionate and in that way lead the desirer to become self-destructive.

A desire may become bloated and crowd out all other desires, but common sense does not then say that the person's life goes well for her provided the single dominant desire is satisfied....But the mere fact of desiring per se does not establish that there is any value at all in satisfying the desire and hence does not establish that there is any reason to choose to pursue what one desires

In constructing a plan of life with the aim of amassing over the course of one's life the largest feasible weighted sum of objective goods, one will have to attend carefully to one's basic desires-their actual and expected future character and the extent to which these are alterable by actions one might take.

Desiring what is valuable in proportion to its objective value is appealing, but may get in the way of attainment of objective value in the course of one's life. Desires animate action toward what is desired, and it is better for a person if her desires point her toward the best goods she can achieve, or has a realistic chance of achieving.

What kinds of desires should we want to have, so far as our aspiration to attain our own well-being is concerned? On the one hand, desires are means to achieving valuable goods. They should be selected so as optimally to facilitate achievement. On the other hand, desires can be intrinsically good or bad. They should be selected so that the ensemble of our desires is intrinsically best.

According to the objective list account of human good, the desires we should wish to have for our own good are those that constitute the proper mix of desires that are intrinsically good, as just characterized, and the desires that are instrumentally good.

The question arises whether the ideal of proportionate love of the good is really desirable, and has any weight at all in competition with the ideal of effective love of the good. If someone loves the good effectively, is there any defect at all present if effective love involves some strategically disproportionate love?

It is not clear that disproportionate desiring per se is defective. There is a universe of diverse goods. Any individual has limited capacities for coming to appreciate and crave particular instances of goods and also kinds of goods. Beyond some point, which may differ for each person, further attempts to broaden the scope of one's desiring of the good would dilute the quality of one's sensitive and nuanced desirous response to goods in the limited scope.

Even if proportionate desiring were intrinsically desirable, it might be perfectly acceptable all things considered for Sally to desire friendship only with Sue and for someone to desire only to pursue painting achievement, not other kinds. This is so because the disproportionate desires might be strategically valuable, aids to maximizing well-being. So to fix on the question that concerns us, we need to suppose that instrumental considerations are not in play.

An objective list account of human good or well-being implies that insofar as one aims to increase the well-being of a person (the person might be oneself) by influencing the character of her desires, one should strive to alter or form desires with a view to inducing a set that is maximally efficient for the goal to maximizing the person's lifetime achievement of the entries on the objective list. This aim should perhaps be balanced against the aim of altering desires so as to maximize the extent to which having those desires is itself intrinsically good. But the ideal of proportionate desiring looks problematic under scrutiny, whereas the ideal of effective desiring should be uncontroversial.

A hybrid view holds that nothing that an individual does or gets contributes in itself to her well-being unless the thing is both objectively valuable and positively engages her subjectivity.

The enjoyment that according to the hybrid view is required for well-being must be enjoyment taken in what is objectively valuable. One must enjoy not merely what is in fact excellent, but an excellent aspect of it.

An objective list view can grant that other things being equal, it is better that one's objectively valuable achievements and attainments be accompanied by pleasure, since this adds to the overall well-being boost that one gains thereby.

The disagreement between the objective list view and the hybrid view emerges clearly in cases where the individual could be induced either to achieve a greater weighted sum of entries on the list or a smaller sum when only the lesser attainment satisfies the enjoyment condition.

A version of the objective list view might hold that no life counts as good for the one who lives it unless some threshold level of enjoyment (and perhaps other goods) is achieved. The difference is that the hybrid view holds that no achievement, however great, adds to one's well-being unless it is enjoyed and no enjoyment however great adds to one's well-being unless it is directed at what is excellent.

The hybrid view urges more decisively than the objective list view that we should train people, if we can, not to desire the cotton candy of life. Regarding excellence, the hybrid view, like the objective list view, favors the training of desire so that desire is maximally instrumentally efficacious for the attainment of well-being. The difference is that the hybrid view sees no point in inducing desire for excellence that can be achieved but that cannot (or, one foresees, will not) be enjoyed, and no point in bringing about enjoyment if enjoyment is taken in what is nonexcellent.... The hybrid view will by the same token counsel against seeking and even desiring excellent achievements if those excellent achievements will certainly never be enjoyed.

Preference Formation and Personal Good, C. Rosati

Because we must live our lives with limited resources—material and temporal—we are pressed to choose among and to order our preferences. Without some selection and ordering, few if any of them would be satisfied, and we would be unable to live lives that are recognizably good at all. Moreover, we would be unable to function well as the autonomous beings that we are. Our practical task then is to form a coherent, stable, and attractive ordering of aims—to develop a conception of our good.... I roughly follow Rawls in treating a conception of the good as an ordered scheme of final ends, together with a story about what makes those ends appropriate or worthwhile.

The task is a complex one, for many of our conflicting preferences represent not merely the different things we might happen to want but the different selves we could become and the different lives we might lead. The choice among our preferences— actual and possible—can thus have far reaching consequences. If we fail to choose and order our aims well, we may find ourselves living lives that disappoint us or, worse, lives self-deceived, resigned, or riddled with regret.

If we are to understand how it is possible for us to lead good lives, then, we cannot merely inquire about how it makes sense to organize our aims or preferences. We must also inquire about how to form our preferences in the first place.

Of course, none of us comes into the world fully equipped from the outset either to order or to form our own preferences. Instead, our parents, or those responsible for raising us, must do the ordering on our behalf, at least until we have the maturity and skill to do it on our own, and they must also serve as the primary formers of our preferences.

Let's say, speaking roughly, that good or effective parenting is parenting that produces effective formers of preferences, that is, formers of preferences the satisfaction of which is at least more likely to yield a good life for the person whose preferences they are.

The key to understanding effective parenting and what it accomplishes in shaping preferences is to recognize that parents are guided in the first instance not by a regard for the child's good but by a regard for the child herself.11 And this suggests, as I will explain, that preference-formation ought to be guided not so much by the nature and value of the objects of preferences or even their value in relation to a particular person but by the nature and value of the person whose preferences are at issue.

These respects in which parenting is guided by a regard for the child are importantly related, for they reflect those factors that must be borne in mind if parenting is to succeed in its fundamental aim, namely, producing happy, autonomous agents—beings who both fare well and function well.

Good parenting is, first and foremost, an activity in which a person responds appropriately to the value of children.13 The acts a loving parent performs on behalf of his child both honor and express the child's value. These acts obviously include, though they go well beyond, nurturing the child, protecting her, and providing her with basic discipline and education. What is especially important about the sundry acts a good parent undertakes for his child's sake, out of his regard for her value, is that they effectively convey to the child a sense of her worth or value. The sense of one's worth that good parenting conveys should not be confused with self-esteem.... Whereas self-esteem admits of degrees and can properly be enhanced by one's own activities and efforts at self-improvement, or diminished by one's own failures and faults, a sense of one's worth is not something to be earned or forfeited.

Through the acts our parents perform in nurturing us, providing for our needs and so on, they likewise model how we are to be valued. In seeing to our needs and helping us to make our wray in the world, our parents prepare us to grasp or sense our owTn value, and we absorb the information their actions convey, more or less unconsciously, through our interactions with them.

Since good parenting is guided by a regard for the child as a being with the capacity to become an autonomous agent, much parenting consists, unsurprisingly, in training a child in autonomous functioning. As a preliminary matter, parents must help their children to develop those skills that provide the necessary foundations for genuine self-governance.

Good parents impart these and other 'skills in living' not only by correcting and structuring the child's behavior but by behaving themselves in ways that model these skills for the child.

The relevant capacities are no doubt varied but almost certainly include these: the capacity to engage in self-reflection and so to understand, to varying degrees, what we are doing; to exercise imagination and so to envision possibilities; to reason and be moved by reasons and so to look for warrant for our actions; and to form and act on higher-order desires and so to guide our own conduct by what we reflectively support.

It is not enough that children learn to control their impulses or to exercise their reason and imagination. To develop well, children must not only be stopped from acting in certain ways and taught how to exercise self-control; they must also be given positive reasons for acting in some ways rather than others.

Moreover, not just any desires or preferences will supply positive reasons for acting; that is precisely why we wonder how our preferences ought to be formed and why we would seek a theory of preference-formation in the first place. If we are successfully to make our way in the world we will require some means of reflecting on and ordering our preferences, and this must amount to more than just opting for some desires over others, more than just acceding to those that happen to be strongest.

Since children cannot develop a framework for shaping their preferences all on their own, a critical part of how parents aid in the development of autonomous agency is by giving their children such a framework until they have developed the ability to decide for themselves what rules, principles, and commitments to embrace. Early on and well into adolescence, our parents must not only structure our time and activities; they must also directly supply us with rules and principles and discipline us to conform to them. In so doing, they shape the formation of our preferences rather directly.

In so doing, they provide their children with a provisional or 'working' conception of their good and a provisional 'self-ideal'; they give their children a life to live and someone to be until they are able to choose a life and form an ideal for themselves.

Although our parents must give us someone to be they obviously cannot make us into whatever sort of person they might like... After all, they may not have the ability to undertake certain aims and pursuits. Or they may have the ability, but given their personality, circumstances, and capacity for change, they may never find those aims or pursuits rewarding....Still, in having a regard for their child as a distinct individual, parents seek to foster their child's interest in activities that do or can, with the proper effort, 'suit' or 'fit' her.

Thus far I have suggested that insofar as parents succeed in the goal of raising their children to be happy, autonomous agents, they thereby raise their children to be good regulators of their own future preference-formation.

Properly formed preferences are those preferences that a person would form for herself at a time insofar as she viewed herself and her situation from the standpoint of an ideal parent. What this would mean is that properly formed preferences are those a person would acquire or retain were she guided by a regard for her agent-neutral value, by a regard for her status as an autonomous agent, and by a regard for herself as the individual that she is. In being well-brought up, I am suggesting, a person will tend to deliberate, choose, and act as if guided in this way.

To add a twist to Freud's insight about the superego, she has, in effect, internalized the parental standpoint....She has internalized, and so, in effect, has adopted with respect to herself, the normative stance toward children that makes for effective parenting.

A person's sense of her worth reveals itself in her having both the tendency and capacity to resist those who disrespect her or who would disregard her needs and interests. She will tend to prefer the company of those who value her or at least do not leave her feeling diminished or in doubt about her basic worth. More generally, she will tend to prefer not only people but those activities and pursuits engagement with which supports or at least does not erode her sense of her own worth.

More generally, a person's sense of her worth manifests itself in her acquired habits of looking out for herself, of seeing to her own needs, of treating herself with care. She will naturally prefer those things that she can see as consistent with her needs and interests.

The person who effectively governs her own choices and conduct protects herself, at least to some degree, not merely from the outward consequences of acting on unreflective desires or impulses, but from disruption of her efforts to live out her self-ideal and her conception of her good.

People who lack a stable, appropriate sense of their own worth, who are deeply insecure, notoriously do not see themselves or their circumstances accurately, and they have difficulty accurately gauging what they want and feel.35 They are less able to recognize when their perceptions are distorted, and they lack the confidence to form and trust their own judgments and self-assessments. They also have a diminished ability to envision genuine possibilities for themselves or to see obvious options as within their reach.

My aim has not been to characterize fully 'the parental role' or the parent-child relationship; it has been to lay some of the groundwork for a theory of preference-formation by studying good parents insofar as they are expert at producing effective preference formers.

My suggestion has been that we must look not so much to the nature and value of the objects of preference—though we must consider these things, too—as to the nature and value of the individual whose preferences are at issue. Insofar as that suggestion is correct, it should remain central to our thinking even when we begin to attend—as we must in constructing a full theory of preference-formation—to the individual's position as moral agent and member of society.

By attending to their children's nature and value, effective parents help, in all the ways we have considered, to make their children into more effective formers of their own preferences.

Consider informed-desire theories, which identify a person's good with what satisfies her informed desires. These theories of welfare rightly stress that we often need far more information than we may have if we are to form preferences satisfaction of which enhances our lives. Fuller information surely would go some way toward offsetting the conditions that lead to deformed, adaptive, or otherwise problematic preferences. But perhaps the most significant information we require concerns ourselves. Unsurprisingly, self-knowledge especially well equips a person to form preferences for those things she can well live with.

Theories of welfare that adopt such a requirement would maintain that satisfaction of a person's preferences enhances her life only insofar as she prefers those things that have genuine value. Attention to and recognition of those things that have real worth surely would help to shape more beneficial preferences. For the achievement of a good life does seem to depend on engagement with objective values—most critically, on engagement with one's own value as a person.

My suggestion has simply been that efforts to construct a theory of preference-formation should be guided by what guides effective formers of our preferences, namely, attention to the nature and value of persons.

Leading a Life of One's Own: On Well-Being and Narrative Autonomy, J. Brannmark

Not all preferences would seem to make contributions to our well-being and there should be some set of criteria which at least makes it intelligible why there is such a difference and that perhaps can even be used in order to evaluate hard cases.

I will start by explicating why some preferences might, because they have the wrong kind of structure, never contribute to our well-being and I will then go on to account for how even among those that can, many preferences still have this capacity lessened because of an impaired autonomy in the holder of them. Finally, I will conclude with a brief discussion of how such deficient preferences should be treated.

Lives are after all not just heaps of events, they are meaningful wholes, and if we look at the way that we judge the quality of other such wholes, like novels, it is clear that there is another possibility: we can judge wholes holistically most akin to what is sometimes called the objective-list approach. The main difference, which is also what provides the rationale for judging lives holistically, lies in the treatment of meaning; not 'meaning' in the sense of there being an overarching point to life, but in the sense that parts of any given life have a significance that depends on how they are situated within that particular and concrete life. This is why any list of goods is always incomplete since such lists are necessarily formulated in the abstract.

Meaning, or significance, is not just another item on a list—it is a pervasive phenomenon. Since lives are temporally extended wholes, the most obvious analogue to them is, as already hinted at, that of the novel and narrative meaning is probably the most important form of significance involved in determining how well our lives are going, although there is no reason to presume that all relevant forms of significance can be squeezed into this category.

Narrative structures are of paramount importance and human lives always have at least some narrative unity; but when we judge the goodness of lives, we should judge them as wholes with strong narrative elements rather than as narratives proper.

So holism will tend to lead to a weak form of relativism. This does however not preclude that there are substantial things to say on a structural level, and perhaps even to some extent on the level of concrete content, that hold for the human good in general; it is just that such a picture can never give us a complete manual for evaluating lives.

One of the perennial problems of theories of well-being that emphasize the role played by preferences or desires is the need to discriminate; not all preferences seem to matter for our well-being and from a philosophical point of view we would want to have a criterion that picks out those that matter and that is able to make sense of this. To begin with, it seems reasonable to say that only intrinsic preferences matter, i.e. preferences that do not merely concern means to something else.

Many things are such that we partly value them instrumentally, partly intrinsically. The most significant problem in this area is however that it would seem that even among clear-cut intrinsic preferences there are some the fulfillment of which do not make us better off. We might care about the well-being of others, but it does not seem obvious that increases in their well-being would automatically constitute increases in our own.

So how do we distinguish between those preferences that matter for well-being and those that do not? The most obvious candidate answer is probably to say that only preferences that are in some way self-referential should count. In order to be able to affect our well-being, they should in some sense be about us, either in the sense that the object of the preference involves us or that we want the thing in question for the sake of ourselves. But the problem is that some selfless preferences might actually be connected to our well-being.

The conclusion to be drawn from considering this example is that if we are to discriminate among preferences then we will have to look not just at the structure of the preference taken by itself, but rather at the role it has in the life of the person holding it.

In order to determine whether something constitutes a part of my life, it is not enough to look at my life in isolation; one must also look at how it is socially embedded. The narrative schemata that are involved in shaping our lives are cultural constructs and the meaning that our pursuits take on is constituted by these schemata, such as the scripts according to which we act and the personae that we take on in our relations with others.

A theory of well-being that includes subjective sources as constituents of a good life should contain a critical potential for assessing the aptness of the subject's own judgments or preferences. The standard way of appraising our preferences or desires is usually in terms of their structural features or deliberative underpinning. One model for doing this is what might be called the hierarchical affirmation account, which looks at whether our desires are supported by second-order desires, i.e. whether the goals that we pursue are also ones with which we identify wholeheartedly.10 Another, and more popular, model is what might be called idealized preference accounts, according to which the test of our current preferences is what we wrould prefer if we had all the relevant information and reasoned in a fully rational way.

Take a somewhat simpleminded peasant, one who does not suffer from either oppression or repression, yet for whom his preferences are simply something given. His tastes are unsophisticated and were he to have full information and loose his naivete he would most likely change many of them. Yet, there seems to be no good reason for thinking that his current preferences are unable to contribute to his well-being. One can be unsophisticated and still lead a life of one's own. And so there seems to be reason to articulate a notion of autonomy that is weaker than the standard accounts.

A person can adapt her preferences so that they suit the circumstances and while adaptation in general is quite plainly just good sense there are clearly situations where we adapt in ways that make the resulting preferences into simply too much of a surrender to one's situation. To be the protagonist of one's life requires a certain amount of supporting circumstances in terms of a positive narrative embedding of the ways in which one leads one's life.

So the lesson is that we cannot simply look at the preferences or even the way that the person has deliberated before adopting them, we must look at the concrete narrative embedding of them. And on a philosophical level we can thus only say certain quite general things about what it is that we are to look for (such as whether the person in question is the protagonist of her own life or not).

What I would suggest here is thus that preferences that are of this kind, that are the preferences of supporting characters, are questionable as potential sources of well-being and that they are so because of the way that they are actually embedded rather than because of some counterfactuals that happen to be true of them (such as that we would not have had these preferences were the situation ideal in some sense). And if there are too many preferences of this kind, or a few of them that are too central, then there is room for saying that such a person is not really leading a life of her own.

To have narrative autonomy, one has to be the kind of person that has reached a sense of what to achieve in a way that has involved making up one's own mind. This presupposes a certain self-trust: to a reasonable extent one has to rely on one's own judgment and not just defer to the judgment of others. One of the most insidious ways in which people can be tyrannized is by being made to think that their own judgment is not good enough and that they must defer to others in order to know what to do. Indeed, this might even be the case with extremely privileged persons that have key roles in the central scripts of their societies.

Wliat is needed to possess authorship is to create a space of individuality in the intersections of all the general cultural constructs, sometimes even cliches, that structure our lives.

Authorship is thus not about making non-influenced choices, it is about influences from different persons and different times blending with each other. It is through that blending of influences that one's own voice and a power of judgment emerges.

The natural conclusion would seem to be that the fulfillment of nonautonomous preferences cannot make our lives go as well as the fulfillment of autonomous ones.

The Rawlsian distinction between ideal and non-ideal theory is an important one in this context. A theory of the human good is a theory concerning what should ideally be the case, but when we find ourselves in a situation where this id'eal is unreachable (at least in the short run), then we should also have non-ideal theory about what to do then. So even if we ideally find it reasonable to fulfill the preferences that yield more welfare than those that yield less, we need not find this standard the relevant one under our present circumstances. Rather, a more attractive approach would be to say that if we find ourselves in a situation where the narrative autonomy of some people is compromised, the appropriate response is to generally give their current preferences the same weight as the preferences of others, while at the same time trying to change the circumstances in which these preferences have their basis.

Well-Being, Adaptation and Human Limitations, M. Qizilbash

Philosophical accounts of human well-being face a number of significant challenges. In this paper, I shall be primarily concerned with one of these. It relates to the possibility, noted by Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen amongst others, that people's desires and attitudes are malleable and can 'adapt' in various ways to the straitened circumstances in which they live. If attitudes or desires adapt in this way it can be argued that the relevant desires or attitudes fail to provide a reliable basis for evaluating well-being. This is, what I shall call the 'adaptation problem'.

An appealing approach to thinking about well-being involves seeing it in terms of the satisfaction of desires. It is well-known, however, that there are serious difficulties with any such account, if it focuses on people's actual desires. People's actual desires are too often unrelated to what is good for them or in their interests. Yet it is the latter that an account of well-being should provide. Some of the reasons why people's desires might not be closely related to their interests have to do with people's limited human capacities. People's desires sometimes reflect their limited ability to acquire and retain information and the bounds of their rationality. It seems plausible to suppose that if they had all the relevant information and wrere rational their desires would be closely connected with their interests. This intuition is the basis of 'informed' or 'rational' desire accounts.

On Richard Brandt's more recent and influential account a 'rational' desire is a desire that is not an irrational desire: an irrational desire is 'one which would not survive, in a given person, in the presence of vivid awareness of knowable propositions'. On a fuller formulation of this view, Brandt describes the process of 'confronting desires with relevant information, by repeatedly representing it, in an ideally vivid way, and at an appropriate time' as cognitive psychotherapy. A person's desire is then 'rational' if it would survive or be produced by careful cognitive pshychotherapy....His concern is to rule out 'mistaken' desires of various sorts, whether these be generated by ignorance or social conditioning.

Yet as a number of commentators have pointed out, Brandt's account may not rule out some desires which seem irrational—in the ordinary sense of the term.... So while Brandt's 'rational' desire account seems to deal with some reasons why there is a gap between our desires and what is good for us, there are nonetheless cases where satisfaction of 'rational' desires does not seem to be constitutive of well-being.

The key point to note is that the requirement for someone to have all the information that advances his or her life plan is so strong that it may often be beyond human beings, given their limited capacities for acquiring and retaining information. The strategy of 'idealising' desires so that they match with people's interests may go so far that the idealised desires are hardly human desires at all.

For Griffin informed desires are simply those formed with an appreciation of the nature of their objects. If adaptation poses a genuine problem for actual desire views, on Griffin's account, it must be because adaptation can undermine a person's appreciation of the nature of the objects of desire. The adaptation problem does not, thus, cause a problem for the informed desire account. At a purely formal level, this seems to be a solution to the adaptation problem.

Arneson: "Judged against the baseline of my original grim life circumstances, I am reasonably lucky and most of my important desires are fulfilled over the course of my life. These desires are not ill-chosen and would be endorsed and affirmed by the fully informed and rational ideal advisor whose advice determines what is prudentially valuable according to full-information accounts of the good. In these circumstances it seems that I succeed in leading a good, choiceworthy life according to informed-desire fulfilment, but not by a plausible application of an objective-list theory."

Since the desires of the unfortunate person in this example are restricted precisely because of his information about the world, his limited capacities and what one can reasonably achieve in the light of that information, making the information more vivid, or increasing one's powers of reasoning will not make the adaptation problem any less serious.

In his Welfare, Happiness and Ethics Wayne Sumner rejects the desire account. Instead he suggests that welfare 'consists in authentic happiness, the happiness of an informed and autonomous subject'. 'Happiness' here refers to a positive evaluation of the conditions of one's life, 'a judgement that, at least on balance, it measures up favourably to your standards and expectations'.

Amartya Sen: "A person who has had a life of misfortune, with very limited opportunities, and rather little hope, may be more easily reconciled to deprivations than others reared in more fortunate and affluent circumstances. The metric of happiness may, therefore, distort the extent of deprivation, in a specific and biased way."... In responding to this problem, Sumner suggests that happiness or life satisfaction should only count as authentic if it is autonomous. In considering how to incorporate what is, in effect, an 'autonomy requirement' he follows John Christman in suggesting that one significant factor determining whether or not a value is autonomous relates to the manner in which it was formed.

Sumner ends up articulating the following autonomy requirement for socialization processes: 'an autonomy-preserving socialization process will be one which does not erode the individual's capacity for critical assessment of his values, including the values promoted by the process itself.'

Elster—following John Stuart Mill's well-known discussion of 'competent judges' —thinks that '[o]ne should attach more weight to the preferences of someone who knows both sides of the question than to [those of] someone who has at most experienced one of the alternatives.' He adds that '[t]hese informed preferences are, of course, those of the individual concerned, not of some superior body. They are informed in the sense of being grounded in experience, not in the sense of being grounded in the meta-preferences of the individual.' This notion of informed preference may avoid some difficulties with standard full information accounts. It could, on Elster's view, be implemented through a policy which gave people the opportunity to try out new alternatives.

While this is an interesting suggestion, it is unlikely to help in the cases of the hardened unemployed and the dominated housewife. Their predicament—as Sen explained it—involved a lack of opportunities. They may be aware that there are alternatives (which they may indeed have experienced in the past), but see these as ones they cannot, for lack of opportunity, pursue in their current predicament. They may, thus, be informed in Elster's sense, but resigned nonetheless. So this notion of informed preference does not deal with the adaptation problem.

Griffin thinks that we need an account of prudential values—an account of those things that make a distinctively human life go better. Griffin's list of such values has remained remarkably constant over the years. It includes: the components of a characteristically human existence (freedom from great anxiety and pain, basic capabilities, autonomy, liberty and minimum material provision); understanding; accomplishment—the sort of achievement that gives a life point and weight; deep personal relations; and enjoyment.

Since deliberation about prudential values must be concerned with what makes a distinctively human life better, it must of necessity take account of the fact that we are not omniscient beings or endowed with perfect powers of calculation.

Griffin also sees the relevance of human capacities and information in the context of inter-personal comparisons of well-being. He suggests that quite apart from a profile of prudential values, we need knowledge of human nature and information about particular persons to make such comparisons.

Since prudential deliberation is at the heart of Griffin's view, it is worth asking whether the kinds of adaptation that Sen mentions can somehow distort such deliberation.

The constraints we face and a recognition, or estimation, of our limitations inevitably come into play in prudential deliberation and the formation of our life plans.

The more serious problem for a prudential value list view would arise if, through adaptation to straitened circumstances, someone's capacity for prudential deliberation is more seriously impaired. In its most extreme form, such as complete despair, it might be argued that such impairment might involve not being able to see anything at all as making a life go better.

The key point to note is that these studies suggest that the relatively disadvantaged are capable of sophisticated deliberation about what makes a life go well. So we can, I suggest, conclude that adaptation may not pose as serious a problem for prudential value list views as it might for some desire accounts.

On Sen's account 'capability' is an important 'space' for the evaluation of the quality of life, egalitarian justice and development. A person's capability relates to the range of lives—constituted by valuable 'beings' and 'doings' or 'functionings'—from which she can choose one. On this view, the good life is thought of as made up of valuable functionings.

Sen has a number of reasons for not endorsing any particular list. He suggests that different lists will be appropriate in different contexts and also that people with different values or 'evaluative procedures' may arrive at different lists, which are compatible with his general approach.

On Nussbaum's view the capability approach allows us to distinguish—in a way that other approaches (including Elster's) do not—those forms of adaptation which ought to concern us from those which are quite benign. She suggests that, sometimes, taking a realistic view of, and adapting to, the circumstances in which one finds oneself, is positively good. It is, on her view, only when adaptation arises from a failure to have or to realise certain capabilities that we need to be especially concerned.

However, Nussbaum may need to go further in addressing the question of just what sorts of informed desires would do the work she needs, since she reminds us that 'to consult all actual desires, including the corrupt and mistaken, when we justify the list of basic entitlements and opportunities itself would put the political conception, and the liberties of citizens, on much too fragile a foundation.'

Preferences, Deliberation and Satisfaction, P. Pettit

The first thing to say about the notion of preference is that unlike that of desire, preference is always a preference for one thing rather than another; it always involves a ranking of alternatives. Thus it makes no sense to ask someone whether they prefer X; the only sensible question will be whether they prefer X to Y, X to Z, or whatever. Preference, as we can put it, is inherently comparative.

Before we can tell what someone prefers amongst various alternatives, we have to be clear about what exactly those alternatives are. In particular, we have to be clear about how they are individuated, and whether two superficially similar alternatives that appear in difference choice contexts really remain the same option.

According to the behavioral account, there is no content to saying that someone prefers one alternative to another over and beyond the claim that he or she chooses that alternative rather than the other. A preference for an alternative is nothing other than what is actually revealed in the choice of the alternative.

This is an extraordinary theory. It means that short of being revealed in choice, there is no preference for anything, so that we cannot say that someone is led to make this or that choice as a result of their preferences and we cannot even say that someone's preference is frustrated by not being able to make a corresponding choice...It appears to deny the reality of preference in the accepted sense, rather than giving an account of what that reality involves. In my view it is nothing short of an eliminativist or error theory of preference.

The most obvious alternative to the strict behavioral approach retains the tight connection between preference and choice. According to this account, to say that someone prefers one alternative to another is to say that they are disposed, should they be given a choice between those alternatives, to choose the first rather than the second. What does that disposition consist in? The natural way to think of it will be as a categorical state of the agent, or as something grounded in such a categorical state. Thinking of it this way, we can say that when a person chooses the preferred alternative, then the choice is causally explained by the presence of that state within them.

The dispositional analysis gets over the more obvious difficulties with the behavioral. It makes sense of the idea that people are caused to make their choices by the preferences they hold, as it does of the idea that people can have a preference frustrated.

The dispositional account, however, looks to be less general than it ought intuitively to be. It focuses on the connection between preference and choice and makes that connection into something definitional or constitutive; nothing is to count as a preference for X over Y unless it disposes the agent to choose X over Y. But there are connections that we firmly expect a preference to have with other attitudes, and not just with choice, and there is good reason to treat these also as constitutive of preference.

According to such an analysis, to say that someone prefers one alternative to another is to say that they are in a state such that, in the absence of perturbing conditions, that state will dispose them to choose the first rather than the second, and will connect in such and such a manner with other preferences and other states of mind.

I have argued that we ought to conceptualize preference so that any state that is to count as a state of preferring one alternative to another should connect in certain ways, at least in the absence of perturbing factors, with choice, with other preferences, with beliefs of various sorts, and so on.

To hold that preferences are tastes is to suggest that they are brute states in which one finds oneself, as one finds oneself with a taste for dark beer or bright clothes or the smell of garlic. In particular, it is to suggest that they are exogenous to decisionmaking and are not themselves up for adjudication or revision. There is no debating about tastes....Preferences in general are susceptible to deliberative connections with a variety of factors—more on this in the next section—and do not have the insulated, unmoveable character of tastes.

The fundamental tenet of our common sense psychology of human agents is that agency involves acting to realize various goals in a way that is sensible in light of the apparent facts: that is, in a way that adjusts to the facts, as one construes the facts.... For short, people act so as to promote their goals according to their construal of the facts.

We do not just possess beliefs and desires in the manner of non-humans, and act as those states require. We can give linguistic expression to the contents of many of those states—we can articulate the goals sought and the facts assumed. We can form beliefs about those goals we pursue or might pursue and those facts believe or might believe; beliefs, for example, to the effect that certain forms of consistency or coherence or mutual support do or do not obtain amongst them.

Deliberation is the enterprise of seeking out higher-order truths—truths about consistency, support and the like—with an implicit or explicit view to imposing further checks on one's fact-construing and goal-seeking processes. Not only do we human beings show ourselves to be rational agents, as we seek goal's, construe facts, and perform actions in an appropriate fashion. We also often deliberate about what goals we should seek, about how we should construe the facts in the light of which we seek them, and about how therefore we should go about that pursuit: about what opportunities we should exploit, what means we should adopt, and so on. We do this when we try to ensure that we will form beliefs in suitably constraining higher-order truths about the properties and relations of candidate goals and candidate facts.

We may interrogate the goal on a similar basis, since the facts we believe determine what it makes sense for us to pursue. Or we may interrogate it in the light of other goals that also appeal to us; in this case, as in the case of belief, a pressing question will be whether or not it is consistent with such rival aims.

What are the premises invoked when I deliberate my way to some novel conclusion, whether a conclusion that I should believe such and such, desire so and so, or choose this or that action?

Some desires we naturally regard as pathological, others as the products of a weak will, others as due to a lack of imagination or memory, and so on; pathologies of desire are a lot more commonplace than pathologies of belief. This being so, we cannot think that the proper ratiocinative endorsement for acting on a given desire should simply start from the existence of that desire, putting it into the foreground of deliberation, as if it were something sacred and beyond question.

The picture of deliberation emerging from these considerations is that it is a truth-serving and value-serving enterprise. Deliberation tries to track the true and the valuable, not the believed and the desired, in looking at whether a novel response is well supported. And this is the case whether the response is the formation of a new belief or desire—or indeed a novel intention or policy or the like—or the performance of an action.

What needs to be said in particular is that the satisfaction of preferences may refer either to the realization of those states of affairs that fulfill the preferences or to the relief of the preferences, as we might call it: the removal of the preferences from one's psychology by means of fulfilling them.

The lesson, I think, is clear. In seeking the fulfillment of a preference, the desirability characteristic of the fulfilling state of affairs need not be ego-relative and the preference need not be egocentric. I may find that state of affairs desirable for egocentric reasons, of course, such as that it will further my prospects in life. But again I may find it desirable for a variety of other more altruistic or neutral considerations too: that it will help you or some others in this or that manner, that it will make for greater justice in the world, that it will increase the sum of sentient happiness, or whatever.

We have seen that while I may be said to pursue the satisfaction of my preferences in deliberative decision-making, this is ambiguous between saying that I pursue fulfillment of the preferences and saying that I pursue relief from the preferences. We have seen that only fulfilment is relevant with normal, functional preferences but that relief is relevant—on its own or alongside fulfilment—with preferences of a phenomenal kind. And we have seen, finally, that whereas preference-fulfillment may be desirable for non-egocentric or egocentric reasons, there is something essentially egocentric about the desirability of preference-relief.

There are two implications for the role of preference-satisfaction supported by these lines of argument. The first is that it is potentially misleading to frame one's practical decision-making in terms of satisfying one's preferences. And the second is that it would be a serious mistake for policy-makers to think that increasing people's preference-satisfaction is a sensible goal.

Were I always to frame my practical reasoning in terms of preference-satisfaction then there might be a danger of losing the distinction between seeking preference-fulfilment and seeking preference-relief. It might begin to seem that acting on one's preferences always means acting for a sort of personal advantage and that egocentricity is built into the very logic of human decision-making. I think it is very important to resist this mistake, if only to guard against a sort of global demoralization about our species.

Suppose that some people act out of egocentric preferences, and others out of more or less altruistic preferences: say, preferences for the welfare of others, including others of an egocentric bent. Then a government that sought to equalize or maximize preference-satisfaction in the society would be double-counting the egoists. They would be looking after them on two counts: both as objects of their own concern and as objects of concern to the more altruistic.

Preferences, Paternalism, and Liberty, C. Sunstein, R. Thaler

Our goal in this chapter is to draw on empirical work about preference formation and welfare to propose a distinctive form of paternalism, libertarian in spirit, one that should be acceptable to those who are firmly committed to freedom of choice on grounds of either autonomy or welfare.

In the process of defending these claims, we intend to make some objections to widely held beliefs about both freedom of choice and paternalism. Our major emphasis is on the fact that in many domains, people lack clear, stable, or well-ordered preferences. What they choose is strongly influenced by details of the context in which they make their choice, for example default rules, framing effects (that is, the wording of possible options), and starting points. These contextual influences render the very meaning of the term 'preferences' unclear. If social planners are asked to respect preferences, or if they are told that respect for preferences promotes well-being, they will often be unable to know what they should do.

The design features of both legal and organizational rules have surprisingly powerful influences on people's choices. Preferences are formed in part by reference to those influences. We urge that the relevant rules should be chosen with the explicit goal of improving the welfare of the people affected by them.

The paternalistic aspect consists in the claim that it is legitimate for private and public institutions to attempt to influence people's choices and preferences, even when third-party effects are absent. In other words, we argue for self-conscious efforts, by private and public institutions, to steer people's choices in directions that will improve the choosers' own welfare. In our understanding, a policy therefore counts as 'paternalistic' if it attempts to influence the choices of affected parties in a way that will make choosers better off.

Libertarian paternalism is a relatively weak and nonintrusive type of paternalism, because choices are not blocked or fenced off. In its most cautious forms, libertarian paternalism imposes trivial costs on those who seek to depart from the planner's preferred option. But the approach we recommend nonetheless counts as paternalistic, because private and public planners are not trying to track people's anticipated choices, but are self-consciously attempting to move people in welfare-promoting directions. It follows that one of our principal targets is the dogmatic anti-paternalism of numerous analysts of law and policy. We believe that this dogmatism is based on a combination of a false assumption and two misconceptions.

The false assumption is that almost all people, almost all of the time, make choices that are in their best interest or at the very least are better, by their own lights, than the choices that would be made by third parties. This claim is either tautological, and therefore uninteresting, or testable. We claim that it is testable and false, indeed obviously false.

As a first approximation, it seems reasonable to say that people make better choices in contexts in which they have experience and good information (say, choosing ice cream flavors) than in contexts in which they are inexperienced and poorly informed (say, choosing among medical treatments or investment options). So long as people are not choosing perfectly, it is at least possible that soni£ policy could make them better off by improving their decisions.

Once it is understood that some organizational decisions are inevitable, that preferences are endogenous to social situations, that a form of paternalism cannot be avoided, and that the alternatives to paternalism (such as choosing options to make people worse off) are unattractive, we can abandon the less interesting question of whether to be paternalistic or not, and turn to the more constructive question of how to choose among the possible choice-influencing options.

The presumption that individual choices should be respected is often based on the claim that people do an excellent job of making choices that promote their welfare, or at least that they do a far better job than third parties could possibly do. (It is not always based on this claim. Some of the standard arguments against paternalism rest not on consequences but on autonomy—on a belief that people are entitled to make their own choices even if they err.) As far as we can tell, there is little empirical support for this claim, at least if it is offered in this general form.

On a more scientific level, research by psychologists and economists over the past three decades has raised questions about the rationality of many of our judgments and decisions. People fail to make forecasts that are consistent with Bayes's rule; use heuristics that can lead them to make systematic blunders; exhibit preference reversals (that is, they prefer A to B and B to A); suffer from problems of self-control; and make different choices depending on the framing of the problem.

In any event, our emphasis here is not on blocking choices, but on strategies that move people in welfare-promoting directions while also allowing freedom of choice. Evidence of bounded rationality and problems of self-control is sufficient to suggest that such strategies are worth exploring. Of course many people value freedom of choice as an end in itself, but they should not object to approaches that preserve that freedom while also promising to improve people's lives.

Often people's choices, and even their valuations, are endogenous to the social context, including default rules. This point raises a serious problem for those who reject paternalism in the name of liberty, and who argue that people should be permitted to choose in accordance with their preferences.

Our conjecture that default plans affect outcomes is supported by the results of numerous experiments documenting a 'status quo' bias. The existing arrangement, whether set out by private institutions or by government, is often robust.

Should the adoption of automatic enrollment be considered paternalistic? And if so, should it be seen as a kind of officious meddling with employee preferences? We answer these questions yes and no respectively.

Skeptical readers, insistent on freedom of choice, might be tempted to think that there is a way out of this dilemma. Employers could avoid choosing a default if they required employees to make an active choice, either in or out. Call this option required active choosing. Undoubtedly required active choosing is attractive in some settings, but a little thought reveals that this is not at all a way out of the dilemma. On the contrary, required active choosing is simply another option among many that the employer can elect. In fact the very requirement that employees make a choice has a strong paternalistic element.

Required active choosing honors freedom of choice in a certain respect; but it does not appeal to those who would choose not to choose, and indeed it will seem irritating and perhaps unacceptably coercive by their lights.

Our suggestion is that one or another approach is likely to have effects on the choices of employees. This is the sense in which paternalism is inevitable, from government no less than from private institutions.

Because the goal is to determine what people actually want, contingent valuation studies are an effort to elicit, rather than to affect, people's values. Paternalism, in the sense of effects on preferences and choices, is not supposed to be part of the picture. But it is extremely difficult for contingent valuation studies to avoid constructing the very values that they are supposed to discover. The reason is that in the contexts in which such studies are used, people do not have clear or well-formed preferences, and hence it is unclear that people have straightforward 'values',,.that can actually be found. Hence some form of paternalism verges on the inevitable: Stated values will often be affected, at least across a range, by how the questions are set up.

The most sensible conclusion is that people are sometimes uncertain about appropriate values, and whenever they are, anchors have an effect—sometimes a startlingly large one. It is not clear how those interested in eliciting (rather than affecting) values might respond to this problem. What is clear is that in the domains in which contingent valuation studies are used, people often lack well-formed preferences, and starting points have important consequences for behavior and choice.

The most sensible conclusion is that people do not have robust, well-ordered intergenerational time preferences. If so, it is not possible for government to track those preferences, because they are an artifact of how the question is put.

In the face of uncertainty about what should be done, people might rely on one of two related heuristics: do what most people do, or do what informed people do. Choosers might think that the default plan or value captures one or the other. In many settings, any starting point will carry some informational content and will thus affect choices. When a default rule affects behavior, it might well be because it is taken to carry information about how sensible people usually organize their affairs.

A separate explanation points to inertia. Any change from the default rule or starting value is likely to require some action. Even a trivial action, such as filling in some form and returning it, can leave room for failures due to memory lapses, sloth, and procrastination. Many people wait until the last minute to file their tax return, even when they are assured of getting a refund.

A default rule might create a 'pure' endowment effect. It is well known that people tend to value goods more highly if those goods have been initially allocated to them than if those goods have been initially allocated elsewhere. And it is well known that, in many cases, the default rule will create an endowment effect. When an endowment effect is involved, the initial allocation, by private or public institutions, affects people's choices simply because it affects their valuations.

The central point is that effects on individual choices are often unavoidable. Of course it is usually good not to block choices, and we do not mean to defend non-libertarian paternalism here. But in an important respect the anti-paternalist position is incoherent, simply because there is no way to avoid effects on behavior and choices. The task for the committed libertarian is, in the midst of such effects, to preserve freedom of choice.

In order to be effective, any effort to inform people must be rooted in an understanding of how people actually think. Presentation makes a great deal of difference: The behavioral consequences of otherwise identical pieces of information depend on how they are framed.

When information campaigns fail altogether, it is often because those efforts 'result in counterproductive defensive measures.' Hence the most effective approaches go far beyond mere disclosure and combine 'a frightening message about the consequences of inaction with an upbeat message about the efficacy of a proposed program of prevention'.

If people lack information, a great deal of attention needs to be paid to information processing, and that without such attention, information disclosure might well prove futile or counterproductive. And to the extent that those who design informational strategies are taking account of how people think and are attempting to steer people in desirable directions, their efforts will inevitably have a paternalistic dimension.

A libertarian paternalist who is especially enthusiastic about free choice would be inclined to make it relatively costless for people to obtain their preferred outcomes. (Call this a "libertarian" paternalist.) By contrast, a libertarian paternalist who is especially confident of his welfare judgments would be willing to impose real costs on workers and consumers who seek to do what, in the paternalist's view, would not be in their best interests. (Call this a libertarian "paternalist".) Rejecting both routes, a non-libertarian paternalist would attempt to block certain choices. But notice that almost any such attempt will amount, in practice, to an effort to impose high costs on those who try to make those choices.

How should sensible planners choose among possible systems, given that some choice is necessary? The promotion of human well-being should be a principal goal, but it is far from clear how to do so. We suggest two approaches. If feasible, a comparison of possible rules should be done using a form of cost-benefit analysis, one that pays serious attention to welfare effects. In many cases, however, such analyses will be both difficult and expensive. As an alternative, we offer some rules of thumb that might be adopted to choose among various options.

Libertarian benevolence: an approach that attempts to promote benevolence, and to assist vulnerable people, without mandating behavior in any way. We suggest that changes in default rules, or a system of Give More Tomorrow, could produce large increases in public assistance—and that such approaches could do so in a way that avoids coercion.

What people choose often depends on the starting point, and hence the starting point cannot be selected by asking what people choose. In these circumstances, the libertarian paternalist would seek indirect proxies for welfare—methods that test whether one or another approach promotes welfare without relying on guesswork about that question. We suggest three possible methods.

First, the libertarian paternalist might select the approach that the majority would choose if explicit choices were required and revealed Useful though it is, this market-mimicking approach raises its own problems. Perhaps the majority's choices would be insufficiently informed, or a reflection of bounded rationality or bounded self-control. Perhaps those choices would not, in fact, promote the majority's welfare. At least as a presumption, however, it makes sense to follow those choices if the planner knows what they would be. A deeper problem is that the majority's choices might themselves be a function of the starting point or the default rule. If so, the problem of circularity dooms the market-mimicking approach...At the very least, planners should be required to have real confidence in their judgment if they seek to do something other than what a suitably informed majority would find to be in its interest.

Second, the libertarian paternalist might select the approach that we have called required active choices, one that would force people to make their choices explicit. This approach might be chosen if the market-mimicking strategy fails, either because of the circularity problem or because the planner does not know which approach would in fact be chosen by the majority....If it is likely that automatic enrollment promotes people's welfare, perhaps automatic enrollment should be preferred over requiring active choices. The only suggestion is that where social planners are unsure how to handle the welfare question, they might devise a strategy that requires people to choose.

Third, the libertarian paternalist might select the approach that minimizes the number of opt-outs. Suppose, for example, that when drivers are presumed to want to donate their organs to others, only 10 percent opt out, but that when drivers are required to signal their willingness to donate their organs to others, 30 percent opt in. This is an ex post inquiry into people's preferences, in contrast to the ex ante approach favored by the market-mimicking strategy. With those numbers, there is reason to think that the presumption in favor of organ donation is better, if only because more people are sufficiently satisfied to leave it in place.

If an approach increases the costs of decisions for choosers, there is less reason to adopt it, and it should be selected only if it is likely to improve the match of choices to actual welfare. If an approach increases errors and their costs by leading people to make choices that do not promote their welfare, that is a strong point against it.

When information is limited, a menu of countless options increases the costs of decisions without increasing the likelihood of accuracy. But when choosers are highly informed, the availability of numerous options decreases the likelihood of error and does not greatly increase decision costs, simply because informed choosers can more easily navigate the menu of options.

When people have a hard time predicting how their choices will end up affecting their lives, they have less to gain from having numerous options from which to choose. If it is hard to map from options to preferences, a large set of choices is likely to be cognitively overwhelming, and thus to increase the costs of decisions without also increasing welfare by reducing errors.

The argument for a large option set is thus strongest in cases of preferences that are both clear and heterogeneous. In such cases, people's welfare is likely to be promoted if each can choose as he sees fit, and homogeneity will lead to inaccuracy and thus widespread error costs.

If making choices is itself a subjective good, the argument for forced choices is strengthened. But much of the time, especially in technical areas, people do not particularly enjoy the process of choice, and a large number of options becomes a burden. By contrast, a thoughtfully chosen default rule, steering them in sensible directions, is a blessing.

Our central empirical claim here has been that in many domains, people's preferences are labile and ill-formed, and do not predate social and legal contexts. For this reason, starting points and default rules are likely to be quite sticky. Building on empirical work involving rationality and preference formation, we have sketched and defended libertarian paternalism — an approach that preserves freedom of choice but that encourages both private and public institutions to steer people in directions that will promote their own welfare.

Happiness and the Highest Good in Aristotle and Kant, S. Engstrom

Kant's ethics has often been thought to differ sharply from ancient ethics, and from the ethics of Aristotle in particular, in its attitude toward happiness. Whereas the starting point for Aristotle's ethical reflections is his identification of happiness, or eudaimonia, as the end for the sake of which we do all that we do, Kant seems insistent that we can never determine whether an action is right or good by considering its bearing on happiness. When viewed in the light of this comparison, Aristotle's ethics seems to involve an attractive feature that is not obviously present in Kant's. For by taking happiness as his starting point, Aristotle ensures that the ethical doctrine he articulates is grounded in a conception that gives unity to practical life and whose content has some claim to be our natural end.

Kant, on the other hand, while acknowledging that happiness is an end we have by nature, sharply opposes the pursuit of this end to the practice of duty and virtue. Thus, whereas Kant seems to insist that duty and virtue are at odds with our natural end, Aristotle maintains a firm grip on the appealing idea of a complete practical life centered around virtuous action and unified under the conception of our natural end of happiness.

On the surface, at least, Aristotle and Kant seem to hold sharply contrasting views about the relation of happiness to morality and virtue. Aristotle takes for granted that we all recognize from the start that happiness is our highest practical good, and he proceeds to argue that to achieve this end we must cultivate and exercise virtue. Kant, on the other hand, maintains that our natural end of happiness cannot be the ground of moral motivation; to suppose that the goodness of a virtuous disposition is contingent upon its contribution to happiness would be to adopt a heteronomous conception of morality.

But if there is a difference here, it is not as great as that between Kant and Epicurus. In opposing heteronomous conceptions of morality, Kant is especially concerned to reject the Epicurean idea that the motive for living virtuously lies in the instrumental value of such living for securing happiness. It is this idea that Kant has in mind when he criticizes eudaimonism.

In supposing that the motive for virtuous action lies in the prospect that happiness will follow as its effect, the eudaimonist follows the path of the Epicureans, who "assumed as the supreme principle of morality a wholly false one, namely, that of happiness, and passed off for a law a maxim of arbitrary choice of each according to his inclination".

It is clear from the basic clause of that account - "activity of soul in accordance with virtue"- that eudaimonia as Aristotle conceives of it includes the exercise of virtue. It is also clear that it involves or requires other goods as well. Aristotle says it involves other goods of the soul - notably wisdom and virtue, as the dispositions exercised in virtuous activity of soul, and pleasure, as the activity's natural attendant. And he says eudaimonia requires in addition favorable external conditions provided by goods external to the soul, such as friends, wealth, power, good birth, good children, and beauty. But there is no doubt that he takes eudaimonia to consist, chiefly at least, in activities involving the exercise of virtue: "activities in accordance with virtue are the chief determinants of eudaimonia".

Kant identifies the will with practical reason, the faculty of acting according to principles; and since he takes a principle to be an act that determines an end, he also calls the will the faculty of ends. Hence, on the "wish and will" characterization Gluckseligkeit is regarded, not merely as the imagination's maximally agreeable ideal, but as an end of action; and in being regarded as an end it is regarded as good, as in conformity with reason: "The agreeable . . . must first be brought under principles of reason by the concept of an end in order to call it, as an object of the will, good".

Kant's thought appears to run along the following lines: Everyone agrees that Gluckseligkeit consists in everything's going according to wish and will. Though we have great difficulty arriving at a concrete specification of the abstract concept of Gluckseligkeit, though we are not able to say determinately and consistently what we really wish and will, we all know, simply from grasping this concept, that Gluckseligkeit is the will of everyone.

Everything's going according to wish and will turns out to be truly good only insofar as one's wish and will depend on the moral law as their fundamental principle: "Gluckseligkeit is always something that, though indeed agreeable to one who possesses it, is not for itself alone absolutely and in all respects good, but always presupposes moral, lawful conduct as its condition".

Thus, when adequately conceived Gliickseligkeit is seen to be, not indeed identical to the highest good, but nevertheless internally related to it: Gliickseligkeit can be rationally conceived only through the idea of virtue. Gliickseligkeit, then, insofar as it is conceived as something good, is to be understood, not merely as the satisfaction of all one's inclinations, nor as including virtuous action as a component, but rather as the complement of such action in the highest good.

In the Lectures on Ethics Kant suggests that this point was appreciated by the ancients: ' 'The ancients well understood that Gliickseligkeit alone could not be the single highest good, for if all men were to hit upon this Gliickseligkeit without distinction of just and unjust, then there would indeed be Gliickseligkeit, but no worthiness of it and hence no highest good".

Indeed, the concept of the highest good seems a suitable point from which to compare Kant and Aristotle not only on account of its central role within Kant's ethics, but also because it appears to be the very concept Aristotle is attempting to articulate through his conception of eudaimonia. For Aristotle says that the good of which he seeks to give an account - "the highest of all practical goods" - is the "end of all things done", the end that stands to all our action as health stands to the entire medical art; and Kant introduces the highest good as "the unconditioned totality of the object of pure practical reason", that is, the single end pure practical reason lays down as "the ultimate object of all conduct".

Kant's criticism of the ancients for starting with the highest good is in turn a special case of his general criticism of all philosophers who seek to derive moral rules of conduct from an antecedent conception of a good to be achieved. To best ensure an adequate grasp of the point of his criticism, we should consider it in its full generality.

To find Kant's reason for denying that we can have knowledge of some good to be achieved that is conceivable independently of any conception of a law for the will, knowledge that would enable us to establish as a (moral) law for our will that we are to promote this good to the extent that we can, we must briefly examine his exposition of the concept of morality.

Kant's claim that morality has its basis in a law of the will and his complementary criticism of the attempt to derive moral rules from an antecedent conception of some good to be achieved rest together on the idea, elaborated in his analysis of common moral knowledge in chapter 1 of the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, that morality consists in a specific kind of goodness, which is peculiar to the good will and manifested in action from duty. What is distinctive about this goodness, or "moral worth," as Kant also calls it, is that it is "inner unconditioned worth": "The good will is good not through what it effects or accomplishes, not through its fitness for attaining some proposed end: it is good through its willing alone - that is, good in itself".

The good will, he says, is "good through its willing alone"; hence it is not any better for being efficacious. Thus he is denying that the good will is aptly characterized as something we "value for its own sake as well as for the good it produces"... Thus, an action is good conditionally insofar as there is something else (the condition) that, being practically necessary itself (hence something good, an object of the will) yet dependent on the action for its realization, makes the action practically necessary. The unconditioned, inner goodness of good willing, on the other hand, lies in the fact that there are no conditions on which the practical necessity of such willing is contingent. Being unconditioned, this necessity cannot depend on any object or act of the will. It must therefore derive from what is the same throughout all possible exercise of the will - from the form of willing, in other words, which is what Kant takes the a priori principle or law of the will to be. So a good will is a will exercised in accordance with its constituting form, or law.

It follows further that arriving at a specification of what good willing and virtue consist in cannot be a matter of finding a specific way of willing or acting that contributes, or best contributes, to the highest good; on the contrary, since nothing can be good that conflicts with what is good in itself, the specification of what the highest good consists in must be in agreement with the exercise of the good will. In short, Kant criticizes the ancients for thinking that the specification of virtue depends on the specification of the highest good. The order of dependence, he maintains, is precisely the reverse: we do not learn about virtue by studying the highest good; we learn about the highest good by studying virtue.

It is true, of course, that Aristotle begins his enquiry by asking about the highest good. But it can be seen from the way his exposition unfolds in the Nicomachean Ethics that he does not follow the approach Kant criticizes. After identifying the highest good with eudaimonia, Aristotle proceeds, on the basis of his consideration of the human function, to characterize this good as activity of soul in accordance with virtue. This characterization determines the direction of the ensuing enquiry by indicating that the task is one of studying the highest good by studying virtue (not the reverse): "Since eudaimonia is an activity of soul in accordance with complete virtue, we must examine virtue; for perhaps we shall thus better see eudaimonia".

If Aristotle takes noble, virtuous action to be essentially contained in the end, then he must suppose, not that the goodness of virtuous action (its nobility) depends on such action's contribution to the highest good, but rather that the achievement of an adequate conception of the highest good depends on the recognition that virtuous action is included within that end. As we have seen, this is just the way Kant thinks virtue and the highest good are related. Therefore, although Kant's characterization of the ancients as "devoting their investigation entirely to the determination of the concept of the highest good"' applies reasonably well to Aristotle, the conclusion that Kant draws from it, namely, that the ancients ' 'thus posited an object which they intended subsequently to make the determining ground of the will in the moral law," does not.

What philosophical wisdom thinks abstractly as a principle, in the idea of complete and self-sufficient rational life, practical wisdom realizes so far as is possible in action. (Practical wisdom might thus itself be described as philosophical wisdom "in a secondary way.") Insofar as the contemplation of this rational principle is a more complete and self-sufficient activity than is the principle's realization in human action through the exercise of practical wisdom, it is a more complete eudaimonia. But since this contemplation is just the actualization in theoretical activity of the same principle or form that is actualized practically in the exercise of ethical virtue, it is not some object to be achieved apart from action, but rather the selfawareness of the very principle in the soul that is expressed in ethically virtuous action itself.

The active life in accordance with virtue is thus the life of action in which the divine form is most present, and we might even say that this life is just what the life of contemplation comes to insofar as it is situated in the circumstances of action....A life of action is a life of eudaimonia just to the extent that it bears the form of, or some likeness to, the life of contemplation, and the life of action that bears this form most completely is the life of virtue: "The whole life of the gods is blessed, and that of humans too insofar as it has some likeness of such [namely, divine, contemplative] activity".

It appears, then, that Kant's criticism of the ancients for taking the highest good as their starting point in ethics does not apply to Aristotle and hence does not threaten the suggestion, broached earlier, that we have a prospect of locating a conception in Kant that answers to Aristotle's conception of eudaimonia if we examine his conception of the highest good. But before we compare Aristotle's and Kant's substantive accounts of what the highest good consists in - eudaimonia as activity of soul in accordance with virtue, according to Aristotle, and virtue accompanied by Gliickseligkeit as its consequence, according to Kant - we should briefly consider their formal characterizations of the highest good to determine more conclusively whether both philosophers are indeed working with the same fundamental conception.

According to [Aristotle's] criteria, the highest good is (absolutely) complete, that is, "choiceworthy always in itself and never on account of something else", and self-sufficient, "what by itself makes life choiceworthy and lacking in nothing". Presumably it is only through lacking something that life could fail to be choiceworthy, so the selfsufficient good can be characterized more succinctly as what by itself makes life lacking in nothing...Thus we can say that a good is selfsufficient if there is no good that could be added to it to yield a greater good.

After introducing the highest good as the unconditioned totality of the object of pure practical reason, Kant points out an ambiguity in the phrase 'the highest' (i.e., in das Hochste understood as the vernacular rendering of summa). It can mean either the supreme (or original), "the condition that is itself unconditioned, i.e., subordinated to no other," or the consummate (or perfect), "the whole that is not a part of a yet greater whole of the same kind''. Kant brings out the difference between these two meanings by claiming that virtue is a good that is highest in the former sense, but not in the latter. Virtue is the supreme good, since its goodness lies wholly within it and hence is not in any way contingent on virtue's contribution to any other good. But it is not the consummate good, for the addition of Gliickseligkeit yields a greater whole of the same kind, that is, a greater good. Since Kant has identified the highest good with the unconditioned totality of the object of pure practical reason, his patent intention is to use the phrase 'highest good' to signify the consummate good.

The good that is not a part of a yet greater good is just the good to which there is no good that could be added to yield a greater good. So the consummate good is the self-sufficient good, and thus Aristotle's and Kant's formal characterizations of the highest good are fundamentally the same.

Aristotle's and Kant's substantive conceptions of the highest good agree in the following respects. Both Aristotle and Kant regard the highest good as consisting in unimpeded and hence pleasant activity of soul in accordance with virtue, and both draw a distinction between a part of this good that depends solely on us, which both identify with the exercise of virtue, and a part that depends on other causes, which Kant calls Gliickseligkeit, and to which Aristotle refers in effect when he acknowledges that eudaimonia depends on external goods and fortune. We have now to examine how these two components are related.

Aristotle's conception of eudaimonia involves the idea that virtue tends to bring about the external prosperity it deserves. That there is a connection at all is ensured by the fact that virtue itself has eudaimonia as its end; the connection is strengthened to the extent that virtue has been achieved for the polis, and to the extent that the gods have some concern for human affairs. It appears, therefore, that there is a significant measure of agreement between Aristotle and Kant even on this question whether in the highest good virtue is causally related to external prosperity. So despite the specific differences in their accounts, there seems to be a substantive conception of the highest good that they share, according to which virtue and external prosperity are united in the conditionality relation described earlier.

Rationality and Happiness: From the Ancients to the Early Medievals, J. Yu, J. Gracia

Virtue is pursued for happiness (eudaimonia), and it is generally thought to be the human rational good and thus intrinsically related to rationality. Beginning with Socrates, the mainstream of ancient ethics tends to focus on the cultivation of rationality in seeking human happiness, but different views of rationality determine different theories of virtue and of the relation between virtue and other goods.

Happiness (eudaimonia) in the ancient Greek tradition does not mean contentment or satisfaction, as the term is usually understood in modern English. Rather, it means human well-being or flourishing. It is a deeply rooted assumption of the Greeks that everyone has a final end in life and this end is happiness. This assumption was a common premise of nearly every major Greek philosopher and school (with the exception of the Cyrenaics). In Plato's early dialogue Euthydemus, for example, Socrates remarks that it is stupid to raise the question whether all men wish to do well, and in Greek, to do well or to live well amounts to happiness (eudaimonia).'

In Plato's middle dialogue Symposium, we read: "There is no need to ask further, 'What's the point of wanting happiness?'" This indicates that happiness is the ultimate answer that can be given to explain one's actions and life, and it is absurd to ask why one wants it. Aristotle states more explicitly at the beginning part of the Nicomachean Ethics that there is a supreme end for humans that we desire for its own sake, whereas everything else is desired for the sake of it, and he adds: "Verbally there is very general agreement; for both the general run of men and people of superior refinement say that this is happiness, and identify living well and faring well with being happy." This attitude is also clearly seen in Hellenistic ethics. Even the Skeptics are not an exception, as many of them hold explicitly that the non-theoretical, self-evident aim of life is happiness (eudaimonia) and a person who has achieved tranquility (ataraxia) is completely happy.

However, "to say that happiness is the chief good seems a platitude," as Aristotle points out, "and a clear account of what it is is still desired." It is the task of a reflective ethical theory to provide a detailed elucidation of happiness.

Plato's Socrates conceives the best state of the soul (i.e., virtue) as knowledge, and regards irrational behavior as a cognitive failure. We need rational ability to examine our lives, and this examination makes it possible for the rational soul to achieve its best state. Rationality is the means to improve the soul, but also requires improvement itself. The position that in order to determine what happiness is we need to appeal to rationality is further reinforced by the function argument, shared by Plato and Aristotle, that rationality is the human function, that is, the human characteristic activity. Accordingly, seeking one's own happiness amounts to the exercise of one's human function.

Because ancient ethics takes happiness as the ultimate reason for life, it gives rise to the popular view that it is egoistic. Such a view of eudaimonistic ethics, however, becomes immediately questionable once it is noted that happiness in ancient ethics is conceived in terms of rationality. Indeed, if egoism is meant to satisfy one's appetite, it is precisely what Greek rational eudaimonism seeks to overcome...Related to this issue, it is worth mentioning that later on Aristotle draws a distinction between a base form of egoism that seeks to gratify appetites, and a noble rational egoism that pursues the gratification of the rational part of the soul.

Plato's Socrates, as Morrison points out, lacks the modern notion of instrumental rationality, that is, the rational ability to determine effectively how to best satisfy one's desires, but holds instead a notion of perfect rationality which is intrinsically related to a correct understanding of values. Socrates, however, has not yet divided the soul into rational and irrational parts, although his claim that virtue is knowledge can be understood to entail that the soul of which Socrates wants to take care is the rational soul. It is not until the Republic that Plato explicitly divides the soul into three parts, suggesting further that the rational part has two functions: One is to manage and rule the spirit and the appetites, and the other is to behold the Forms.

The major reason why Plato divides the soul into different parts is that humans have conflicting desires. The function of reason, then, is both to rule and to know the truth so that the soul can return to the divine world. Plato's distinction among different functions of reason paves the way for the distinction between practical and theoretical reason in Aristotle. Thus, in Greek ethics, a conception of rationality involves not only the relation between reason and the other parts of the soul, but also the relation between practical and theoretical reason.

Taylor argues that Plato, appropriately, has two different notions of happiness. Corresponding to the conception of practical rationality, happiness lies in psychic harmony, a state in which each part of the soul performs the task for which it is naturally fitted, and in which its non-rational elements are harmoniously integrated with the intellect to the maximum satisfaction of all. Corresponding to the conception of theoretical rationality, happiness can only be attained in union with the perfect changeless rational order of the world of Forms. The effort to achieve such a union is, however, hindered by bodily appetites. Since bodily appetites can be totally eliminated only if the body itself is eliminated, true rationality and happiness are impossible in the embodied state, and can only be achieved after the complete separation of the soul from the body, that is, after death. Thus, Taylor submits, there is a sharp tension between Plato's two views on rationality and happiness. Moreover, because Plato never subordinates the theoretical role of the intellect to the practical, this tension is never solved in his philosophy.

Following Plato, Aristotle subdivides the rational soul into two parts: the theoretical contemplates eternal truth, and the practical is yoked together with the part of the soul that is irrational but obeys reason. He then introduces a rank between contemplation which is considered to be primary happiness and the life of practical wisdom and moral virtue which is taken as secondary....Behind Aristotle's ranking of happiness, there is a distinction between the happiness of a livable life and the happiness of the activity of the rational soul. Socrates is hardly happy in his human life because he lacks various goods, yet he is the martyred embodiment of pure rational happiness.

The etymology of the word eudaimonia points to the notion of a favorable divinity steering a person's destiny. Real happiness is associated with being godlike. Happiness is the best gift that the gods can give to humans. To be happy is to be blessed (makarious), and the happy person is said to be loved by the gods. For Plato, the contemplative philosopher in the Republic is unwilling to return to rule because, by beholding God, he lives in the island of the blessed and becomes divine. In Theaetetus 176a-c, it is said that a man becomes like God if he becomes good. Similarly, Aristotle understands God to be the model of primary happiness, and the Stoics identify Nature with the gods and take human reason to be specially connected to divinity, so the notion of being godlike is behind their view of living in accordance with Nature.

According to the ancients, then, rationality is a unique human capacity that enables us to transcend our nature and makes us better than other animals. Human worth lies in the impulse to go beyond this world, although we cannot be free from the world because of our bodily nature, and can only be godlike by partaking in knowledge. Thus, the cultivation of rationality is essential for attaining real happiness, flourishing, and human worth.

We can see that owing to the introduction of Christianity, a number of changes occur. Three are particularly important: First, the ancient notion of happiness means human flourishing, whereas in the early medievals, this is replaced by the Christian conception of beatitude to the effect that ultimate happiness is identified with salvation through grace; second, although there is not a single notion of rationality in each period, ancients in general tend to hold that rationality includes certain desires and has its own aim, whereas in the early Middle Ages rationality seems to be understood in almost exclusively cognitive and instrumental terms; third, although in each of these two periods there are various views on the relation between rationality and happiness, the ancients in general tend to ground ethical life in rationality and hold that reason is a central constituent of happiness, whereas the Christian notion of grace forces a reconfiguration of the role of reason in the pursuit of happiness, and reason comes to be subordinated to the will.

Happiness, Rationality, and Egoism in Plato's Socrates, D. Morrison

Socrates and Plato lack the modern notion of instrumental rationality, the ability to reason effectively from available information how best to satisfy one's desires. But Plato, and the character Socrates in his early dialogues, do rely on a notion of perfect rationality. The perfectly rational person is one who reasons correctly on the basis of adequate information, where that includes (as we might put it) not just an awareness of facts, but a correct understanding of values. The person who is perfectly rational in this sense is said by Socrates to have "wisdom" (sophia) or "practical wisdom" (phronesis).

Socrates' view is that wisdom is necessary for happiness. He has two separate grounds for this. The first is that wisdom is needed to ensure correct choice. Without wisdom, your choice of what to do or acquire might turn out to be good for you, or it might turn out bad. Whether your life goes well or ill becomes more and more random, the further you get from wisdom. Perhaps with extraordinary good luck on occasion a foolish person might obtain the ingredients of a happy life, thus allowing for the rare possibility of an exception. A second Socratic argument makes wisdom a primary constituent or ingredient of a happy life; hence it allows for no exceptions. This argument runs thus: a happy person is a good person, and a good person is a virtuous person, and a virtuous person is wise. A person who is not wise is thus neither good nor happy. Wisdom is a necessary condition for happiness.

Correct choice among miserable alternatives cannot ensure a good result. Of course, to be confronted with a choice between miserable alternatives is rotten luck; and wisdom has the capacity to minimize vulnerability to luck. But if wisdom is sufficient for happiness, then wisdom is sufficient to make one invulnerable to fortune—if not invulnerable to minor annoyances, then at least invulnerable to any evils great enough to make one's life go badly.

Socrates compares the health of the body to wisdom or virtue, which is health of the soul. He thinks that an incurably miserable condition of either element of the human person, either body or soul, is sufficient to make life miserable and not worth living. If this is so, then wisdom is not sufficient for happiness, since destroying his health can destroy a wise person's happiness.

Psychological egoism holds that all agents actually do aim at their own happiness as their ultimate end; rational egoism holds that they ought to act this way, or that they do when they are rational.

Both psychological egoism and rational egoism are frequently ascribed to Socrates. A famous argument at Gorgias 467b-468d shows how Socrates could be committed to both. There Socrates distinguishes between one's true and one's apparent good, and argues that each person actually desires his true good. Now, one's true good is the good that it is rational to want: it is what would appear good if one were fully rational. Given this doctrine, rational egoism implies psychological egoism: if it is rational for everyone to desire his or her own happiness, then (at some level) everyone actually does desire it.

Egoism is stronger than eudaimonism because egoism specifies whose happiness you care ultimately about (your own), whereas eudaimonism, as such, does not. A person is a eudaimonist (as I use the term) regardless of whose happiness he cares about. Eudaimonism has various forms. Some people aim at their own happiness as an ultimate end; some people aim at the happiness of themselves and their families; and some people aim at promoting happiness as much as they can wherever it may be. This last group are happiness-lovers: they aim at promoting happiness tout court.

The contrast between eudaimonism and egoism is important for the interpretation of Socrates. When a philosopher says "everyone aims at happiness as an ultimate end," he may mean that everyone aims at his own happiness; but he may not mean to make any commitment about possessor or location.

Plato on Rationality and Happiness, C.C.W. Taylor

If happiness is to be recognized as a concept of central importance in ancient ethical theory, it has to be construed not in the predominant modern sense of content with one's life, but as eudaimonia, the achievement of an objectively worthwhile life, the sort of life the gods give one when they are favorably disposed. Being content with one's life is a necessary, but not (as we shall see in detail in connection with the arguments of Republic IX) a sufficient condition for being happy on that conception. Indeed our modern conception has some of these connotations; so when one wishes a couple happiness in their marriage, one wishes them not merely contentment with their life, but well-grounded contentment— that is, that they should be pleased with their lot because things are really going well for them.

The objective connotations of such an expression as "I wish you every happiness" (= every blessing, every good fortune) make it reasonable to translate eudaimonia as "happiness ; but we have to discount the dominant subjective connotations of the modern concept if we are to avoid misunderstanding of the ancient. Rational beings are beings which use reasons in forming their beliefs and in shaping their actions, and rationality I understand as the virtue specific to these aspects of life. Rationality thus conceived contrasts with irrationality; a rational agent is one in whom reasons play their proper role in the formation of belief and in the guidance of action, as opposed to an irrational agent, in whom reasons do not play their proper role.

There is discernible in the dialogues of [Plato's middle period] a tendency to identify the rational soul with the real self, and thus to identify the virtue of rationality with the perfect functioning of the rational soul, independently of its relation to nonrational elements in the personality. In this paper I shall explore the tension between these two conceptions of rationality, which arise from two conceptions of the self, and consider the extent to which Plato succeeded in resolving the tension as it affects either conception.

Everyone really wants what is best for him or herself overall, but may have a wrong conception of what their good consists in, or, while conceiving it correctly, may simply fail to estimate correctly how it is to be achieved, through carelessness, or haste, or over- concentration on the immediate at the expense of more distant goals. These various kinds of misconception or miscalculation are forms of irrationality, in that they are the ways in which the intellect fails to perform its proper function; we can then sum up this "Socratic" view in the slogan that irrationality consists in cognitive failure.

There seem, then, to be stronger and weaker versions of what is conventionally known as "Socratic intellectualism." On both, an agent chooses to p if and only if that agent believes that p-ing is, of the alternatives available, the best for the agent. On the stronger version, the desire to p is always aroused by the antecedent belief that p-ing is, of the alternatives available, the best for the agent, whereas on the weaker the causal priority may be reversed, allowing it to be the case that the agent believes that p-ing is the best for him/her of the available alternatives because he/she antecedently wants to p.

In the Republic the optimal state of the agent is that of psychic harmony, in which each of the three parts of the soul performs the task for which it is naturally fitted. Rationality consists in the intellect's performing its proper task, namely the direction of the life of the agent towards the agent's good, including the direction of the functioning of the other two parts. It thus requires not merely the cognitive and ratiocinative excellence of the intellect itself, but the integrated functioning of all three parts, so that each performs its function excellently if and only if the others do. In examining the relation between rationality and happiness in the Republic, then, we have to consider the contribution to rationality, not merely of the intellect, but also of the other parts of the soul.

Considering the intellect first, we see that its contribution to rationality is twofold. First, it has the task of caring for the welfare of the soul (i.e., person) as a whole, in contrast with the other parts, which are confined to the satisfaction of their specific interests. Second, it has, like the other parts of the soul, its own specific desires and pleasures, which, in the case of the intellect, are the desires for, and pleasure in, the exercise of the intellect itself.

It would be a serious misunderstanding to construe Plato as subordinating the theoretical role of the intellect to the practical, where the latter is conceived as the attainment of the best life for the agent. For we have not yet considered Plato's account of what determines the best life.

For Plato the best life is that in which the best desires are satisfied, and in which the agent's satisfaction with his/her life is the best kind of satisfaction, and the best desires and satisfaction are identified by metaphysical considerations, which yield the result that the first-order goals of the theoretical intellect are the goals whose achievement constitutes the best life.

Socrates is not attempting to argue that the philosopher enjoys his/her life more than the adherents of the "lower" pleasures do theirs, or that the former is better pleased with his/her life than the latter are with theirs. He states explicitly that each kind of person thinks that he has the pleasantest life, with the implication that all of them are content with their specific kind of life. Rather, he is trying to show that the philosopher's preference for his/her way of life over the others is a better-grounded preference than that of the other for their ways of life, in that it is preference from an epistemically privileged standpoint. This standpoint is that of the observer who is best qualified to judge between the value of kinds of pleasures in virtue of his reason, intelligence, and experience.

The objects of the intellect are the changeless Forms and the eternal truths about them that constitute knowledge, which contrast with the impermanent objects of perception, which, in Plato's view, manifest truth only in a qualified and hence imperfect way. The basic thought then seems to be that knowledge and understanding, and consequently the pleasure in those states, are permanent possessions of the intellect, whereas all bodily pleasures are evanescent, leading to recurrent desires for more episodes of the same kind of pleasure, for instance another meal, another sexual encounter.

Presumably the thought here is that the bodily-based pleasures contributing to the life focused on the goals of the intellect are free of the tendencies to insatiability and obsessionality which, in Plato's view, characterize those pleasures when they are allowed to dominate the agent's life. Hence the intellect "cares for the whole soul" by so organizing these impulses that they not only promote the proper functioning of the intellect, and thereby help to achieve the good life for the agent, but also achieve their own optimal satisfaction.

In the embodied agent, then, rationality consists in the intellect's performance of its directive function, which has two aspects, first that of harmoniously coordinating the short-term desires specific to the three parts of the soul in order best to achieve the agent's long-term goals, and second that of securing the achievement of knowledge and understanding of reality (i.e., the Forms) as the supreme long-term goal.

Appetite and reason can be opposed, namely in the situation where appetite urges the enjoyment of food, drink, or sex, but reason urges restraint; and conflict of motivation requires distinct sources of motivation. These distinct sources of motivation cannot be thought of simply as conflicting reasons, for and against a given course of action, for Socrates proceeds to describe appetite as in itself blind or impervious to reason. Appetite is simply focused on its specific, internal object—for instance, thirst is in itself nothing more than desire for drink, and any considerations about whether drink is good or bad must be supplied by a separate principle, namely the intellect...Bodily appetites are thus conceived as evaluatively blind animal urges, which, in the situation of motivational conflict, arise from pathological and diseased conditions and drag the agent about in opposition to the commands of reason.

This gives a profoundly pessimistic picture of the bodily appetites as not merely conceptually primitive but also as intrinsically disorderly, in that they are not simply capable of conflict with rational judgment on occasion, as spirit is, but that they tend continually to that conflict. They are, it appears, incapable of being refined or educated, but can merely be restrained until they are "tamed," and even then they have a tendency to break out of control if given the slightest opportunity. The ideal embodied life is that of those who are "in control of themselves and orderly, having enslaved that through which wickedness came to be in the soul and liberated that through which goodness came to be there".

The appetites are not so much nonrational as irrational, since they are essentially opposed to the promptings of reason. And as rationality requires the elimination of irrationality, on this model the ideal of rationality is to approach as closely as possible to the elimination of the bodily appetites. The ideal of the harmonious integration of the parts of the soul, in which each performs its proper function and achieves its truest pleasures, has altogether disappeared.

The body "fills us with lusts and desires and fears and fantasies of all kinds and a great deal of nonsense," so that it is impossible to think straight; the desires, pleasures, and pains of the body nail the soul to the body, making it accept as true whatever the body says, whereas the enlightened person regards the senses as a source of deception and takes as real only what is grasped by pure thought. The real self is the intellect, which can achieve its full potential only when it is freed from the shackles of the body; hence the true philosopher "practises nothing else than dying and being dead". Rationality and hence happiness are impossible in the embodied state, but only, if at all, after the complete separation of soul from body when "God himself shall release us, and being thus pure, through separation from the body's folly, we shall probably be in like company, and shall know through our own selves all that is unsullied . . . because never will it be permissible for impure to touch pure".

According to Socrates in the Theaetetus: "It is impossible for evils to be eliminated . . . since there must always be something opposed to good; yet it cannot be situated among the gods, but it necessarily pervades mortal nature and this world. For this reason one must try to escape as quickly as possible from this world to that. Escape consists in becoming as like god as possible, and becoming like god is becoming just and holy together with wisdom".

Since the material is as such a source of disorder and chaos (as in the Timaeus and Statesman), involvement with the material world cannot but hinder the rational soul in its task of seeking union with the perfect changeless rational order of the world of Forms. The embodied soul, like the material world as a whole, is capable of receiving rational order, however imperfectly and temporarily, and rationality has the task of imposing that order, whether at the cosmic level, as in the activity of the Demiourgos in the Timaeus, or at the level of the individual agent, but the imposition of that order, which is embodied rationality, is merely an approximation to the perfect rationality of the disembodied soul.

Prima facie, then, we have an opposition between the relatively optimistic picture of embodied rationality in the Republic, where the nonrational elements are harmoniously integrated with the intellect to the maximal satisfaction of all, and the pessimism of the Phaedo, Phaedrus, and Theaetetus, where rationality requires escape from the body, which can be fully achieved only after death. Yet that appearance is misleading to the extent that even the optimism of the Republic seems to give at best a provisional and approximate account of rationality...There is thus internal to the Republic itself a tension between an optimistic and a pessimistic picture of human rationality, a tension which, as Bernard Williams points out, has its counterpart at the political level.

The tripartite soul is not the real self, but a composite which conceals the real nature of that self. Hence the optimistic picture of rationality as the health of the soul, that is, the harmonious coordination of rational and nonrational elements, is at best an approximation to true rationality and true health. It is the best possible state of the unnatural amalgam; but the true self can only be healthy when it is freed from the amalgam and thereby enabled to exercise its rationality unfettered.

Socratic psychology provides no room for a dichotomy between the real self, identified with the rational self, and the embodied self. The embodied agent has a uniform motivation toward his or her overall good, rationality consists in the achievement of a correct conception of that good, and rationality thus conceived is, assuming a minimum level of goods, such as health, which are outside the agent's control, sufficient for eudaimonia. In the dialogues I have discussed here Plato abandons the assumption of uniform motivation in favor of a complex psychology that yields a correspondingly complex conception of rationality, requiring not merely the correct conception of goods to be pursued, but also the integration of nonrational elements in the personality with the directing function of the intellect.

This new conception of rationality, which is identified with the health of the complex soul, is, subject to the same qualification, also held to be sufficient for eudaimonia. But the heightened psychological realism of the new conception is purchased at a high price, that of the integration of the agent. For in that conception the embodied agent is split off from the real self, which is identified with the intellect. The supreme good of the real self is rationality itself, that is, its perfect functioning in theoretical understanding of reality; but that good, which is true eudaimonia, it can achieve fully only when freed from the entanglements of the body. In its embodied state the best it can do is so to modify the nonrational elements that the latter play their proper role in an embodied life that is itself directed to a goal, theoretical understanding, the complete achievement of which is bound to be frustrated by the embodied state itself.

On either view true rationality and hence true eudaimonia are beyond the reach of the embodied agent. Nor should that surprise us. For eudaimonia is living well, and for Plato embodiment is in the last resort an obstacle to the rational agent's (i.e., the rational soul's) living well. The approximation to living well that is the harmony of the tripartite soul is not in fact the life of a unified being, but the best that can be achieved by a rational being forcibly yoked to beings of a nature alien to it.

Will Aristotle Count Socrates Happy?, J. Yu

My study comes to the view that, although Aristotle never explicitly mentions Socrates' trial, the NE can be usefully seen as a thorough reflection upon, and a balanced diagnosis of, Socrates' life as depicted in the Apology. I am suggesting that Aristotle can be read as having Socrates' trial and death in mind in developing his ethics, in particular in his view on rationality and happiness. Reading him in this way may help us understand various remarks and points that he makes. Aristotle's attitude towards Socrates seems to be a mixture of suspicion and admiration.

It is well known that in his discussion of akraisa, Aristotle tries to save the truth both of Socrates' peculiar view that akrasia is not real and of most people's experience of its existence. He achieves this by differentiating different senses of "knowledge." Here I would like to suggest that Aristotle's whole ethics can be understood as an effort to make sense of both Socrates' defense and the Athenians' trial of him. On the one hand, he upholds Socrates' uncompromising faith in reason, but on the other, he shows that the Athenians' trial of Socrates has a moral reason behind it. Aristotle achieves this balanced picture by distinguishing between the happiness of a livable life and the happiness of rationality. From this standpoint, there emerges a new understanding of the endlessly discussed issue of why Aristotle provides two seemingly different notions of happiness, and of the relation between rationality and happiness in Aristotle.

A happy life, according to Aristotle, is made up of all the goods that are desirable in themselves, including (a) goods relating to soul, that is, virtues, (b) bodily goods, such as good looks, health, strength, (c) external goods, such as good birth, friends, good children, money, and (d) a complete span of life.

Does Socrates possess these goods? According to his self-judgment, he possesses (a) the goods of the soul, that is, virtues. He claims that his "whole concern is not to do anything unjust or impious" and that he is "convinced that [he] wrongs no one". He is confident that he is a good man, and declares that he is morally superior to his accusers, Meletus and Anytus.

However, Socrates clearly lacks some (b) bodily goods. Aristotle holds that one cannot be altogether eudaemon if one is "very ugly in appearance", and there are enough testimonies that Socrates' appearance was anything but handsome.

Socrates lacks some (c) external goods as well. For Aristotle, wealth matters, but Socrates admits in the Apology that that he "lives in great poverty". Aristotle holds that one cannot be altogether happy if one is lowborn; but we are told that Socrates' mother was a midwife and his father was a sculptor. Moreover, Socrates has not lived (d) a complete span of life. Although he is already seventy years old when he is condemned to death, his death is unnatural and he does not complete his natural span of life.

In light of these considerations, even if we grant for the time being that Aristotle agrees that Socrates is virtuous, Socrates' life still lacks many desiderata of an Aristotelian happy life. Of course, the possession of virtues is particularly significant. For Aristotle, of all the goods that constitute happiness, the goods of the soul (i.e., virtues) are "most properly and truly goods". Thus, if Socrates possesses the goods of the soul, he possesses the most important component of happiness. Such a person, according to Aristotle, will not become miserable, "for he will never do the acts that are hateful and mean". This is true even if such a person is in adversity.

Nevertheless, these bodily and external goods are not merely instrumentally valuable. Aristotle holds that lacking them mars (or impairs) happiness...Accordingly, Socrates' happiness is marred because of the lack of these bodily and external goods. Yet Socrates counts himself happy. He claims that his elenchus (that is, his characteristic method of cross-examination) brings Athenians happiness: "The Olympian victor makes you think yourself happy; I make you happy". And he also indicates that the elenchus makes him happy as well.

Since "living well" in Greek is synonymous with "happiness," elenchus brings about happiness. By examining other people, Socrates is at the same time subjecting himself to extensive scrutiny and continuous examination. This is why making others happy also makes himself happy. Since Socrates' soul is more continuously and extensively examined than anyone else's, he can claim that he is the happiest person and he is, more than anybody else, leading an examined and therefore worthwhile life.

Hence, when Socrates says that elenchus helps to improve the soul and so brings about happiness, he means that elenchus brings about virtue, and thereby happiness. In the Apology, Socrates is committed to the thesis that virtue is sufficient for happiness. Virtue is the only thing worth having and is all that is relevant to happiness, even at the risk of death. Since Socrates knows that he lacks many other goods, but still affirms his own happiness, he must be ascribing exclusive eudaimonic value to virtue. In other words, other goods cannot be components of happiness.

It is beyond dispute that for Socrates the soul is not divided. When he says that we need to take care of the soul, what he means is that we need to exercise elenctic examination and to get the right sort of knowledge. Wisdom or truth is taken to be the same thing as the perfection of the soul; and care for the soul (or wisdom or truth) is contrasted to care for the body (or wealth or reputation and honor, cf. 29el-4, 30bl). Hence, Socrates seems to treat the appetites as properties of the body, not of the soul, and to identify the soul with rationality only. The perfection of the soul, that is, the pursuit of virtue, consists only in intellectual activity. The virtuous differ from the vicious not in their motivations but in their intellects.

According to Aristotle...A full virtue includes both aspects: "We cannot be fully good without practical wisdom, or practically wise without virtue of character". Accordingly, to grasp how Aristotle would judge Socrates' virtue, we must discuss respectively what Aristotle would say about it in terms of his theory of moral virtue and practical wisdom, and in terms of his theory of contemplation.

The virtue that is the focus of Socrates' philosophy shows immediate differences from Aristotelian moral virtue. For Aristotle, moral virtue is the virtue of the part of the soul that is irrational but listens to reason, and it "comes about as a result of habit, whence also its name [i.e. ethike] is one that is formed by a slight variation from the word for 'habit'[ethos]". Moral virtues are acquired out of repeated practice of virtuous actions. Aristotle is therefore led to emphasize the importance of social custom and habituation, and claims that the environment of one's early upbringing "is very important, indeed all-important".

In contrast, virtue in Socrates' understanding has little to do with this irrational part of the soul. Correspondingly, social habituation does not play a role in Socrates' theory of virtue, at least so far as the Apology is concerned. When he requires us "to care for the soul," "care" (epimeleomai) means to achieve an intellectual account of what a given virtue is, not character cultivation. Aristotle himself draws a clear distinction between what he understands as moral virtue and Socratic virtue: "Socrates thought the virtues were forms of reasons (for he thought they were, all of them, forms of knowledge), while we think they involve reason". In my view, Aristotle's theory of character cultivation can be seen as a critical reaction to Socrates' intellectualism.

Socrates' elenchus, in contrast, is purely intellectual, and is utilized to criticize and challenge social morality. From Aristotle's point of view, the following question can immediately be raised: Does elenchus contain a positive end in itself and how is it attained? It is not surprising to find that the end of elenchus is precisely one of the most debated issues in current scholarship on Socrates. Commentators are sharply divided over whether elenchus can discover and defend moral truth and can provide the interlocutor with a constructive understanding of how to live. On the one hand, there are reasons to deny elenchus a constructive role. ' Socrates himself keeps saying that he is ignorant of the true nature of virtue; and many earlier dialogues in which Socrates performs elenchus thoroughly are aporetic.

On the other hand, there are also reasons to believe that the Socratic elenchus is constructive. The consistent goal of the elenctic inquiry is to have a universal definition of the relevant moral term under inquiry. This can make sense only if Socrates trusts that such inquiry is productive of moral knowledge. But even if this is the case, Socrates never explains how his elenchus can produce positive moral knowledge.

My own view is that there is a tension between the goal of elenchus and its operation. Perhaps this is why Socrates repeatedly performs elenchus and also repeatedly claims that he fails to know. When Plato suggests that the elenctic examination only plays a role of "cleansing", he must have recognized this tension, and this explains why Plato replaces the elenchus with the method of hypothesis in the dialogues where positive metaphysical and epistemological doctrines are established.

In Aristotle's view, Socrates' elenchus is exclusively a negative testing. Aristotle has reasons to hold this contrast between himself and Socrates. The aim of Socrates' elenchus is to refute ordinary people's moral beliefs rather than discover the kernel of truth in them. Aristotle's dialectic, in contrast, argues from the phenomena or reputable opinions (the opinions of the majority or of the wise), examines the conflicts among these phenomena, and establishes a solution that saves the truth contained in reputable opinions. Aristotle trusts that there is truth in phenomena, and his aim in the examination of the phenomena is not merely to reveal the conflicts in them, but to reach a positive view by bringing to light the truth that these phenomena contain.

Elenchus is beneficial because the exposure of confusions in the interlocutor's moral convictions will lead him to modify them and change his behavior accordingly. This must be what Socrates means in claiming that elenchus leads people to change their lives.

One might ask: Is it sufficient for Socrates to claim that the interlocutor will willingly change his values accordingly? From Aristotle's point of view, the answer can hardly be positive, given Aristotle's remarks on the limits of moral knowledge in NE X9. Only well-cultivated students can transfer knowledge to action. Elenchus itself is insufficient to make us act virtuously, and a good character is also required. Yet Socrates does not require that. Aristotle, then, is unlikely to agree that elenchus can reach a positive end, and that practical wisdom is similar to the Socratic elenctic wisdom.

To justify that this is the case we must focus on the hierarchy of happiness that Aristotle establishes in NE X7-8, according to which the contemplative life is primary happiness, and the life of moral virtue and practical wisdom is happy only in a secondary way. I would like to suggest that this hierarchy is a different version of the distinction or hierarchy between divine wisdom and human wisdom that lies at the heart of the Apology. Whereas Socrates acknowledges that he is ignorant of the sort of knowledge that is "more than human", that is, the sort of superlative wisdom that the gods possess, he claims to have human wisdom.

Socrates differs from Aristotle over the content and scope of eternal truth. Whereas Aristotle denies that there is necessary ethical truth, Socrates believes there is, and the sole goal of his philosophical activity is to find this sort of truth... Although Socrates and Aristotle differ about the object of contemplation, the significant point is that both share the same position about what the contemplative life represents. In my view, Aristotle's rank between these two kinds of happiness is essentially the same as that of Socrates' distinction between two kinds of wisdom. Both are aimed at revealing the limitation of social morality and moral knowledge, and both advocate transcending these limits. The parallel is striking.

For Aristotle, the life of moral virtue and practical wisdom is related to our passions and social dimension, whereas the contemplative life is related only to pure intellect and is pure rational activity. Here, Aristotle suggests a tension between social and moral requirements and bodily needs on the one hand, and the exercise of pure rationality on the other. Aristotle values the latter over the former.

That practical wisdom is not the best knowledge must be because it is not the exercise of pure rationality, but is shaped by a social ethos. In contrast, contemplation, due to its freedom from bodily affections and ethos, is not subject to moral relativity. It is therefore our genuine autonomous rational activity. Since happiness is the activity of the rational soul, the activity that exhibits more autonomous rationality is certainly more desirable.

Aristotle's message is that human rationality has different dimensions, and that the pure rational dimension is higher than the practical and moral dimension. Taken this way, it makes more sense that Aristotle maintains that contemplative activity as an activity does not involve social morality and that God is beyond moral virtues. Hence, Aristotle's hierarchy of happiness must be a revelation of the limitation of human moral and social life.

To say that Socrates is a contemplator does not change the fact that he lacks various other goods. How, then, can he be the model of primary happiness? At this point, we have to face the notorious difficulty that Aristotle presents two different notions of happiness: the inclusive notion that happiness is made of many goods, and the intellectualist notion according to which happiness consists only in contemplation.

When Aristotle argues that contemplation is primary happiness, he says: "But such a life would be too high for man; for it is not in so far as he is man that he will live so, but in so far as something divine is present in him; and by so much as this is superior to our composite nature is its activity superior to that which is the exercise of the other kind of excellence."...This distinction amounts to one between the livable contemplative life and the contemplative activity of the soul. Yet it is the contemplative activity of the soul, not the livable contemplative life, that is taken as primary happiness. The main point here is that Aristotle applies the notion of happiness not only to a living person, but also to reason itself as well.

The function argument, the foundation of the whole theory of happiness, concludes that happiness is the activity of the rational soul in accordance with virtue. At the beginning of NE X, echoing the function argument in 1.7, Aristotle remarks: "If happiness is activity in accordance with virtue, it is reasonable that it should be in accordance with the highest virtue; and this will be that of the best thing in us. ... [T]he activity of this in accordance with its proper virtue will be complete happiness. That this activity is contemplative we have already said."...A livable contemplative life is not the primary happiness that Aristotle talks about, for he explicitly declares that the contemplation, the primary happiness, is not an actually livable life and is the life that lives only in accordance with nous.

Bodily and external goods are necessary for a living contemplator, but not for contemplative activity per se. Aristotle remarks: "Being a man, one will also need external prosperity; for our nature is not self-sufficient for the purpose of contemplation, but our body also must be healthy and must have food and other attention". The contemplator as a person engaged in contemplation inevitably requires breathing, eating, etc., since he must have a composite nature. In contrast, the pure contemplative activity is related only to nous, not to the body.

Thus, it is clear that in explicating the happiness of a livable contemplative life, Aristotle is adopting an inclusive notion of happiness, and in explicating the happiness of rationality, he employs his intellectualist notion of happiness. The happiness of the livable contemplative life needs, in addition to contemplation, (a) moral virtues, (b) bodily goods, (c) external goods, and (d) a complete life. In contrast, the happiness of theoretical rationality needs only the excellent exercise of pure rationality. These two notions of happiness do not conflict, for they have different applications. This view puts us in a position to present a whole picture of how Aristotle would judge Socrates' life. Clearly, taken as a livable contemplative life, Socrates' life is hardly happy since it lacks so many desiderata. Yet Socrates' life is the closest to the primary happiness of pure rational activity. It presents a model of self-realization of human rationality.

It turns out that there is an ambiguity between person and reason in Socrates' life. Socrates is a human contemplator, but he lives only in accordance with the most divine element in him. But how is this possible, since the life of pure contemplation is "too high for human beings"? It becomes inevitable that Socrates as a person cannot really survive. Socrates' death tragically exemplifies how sharp the tension between social requirements and pure intellectual excellence can be. Aristotle would truly believe that in killing Socrates Athenians committed a sin against philosophy, although as we have shown, he would also regard Socrates as a threat to traditional moral education. Perhaps here lies at least one reason why Aristotle avoids mentioning Socrates' trial directly, although his whole ethics is, to a great extent, addressing this event.

Socrates, then, is indeed not a martyred embodiment of the moral ideal, according to Aristotle, but the martyred embodiment of the pure rational life. Here, I believe, lies the secret of the immortal Socratic inspiration.

Human Flourishing and the Appeal to Human Nature, D. Rasmussen

How much of what we take "human flourishing" to signify is the result of our understanding of human nature? Is the content of this concept simply read off an examination of our nature? Is there no place for diversity and individuality? Is the belief that the content of such a normative concept can be determined by an appeal to human nature merely the result of epistemological naivete? What is the exact character of the connection between human flourishing and human nature?

These questions are the ultimate concern of this essay, but to appreciate the answers that will be offered it is necessary to understand what is meant by "human flourishing." "Human flourishing" is a relatively recent term in ethics. It seems to have developed in the last two decades because the traditional translation of the Greek term eudaimonia as "happiness" failed to communicate clearly that eudaimonia was an objective good, not merely a subjective good....It is now employed by neo- Aristotelian ethicists, myself included, as the central concept with which to develop an alternative to consequentialistic and deontological conceptions of ethics. It is a complex notion whose many interrelated features generate an elaborate conception of the human good and obligation.

A consequentialistic theory is any theory in normative ethics that attempts to determine obligations merely by whether an action or rule produces the greatest, net expected "good" (or least "bad") consequences.

A deontological theory is any theory in normative ethics that holds "duty" and "right" to be basic and defines the morally good in terms of them. Such theories attempt to determine obligations apart from a consideration of what promotes or expresses the good. For Kantians, this is accomplished primarily by a universalizability test.

"Neo-Aristotelian" is used here to stand for "modern theorizing which incorporates some central doctrines of Aristotle.. .. Such theorizing should critically assess his claims in light of modern philosophical theory, scientific research, and practical experience, revise or reject them where necessary, and consider their application to ... contexts not envisioned by him."

This neo-Aristotelian conception of human flourishing offers a view of the human good that is (1) objective, (2) inclusive, (3) individualized, (4) agent-relative, (5) self-directed, and (6) social. I shall briefly and directly explain each of these interrelated features.

Human flourishing is an objective good. In terms similar to those used by Socrates in his question to Euthyphro/' human flourishing is an object of desire and choice because it is desirable and choiceworthy, not simply because it is desired or chosen. In other words, it is desired because of what it is. Its constitution is what makes it good. Thus, human goodness is something ontological. It is a state of being, not a mere feeling or experience.

Ontologically considered, human flourishing is an activity, an actuality, and an end (or function). Human flourishing is a way of living that consists in certain activities. Omne ens perficitur in actu: flourishing is to be found in action. It is not something static. These activities are those that both express and produce in a human being an actualization of potentialities that are specific to its natural kind. Finally, these activities also constitute the achievement of a human being's natural end or telos.

Human flourishing is the ultimate end of human conduct, but it is not the only activity of inherent worth. It is not a "dominant" end that reduces the value of everything else to that of a mere means. Neither is it monistic and simple. Rather, it is "the most final end and is never sought for the sake of anything else, because it includes all final ends."

Human flourishing is an "inclusive" end. It comprises basic" or "generic" goods and virtues —for example, such goods as knowledge, health, friendship, creative achievement, beauty, and pleasure; and such virtues as integrity, temperance, courage, and justice. These are valuable not as mere means to human flourishing but as partial realizations or expressions of it. As such, these goods and virtues are final ends and valuable in their own right.

Human flourishing is individualized and diverse. It is dependent on who as well as what one is. Abstractly considered, we can speak of human flourishing and of basic or generic goods and virtues that help to define it. Yet this does not make human flourishing in reality either abstract or universal. Concretely speaking, no two cases of human flourishing are the same, and they are not interchangeable...There are individuative as well as generic potentialities, and this makes human fulfillment always something unique.

Individuals thus do more than locate human flourishing in space. Human flourishing exists neither apart from the choices and actions of individual human beings nor independently of the particular mix of goods that individual human beings need to determine as being appropriate for their circumstances.

It is not that flourishing merely happens or occurs within some person's life, as if a person were simply a placeholder for this ultimate value. Rather, the relationship between flourishing and a person's life is much more intimate. The status of human flourishing as the ultimate value arises and obtains only in relationship to some person's life. That is to say, its value is found in and exhausted by those activities of a person that constitute that person's flourishing. Further, human flourishing involves an essential reference to the person for whom it is good as part of its description. Human flourishing is thus neither a tertium quid nor a value-at- large.

Perhaps the best way to understand what agent-relativity means is to contrast it with its opposing view, the view that basic values and reasons are agent-neutral and that ethics is impersonal. According to John Stuart Mill, "The happiness which forms the utilitarian standard of what is right in conduct, is not the agent's own happiness, but that of all concerned. As between his own happiness and that of others, utilitarianism requires him to be as strictly impartial as a disinterested benevolent spectator."

Accordingly, we are to take on the viewpoint of the universe and become impartial when determining our conduct. In effect, we are to adopt the perspective of a rational agent, considered apart from all individuating conditions—be they natural, social, or cultural—and eschew all values, rankings, and reasons that could not be held by such a rational agent... By adopting the perspective of such a rational agent, a person could never legitimately use some value crucial to who he or she is as a reason to give extra weight or importance to that value when determining the proper course of action.

According to the neo-Aristotelian view of human flourishing advanced here, an impersonal ethics and an agent-neutral conception of basic values and reasons are unsound. There is no great divide in the nature of things between the facts that can and cannot be ethically relevant. Particular and contingent facts can be ethically important. Of course, some may be more important than others in achieving human flourishing, but this cannot be determined from one's armchair alone.

The fact that a value is crucial to some person's deeply held personal project, but to.no one else's, does not make it morally irrelevant. Indeed, the opposite is the case. Such value deserves consideration that is even more careful, precisely because of its relation to oneself.

The constituent goods and virtues of human flourishing are valuable in their own right but nonetheless essentially related to the lives of individual human beings. Their value is not a matter of their being mere means to human flourishing; rather, it is a matter of their being expressions or realizations of it. There is no incompatibility, then, in something's being valuable in its own right and agent-relative. What is even more to the point, however, is that there is no incompatibility in human flourishing's being the ultimate objective value and agent-relative as well. As I have noted, there is no flourishing-at-large...Thus, it is perfectly consistent for the flourishing of individual human beings to be valuable in its own right and essentially related to individual persons.

Human flourishing must be attained through a person's own efforts and cannot be the result of factors that are beyond one's control. Flourishing does not consist in the mere possession and use of needed goods. Rather, human flourishing consists in a person's taking charge of his own life so as to develop and maintain those virtues for which he alone is responsible and which in most cases will allow him to attain the goods his life requires.

The point is rather that self-direction is necessary to the very character of human flourishing. Human flourishing would not be human flourishing if there were no self-direction involved. Moreover, self-direction is the central necessary constituent or ingredient of human flourishing—that feature of human flourishing without which no other feature could be a constituent, hi other words, self-direction is both a necessary condition for, and an operating condition of, the pursuit and achievement of human flourishing. Regardless of the level of achievement or specificity, self-direction is a feature of all acts of human fulfillment.

Having other-concern is crucial to our maturation. As Aristotle makes clear, philia (friendship) is one of the constituents of human flourishing. Further, in terms of origins, we are almost always born into a society or community, and it is in some social context or other that we grow and develop. Much of what is crucial to our self-conception and fundamental values is dependent on our upbringing and environment. Our lives are intertwined with others; we are not abstract individuals. It is thus a fundamental mistake to conceive of human beings achieving maturity apart from others and only later taking it upon themselves to join society or to have social concern. Human flourishing is achieved with and among others...Moreover, since our sociality is essential to our self-understanding and well-being, this concern for political frameworks is not ethically optional for the individual. As Aristotle notes, "Only a beast or a god would live outside the polis".

As already noted, this view of human flourishing amounts to a version of moral pluralism, because there are many goods that help to define human nourishing. Further, there is no single good or virtue that dominates all others and reduces them to mere instrumental values.

Since human flourishing is individualized, these goods and virtues must be achieved in light of a consideration of the set of circumstances, talents, endowments, interests, beliefs, and histories that descriptively characterize the individual—what I shall call his or her "nexus"—as well as the individual's community and culture. Thus, an examination of human nature may reveal basic or generic goods and virtues, but it does not reveal what the weighting or balancing of these goods and virtues should be for the individual.

Critics claim that this view of human flourishing places limits on practical reason's ability to determine what ought to be done regarding substantial matters. Further, they claim that a view of human flourishing that allows for a plurality of inherent goods creates irresolvable conflicts when one tries to achieve them.... My reply to these charges can be summarized as follows: (1) Underdetermination is a flaw only if one assumes that the aim of moral theory is to dictate a set of specific rules of conduct equally suited to all persons regardless of their nexus. But this is not necessary given that the human good is neither abstract nor agent-neutral. Practical wisdom deals with the contingent and the particular and can provide guidance regarding substantial matters, if we do not confuse it with theoretical reason or its features. (2) The existence of a plurality of inherent goods does not necessarily make them incompatible, if we do not confuse concrete with abstract considerations and if we recognize that it is by using practical wisdom, not rules, that potential conflicts are reconciled.

This account does not assume that abstract ethical reasoning can alone provide moral guidance or that the contingent and particular must somehow be eliminated from moral deliberations. Further, it does not suppose, as the Kantian (and utilitarian) viewpoints appear to do, that the sine qua non of ethical reasoning is providing impersonal prescriptions.

Practical wisdom is the intellectual virtue for this neo-Aristotelian conception of ethics, for it is central to the exercise of moral virtue. As Aristotle states, "virtue or excellence is a state of character involving choice and consists in observing the mean relative to us, a mean defined by a rational principle, such as a man of practical wisdom would use to determine it". It is extremely difficult to overstate the importance of practical wisdom for this view. Practical wisdom is not merely cleverness or means-end reasoning. Instead, it is the ability of the individual at the time of action to discern in particular and contingent circumstances what is morally required... According to Aristotle, "It is thought to be the mark of a man of practical wisdom to be able to deliberate about what is good and expedient for himself, not in some particular respect, .. . but about "what sorts of things conduce to the good life in general".

Indeed, practical reason properly used, which is the virtue of practical wisdom, is the intelligent management of one's life so that all the necessary goods and virtues are coherently achieved, maintained, and enjoyed in a manner that is appropriate for the individual human being.

Practical wisdom is crucial to the process of determining the proper course of conduct, but it does not replace or render unnecessary speculative or theoretical insight into the character of human flourishing. In fact, it depends on there being such abstract knowledge. Yet practical wisdom guides conduct by dealing with the contingent and the particular and thus does not have the features of theoretical reasoning. It is not impersonal, atemporal, or universal. In other words, ethical living cannot be a matter of having theoretical knowledge alone or practical knowledge alone. Both are required.

The existence of a plurality of ends that compose human flourishing does not, abstractly considered, logically entail that these ends are incompatible. Concretely considered, keeping them from becoming incompatible by discovering the proper weighting or balancing of these ends is an individual's central task.

These observations simply show that if this neo-Aristotelian account of human flourishing is true, then ethical rationalism is false and there is at least a form of pluralism that is morally appropriate.

We need not assume that our beliefs and practices must be barriers to knowing what is real. It is not necessary to proceed in a Cartesian manner and raze all opinions in order to find some firm foundation. We must start somewhere, and the starting point of an inquiry into the character of human flourishing is with the opinions, endoxa, of our society and culture.

Of course, we are neither disembodied minds nor asocial beings, and thus it should be admitted that our rationality is always embodied in a tradition—at least in some loose sense of that term. Yet this does not mean or imply that we are thereby trapped and cannot, as a matter of principle, consider things from the viewpoint of other traditions or adopt radically different perspectives. We can appeal to other accounts of human flourishing and in fact attempt to see if there is anything about being human that will give us insight into how to live our lives.

The neo-Aristotelian view of human flourishing that has been presented appeals to human nature in two basic ways: (1) it assumes that human nature is teleological, that is, that human beings have a telos or natural function; and (2) it assumes that this natural function has moral import. In other words, it assumes that knowing "what our natural function is tells us something about the character of human flourishing. Both of these assumptions shall be explained.

The existence of a human telos need not be in conflict with the individualized character of human flourishing, as it seems to be for traditional versions of Aristotelian ethics. Nor is it necessary to hold that God has created the universe or individual things to serve some end to which they are drawn. There need only be a naturalistic teleology.

According to the Aristotelian model, final causation is only one of the answers to the question "Why?" and it does not require a rational agent whose universal intentions determine goodness. Instead, teleology is restricted to the biological domain and is "internal" or "immanent" to the organism that is being explained. It is the goal or function of the individual organism, not the "external" designer, that is under consideration.

Accordingly, contemporary advocates of natural teleology hold that what living things are and how they develop cannot be adequately understood except insofar as they are understood as functioning for the sake of the mature state of the organism. The process of pursuing and maintaining ends is the result of the very nature of living things. Teleology has a place in nature, then, not because the universe has a purpose or because God has created and endowed each creature with a purpose. Teleology exists because the nature of living things involves the potential that is irreducibly for development to maturity.

Broadly speaking, then, we may "define" goodness as the actualization by a living thing of its potentialities, since the needs and requirements of a living thing are what give rise to that actualization being an end. Values are not separate from facts when it comes to living things. Further, it is in this sense that goodness might be understood as "oncological" but still ultimately relational.

For human beings, becoming good, flourishing, is not something to which they are driven. Teleology does not require ineluctability. Human beings, insofar as they are moral agents, actualize their ends through their own self-direction. This occurs through a person's dispositions for the proper desires and actions—dispositions which are ultimately a matter of moral responsibility. It is human reason that forms the conception of what is good for a person that is expressed in one's character or dispositions. It is the ability to have a conception of what is good for oneself (that children and nonhuman animals do not possess) that creates the causal power necessary for the nonaccidental production of good outcomes.

It is in terms of one's nature that the activity of flourishing or the process of "perfection" is measured. To "perfect," to "realize," or to "actualize" oneself is not to become God-like, immune to degeneration, or incapable of harm, but it is to fulfill those potentialities and capacities that make one human. This is to achieve one's natural end or perform one's natural function.

If the human function is taken to be the life of practical reason, not contemplation, and if the inclusive, individualized, and agent-relative character of human flourishing is recognized, then the alleged conceptual gap between what perfection requires (what is a good human being) and what is beneficial (what is good for a human being) is closed.

Isaiah Berlin states that ultimate objective ends, though incompatible, "cannot be unlimited, for the nature of men, however various and subject to change, must possess some generic character if it is to be called human at all." It is to what Berlin calls the "generic character" of human beings that the conception of human flourishing described in this essay appeals.

A consideration of human nature does allow one to make a list of generic goods. These goods form a cluster concept that is open-ended and subject to revision. Such a list is not intended to be exhaustive; nor is the list particularly novel. Indeed, it is not meant to be. It involves knowledge, friendship, justice, creative work, leisure, pleasure, health, aesthetic appreciation, honor, self-esteem, and moral virtue. These seem to be goods that no one, as Aristotle states, would choose to be without.

When considered as a whole, moral virtue is necessary for the coherent achievement and use of multiple basic human goods, and, along with practical wisdom, pervades the entire activity of flourishing. Moral virtue aids practical wisdom in finding the mean. In fact, moral virtue and practical wisdom are mutually interdependent, because the compossibility they seek is one of thought and feeling, not mere abstract goods.

The view of human flourishing that has been presented combines plausibly an appeal to human nature with a recognition of human individuality. The fundamental intuition behind this project has been not only that it is the flourishing of individual human beings that ultimately matters but the individuality of flourishing as well.

Flourishing Egoism, L. Hunt

As Abelard understood them, both fundamental elements of his twelfth-century ethical culture—Greek philosophy and Christian religion—held a common view of the nature of ethical inquiry, one that was so obvious to them that his characters do not even state it in a fully explicit way. They take for granted, as we take the ground we stand on, the premise that the most important function of ethical theory is to tell you what sort of life is most desirable, or most worth living. That is, the point of ethics is that it is good for you, that it serves your self-interest. This idea sounds very strange to modern ears, and is scarcely made less so when it is stated, as it is by Abelard, in terms of the concept of happiness or, to use the somewhat broader term that is now widely used, of "flourishing." It still sounds as if things are being combined that cannot be put together. Nonetheless, Abelard's depiction of his intellectual heritage suggests—at least to me—a historical generalization which I think is at least close to being right: the idea of self-interest, as expressed through the notions of happiness or flourishing, dominates the ethical thinking of both ancient Greek and medieval Christian philosophy.

This close historical association between virtue and self-interest suggests a further hypothesis: that there is some close connection between the concept of virtue and that of self-interest. This impression is reinforced by the fact that, as the concept of selfinterest and related notions receded from the focal point of Western ethics, the idea of virtue did so as well. Both ideas were already sharply demoted in the work of Hobbes, beginning a trend that resulted (sometime in the middle of the twentieth century) in an ethical orthodoxy within "which virtue was never mentioned and the agent's own well-being was regarded as at best irrelevant to his or her ethical merit, and at worst in conflict with it.

In what follows, I would like to present one piece of evidence that these two ideas do indeed belong together, related in something like the way they are in the classical, pre-Hobbesian tradition. More precisely, I will argue that the notion of happiness or (the term I will use hereafter) "flourishing" enables us to entertain a much closer connection between virtue and self-interest than modern prejudices will generally allow.

Egoism says that in some ultimate way, actions, traits, and ways of life have value because they are beneficial to the agent who has or does them.. This is what gives us a reason to do actions, to have traits, to live a given way of life, or to admire them in others.

Egoism, interpreted as a theory of reasons for action, distinguishes between good reasons and bad ones by using a certain aim, or outcome, as the standard: namely, the agent's own good. The problem, according to this objection, is that this outcome will probably not be achieved most effectively by people who are trying to achieve it, and who have no other ultimate aim. We can readily imagine reasons why this might "well be the case. If people were to realize that I act as if I value their well-being simply in order to get something out of them, all sorts of results that are bad for me will tend follow: to one extent or another, other people will object to being "used" in this way and will refuse to cooperate with me. They will also dislike me, and they "will think I am a bad person.

Ethical egoism, like any other ethical doctrine, is meant to guide the conduct of life. If it should turn out to be true that it can only be followed by using secrecy, lying, self-deception, and holding contradictory beliefs, this would raise several problems for anyone who wants to believe the doctrine. To mention only the most obvious one, it would seem to mean that this guide to life is an extremely difficult one to follow.

One's interests consist in achieving what is of value. Since things that are of value are unequally valuable and conflict with one another, this would have to mean achieving what is of greatest value. But this cannot be accomplished without knowing what is, in a given situation, of greater value and what is of less. Since acting on the basis of this understanding is what virtue is, this also means that achieving one's own interest would be impossible without virtue.

As for the objection to ethical egoism which alleges that egoism requires one to adopt a certain self-defeating attitude toward other people... The existence of flourishing-based explanations of self-interest opens up the possibility of an egoism that is more inclusive in the reasons for action that it treats as legitimate... It is assumed that, according to egoism, a consideration becomes a good reason for action simply and solely because, if one acts on it, it brings about a certain result: the agent's own self-interest. This assumption implies that, if we act as egoism recommends, we are viewing the interests of others in a certain way: as mere instruments to be manipulated to produce a certain result. As we have already seen, this assumption is not necessarily true, and, in particular, it is not true of Rand's egoism. In her view, the achievement of one's values is related to self-interest, not by causality, but by identity. That is what self-interest is.

The flourishing-based explanation of self-interest makes it possible for me to say that my friend's good is partly constitutive of my own good. If I do take this position, there is no prima facie reason to think that I will advance my interests by stealing his wallet, even if he never suspects me and, in purely consequentialist terms, I "get away with it."

The most likely doubts that people might have about it would concern whether there really is such a thing as nonconsequentialist egoism. That is, one might doubt that the doctrine can be fully formulated without collapsing either into consequentialist egoism or into some nonegoist doctrine.

One might well ask precisely how the good of others can become good for oneself in a nonconsequentialist way. This seems a very reasonable question. Consider the image that is most naturally formed when we try to imagine how it is that human beings are actually related to each other. I am here and my friend is over there. Between us, there is empty space through which a slight draft is blowing. Nonetheless, there are many sorts of relations that hold between us.

How then can his good be included in mine, as a part of it? My friend's good is not a characteristic of my friend as an inert object, but as a living being. More precisely, it is characteristic of his life, of the way he lives and functions. This, of course, is simply a way of putting the matter in flourishing-based terms. But events in my friend's life can also be, and often are, events in my life as well. This is partly because many of our actions are actually shared projects, or things that we both do. For these reasons, good things in my friend's life will be goods in my life as well.

To avoid wildly counterintuitive results, it seems that the nonconsequentialist egoist would need to show how the good of strangers, and not just the good of my friends, can to some degree be included in my own good as a part. The solution I have in mind would be based on the notion that strangers I do not know about pose no ethical problems, but once I become aware of them, to some extent my consciousness of their weal or woe adds to mine.

Many traits that are traditionally viewed as vices could be seen as errors which involve valuing something too much or too little. Cowardice is valuing safety too highly, for instance, and gluttony is valuing certain pleasures too highly. The contrary virtues, then, would seem to consist in placing the right value on the same goods, neither valuing them too much nor too little. This is precisely what having a rational hierarchy of values would mean. This, on the flourishing-based notion of self-interest we are now considering, can explain why they are virtues. They are essential to human well-being, not because they lead to it, in a consequentialist sense, but because they are constitutive of it. The order that these traits bring to our values is what well-being is, or an essential part of it. Egoists are distinguished by the fact that they hold that self-interest in some sense is the explanation for one feature or another of the ethical realm, and perhaps of the entire realm itself. In a way, they are monists. Those who resist monistic views can at least be open to the possibility that self-interest is an explanation. To the extent that one accepts the flourishingbased explanation of self-interest this possibility ought to be an attractive one. Then another possibility will arise, as eminently worthy of exploration: that at least part of the point of ethics is that, as Abelard was trying to tell us, it is good for us. ' "

Human Flourishing versus Desire Satisfaction, R. Arneson

What is good for one person, we ordinarily suppose, can conflict with what is good for other persons and with what is required by morality. A prudent person seeks her own good efficiently; she selects the best available means to her good. If we call the value that a person seeks when she is being prudent "prudential value," then an alternative rendering of the question to be addressed in this essay is "What is prudential value?" We can also say that an individual flourishes or has a life high in well-being when her life is high in prudential value.

In this essay I discuss the distinction between subjective and objective theories of good (that is, well-being or prudential value). I defend a type of objective theory, the objective-list account. The defense proceeds by contrasting this account with two rivals, hedonism and desire fulfillment.

Hedonism, as I construe it, is unsatisfactory for a general reason: it implies that nothing can matter prudentially to an individual except the quality of her experience, but this seems counterintuitive. The desire-fulfillment account resolves this difficulty, but gives rise to others, and the accounting of the strengths and "weaknesses of this account, especially in its refined form, is complex. The desire-fulfillment view has the resources to resist some criticisms, but succumbs to others. The devastating force of the objections against its main rivals is good news for the objective-list theory, but this theory is also subject to strong criticisms.

One criticism, consists in skeptical doubt that there is no uniquely rational way to determine what putative goods qualify as entries on the list. Skepticism here is a genuine worry, but not one this essay considers. But, setting aside skeptical doubt, I note another criticism that threatens to be devastating. The objective-list account allows that something I get can intrinsically enhance my well-being even though I hate it, and some will find this result puzzling or worse. A mixed or composite account deals with this latter difficulty by stipulating that nothing can intrinsically enhance an individual's well-being unless it is both truly worthwhile and also affirmed or endorsed by that very individual. Roughly speaking, this mixed view combines the desirefulfillment theory and the objective-list theory.

Philosophers have debated whether good is objective or subjective. Different questions have been asked under this description. Subjective theories of human good are sometimes taken to be those that "make welfare depend at least in part on some mental state." The intended contrast is with objective theories of "well-being which make the wellbeing of an agent depend entirely on states of the world apart from the state of mind of the agent "whose well-being is under review. This is a coherent usage, but a potentially confusing one.

A Platonic theory which held that the good for humans was perception and understanding of the Forms would count as subjective on this usage, even though most philosophers would deem Plato's theory to be a paradigm case of an objective theory. I would prefer to let the contrast between objective and subjective mark the contrast between (1) views which hold that claims about what is good can be correct or incorrect and that the correctness of a claim about a person's good is determined independently of that person's volition, attitudes, and opinions, and (2) views which deny this. On the revised distinction, Plato's position counts as an objective theory of the good.

Derek Parfit has distinguished three types of theories about what makes someone's life go best: (1) hedonistic theories, according to which "what would be best for someone is what would make his life happiest"; (2) desire-fulfillment theories, according to which a person's good "is what, throughout his life, would best fulfill his desires"; and (3) objective-list theories, according to "which, "certain things are good or bad for us, whether or not we want to have the good things, or to avoid the bad things."

My main quarrel with Parfit's classification scheme is that a theory that intuitively is not an objective theory at all could qualify as a version of the objective-list theory. To see this, notice that a theory which holds that what is good for each person is definitively fixed by that very person's subjective opinions about what is good for her qualifies as an objective-list theory on Parfit's definition. We can do better by noting several claims about the nature of prudential value that play a role in classifying theories of prudential value as subjective or objective. One claim is that what is good for each person is entirely determined by that very person's evaluative perspective. Call this the claim of agent sovereignty. What I will call subjective theories affirm this claim/ and objective theories deny it.

This denial, however, is not enough by itself to render a theory objective. Rejecting the name "objective-list theories" for the theories that Parfit characterizes under that name, Thomas Scanlon asserts that what "is essential is that these are theories according to which an assessment of a person's "well-being involves a substantive judgement about what things make life better, a judgement which may conflict with that of the person whose well-being is in question."

Let us add to the denial of agent sovereignty the assertion that there is a fact of the matter as to what is prudentially valuable for a person, so that claims about what types of things are prudentially valuable are true or false, and thus can be mistaken, and no person's actual evaluative perspective necessarily fixes what is genuinely prudentially valuable. Call this the claim of realism about prudential value.

The objective-list theory of what makes someone's life go best, as I will construe it, is a complex animal. A theory of this type is one that denies the claim of agent sovereignty, asserts the claim of realism about prudential value (which includes the former denial), and asserts that there exists a plurality of types of good.

In Utilitarianism, Mill asserts that human good is to be equated to happiness, that happiness is pleasure and absence of pain, and that the quality of one pleasure as compared to another is determined by the preference of experienced and competent judges for one over the other. It is obvious that Mill aims to avoid the result that the welfare an individual gains from some putative good is determined by her own, perhaps idiosyncratic or confused, appraisal of her experience of the good.

In On Liberty, Mill follows a quite different line. Arguing against paternalistic restriction of individual liberty in self-regard ing matters, Mill observes that "what is good for each of us is set by our individual nature, which is nontransparent, and which may differ from person to person. The conventional judgments in a society about what ways of life are worthwhile may give untrustworthy guidance for a given individual for several reasons. The conventional judgments may be just mistaken. Even if they are correct as generalities, they may not apply to this individual, for her circumstances may be unusual.

There is a rudimentary theory associated with the objective-list account of the good. The theory holds that what is intrinsically good for an individual, good for its own sake rather than as a means to some further good, is to get or achieve the items that are specified on a correct and complete list of such goods. The more that one gets or achieves the listed goods over the course of one's life, the better for oneself is the life that one has lived. Different versions of the theory may stipulate that there is one list for all persons, or that there are different types of persons and a distinct list for each type, or that the objective list for each person is unique to that person.

The idea of the objective list is simply that what is intrinsically good for a person is fixed independently of that person's attitudes or opinions; the items on the list for an individual are there independently of whether the individual has favorable attitudes toward them or himself judges that the items are valuable for him... Contrary to Sumner, the objective-list theory is not merely the provision of a list of putative goods. It is also a claim that what it is to be intrinsically valuable for a person, to make that person's life go better for herself, is to be an item that belongs on such a list.

Perfectionism is the doctrine that the good or intrinsically desirable human life is one that develops to the maximal possible extent the properties that constitute human nature. Thomas Hurka identifies these properties as "those that are essential to humans and conditioned on their being living things." The good life according to perfectionist theory is the life in which the individual develops the excellences of the species to a high degree. Perfectionism might be understood as a moral theory that sets a goal that determines how we ought to conduct our own lives and help others to live, or it might be understood as a specification of prudential value, of what makes someone's life go best.

Perfectionism should not be identified with objective-list theories of what makes someone's life go best. Perfectionism is not the family, just one member (or branch) of this family of views. Moreover, perfectionism takes a narrow view of human good. The excellences it takes to be valuable do seem valuable, but it denies value to much that seems worthwhile.

We might embrace a hybrid view according to which the character of one's experience can vary in value not just in virtue of its subjectively felt quality but also in virtue of its relationship to the world. The hybrid view would allow us to judge that false pleasures contribute less to the value of the life of the person who experiences them than they otherwise "would. A "false" pleasure here is one that is accompanied by significant false beliefs about the nature of the experience in which the agent finds enjoyment.

According to the desire-fulfillment theory, one's life goes better, the more it is the case that one's basic desires are satisfied, with desires that rank as more important in the agent's hierarchy of desires counting for more if fulfilled. This simple desire-fulfillment view is vulnerable to two significant objections. First, not all of an agent's desires plausibly bear on her wellbeing... So one needs to restrict somehow the class of basic desires whose fulfillment contributes to well-being. It will not do to stipulate that each agent determines for herself which of her basic desires bear on her well-being. Surely an agent could make a mistake in making this determination, and we need some way of deciding when a mistake occurs.

The second objection against simple desire fulfillment is that some desires that are felt to be of great importance by the individual, and are desired for their own sake, not as a means to further goals, are only desired because the individual is confused, ignorant, or making reasoning errors.

Another road might"be taken at this juncture. One might reinterpret the desire-satisfaction account as giving a necessary, not a sufficient, condition for prudential value. Nothing can intrinsically enhance an individual's well-being unless she desires that thing. The fact that one can seemingly have desires for what does not enhance one's well-being is no embarrassment for this less ambitious account.

Peter Railton has suggested a sophisticated formulation of the idea: "an individual's good consists in what he would want himself to want, or to pursue, were he to contemplate his present situation from a standpoint fully and vividly informed about himself and his circumstances, and entirely free of cognitive error or lapses of instrumental rationality." We construct in thought a cognitively ideal version of myself, an ideal advisor, and what this guardian angel would want me to want fixes the set of basic desires whose satisfaction constitutes my well-being. According to the ideal-advisor versions of informed-desire theories, what is intrinsically good for an individual is determined by what an ideally informed and reflective version of the individual would want the actual (perhaps not fully informed and reflective) individual to want for its own sake.

According to internalism, any valid claim as to what is good for me must motivate me to want that thing, at least under some ideal conditions. As Railton observes, "it would be an intolerably alienated conception of someone's good to imagine that it might fail in any way to engage him." My response to this objection is that internalism is too demanding a condition to impose on theories of the good, so the fact that informeddesire theories fail to meet the condition, if indeed it is a fact, casts no discredit on these theories. It may be that some psychological defect, some missing screw in the desiring department of my brain, prevents me from desiring some things that are in fact good for me.

Another objection is that the idea of becoming fully informed is radically indeterminate. Information can be presented to an individual in different ways through different media...If the notion of becoming fully and vividly informed is indeterminate, this slack will be transmitted to yield indeterminacy in the idea of what is good for a person according to the ideal-advisor account. However, this is an objection against the account only if it can be shown that the ideal advisor account yields indeterminacy where we have good reason to believe there should be none. But perhaps the correct inference to draw is that the notion of what is good for a person is inherently indeterminate.

The informed-desire theories purport to establish that a certain causal process confers desirability; but the characterization of the causal process does not secure this result, and it does not seem that it could be altered to guarantee the right result. Griffin evidently is responding to this worry "when he interprets the information requirement in an informed-desire account as, in effect, whatever it takes to produce an adequate response to the possible objects of desire....At this point, however, it does seem that the account has been refined into nonexistence. We are no longer appealing to what people would desire under ideal circumstances of desire formation as theoretically determining what is prudentially valuable. Instead, the work is done by appeal to "correct appreciation," which can only mean finding desirable what truly is desirable.

Suppose one holds that gaining well-being is to be identified with attaining what is objectively choiceworthy—the items on the objective list. It then turns out to be entirely a contingent matter whether or not an individual has any positive attitude of any sort toward the attainments that render her life good. My life might be rich in the goods that are prominent on the objective list even though I find these constituents of my life to be utterly repulsive.

The possibility is still open that one could score sufficiently high on the other dimensions of the good that register on the list that one could qualify as living a fine life even though one lacks any positive attitude toward any of the items that constitute one's well-being. Discomfort with this result motivates the construction of mixed theories of prudential value that require that any occurrence that contributes intrinsically to an individual's well-being must be accompanied by some positive attitude on the part of the individual toward that occurrence. On such a view, nothing counts as an objectively valuable attainment unless it is subjectively affirmed by the one who has gained the attainment.

In his discussion of the endorsement constraint, Dworkin skillfully exhibits how it enables one to combine an objective or perfectionist account of human good with a strong liberal moral presumption against just the type of paternalism that arouses our strong antipathy. Paternalism in general is restricting someone's liberty against her will for her own good. The type of paternalism that the endorsement constraint seems firmly to prohibit is restricting a competent individual's liberty against her will in order to secure for her a basic, noninstrumental good that she does not recognize as such.

Despite their glittering attractive qualities, both versions of the endorsement constraint should be resisted. The objection to the endorsement constraint is that people's reasons for declining to endorse some putative good that they are seeking or that is falling in their lap can be weak, confused, or even nonexistent.

To explain how a nonendorsed achievement can increase someone's utility is to appeal to the strength of the objective-list account of well-being. Some things are important components of the good life. Having them, one's life is enriched. Lacking them, one's rife is impoverished. Fairing to endorse them just means one is making mistaken evaluations, and this nonendorsement does not automatically or necessarily alter their value. Lacking a desire for them merely means one's desires are defective because they do not arise from a proper appreciation of their possible objects.

I would hold it more plausible to think that, other things equal, the value of a putative good for an agent is enhanced if the agent has a proper and reasonable understanding of the value of the good.

Consider the still weaker version of the endorsement constraint, which I call the "weak endorsement constraint." It simply holds that nothing can intrinsically enhance the quality of a person's life unless that person has some positive, affirmative attitude toward that element of her life. The root idea is that a purportedly happy occurrence in one's life that leaves one utterly cold cannot intrinsically enhance one's well-being....Richard Kraut asserts a somewhat similar view in his "Desire and the Human Good"; Kraut holds that to be living a good life one must love something and what one loves must be worth caring about, but "that cannot be the whole story," because in addition "one must be related in the right way to what one loves."

One might have the thought that the person who lives well according to the objective-list account but fails to satisfy the "weak endorsement constraint goes through life unhappy, entirely frustrated in that none of her important desires and life ambitions are fulfilled, and completely lacking in subjective satisfaction. Such a life would doubtless be barren and low in prudential value.

Some goods in an individual's life are objectively "worthwhile. They are good for their own sakes quite independently of the individual's own attitudes toward them and opinions as to their "worth. These goods form the entries on a list, the objective list. An element in an individual's life intrinsically augments her well-being just in case that element corresponds to some entry on the objective list. An individual's life goes better, has more well-being, counts as flourishing to a greater extent, the more the individual gets goods that are entries on the objective list. The entries on the list are ranked in importance, and getting items that correspond to more important entries does more to augment one's well-being, other things being equal.

But there is no attitude that an individual must have toward an element in her life if that element is to qualify as intrinsically augmenting her "well-being according to the objective-list theory...In other words, for something to qualify as intrinsically enhancing an individual's well-being, it (1) is neither necessary nor sufficient that the individual actually desire that thing, and (2) is neither necessary nor sufficient that the individual actually enjoy (or have some other sort of positive experience of) that thing. These are the main claims I have tried to defend in this essay.

Happiness and Human Flourishing in Kant's Ethics, T. Hill

Ancient moral philosophers, especially Aristotle and his followers, typically shared the assumption that ethics is primarily concerned with how to achieve the final end for human beings, a life of "happiness" or "human flourishing." This final end was not a subjective condition, such as contentment or the satisfaction of our preferences, but a life that could be objectively determined to be appropriate to our nature as human beings. Character traits were treated as moral virtues because they contributed well toward this ideal life, either as means to it or as constitutive aspects of it. Traits that tended to prevent a "happy" life were considered vices, even if they contributed to a life that was pleasant and what a person most wanted. The idea of "happiness" (or human flourishing) was central, then, in philosophical efforts to specify "what we ought to do, "what sort of persons we should try to become, and what sort of life a wise person would hope for.

In modern philosophy this ancient conception of happiness has been largely replaced by more subjective conceptions. Not surprisingly, then, happiness plays a different, and usually diminished, role in modern moral theories. Immanuel Kant is a striking, and influential, example of this trend. Viewing happiness as personal contentment and success in achieving the ends we want, he argues that morality is a constraint on the pursuit of a happy life rather than a means to it or an element of it. Even the moral duty to contribute to the happiness of others is more limited in Kant's moral theory than in most other modern theories that (like Kant) abandon the common ancient conceptions of "happiness."

How did Kant restrict the role of happiness in his moral theory? And why did he endorse happiness, rather than human flourishing, as the primary nonmoral good for individuals?

In speaking of human beings, animals, and even (sometimes) plants, we invoke notions of striving and fulfillment: in general an X flourishes more fully as an X when the strivings it has as an X are fulfilled or at least partially successful. In human beings and higher-order animals, flourishing (as human or animal) is commonly thought to be marked by a sense of well-being and a significant degree of contentment about one's present condition or prospects. Being content, however, does not mean that one is flourishing, for contentment is merely a subjective sense of well-being that can persist despite serious disease, malfunctioning natural capacities, and imminent collapse... The description of a person who is flourishing typically refers to a pattern of strivings and fulfillments, etc., over a significant period of time, not to something as variable as moods, sensations, and other passive states.

The core of flourishing, as I understand it, is as follows. "Happiness," properly conceived, describes an active, complete life that necessarily includes being virtuous and using practical reason in deliberation. Characteristic, natural, "essential" human capacities are developed and fulfilled together in a "happy" life. Community, moral exemplars, effort, and good fortune are supposed to be necessary, at least as causally enabling conditions.

Kant seems to shift between several ideas of happiness. In all cases, though, happiness is conceived as something more subjective, indeterminate, and variable from person to person than human flourishing is typically thought to be. Kant agrees with Aristotle and others that virtue (at least as Kant understands this) requires much more than satisfying our desires and feeling content. We must use practical reason to determine objectively what is morally right and virtuous to choose. But by sharply distinguishing virtue and happiness, Kant splits elements that are apparently combined in Aristotle's idea of human flourishing. The moral element (virtue) Kant then treats as objective, common to all human beings, distinct from desires, and discerned by reason. But the other element (happiness) he treats as subjective, relative to individuals, desire-based, and not very well served by reason.

Sometimes Kant writes of happiness as something familiar and attainable (with luck): e.g., as "preservation," "welfare," and "well-being." Most often, however, Kant characterizes happiness as an unattainable goal, something we can only approximate: e.g., as "an absolute whole, a maximum of well-being in my present, and in every future, state." Sometimes the goal seems to be lasting contentment: e.g., "satisfaction with one's state, so long as this is lasting," and "a rational being's consciousness of the agreeableness of life which without interruption accompanies his whole existence." At other times the central idea is getting all that we desire: e.g., "total satisfaction" of our "needs and inclinations" and "all inclinations combined in a sum total." The differences here seem not to have concerned Kant. In fact, sometimes he brings the different ideas together: e.g., happiness is "that everything should always go the way you would like it to—-[that is,] continuous well-being, enjoyment of life, complete satisfaction with one's condition."

Kant reacted strongly against moral theories, ancient and modern, that, in his opinion, misunderstood and overrated the value of happiness or failed to acknowledge adequately the moral constraints on the pursuit of happiness. Much of his work in ethics in fact seems devoted to putting happiness in its place.

In Kant's moral theory, happiness is not valuable in some of the ways, and to the degree, that it is in other moral theories. According to Kant, only a good mil is "good without qualification," and thus happiness is only conditionally good. Qualified or conditional goods, in Kant's sense, are not worthy of pursuit by rational agents in all possible contexts, but only "when certain conditions obtain. Conditional goods, like happiness, might seem good when we try to consider them apart from particular contexts, but an unqualified good must be worthy of choice in all contexts.

Kant grants, however, that happiness is an end that all human beings have. It is human nature to seek happiness for oneself. Moreover, we tend to pursue it for its own sake, not merely as something good as a means to other things. Thus, even though Kant denies that happiness is an unqualified good, he grants that we tend to treat happiness, at least from our individual perspectives, as "good in itself" in a familiar, everyday sense.

Kant's view, as I understand it, is that things are good or valuable by virtue of being the objects of rational willing, and what it is rational to will is not a question that can be settled entirely by empirical means—or by intuition. In deliberating about right and wrong, then, we cannot assume that happiness has a natural or intuited "intrinsic value" always tending in favor of the acts that promote it.

Although Kant says that happiness is a natural end for human beings, he rejects the idea that happiness is a final, self-sufficient end for human beings in Aristotle's sense. For Aristotle, as I understand him, a life of "happiness" (in his special sense) contains within it all the valuable sorts of things that any human being could reasonably want, mixed in the proportions appropriate to the context as judged by a practically wise person.

Kant conceives of "happiness" more narrowly (without virtue as a necessary ingredient) and insists that a happy life (so conceived) would not be a good life, or a worthy end, unless it could be pursued and achieved without violating moral requirements (which are not derived from a prior assumption that happiness is always good as an end).

Kant holds that it is not always morally right to do what you expect will maximize happiness. This is not merely because consequences are uncertain, for Kant is also committed to the stronger claim that there are many things that would be wrong to do even if we knew that they would actually maximize happiness.

Kantian deliberation about norms is constrained by the requirements implicit in the formulas of the Categorical Imperative, especially the idea of persons as ends in themselves. Even at the highest level of deliberation about rules, then, we cannot endorse rules that express or encourage the idea that individuals are like exchangeable commodities, each having some value of a sort that is commensurable and permits calculated trade-offs.

Kant does not merely reject the extreme utilitarian stand regarding the morality of promoting happiness. That alone would disturb only relatively few contemporary moral philosophers. Notoriously, Kant also severely limited the role of happiness in his moral theory by endorsing substantive rules of conduct that make very strict demands and admit few, if any, exceptions.

From the thin idea of "humanity as an end," together with some further assumptions, Kant moved to a more substantive working notion of what we must do to treat persons as ends, rather than merely as means. This thicker idea, with which Kant works in The Metaphysics of Morals, places high priority on acting in ways that protect, develop, and "honor" rational nature in human beings, who are presumed to be free and equal (in certain Kantian senses)...The main point for present purposes is that merely by making our "rational nature" a higher value priority than "happiness," even Kant's thicker conception of "humanity as an end" does not provide grounds for his absolute, and nearly absolute, practical principles.

Kant maintains that the proper aim of government is not to promote happiness but to secure justice. The fundamental principle of justice says, in effect, that it is not right to hinder the "external freedom" of another person that would be allowed under a system of "universal laws" that respects the equality and freedom of all.

There are also reasons to believe that Kant's general moral theory if applied with a fuller understanding of social realities than Kant apparently had, would justify us in taking a broader view than Kant did of what constitutes the "freedom" that justice is meant to protect. In any case, it seems clear that Kant is committed to the view that the primary function of government is the protection of the equal liberties of citizens as opposed to promoting their happiness.

Kant begins with the idea that practical reason permits "external freedom" to act only in ways such that the exercise of this freedom could coexist with the similar freedom of others (the universal principle of justice). The corollary, in Kant's view, is that coercion is justified to "hinder hindrances to freedom." That is, violations of the principle of justice may be opposed by force, and, given the conditions of human life, we have reason to authorize a sovereign power to try to prevent such violations and reason to obey its commands....The upshot is that, whether his political theory is interpreted narrowly or broadly, Kant would have sided with contemporary political philosophers "who deny that the aim of government is to make citizens happy and who say, instead, that its only legitimate aim is to respect rights and maintain the conditions for just relations among citizens.

Kant's claim that "freedom," not happiness, is the primary value in political matters seems to depend on an implicit assumption that rational autonomous human beings would place a higher priority on state protection of their equal opportunities to live as rational end-pursuing agents than on state efforts to promote the various ends that they seek under the name of "happiness."

Although Kant's concern to preserve freedom under a just social order is not reducible to a concern to promote the happiness of citizens, it should be obvious that the former encompasses much that utilitarians would recommend as means, or necessary conditions, for maximizing happiness. Thus, it is not surprising to find that Mill agrees with Kant to a considerable extent on what justice requires, at least in ordinary cases... Kant's rhetoric against making "happiness" the goal of government should not blind us from the fact that his ideal of justice, if realized, would provide much of what we need to be happy, but lack in an unjust world.

In Kant's view, acting to promote our own happiness, while often permissible, is normally not something "of moral worth." A maxim of the form "I shall do X in order to increase my happiness," according to Kant, "has no moral content." We do not become worthy of moral esteem by trying to be happy...Kant says that reason directs us to work toward the summum bonum, which is the union of virtue and the morally appropriate happiness that virtuous persons deserve. Again, however, the point is not that concern for happiness itself is morally commendable. Even pursuit of the summum bonum is of moral worth only when it is "from duty."...Kant's main points remain, however: for the most part, we are not morally good by virtue of our rational pursuit of happiness; and the ends that should guide our moral deliberations are our own perfection and the happiness of others, not our own happiness.

A good will, the unconditionally good moral disposition, does not require us to care about and value equally the happiness of all persons, for all purposes, in all contexts. What it requires is wholehearted commitment to constraining all our pursuits by the principles that can ultimately, at the highest level of moral deliberation, be justified to all persons who have equal moral standing and who are willing for purposes of this deliberation to abstract from the particular features of their special attachments and circumstances.

The basic equality that Kant attributes to all persons is a not a matter of "same size shares" of value understood in this way but, rather, a matter of having the same standing in a system of rights and duties and in the ideal deliberative processes that determine what these rights and duties are.

The reasons why promoting our own happiness is merely an indirect duty and a permission, while promoting that of others is a direct duty, do not reflect a difference in the "value" of the two kinds of happiness, but rather a difference in the way respect for autonomy is displayed when we are dealing with the interests of others and when we are dealing only with our own interests. Kant's explicit reason for denying that we have a direct moral duty to promote our own happiness is that we are already naturally inclined to promote our happiness.

Perhaps, one might think, Kant's idea is that our self-love is so strong that it is not, on balance, worth the psychological costs to make "a moral case" out of our occasional failures to take up harmless opportunities to further our own happiness. Most of the time we do not need a moral reminder, much less a call to "duty," to pay attention to our own happiness, and multiplying our duties needlessly may have a depressing effect. By contrast, one might think, our benevolent impulses are so weak that unless there is an acknowledged duty to promote the happiness of others, we will rarely do so, to the detriment of us all.

A "duty" of self-beneficence is conceptually impossible. We could cancel such an alleged duty at will, and a "duty" that we could cancel at will is no duty at all. We are not bound by chains if they are so loose that we can throw them off whenever we choose. What comparing the duty of beneficence to others with a supposed duty of self-beneficence reveals is just that the latter is an incoherent idea. Kant's denial of such a "duty," then, does not show that he thinks that we should devalue our own happiness relative to others.

The duty of beneficence to others respects our freedom insofar as it permits us (as a rule) to reject the efforts that we do not want others to make to further our personal projects. Similarly, Kant's denial that there is a parallel duty of beneficence to oneself respects our freedom by permitting us (morally) to decline to make our own efforts to promote those projects when we do not want to. Prudence often counsels us, even when we are reluctant, both to make our own efforts and to accept the aid of others toward achieving the ends encompassed in our conception of happiness. Moral duty, however, does not demand it.

Kant supposes not merely that we are inclined by nature to pursue our own happiness but also that we all "freely" endorse our own happiness as an end—a higher-order end that encompasses many particular ends, though it is not necessarily our dominant end. Given Kant's idea of duties (categorical imperatives) as rational principles that we can but might not follow, we cannot say, strictly speaking, that it is a duty to make our own happiness an end, even though it is rational to do so....In any case, Kant's grounds for denying a duty of beneficence to oneself do not imply that we do or should count our own happiness as less valuable than the happiness of persons whom we dutifully try to help.

Unlike Aristotle, Kant insists on a sharp distinction between rational prudence and morality. Then he does not place the ideal of human flourishing under rational prudence as a necessary end, but rather makes the pursuit of some aspects of it an imperfect moral duty to oneself. Thus, although he denies the right of prudential reason to demand that we pursue the ideal of human flourishing as an end, he makes room in his moral theory to affirm aspects of that ideal as requirements of reason.

Why would Kant want to focus on happiness (in his sense) rather than on human flourishing?... A partial explanation may be found by paying attention to Kant's project. He was not asking, in a general way, how a wise person would live. His primary questions, instead, were about the idea of moral duties and the necessary presuppositions of believing that we have such duties. His concern was to determine what, if anything, it is rationally necessary to think and to do....There is more to living well than doing our duty, but Kant's main questions were about the latter—and about the constraints it imposes on satisfying our desires. Many of the concerns that generate philosophical theories about human flourishing lie beyond the ethics of duty, as advocates of virtue ethics often remind us. To some extent, then, Kant's leaving aside questions about human flourishing is understandable in that these questions lie outside his central project. But this cannot be the whole story.

Another partial explanation might be Kant's recognition of our vast ignorance about what exactly it takes to enable different individuals to flourish as human beings. Even if we can say formally, or in very general terms, what it is to flourish as a human being, determining what in particular this or that individual needs in order to flourish in various contexts is extremely difficult....Again, however, our relative ignorance of the requirements of flourishing is hardly a sufficient reason for disregarding it in ethics.

Although no doubt many factors contributed, I suspect that a major reason why Kant made happiness, rather than human flourishing, the operative concept in the principle of beneficence and the imperative of prudence was his intense concern for individual freedom. At least this seems to be so if we focus on Kant's idea of happiness as fulfilling freely chosen ends rather than as feelings of contentment.

A contribution to their flourishing will help them fulfill certain ends toward which human beings are characteristically prone to act, but these are not ends that all individuals want or endorse as their personal goals. To flourish means to develop and exercise common human potentials that are widely regarded to be natural, good, rewarding, and admirable to fulfill, but it is not necessarily compatible with doing what one loves to do, prefers on reflection to do, or sees as most expressive of "who one is" as an individual. To promote others' flourishing when it diverges from their happiness (in Kant's sense) would be to place higher priority on their fulfilling their characteristic human dispositions than on their loves, considered preferences, and self-expression as individuals. Philosophers have often argued that these will not in fact diverge significantly for those who are thoughtful and well-informed (and perhaps well-trained), but our question presupposes that they can diverge.

My suggestion is just that, in addition to other factors, respect for individual freedom to choose one's own particular way of life, within moral limits, may have been a significant reason for Kant's giving priority to happiness over human flourishing in the ways that I have described. Even if there is a discernible fact that certain individual ends contribute better than others to fulfilling characteristic, natural human capacities, Kant says only that our responsibility in helping others is to respect their choices of the ends they want to pursue, provided the ends are not immoral.

Undeniably Kant was moved by ideals of human perfection, for individuals and humanity in general, but his moral theory reflects a strong counterbalancing concern for allowing individuals to choose, and judge, for themselves, even if they choose less than what would best promote their flourishing.

Politics, Neutrality, and the Good, R. Kraut

It is far healthier for the state to allow divergent philosophies of life to compete "with each other on their merits, and to allow new ideas about the art of living to be invented and explored. When each person is guaranteed a zone of freedom in which he may pursue his projects as he sees fit, so long as he does not interfere with others, human ingenuity and creativity are unleashed, and the political community achieves a rich diversity that is far more attractive than the oppressive uniformity and rigidity we find in the Republic or in any other alleged Utopia modeled on a single conception of the good.

These ideas about diversity and freedom are now widely accepted, and I do not wish to challenge them. Nonetheless, I believe that the principle of neutrality ought to be rejected, because it in fact provides too weak a foundation for the kind of free and diverse society we would all like to live in. Neutrality only seems attractive because it is "wrongly assumed that the only alternative to it is something like Plato's Republic—a rigid, uniform, intolerant, and authoritarian regime. I hope to show that this is not the case. A widely shared conception of human well-being provides a better support for the kind of political community we want to live in than does the principle of neutrality.

There is no reason why a government official—a court-appointed social worker, for example—might not in certain circumstances make better plans for an individual than would that individual himself. So if we were to favor state neutrality solely as a strategy for the promotion of "well-being, we would have to acknowledge that it works in some cases but not others. It is understandable, therefore, that contemporary advocates of neutrality should instead rest their case on the idea that as a matter of principle the state should not favor certain ultimate ends over others. Their idea is not that individual citizens will always or usually decide wisely on their own, but that the state has a duty to its citizens to let them freely choose their own ends and lead their own lives, even if in doing so they decide badly. Such advocates of neutrality would be willing to endorse this restriction on the state even if the result were a diminution in the well-being of citizens. Accordingly the thesis of neutrality as I shall interpret it here, is that it is morally wrong for the state to enter into the question of whether its citizens are pursuing worthy or unworthy ends.

Neutrality holds that the state's sphere of operation is constrained by certain moral limits. If it acts on a conception of the human good or restrains itself because it presupposes such a conception, it usurps a role that must be left to individual citizens. I now want to show by means of a series of examples that this thesis is radically at odds with assumptions we reasonably make about civic life. My claim is that if citizens were to set aside their conceptions of human well-being, when they enact legislation or deliberate about constitutional matters, their common political life would become badly disfigured.

A defender of the thesis of neutrality holds that the state has no business addressing the issue of when a life is worth leading, and that it must leave this decision to the individual. Just as the state cannot take a stand on "what is intrinsically good, so it cannot enter the issue of "what is intrinsically bad. If an individual decides that his life is so bad that it is not worth leading, and requests assistance in dying, the state exceeds its proper role if it questions his decision. It can demand assurances that his decision is fully voluntary and rational, but if death is what he freely chooses, the government cannot substitute its judgment for his and prevent him from dying.

From the perspective of neutralism, it is crucial to realize that assisted suicide is something to which each person has a right, regardless of whether officials of the state think his life is worth living or not. The neutralist holds that assisted suicide must be allowed not just in the case of those who are terminally ill and in great pain, but in all cases whatsoever (so long as the decision to commit suicide is fully voluntary).

The next point to notice is that if the principle of neutrality were taken to heart and widely accepted, a number of the common practices and institutions of modern liberal democracies would become difficult to justify. Perhaps the best example of this is public support for nonvocational education. Public schools at all levels, from primary schools to state universities, use tax money to support classes in drama, music, literature, science, and history. Were we to accept the principle of neutrality, we could not justify these public expenditures by saying that the state should promote some of the constituents of a good life, and that the liberal arts are among those constituents.

The underlying assumption of a liberal education is that it is good to develop a love of such subjects as music, dance, theater, literature, science, and mathematics, and to participate to some degree in the institutions connected to these subjects. The state endorses this conception of a good life by approving and funding the curriculum of public schools. When these schools do not teach these subjects adequately, the wealthy respond by sending their children to private schools or by supplementing their public school education with private music lessons, dance classes, and the like. The poor can do no such thing...But advocates of state neutrality regarding ultimate ends are not able to express concern about this inequity. They hold that the state takes no view about what is good or bad in itself; it merely helps citizens acquire such all-purpose means as health, safety, and security. Since cultural goods are not all-purpose means, it is no business of the state to help all citizens to share in them.

Such examples suggest that neutralism is simply too narrow a conception of the proper role of the state. All-purpose instruments are only some of the goods that the state ought to help provide to citizens. By forbidding the state to take a stand about what is intrinsically good or bad, neutralism prevents us from formulating a wise and humane approach to civic policy.

Because it judges that self-actualization is intrinsically good, the state refrains from making constant and large intrusions in the lives of its citizens. It is not because it refrains from taking a stand about the good life that it leaves people free, but because it operates with a conception of the good that leaves individuals with a large zone of freedom in "which to make their own choices. The liberal state's attitude toward freedom may be usefully compared with the policy of parents who allow their children considerable freedom to make their own decisions, not because they suspend judgment about what is good for them but because they think that their children's lives would be worse if they lacked the ability and opportunity to make their own choices.

The state is in the general business of promoting the common good, but since one of the goods is autonomy, there are limits to how intrusive the state can be in its efforts to help citizens. My argument for looking at the modern liberal state in this way is that it provides a better way of organizing our thoughts about political issues than does the principle of neutrality. If we take the state to be in the business of promoting what is intrinsically good and opposing what is intrinsically bad, we can provide a single account of "why it supports liberal education and also leaves citizens a large zone of freedom.

The only explanation of why the state devotes special attention to the protection of religious freedom is its recognition that religious institutions play a central role in the way the good is conceived by many citizens. In protecting and helping those institutions, the state is a partisan of a "widely held conception of the good. It does not support one religious sect rather than another, but places all religions in a special category, because for many citizens these practices play an organizing role in their efforts to lead meaningful lives.

I will close by considering two objections to the position I have defended. The first is that allowing the state to operate with a partisan conception of the good opens the door to oppression. Suppose, for example, that the majority of citizens hold that the good consists in fellowship with God, and legislation reflecting this point of view is adopted.

My reply is that we must distinguish between the thesis that the state should promote the good and the thesis that whatever the state thinks is good really is such. If the good is not fellowship with God, then civic officials are not justified in making the contrary assumption the basis of their legislation. On the other hand, if the good does consist in having the proper relationship to God, then surely there is something to be said in favor of a state that is guided by this conception.

It is therefore sensible to ask whether our political institutions are doing as good a job as can reasonably be expected to help citizens lead good lives. It is equally sensible to ask whether our communities would become less humane and enriching, if public funds were not used to foster an autonomous, thoughtful, and enlightened citizenry, or to guarantee an equal measure of dignity for all, or to promote the widespread accessibility of the sciences and the arts. If these are worthy goals that citizens generally accept, and the state already plays an important role in helping us achieve them, there is no good reason to insist that it reduce its role and confine itself to the provision of purely instrumental goods. The fact that the history of philosophy reveals deep disagreement about the summum bonum, that Stoics have disagreed with Epicureans, and Christians with Jews, should not blind us to the workable consensus we have achieved about more concrete goals, and to the possibility that we might arrive at further agreement through rational discussion.

What we should avoid in political philosophy is the adoption of a conception of the good that cannot serve as the common goal of all citizens because it is too narrow and sectarian. In a pluralistic society like the United States, where religious impartiality has been a long tradition, civic endorsement of one particular religious conception of the good would be deeply disruptive of stable and workable institutions. Neutralism seizes upon this fact and infers a broader conclusion, namely, that no conception of the good—whether religious or secular—should guide the state in its decisions. But we ought to resist this inference. There is no general reason why judgments about what is intrinsically worthwhile should not guide the decisions made by citizens and other agents of the state.... If we take neutrality to heart and think through all of its consequences, we can see how much it would diminish our political community.

Is Happiness Still Possible?, B. Russell

The causes of various kinds of unhappiness lie partly in the social system, partly in individual psychology—which, of course, is itself to a considerable extent a product of the social system.

What is the use of making everybody rich if the rich themselves are miserable? Education in cruelty and fear is bad, but no other kind can be given by those who are themselves the slaves of these passions. These considerations lead us to the problem of the individual: what can a man or woman, here and now, in the midst of our nostalgic society, do to achieve happiness for himself or herself?

My purpose is to suggest a cure for the ordinary day-to-day unhappiness from which most people in civilized countries suffer, and which is all the more unbearable because, having no obvious external cause, it appears inescapable. I believe this unhappiness to be very largely due to mistaken views of the world, mistaken ethics, mistaken habits of life, leading to destruction of that natural zest and appetite for possible things upon which all happiness, whether of men or animals, ultimately depends. These are matters which lie within the power of the individual, and I propose to suggest the change by which his happiness, given average good fortune, may be achieved.

In adolescence, I hated life and was continually on the verge of suicide, from which, however, I was restrained by the desire to know more mathematics. Now, on the contrary, I enjoy life; I might almost say that with every year that passes I enjoy it more. This is due partly to having discovered what were the things that I most desired, and having gradually acquired many of these things. Partly it is due to having successfully dismissed certain objects of desire—such as the acquisition of indubitable knowledge about something or other—as essentially unattainable. But very largely it is due to a diminishing preoccupation with myself....Gradually I learned to be indifferent to myself and my deficiencies; I came to center my attention increasingly upon external objects: the state of the world, various branches of knowledge, individuals for whom I felt affection.

External discipline is the only road to happiness for those unfortunates whose selfabsorption is too ptofound to be cured in any other way. Self-absorption is of various kinds. We may take the sinner, the narcissist, and the megalomaniac as three very common types.

When I speak of "the sinner," I do not mean the man who commits sins: sins are committed by every one or no one, according to our definition of the word. I mean the man who is absorbed in the consciousness of sin. This man is perpetually incurring his own disapproval, which, if he is religious, he interprets as the disapproval of God. He has an image of himself as he thinks he ought to be, which is in continual conflict with his knowledge of himself as he is... What drives them astray is devotion to an unattainable object together with the inculcation, in early years, of a ridiculous ethical code.

Narcissism is, in a sense, the converse of an habitual sense of sin; it consists in the habit of admiring oneself and wishing to be admired. Up to a point it is, of course, normal, and not to be deplored; it is only in its excesses that it becomes a grave evil....Vanity, when it passes beyond a point, kills pleasure in every activity for its own sake, and thus leads inevitably to listlessness and boredom. Often its source is diffidence, and its cure lies in the growth of self-respect. But this is only to be gained by successful activity inspired by objective interests.

The megalomaniac differs from the narcissist by the fact that he wishes to be powerful rather than charming, and seeks to be feared rather than loved. To this type belong many lunatics and most of the great men in history... There is no ultimate satisfaction in the cultivation of one element of human nature at the expense of all the others, nor in viewing all the world as raw material for the magnificence of one's own ego. Usually the megalomaniac, whether insane or nominally sane, is the product of some excessive humiliation...Since no man can be omnipotent, a life dominated wholly by love of power can hardly fail, sooner or later, to meet with obstacles that cannot be overcome...Power kept within its proper bounds may add greatly to happiness, but as the sole end of life it leads to disaster, inwardly if not outwardly.

The psychological causes of unhappiness, ir is clear, are many and various. But all have something in common. The typical unhappy man is one who, having been deprived in youth of some normal satisfaction, has come to value this one kind of satisfaction more than any other, and has therefore given to his life a one-sided direction, together with a quite undue emphasis upon the achievement as opposed to the activities connected with it.

The narcissist and the megalomaniac believe that happiness is possible, though they may adopt mistaken means of achieving it; but the man who seeks intoxication, in whatever form, has given up hope except in oblivion.

Very few men, I believe, will deliberately choose unhappiness if they see a way of being happy.

Happiness is of two sorts, though, of course, there are intermediate degrees. The two sorts I mean might be distinguished as plain and fancy, or animal and spiritual, or of the heart and of the head....Perhaps the simplest way to describe the difference between the two sorts of happiness is to say that one sort is open to any human being, and the other only to those who can read and write.

Pleasures of achievement demand difficulties such that beforehand success seems doubtful although in the end it is usually achieved. This is perhaps the chief reason why a modest estimate of one's own powers is a source of happiness. The man who underestimates himself is perpetually being surprised by success, whereas the man who overestimates himself is just as often surprised by failure. The former kind of surprise is pleasant, the latter unpleasant. It is therefore wise to be nor unduly conceited, though also not too modest to be enterprising.

Very few men can be genuinely happy in a life involving continual self-assertion against the skepticism of the mass of mankind, unless they can shut themselves up in a coterie and forget the cold outer world.

It must, I think, be admitted that the most intelligent young people in Western countries tend to have that kind of unhappiness that comes of finding no adequate employment for their best talents.

Cynicism such as one finds very frequently among the most highly educated young men and women of the West results from the combination of comfort with powerlessness. Powerlessness makes people feel that nothing is worth doing, and comfort makes the painfulness of this feeling just endurable.

The pleasure of work is open to any one who can develop some specialized skill, provided that he can get satisfaction from the exercise of his skill without demanding universal applause.

Belief in a cause is a source of happiness to large numbers of people. I am not thinking only of revolutionaries, socialists, nationalists in oppressed countries, and such; I am thinking also of many humbler kinds of belief...But it is easy to find some cause which is in no degree fantastic, and those whose interest in any such cause is genuine are provided with an occupation for their leisure hours and a complete antidote to the feeling that life is empty.

Fads and hobbies, however, are in many cases, perhaps most, not a source of fundamental happiness, but a means of escape from reality, of forgetting for the moment some pain too difficult to be faced. Fundamental happiness depends more than anything else upon what may be called a friendly interest in persons and things.

The kind of affectionateness that makes for happiness is the kind that likes to observe people and finds pleasure in their individual traits, that wishes to afford scope for the interests and pleasures of those with whom it is brought into contact without desiring to acquire power over them or to secure their enthusiastic admiration. The person whose attitude towards others is genuinely of this kind will be a source of happiness and a recipient of reciprocal kindness... To like many people spontaneously and without effort is perhaps the greatest of all sources of personal happiness.

An interest in impersonal things, though perhaps less valuable as an ingredient in everyday happiness than a friendly attitude towards our fellow creatures, is nevertheless very important.

The secret of happiness is this: let your interests be as wide as possible, and let your reactions to the things and persons that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather than hostile.

The man who is unhappy will, as a rule, adopt an unhappy creed, while the man who is happy will adopt a happy creed; each may attribute his happiness or unhappiness to his beliefs, while the real causation is the other way round. Certain things are indispensable to the happiness of most men, but these are simple things: food and shelter, health, love successful work and the respect of one's own herd. To some people parenthood also is essential. Where these things are lacking, only the exceptional man can achieve happiness.

Where outward circumstances are not definitely unfortunate, a man should be able to achieve happiness, provided that his passions and interests are directed outward, not inward. It should be our endeavor, therefore, both in education and in attempts to adjust ourselves to the world, to aim at avoiding self-centered passions and at acquiring those affections and those interests which will prevent our thoughts from dwelling perpetually upon ourselves.

One of the great drawbacks to self-centered passions is that they afford so little variety in life. The man who loves only himself cannot, it is true, be accused of promiscuity in his affections, but he is bound in the end to suffer intolerable boredom from the invariable sameness of the object of his devotion.

The happy man is the man who lives objectively, who has free affections and wide interests, who secures his happiness through these interests and affections and through the fact that they, in turn, make him an object of interest and affection to many others. To be the recipient of affection is a potent cause of happiness, but the man who demands affection is not the man upon whom it is bestowed. The man who receives affection is, speaking broadly, the man who gives it.

What then can a man do who is unhappy because he is encased in self? So long as he continues to think about the causes of his unhappiness, he continues to be self-centered and therefore does not get outside the vicious circle; if he is to get outside it, it must be by genuine interests, not by simulated interests adopted merely as a medicine.

Teach yourself to feel that life would still be worth living even if you were not, as of course you are, immeasurably superior to all your friends in virtue and in intelligence. Exercises of this sort prolonged through several years will at last enable you to admit facts without flinching, and will, in so doing, free you from the empire of fear over a very large field.

The traditional moralist, for example, will say that love should be unselfish. In a certain sense he is right, that is to say, it should not be selfish beyond a point, but it should undoubtedly be of such a nature that one's own happiness is bound up in its success.

All unhappiness depends upon some kind of disintegration or lack of integration; there is disintegration within the self through lack of coordination between the conscious and the unconscious mind; there is lack of integration between the self and society, where the two are not knit together by the force of objective interests and affections.

The happy man is the man who does not suffer from either of these failures of unity, whose personality is neither divided against itself nor pitted against the world. Such a man feels himself a citizen of the universe, enjoying freely the spectacle that it offers and the joys that it affords, untroubled by the thought of death because he feels himself not really separate from those who will come after him. It is in such profound instinctive union with the stream of life that the greatest joy is to be found.

Why the Enlightenment Project of Justifying Morality Had to Fail, A. MacIntyre

So far I have presented the failure of the project of justifying morality merely as the failure of a succession of particular arguments; and if that were all that there was to the matter, it might appear that the trouble was merely that Kierkegaard, Kant, Diderot, Hume, Smith and their other contemporaries were not adroit enough in constructing arguments, so that an appropriate strategy would be to wait until some more powerful mind applied itself to the problems.

But suppose in fact, what is eminently plausible, that the failure of the eighteenth and nineteenthcentury project was of quite another kind. Suppose that the arguments of Kierkegaard, Kant, Diderot, Hume, Smith and the like fail because of certain shared characteristics deriving from their highly specific shared historical background. Suppose that we cannot understand them as contributors to a timeless debate about morality, but only as the inheritors of a very specific and particular scheme of moral beliefs, a scheme whose internal incoherence ensured the failure of the common philosophical project from the outset.

At the same time as they agree largely on the character of morality, they agree also upon what a rational justification of morality would have to be. Its key premises would characterize some feature or features of human nature; and the rules of morality would then be explained and justified as being those rules which a being possessing just such a human nature could be expected to accept. For Diderot and Hume the relevant features of human nature are characteristics of the passions; for Kant the relevant feature of human nature is the universal and categorical character of certain rules of reason.

Thus all these writers share in the project of constructing valid arguments which will move from premises concerning human nature as they understand it to be to conclusions about the authority of moral rules and precepts. I want to argue that any project of this form was bound to fail, because of an ineradicable discrepancy between their shared conception of moral rules and precepts on the one hand and what was shared — despite much larger divergences —in their conception of human nature on the other. Both conceptions have a history and their relationship can only be made intelligible in the light of that history.

Consider first the general form of the moral scheme which was the historical ancestor of both conceptions, the moral scheme which in a variety of diverse forms and with numerous rivals came for long periods to dominate the European Middle Ages from the twelfth century onwards, a scheme which included both classical and theistic elements. Its basic structure is that which Aristotle analyzed in the Nicomachean Ethics. Within that teleological scheme there is a fundamental contrast between man-as-he-happens-to-be and man-as-he-could-be-if-he-realized-his-essentialnature.

Ethics is the science which is to enable men to understand how they make the transition from the former state to the latter. Ethics therefore in this view presupposes some account of potentiality and act, some account of the essence of man as a rational animal and above all some account of the human telos. The precepts which enjoin the various virtues and prohibit the vices which are their counterparts instruct us how to move from potentiality to act, how to realize our true nature and to reach our true end. To defy them will be to be frustrated and incomplete, to fail to achieve that good of rational happiness which it is peculiarly ours as a species to pursue.

We thus have a threefold scheme in which human-nature-as-it-happens-to-be (human nature in its untutored state) is initially discrepant and discordant with the precepts of ethics and needs to be transformed by the instruction of practical reason and experience into human-nature-as-it-could-be-if-it-realized-its-telos.

The joint effect of the secular rejection of both Protestant and Catholic theology and the scientific and philosophical rejection of Aristotelianism was to eliminate any notion of rnan-as-he-could-be-if-he-realized-his-telos Since the whole point of ethics —both as a theoretical and a practical discipline —is to enable man to pass from his present state to his true end, the elimination of any notion of essential human nature and with it the abandonment of any notion of a telos leaves behind a moral scheme composed of two remaining elements whose relationship becomes quite unclear.

There is on the one hand a certain content for morality: a set of injunctions deprived of their teleological context. There is on the other hand a certain view of untutored-human-nature-as-it-is. Since the moral injunctions were originally at home in a scheme in which their purpose was to correct, improve and educate that human nature, they are clearly not going to be such as could be deduced from true statements about human nature or justified in some other way by appealing to its characteristics.

The injunctions of morality, thus understood, are likely to be ones that human nature, thus understood, has strong tendencies to disobey. Hence the eighteenth-century moral philosophers engaged in what was an inevitably unsuccessful project; for they did indeed attempt to find a rational basis for their moral beliefs in a particular understanding of human nature, while inheriting a set of moral injunctions on the one hand and a conception of human nature on the other which had been expressly designed to be discrepant with each other. This discrepancy was not removed by their revised beliefs about human nature. They inherited incoherent fragments of a once coherent scheme of thought and action and. since they did not recogn^e their own peculiar historical and cultural situation, they could not recognize the impossible and quixotic character of their self-appointed task.

Kant does indeed look for a foundation of morality in the universaiizable prescriptions of that reason which manifests itself both in arithmetic and in morality; and in spite of his strictures against founding morality on human nature, his analysis of the nature of human reason is the basis for his own rational account of morality. Yet in the second book of the second Critique he does acknowledge that without a teleological framework the whole project of morality becomes unintelligible.

For although each of the writers we have been concerned with attempted in his positive arguments to base morality on human nature, each in his negative arguments moved toward a more and more unrestricted version of the claim that no valid argument can move from entirely factual premises to any moral or evaluative conclusion—to a principle, that is, which once it is accepted, constitutes an epitaph to their entire project.... The same general principle, no longer expressed as a question, but as an assertion, appears in Kant's insistence that the injunctions of the moral law cannot be derived from any set of statements about human happiness or about the will of God and then yet again in Kierkegaard's account of the ethical. What is the significance of this general claim?

We may safely assert that, if some amended version of the 'No "ought" conclusion from "is" premises' principle is to hold good, it must exclude arguments involving functional I concepts from its scope. But this suggests strongly that those who have insisted that all moral arguments fall within the scope of such a principle may have been doing so, because they took it for granted that no morals involve functional concepts.

Yet moral arguments within the classical, Aristotelian tradition—whether in its Greek or its medieval versions—involve at least one central functional concept, the concept of man understood as having an essential nature and an essential purpose or function; and it is when and only' when the classical tradition in its integrity has been substantially rejected that moral arguments change their character so that they fall within the scope of some version of the 'No "ought" conclusion from "is" premises' principle. That is to say, 'man' stands to 'good man' as 'watch' stands to 'good watch' or 'farmer' to 'good farmer' wkhin the classical tradition.

Aristotle takes it as a starting-point for ethical enquiry that the relationship of 'man' to 'living well' is analogous to that of 'harpist' to 'playing the harp well'. But the use of 'man' as a functional concept is far older than Aristotle and it does not initially derive from Aristotle's metaphysical biology. It is rooted in the forms of social life to which the theorists of the classical tradition give expression. For according to that tradition to be a man is to fill a set of roles each of which has its own point and purpose: member of a family, citizen, soldier, philosopher, servant of God. It is only when man is thought of as an individual prior to and apart from all roles that 'man' ceases to be a functional concept.

For this to be so other key moral terms must also have partially at least changed their meaning. The entailment relations between certain types of sentence must have changed. Thus it is not just that moral conclusions cannot be justified in the way that they once were; but the loss of the possibility of such justification signals a correlative change in the meaning of moral idioms. So the 'No "ought" conclusion from "is:' premises' principle becomes an inescapable truth for philosophers whose culture possesses only the impoverished moral vocabulary which results from the episodes I have recounted. That it was taken to be a timeless logical truth was a sign of a deep lack of historical consciousness which then informed and even now infects too much of moral philosophy. For its initial proclamation was itself a crucial historical event. It signals both a final break with the classical tradition and the decisive breakdown of the eighteenth-century project of justifying morality in the context of the inherited, but already incoherent, fragments left behind from tradition.

Within the Aristotelian tradition to call x good (where x may be among other things a person or an animal or a policy or a state of affairs) is to say that it is the kind of x which someone would choose who wanted an x for the purpose for which x's are characteristically wanted. To call a watch good is to say that it is the kind of watch which someone would choose who wanted a watch to keep time accurately... Within this tradition moral and evaluative statements can be called true or false in precisely the way in which all other factual statements can be so calied. But once the notion of essential human purposes or functions disappears from morality, it begins to appear implausible to treat moral judgments as factual statements.

Even Kant, who still understands moral judgments as expressions of a universal law, even if it be a law which each rational agent utters to himself, does not treat moral judgments as reports of what the law requires or commands, but as themselves imperatives. And imperatives are not susceptible of truth or falsity.

Moral judgments were at once hypothetical and categorical in form. They were hypothetical insofar as they expressed a judgment as to what conduct would be teleologically appropriate for a human being: 'You ought to do so-and-so, if and since your telos is such-and-such' or perhaps 'You ought to do so-and-so, if you do not want your essential desires to be frustrated'. They were categorical insofar as they reported the contents of the universal law commanded by God: 'You ought to do so-and-so : that is what God's law enjoins.' But take away from them that in virtue of which they were hypothetical and that in virtue of which they were categorical and what are they? Moral judgments lose any clear status and the sentences which express them in a parallel way lose any undebatable meaning.

Bentham's original formulations suggest a shrewd perception of the nature and scale of the problems confronting him. His innovative psychology provided a view of human nature in the light of which the problem of assigning a new status to moral rules can be clearly stated; and Bentham did not flinch from the notion that he was assigning a new status to moral rules and giving a new meaning to key moral concepts. Traditional morality was on his view pervaded by superstition; it was not until we understood that the only motives for human action are attraction to pleasure and aversion to pain that we can state the principles of an enlightened morality, for which the prospect of the maximum pleasure and absence of pain provides a telos.

Bentham makes the transition from his psychological thesis that mankind has two and only two motives to his moral thesis that out of the alternative actions or policies between which we have to choose at any given moment we ought always to perform that action or implement that policy which will produce as its consequences the greatest happiness—that is, the greatest possible quantity of pleasure with the smallest possible quantity of pain —of the greatest number.

Mill concluded that it was Bentham's concept of happiness that needed reforming, but what he had actually succeeded in putting in question was the derivation of the morality from the psychology. Yet this derivation provided the whole of the rational grounding for Bentham's project of a new naturalistic teleology. It is not surprising that as this failure was recognized within Benthamism, its teleological content became more and more meagre.

John Stuart Mill was right of course in his contention that the Benthamite conception of happiness stood in need of enlargement; in Utilitarianism he attempted to make a key distinction between 'higher' and lower pleasures and in On Liberty and elsewhere he connects increase in human happiness with the extension of human creative powers. But the effect of these emendations is to suggest —what is correct, but what no Benthamite no matter how far reformed could concede—that the notion of human happiness is not a unitary, simple notion and cannot provide us with a criterion for making our key choices.

If someone suggests to us, in the spirit of Bentham and Mill, that we should guide our own choices by the prospects of our own future pleasure or happiness, the appropriate retort is to enquire: 'But which pleasure, which happiness ought to guide me?' For there are too many different kinds of enjoyable activity, too many different modes in which happiness is achieved. And pleasure or happiness are not states of mind for the production of which these activities and modes are merely alternative means.

For different pleasures and different happinesses are to a large degree incommensurable: there are no scales of quality or quantity on which to weigh them. Consequently appeal to the criteria of pleasure will not tell me whether to drink or swim and appeal to those of happiness cannot decide for me between the life of a monk and that of a soldier.

To have understood the polymorphous character of pleasure and happiness is of course to have rendered those concepts useless for utilitarian purposes; if the prospect of his or her own future pleasure or happiness cannot for the reasons which I have suggested provide criteria for solving the problems of action in the case of each individual, it foliows that the notion of the greatest happiness of the greatest number is a notion without any clear content at all. It is indeed a pseudo-concept available for a variety of ideological uses, but no more than that. Hence when we encounter its use in practical life, it is always necessary to ask what actual project or purpose is being concealed by its use.

Happiness, R. Nozick

Some theorists have claimed that happiness is the only important thing about life; all that should matter to a person—they say—is being happy; the sole standard for assessing a life is the amount or quantity of happiness it contains. It is ironic that making this exclusive claim for happiness distorts the flavor of what happy moments are like. For in these moments, almost everything seems wonderful: the way the sun shines, the way that person looks, the way water glistens on the river, the way the dogs play (yet not the way the murderer kills). This openness of happiness, its generosity of spirit and width of appreciation, gets warped and constricted by the claim—pretending to be its greatest friend—that only happiness matters, nothing else. That claim is begrudging, unlike happiness itself. Happiness can be precious, perhaps even preeminent, yet still be one important thing among others.

If only the total amount of happiness mattered, we would be indifferent between a life of constantly increasing happiness and one of constant decrease, between an upward- and a downwardsloping curve, provided that the total amount of happiness, the total area under the curve, was the same in the two cases. Most of us, however, would prefer the up ward-sloping line to the downward; we would prefer a life of increasing happiness to one of decrease. Part of the reason, but only a part, may be that since it makes us happy to look forward to greater happiness, doing so makes our current happiness score even higher.

We would be willing, moreover, to give up some amount of happiness to get our lives' narratives moving in the right direction, improving in general. Even if a downwardly sloping curve had slightly more area under it, we would prefer our own lives to slope upward. (If it encompassed vastly greater area, the choice might be different.) Therefore, the contour of the happiness has an independent weight, beyond breaking ties among lives whose total amounts of happiness are equal. In order to gain a more desirable narrative direction, we sometimes would choose not to maximize our total happiness.

We also need to disentangle the preference for the upward slope from the preference for a happy ending which the upward slope might be taken to indicate. Consider one curve sloping upward until nearly the very end, and another curve sloping downward until nearly the very end, each having the same total area underneath; diese two curves cross like an X. At nearly the very end, though, things are more complicated: For a person on each curve there is a half chance of staying at that level, and a half chance of immediately dropping or being raised to the level of the other curve, with life ending soon thereafter. The level of the end cannot be predicted from die course of the curve until then; if under these circumstances the upward slope still is preferred to the downward one, this preference concerns the course of the curves, not just their endings.

Straight lines are not the only narrative curves. It would be silly, though, to try to pick the best happiness curve; diverse biographies can fit the very same curve, and we care also about the particular content of a life story. That thing we really want to slope upward might be our life's narrative story, not its amount of happiness.

We also can show that more matters than pleasure or happiness by considering a life that has these but otherwise is empty, a life of mindless pleasures or bovine contentment or frivolous amusements only, a happy life but a superficial one, "It is better," John Stuart Mill wrote, "to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied." And although it might be best of all to be Socrates satisfied, having both happiness and depth, we would give up some happiness in order to gain the depth.

The view that only happiness matters ignores the question of what we— the very ones to be happy—are like. How could the most important thing about our life be what it contains, though? What makes the felt experiences of pleasure or happiness more important than what we ourselves are like?

Freud thought it a fundamental principle of behavior that we seek pleasure and try to avoid pain or unpleasure—he called this the pleasure principle. Sometimes one can more effectively secure pleasure by not proceeding to it directly; one countenances detours and postponements in immediate satisfaction, one even renounces particular sources of pleasure, due to the nature of the outside world. Freud called this acting in accordance with the reality principle.

Notice that there can be two different specifications of the pleasure to be maximized: the net immediate pleasure (that is, the total immediate pleasure minus the total immediate pain or unpleasure), or the total amount of net pleasure over a lifetime. (This latter goal might fully incorporate Freud's reality principle.)...But even if this distinction between higher and lower pleasures were adequately formulated—something that hasn't yet been done—this would only add complications to the issue of choice: Can some amount of lower pleasure outweigh a higher pleasure? How much higher are the higher pleasures and do they too differ in their height? What is the overarching goal that incorporates this qualitative distinction? The distinction does not say that something different from pleasure also is important, just that the one thing that is important, pleasure, comes in different grades.

We can gain more precision about what pleasure is. By a pleasure or a pleasurable feeling I mean a feeling that is desired (partly) because of its own felt qualities. The feeling is not desired wholly because of what it leads to or enables you to do or because of some injunction it fulfills. If it is pleasurable, it is desired (in part at least) because of the felt qualities it has.

Someone enjoys an activity to the extent he engages in the activity because of its own intrinsic properties, not simply because of what it leads to or produces later. Its intrinsic properties are not limited to felt qualities, though; this leaves open the possibility that something is enjoyed yet not pleasurable.

The term pleasurable just indicates that something is wanted because of its felt qualities. How much we want it, though, whether enough to sacrifice other things we hold good, and whether other things also are wanted, and wanted even more than pleasure, is left open.

We care about things in addition to how our lives feel to us from the inside. This is shown by the following thought experiment. Imagine a machine that could give you any experience (or sequence of experiences) you might desire...You can experience the felt pleasures of these tilings, how they feel "from the inside."...You can live your fondest dreams "from the inside." Would you choose to do this for the rest of your lifer If not, why not?...Upon entering, you will not remember having done this; so no pleasures will get ruined by realizing they are machine-produced. Uncertainty too might be programmed by using the machine's optional random device (upon which various preselected alternatives can depend).

The question of whether to plug in to this experience machine is a question of value. The question is not whether plugging in is preferable to extremely dire alternatives—lives of torture, for instance—but whether plugging in would constitute the very best life, or tie for being best, because all that matters about a life is how it feels from the inside. Notice that this is a thought experiment, designed to isolate one question: Do only our internal feelings matter to us?

Few of us really think that only a person's experiences matter. We would not wish for our children a fife of great satisfactions that all depended upon deceptions the}' would never detect: although they take pride in artistic accomplishments, the critics and their friends too are just pretending to admire their work yet snicker behind their backs; the apparently faithful mate carries on secret love affairs; their apparently loving children really detest them; and so on.

What he wants, though, is not merely to take pleasure in them; he wants them to be so. He values their being that way, and he takes pleasure in them because he thinks the}'' are that way. He doesn't take pleasure merely in thinking they are. We care about more than just how things feel to us from the inside; there is more to life than feeling happy. We care about what is actually the case. We want certain situations we value, prize, and think important to actually hold and be so. We want to be importantly connected to reality, not to live in a delusion.

What we want and value is an actual connection with reality. Call this the second reality principle (the first was Freud's): To focus on external reality, with your beliefs, evaluations, and emotions, is valuable in itself, not just as a means to more pleasure or happiness. And it is this connecting that is valuable, not simply having within ourselves true beliefs.... We do not, of course, simply want contact with reality; we want contact of certain kinds: exploring reality and responding, altering it and creating new actuality ourselves.

No doubt, too, we want a connection to actuality that we also share with other people. One of the distressing things about the experience machine, as described, is that you are alone in your particular illusion.

It seems too that once on the machine a person would not make an)' choices, and certainly would not choose anythingfreely. One portion of what we want to be actual is our actually (and freely) choosing, not merely the appearance of that.

I want to consider three types of happiness emotion here: first, being happy that something or other is the case (or that many things are); second, feeling that your life is good now; and third, being satisfied with your life as" a whole.

The first type of happiness, being happy that some particular thing is the case, is reasonably familiar and clear, a straightforward instance of what has been said about emotion earlier. The second type—feeling that your life is good now—is more intricate. Recall those particular moments when you thought and felt, blissfully., that there was nothing else you wanted, your life was good then. Perhaps this occurred while walking alone in nature, or being with someone you loved. What marks these times is their completeness. There is something you have that you want, and no other wants come crowding in; there is nothing else that you think of wanting right then. There is no additional thing you want right then, nothing feels lacking, your satisfaction is complete. The feeling that accompanies this is intense joy. Aristotle projected the quality of the feeling of not wanting anything additional out onto the world; he held that the complete good was such that nothing added to it could make it any better. I want to keep that quality within the feeling.

The third form taken by the emotion of happiness—satisfaction with one's life as a whole—has been explored by the Polish philosopher Wladyslaw Tatarkiewicz.* According to his account, happiness involves a complete, enduring, deep, and full satisfaction with the whole of one's life, a satisfaction whose component evaluation is true and justified. Tatarkiewicz builds so much into this notion— complete and total satisfaction, etc.—because he wants nothing to be superior to a happy life.

The question of whether a life is a good one overall does not focus just upon an evaluation of the current time slice, nor does it simply average the contemporaneous evaluations of each time slice (even if these were accurate), for the answer might depend also upon the narrative contours of the life, upon how these different time slices fit together.

A life cannot just be happy while having nothing else valuable in it. Happiness rides piggyback on other things that are positively evaluated correctly. Without these, the happiness doesn't get started.

Perhaps the evaluation of the fife must be something like the following: that it is very good, also for the person living it, in whatever dimensions he considers most important and whatever dimensions are most important. This clearly leaves us with the question of which dimensions of a life are the important ones. What does make a life a good one? Once again, it is not illuminating simply to mention the emotion of happiness here. When we want to know what is important, we want to know what to be happy about.

A happy disposition may be a more important determinant of happy feelings than any one of the person's true beliefs and positive evaluations, however large one of these may seem to loom for the moment; it may be more important than the specific character of the actual situation. For example, people frequently pursue goals that they think will make them happy (such as money, fame, power), yet achieving these produces happy feelings only temporarily. They do not linger long in making positive evaluations of these changes, and so the attendant feelings do not last very long either. A continuing tendency to look upon positive features of situations and have the attendant feelings—a happy disposition, in other words—is far more likely to result in continuing feelings of happiness.

If there is any "secret of happiness," it resides in regularly choosing some baseline or benchmark or other against which features of the current situation can be evaluated as good or improving. The background it stands out from—hence, the evaluation we actually make—is constituted by our own expectations, levels of aspiration, standards, and demands. And these things are up to us, open to our control.

A person intent upon feeling happy will learn to choose suitable evaluative benchmarks, varying them from situation to situation—he might eventually even choose one that would diminish that very intentness.

Happiness can be served, then, by fiddling with our standards of evaluation—which ones we invoke and which benchmarks these utilize—and with the direction of our attention—which facts end up getting evaluated. The experience machine was objectionable because it completely cut us off from actuality. How much better, though, is aiming at happiness by such purposeful selectivity, which points us only toward some aspects of reality and toward some evaluative standards, omitting others? Wouldn't happiness gained thus be like being on a partial experience machine? No particular benchmark or baseline is written in die world; when we employ one, even when we select a particular one just in order to be happy, we need not be denying any portion of reality or disconnecting from it. It is in this sense that our happiness is within our own power.

Of course we wish people to have many such moments and days of happiness. Yet it is not clear that we want those moments constantly or want our lives to consist wholly and only of them. We want to experience other feelings too, ones with valuable aspects that happiness does not possess as strongly. And even the very feelings of happiness may want to direct themselves into other activities, such as helping others or artistic work, which then involve the predominance of different feelings.

Well-Being, T. Scanlon

Both the unity of value and its teleological structure might be defended by arguing that all other things are of value only insofar as they contribute to individual well-being and that this value is teleological in form: it is something that is "to be promoted." In the present chapter I will argue that this claim is mistaken. Well-being is not a "master value" in this sense.

It is commonly supposed that there is a single notion of individual well-being that plays the following three roles. First, it serves as an important basis for the decisions of a single rational individual, at least for those decisions in which he or she alone is concerned (that is to say, in which moral obligations and concerns for others can be left aside). Second, it is what a concerned benefactor, such as a friend or parent, has reason to promote. Third, it is the basis on which an individual's interests are taken into account in moral argument.

Well-being is supposed to play all three of the roles I have just listed, but the first of these roles is generally held to be primary: well-being is important in the thinking of a benefactor and in moral argument because of its importance for the individual whose well-being it is. In particular, although the notion of well-being is important for morality, it is not itself a moral notion. It represents what an individual has reason to want for him- or herself, leaving aside concern for others and any moral restraints or obligations. Well-being is thus an input into moral thinking that is not already shaped by moral assumptions.

It is taken to be an important task (important both for moral theory and for theories of "rationality" or "prudence") to come up with a theory of well-being: a systematic account of "what makes someone's life go better" that clarifies the boundary of this concept (the line between those things that contribute to a person's well-being and those that are desirable on other grounds).

I will argue in this chapter that many of these suppositions are mistaken. To put the point briefly: it is a mistake to think that there is a single notion of well-being that plays all the roles I have mentioned and that we need a theory of well-being to clarify this concept. We do have a rough intuitive idea of individual well-being, and we can make rough comparative judgments about what makes a life go better and worse from the point of view of the person who lives it. But this concept of well-being has surprisingly little role to play in the thinking of the rational individual whose life is in question.

What are employed in moral argument are generally not notions of wellbeing that individuals would use to evaluate their own lives but, rather, various moral conceptions of how well-off a person is—that is to say, conceptions that are shaped by one or another idea of what we owe to and can claim from one another.

On one natural interpretation, the quality of life can mean the quality of the conditions under which life is lived, including such things as protection against illness and danger, access to nutrition, the availability of education, and other opportunities and resources. Quality of life in this sense, which might be called "material and social conditions".

It has sometimes been claimed that the quality of a life in the sense I am concerned with—the level of well-being it represents—is completely determined by its experiential quality. This is a substantive claim, one which can sensibly be denied. It makes sense to say that the life of a person who is contented and happy only because he is systematically deceived about what his life is really like is for that reason a worse life, for him, than a life would be that was similarly happy where this happiness was based on true beliefs.

A third interpretation of the quality of a life is the degree to which it is particularly admirable and worthy of respect—what I will call its worthiness or value. Value in this sense is, again, clearly distinct from well-being. The life of a person who sacrifices his own well-being for the sake of others may be, for that reason, a particularly valuable one, and in order for this to be true there must be a sacrifice involved.... We might say, for example, that there is reason to choose a certain life because of its great value, even though it involves a low level of well-being, or that the value of a life did not in fact make it worth choosing given the sacrifice in well-being that it would involve. So choiceworthiness is a different notion from any of the other four taken alone.

The intuitive notion of well-being that I am concerned with, then, is an idea of the quality of a life for the person who lives it that is broader than material and social conditions, at least potentially broader than experiential quality, different from worthiness or value, and narrower than choiceworthiness all things considered.

Experiential theories hold that the quality of a life for the person who lives it is determined completely by what I called above its experiential quality. Desire theories hold that the quality of a person's life is a matter of the extent to which that person's desires are satisfied. The hallmark of such views, as I will understand them, is that there is no standard apart from a person's desires for assessing the quality of his or her life. Substantive-good theories are just those that deny this claim, and hold that there are standards for assessing the quality of a life that are not entirely dependent on the desires of the person "whose life it is.

Experiential theories provide a clear boundary for the concept of well-being: something contributes to well-being if, but only if, it affects the quality of one's experience. This clarity can be seen as a theoretical advantage; the problem, however, is that these boundaries are implausibly narrow.

Desire theories can accommodate these factors, since they hold that a person's life can be made better or worse not only by changes in the experience of living that life but also by changes in the world that affect the degree to which the world is the way that person desires it to be.

These objections can be partially met by shifting to what is commonly called an "informed desire" theory. On this view, the quality of a life for the person who lives it is determined by the degree to which that person's informed desires are satisfied, where informed desires are ones that are based on a full understanding of the nature of their objects and do not depend on any errors of reasoning.

Even if we identify "informed desire" with "rational desire," there remains the problem that the objects of a person's informed desires are likely to include many things that are not related to the quality of the desirer's own life, intuitively understood.

It is also true that success in one's aims, at least insofar as these are rational, is one of the things that contribute to the quality of a life, viewed from a purely personal perspective. It seems likely, therefore, that some of the appeal of informed-desire accounts of well-being comes from the undoubted appeal of this related idea. I will argue that at least the following is true: the idea that success in one's rational aims contributes to one's well-being can account for a number of the intuitions that have seemed to support informed-desire theories while avoiding most of these theories' implausible implications.

The requirement that an aim be rational incorporates a critical element by allowing for the possibility of substantive criticism of aims. This requirement also accommodates the fact that from an individual's own point of view what makes an aim worth adopting and pursuing is, first and foremost, not merely its being chosen or desired but the considerations that (in his or her view) make it worthwhile or valuable. (Given this fact, an aim that is open to rational criticism is defective from the point of view of the person who has it, not merely from that of a critical third party.)

The idea that well-being depends, at least in part, on success in one's rational aims yields an account of well-being that has the "flexibility" which has been held to be an advantage of informed-desire views.... Since different people can have different rational aims, an account that makes success in one's rational aims one determinant of well-being will allow for a further degree of variability without incorporating the full-blown subjectivity that makes desire theories implausible.

The aims whose fulfillment makes a significant contribution to a person's well-being are ones that that person has actually acted upon and, typically, given a role in shaping his or her other activities and plans. The fulfillment of that aim then makes a difference to the person's life by making these plans and activities successful ones.

The fulfillment of an aim contributes to one's well-being only if that aim is one that it is rational to have. But the fact that adopting a certain aim, which could easily be satisfied, would be a way of producing a state of "having fulfilled an aim" is not, in general, a good reason for adopting that aim. So if that is one's only reason for having an aim, fulfilling it does not contribute to one's well-being.

Some aims contribute more than others to the quality of a life. One thing that makes a difference is the degree to "which these aims are worth pursuing: success in some important undertaking contributes more to the quality of a life than success in a relatively trivial one. Another, related difference is the role that an aim has in the person's life.

Many rational aims are quite specific and limited, such as the aim of solving a certain puzzle, or getting to the top of a mountain, or helping a friend out of some difficulty. Other aims take the form of what Joseph Raz has called "comprehensive goals"—plans or intentions that shape a large part of one's life. Success in these more comprehensive goals has a larger effect on a person's life than success in more limited aims, and consequently, as I noted in passing in discussing the previous objection, makes a greater contribution to well-being.

As Raz has emphasized, our goals have a "hierarchical" character. Comprehensive goals, such as the goal of succeeding in a certain profession, or being a good parent, are of necessity quite abstract. They need to be filled in by successively more specific plans and goals... Many of the specific goals that we set out to achieve in action are goals that we have reason to pursue at least partly because of their relation to more abstract goals of this kind, and succeeding in these more specific goals, or failing to do so, has special significance for the quality of our lives in virtue of this relation.

I conclude that the idea that well-being is advanced by success in one's rational aims can explain the intuitions that seem to support informed-desire accounts of "well-being, and can do so in a much more convincing way than informed-de sire accounts themselves. This makes it plausible to suppose that much of the appeal of informed-desire accounts of well-being derives from a failure to distinguish between informed desires and rational aims. Whether this is so or not, any plausible account of what makes a life go better from the point of view of the person who lives it must recognize success in one's rational aims as one component of well-being.

Success in one's rational aims is not, however, a complete account of well-being. Pleasure, the avoidance of pain and suffering, and other forms of what Sidgwick called "desirable consciousness" can contribute to one's well-being whether or not one has "aimed" at them.

A life is made better by succeeding in one's projects and living up to the values one holds, provided these are worthwhile; but if these aims are worthwhile then succeeding in them will also make one's life better in other ways.

In order for something to affect a person's well-being, the argument might run, it must affect how things go for that person. Both experiential goods and factors involved with that person's aims satisfy this condition, but it is difficult to see how anything else could do so.

Leaving this question open, I conclude that any plausible theory of well-being would have to recognize at least the following fixed points. First, certain experiential states (such as various forms of satisfaction and enjoyment) contribute to well-being, but well-being is not determined solely by the quality of experience. Second, well-being depends to a large extent on a person's degree of success in achieving his or her main ends in life, provided that these are worth pursuing. This component of well-being reflects the fact that the life of a rational creature is something that is to be lived in an active sense—that is to say, shaped by his or her choices and reactions—and that well-being is therefore in large part a matter of how well this is done—of how well the ends are selected and how successfully they are pursued. Third, many goods that contribute to a person's well-being depend on the person's aims but go beyond the good of success in achieving those aims. These include such things as friendship, other valuable personal relations, and the achievement of various forms of excellence, such as in art or science.

Perhaps a theory might tell us which goals to adopt, or at least which ones not to adopt. It does seem that there are answers to such questions, but I do not think that they are likely to be delivered by anything that could be called a general theory. Even if there were such a theory, moreover, it would need to be not just a theory of well-being, but a more general account of what is valuable and worthwhile.

It is certainly true that we have reason, in everyday decisions about what to do, to aim at things that contribute directly to our well-being, intuitively understood. We have reason to seek enjoyment, for example, to avoid illness and injury, and to do what will promote success in achieving our aims. But the idea of well-being plays little if any role in explaining why we have reason to value these things.

Enjoyments, success in one's main aims, and substantive goods such as friendship all contribute to wellbeing, but the idea of well-being plays little role in explaining why they are good. This might be put by saying that well-being is what is sometimes called an "inclusive good"—one that is made up of other things that are good in their own right, not made good by their contributions to it.

If present and future experiential goods were desirable only because of the contribution they make to some separate good—my overall well-being (or the experiential quality of my life)—then giving up present comfort and leisure for the sake of greater comfort later would be no sacrifice at all. As I have argued above, however, this does not seem to be the case: well-being is more plausibly seen as an inclusive good.

In arguing against the idea that well-being is a distinct sphere of compensation I have been arguing, in effect, that the notion of net overall well-being—a notion that brings together and balances against one another all the disparate things they contribute to the quality of a life—is not one that the person whose well-being is in question often has occasion to use and be guided by.

From an individual's own point of view, the boundaries of wellbeing are blurred, because many of the things that contribute to it are valued primarily for other reasons. This point is not limited to cases such as concern for friends and family. As I argued above, success in one's main rational aims is an important component of well-being. But we generally pursue these aims for reasons other than the contribution that this success will make to our well-being, and from a first-person point of view there is little reason to try to estimate this contribution.

It would be odd to make our everyday choices as "artists of life," choosing each action with an eye to producing the best life just as an artist might select dots of paint with the aim of improving the value of the whole canvas. But this may be odd only because the effect that one of these choices has on our overall well-being is usually so small. We might expect the role of the idea of well-being to become more important when we shift from everyday decisions about particular actions to longer-range choices about what career to follow, where to live, or whether to have a family.

Surely, it might be thought, when we are adopting our most comprehensive goals what we should be looking for are those that will make for the best life. If this is so, then wellbeing will also play a crucial, though less obvious, role in everyday decisions. Even if we do not aim at our own well-being in many of these ordinary choices, they will nonetheless be "controlled by" more comprehensive plans which, ultimately, are appraised on the grounds of the quality of the life they offer "from the point of view of the person who lives it."

Many of the things that contribute to one's well-being, such as health, enjoyments, and freedom from pain and distress, are certainly important factors in such a choice. The idea of overall well-being may also play a role, but this is less clear, in part because the notion of well-being that can be appealed to in this context is unavoidably abstract and indeterminate.

Aside from the two practical standpoints I have considered—the one we adopt when making everyday choices and the one we adopt when making decisions about larger-scale life plans—there is also the point of view we adopt when we step back from a life and ask, without either of these practical ends in view, how good a life it is. The idea of well-being may have a greater role in this kind of evaluation. This is suggested by the fact that when we take up this point of view we are likely to consider features of a life considered as a whole, not merely the value of particular elements within it.

From an individual's own perspective, which takes his or her main goals as given, what matter are these goals and other particular values, not the idea of well-being that they make up. From a more abstract perspective, taking these goals as not yet determined, we can say that a life goes better if the person is more successful in achieving his or her main rational goals (whatever these may turn out to be), but the conception of well-being that can be formulated at this level is too indeterminate, and too abstract, to be of great weight.

Concentrating on well-being, and hence on the contribution that success in one's rational goals makes to the quality of one's life, has two effects which are distortions from the person's own point of view. Since well-being is a state, which is to be "brought about," one effect of concentrating on well-being is to represent all values in terms of reasons to bring about certain results. But this is not how things seem from the point of view of a person whose rational aims include commitments to values that are not teleological. An individual who rationally holds these values has reason to deliberate and to act as they require. As I argued in Chapter 2, this is not the same thing as seeking to maximize the degree to which one's actions, over one's whole life, are in conformity with these values.

Concentrating on well-being also has the effect of transforming all a person's aims into what appear to be self-interested ones.... On the one hand, when we say that something contributes to a person's well-being it sounds as if we are saying that it benefits him or her. But from an individual's own point of view many of the things that contribute to his or her well-being are valued for quite other reasons.

These effects of concentrating on well-being cease to be distortions when we shift from a first-person point of view to the perspective of a benefactor, such as a friend or parent. A benefactor has reason to do what will benefit his or her intended beneficiary and to do it because that person will benefit. So the analogue of what was, from the first-person point of view, a distorting self-centeredness is not a problem from this perspective.

We rightly view the world through a framework of reasons, largely shaped by the aims and values that we have adopted, and we rightly make particular decisions by determining what these reasons support on balance, not by comparing net changes in our overall balance of well-being. Among these reasons are those provided by ideas of right and wrong, justice, and other moral values.

It follows that an individual has little use for a notion of well-being that abstracts from moral considerations. In light of this, it is reasonable to ask why it should have been thought that there was a notion of well-being of the kind just described, one that plays a central role both in individual decisions and in moral argument. One explanation is that this is another instance of "the shadow of hedonism." If what an individual had reason to do (considering only him- or herself) was simply to promote his or her own pleasure, and if what morality required of us was simply to give positive weight to promoting the net pleasure of others, then something close to the picture described above would be correct. There would be a single notion of well-being (in this case pleasure) that played the role described in both individual and moral thinking and in the thinking of a concerned benefactor. This notion would be defined independently of any moral ideas about what an individual was entitled to or what he or she was obligated to do, and it would admit of quantitative comparisons. One possibility, then, is that the idea that there is a notion of well-being with these properties results from supposing that although hedonism is false there must be some other notion that plays this same role.

A theory of the morality of right and wrong might rely on a notion of well-being in three ways. First, this notion might figure in the content of moral requirements. For example, we may be morally required, at least in certain circumstances, to promote the well-being of others, giving preference to those whose well-being we can improve the most, or to those whose level of well-being is the lowest, or both. Second, well-being might play a role in the justification of moral principles even when it does not figure in their content. A principle requiring us to respect a certain right, for example, or to refrain from treating any individual in specified ways, might be justified on the ground that its observance would promote individual well-being.

Insofar as a moral theory needs to provide some justification for morality as a whole—some answer to the question "Why be moral?"—it might seem, again, that this is best supplied by showing how morality contributes to each person's well-being. The first and second of these tasks require a notion of well-being that admits of quantitative comparisons. The second and third appear to require a notion that is important to individuals and independent of morality itself. It would seem to be circular to justify moral principles on grounds that already presupposed what people were entitled to, and it would seem that an interesting answer to the question "Why be moral?" must proceed by linking morality to something that individuals can be assumed to care about without supposing that they are already concerned with morality itself.

As a substantive matter, however, I do not believe that these claims about the importance of well-being for moral theory are sound.

First, as to content, there certainly are some moral principles whose content involves overall assessments of how well-off various individuals are. The clearest examples are principles for assessing the justice of social institutions and policies.

This is therefore a place where something like a theory of well-being seems to be needed, and it is noteworthy that most of the systematic accounts that have been offered of how well-off a person is have in fact been developed to serve the needs of such principles. These accounts do not, however, generally coincide with the intuitive notion of individual well-being. They are either broader than this notion, as are the utility functions underlying social choice theories as I interpreted them above, or else narrower, as are such notions as Rawls's primary social goods or Sen's capability sets.

We are certainly required to avoid harming or interfering with others, and to benefit them in specific ways, such as by relieving their pain and distress, at least when we can do so without great sacrifice. But these duties do not, it seems to me, derive from a more general duty to promote their well-being, and we therefore do not need a theory of well-being in order to figure out what our duties to aid others require of us. I may, of course, be mistaken about this.

Even if the idea of individual well-being does not figure explicitly in the content of moral principles or principles of justice, however, it might be suggested that this notion plays a role at the deeper level at which these principles are justified. So, for example, in arriving at standards for the justice of distributions we might start from the idea of individual well-being as the most basic ground for assessing a person's situation, and then ask which, of the various things that promote well-being, are properly the responsibility of social institutions and which are the responsibility of individuals themselves. If the justification of moral principles generally followed this pattern, then it would be important to clarify the notion of well-being in order to have a clearer idea which principles are justified.

To the degree that the concept of well-being plays a role in the justification of moral principles, it does not serve as a starting point for justification that is itself without moral presuppositions. This may seem to pose a problem for moral theory, but I will argue in Chapter 5 that it does not. While a justification for a moral principle would be circular if it presupposed that principle itself, it is unnecessary and, I believe, unrealistic, to demand that such justifications be free of all moral content.

It is enough to characterize our ideas of right and wrong themselves in a way that makes clear why they are worth caring about and how it can make sense, given the other things we have reason to value, to give them the importance that they claim.

It would be absurd to deny that well-being is important—that it matters how well our lives go. But I have argued that the concept of well-being has less importance, or at least a different kind of importance, than is commonly supposed.

From a first-person point of view, the things that contribute to (one's own) well-being are obviously important, but the concept of well-being plays little role in explaining why they are important, and the boundaries of this concept are not very significant. Well-being has its greatest significance from a third-person point of view, such as that of a benefactor, and, at least arguably, in our thinking about right and wrong. From both of these perspectives it remains true that the importance of the things that contribute to a person's well-being are important because of their importance to that person. But the importance of well-being as a category, and the shape and importance of particular conceptions of well-being, derive from the distinctive features of those perspectives: from the distinctive concerns of a (certain kind of) benefactor, and from the special requirements of moral argument.

Let me return, finally, to the idea that well-being is a "master value": that other things are valuable only insofar as they contribute to individual well-being. There is an element of truth in this idea, but put in this way it invites misunderstanding. The misunderstanding would be to take well-being to be a good separate from other values, which are made valuable in turn by the degree to which they promote it. As we have seen, well-being is not a separate good in this sense. It is best understood as an "inclusive" good, and among the things that make a life more successful, and hence better for the person who lives it, is the successful pursuit of worthwhile goals. Although successful pursuit of all these goals contributes to the agent's well-being, this contribution is not always what makes them worthwhile. In some cases, what makes an activity worthwhile is its contribution to the well-being of others, so in these cases well-being in general (one's own and that of others) is what is fundamental. But not all values are of this kind. Consider two classes of examples.

The first are various moral values. Treating others fairly may make my life, and theirs, go better, but this is not my reason for believing it to be worthwhile. Rather, it is worthwhile because it is required by the more general value of treating others in ways that could be justified to them. Living up to the requirements of this more general value may also make our lives better, by making it possible for us to live in greater harmony with one another. But, again, this possible contribution to our well-being is not the only thing, or the most basic thing, that gives us reason to be concerned with what we owe to each other.

The element of truth in the idea that other things are valuable only insofar as they contribute to individual well-being might be put as follows. First, a reason to value something is a reason for us to value it, that is to say, a reason to adopt certain attitudes toward it and to allow the idea of respect for, and perhaps pursuit of, that value to shape our lives in certain ways. Second, if we have reason to value something and do value it, then responding in the ways just described will count among our rational aims in the broad sense defined above, and our lives will be more successful, hence better, if we do this...So the values that properly guide us remain plural, and are not exclusively teleological.

Making Sense of My Life as a Whole, J. Annas

In ancient ethics the fundamental question is, How ought I to live? or, What should my life be like? This is not taken to be in origin a philosopher's question; it is a question which an ordinary person will at some point put to herself. Many ordinary people may of course be too unreflective, or too satisfied with convention, or just too busy, to pose the question. But it is assumed that people of average intellect with a modicum of leisure will at some point reflect on their lives and ask whether they are as they should be, or whether they could be improved. And it is widely assumed that, while there are plenty of people around with ready answers, the only answers which will satisfy an intelligent and reflective person will come from ethical philosophy.

A great deal of modern literature and psychology arises from and revolves around the way people reflect about their lives and whether they are the way they should be, but thought about one's life is no longer seen as central to ethical philosophy, at least to ethical theory. At best the question is seen as marginal, to be answered when the main lines of the theory are already established...In due course we shall see how a question which may seem to us both personal and vague could be seen, in the ancient world, as the only compelling starting point for ethics.

It is never felt [in ancient ethics] that the point of ethical theory is to help us to solve hard moral problems or to determine our rules of everyday duty. These are seen as tasks to be fulfilled once the outline structure of ethics has been got right, not as tasks which form that structure itself.

Ancient ethics gets its grip on the individual at this point of reflection: am I satisfied with my life as a whole, with the way it has developed and promises to continue? For most of us are dissatisfied with both our achievement and our promise, and it is only the dissatisfied who have the urge to live differently, and hence the need to find out what ways of living differently would be improvements. Ancient ethics has nothing to say directly to those who have never reached this point of reflection about their lives or are unimpressed by it: the dull and the complacent, for example. These people can benefit from ethical philosophy only indirectly, through doing what books, or other people, tell them to do. The arguments and conclusions of ethical philosophy will be effective only with those who have come to them through worrying about real problems: recommendations as to how best to live will have force only with those who have wondered for themselves about how their lives are going.

Ethics is concerned primarily with our considered actions and choices, and with the things we do that reflect our deliberations, not with pointless or spontaneous things we do, like kicking the leaves as we walk along. The claim here is that action and choice have an end-directed structure. And this is a convincing claim, at this level of generality. Tt is certainly plausible, on reflection, that when I do something or decide to do something, I want there to be a certain outcome, but I want something further as well: I want to bring about that outcome, not just to have it happen. My action or decision is seen as a way of bringing about the envisaged outcome, and thus as directed at it as an end or goal.

Must it, however, be aimed at something good? Is Aristotle not ignoring the fact that many of our deliberated actions have aims that we recognize to be no good, or positively evil?...Even the case where an agent aims at something she considers positively evil, the action is incomprehensible unless there is some aspect somewhere of the aim which gives the agent a good to try to bring about (if only the pleasure of revenge, etc.). The claim that all action is aimed at some good has in fact an intuitive plausibility (which is all I am trying to establish here), arising from the thoughts we have when we try to understand the actions of others and ourselves. We can understand actions and decisions as given structure by the attempt to achieve some good; and it is hard to see how else we are to understand them. Aristotle shows, in a famous passage, that if we put together these obvious thoughts, they imply something which is in a way also obvious, but substantial. "If, then, there is some end (telos) of the things we can do, an end which we wish for because of it itself, while we wish for the other things because of it; and if we do not choose everything because of something else (for it goes on ad infinitum that way, so that desire is empty and vain)—then it is clear that this would be the good, and the best [good]. So surely as far as our lives are concerned knowledge of this has great influence, and just like archers with a target we would be more likely to achieve what we ought?"

Aristotle claims there is one final good, one thing we want just for its own sake, while everything else is wanted for the sake of it. That is, our desires are organized around the achievement of a single end, unified by the attempt to reach a single goal. But isn't there a third option? Can't I want to keep fit, have a career and so on, as aims all of which I want for their own sake? Why must there be a single final end, one good at the end of the line?

Aristotle might be making another kind of assumption which he does not mention: that while we might have more than one aim in life which we want for its own sake, like keeping fit and having a career, still these can also be aimed at for themselves and also for the sake of a further or wider aim; but there will only be a single aim in our life which we aim at solely for its own sake and not for the sake of any further aim.

Aristotle's argument has no missing premise, I think, because it is not an argument about what it is rational to do, or a good thing to do, but an explication of what we do do. Aristotle thinks that the third alternative just collapses into the second. I do not in fact stop with several aims that are wanted for their own sakes. I do in fact ask of keeping fit and having a family what the point is of my having these aims; the questions that began with hitting the bail over the net pause when I get to keeping fit, but they do not stop there. And when I do go on to ask why I keep fit, and so on, I see in the end that there is a single answer: I do all these things, simple and complex, because I see them as contributing to my telos, my final end which is my final good. Once I start reflecting at all on the end-directedness of my single actions, there is nowhere to stop short of a single final end.

Once I start reflecting on my ends, the thought goes, there is nowhere to stop until I reach the end which my life as a whole is aimed at reaching. The entry point for ethical reflection was thought about my life as a whole and where it is going; so I cannot stop until I reach a single end, since only this will enable me to reflect effectively on my life as a whole. Modern thinkers have found the notion of a single final end uncompelling (at least without added assumptions about rationality) because they have not taken thoughts about one's life as a whole to be the starting point for ethical reflection. For the ancients, however, it is unproblematic that the agent thinks of her life as a whole and that, in mature people with the chance to stop and think about their lives, ethical thinking begins from this.

An agent's end is her telos (finis in Latin), sometimes also translated 'aim' or 'goal'... Telos suggests an end or goal not in the sense of the thing aimed at but in the sense of the agent's aiming at that end: 'A skopos is the target to be hit, like a shield for archers; a telos is the hitting of the target.'

The notion of a final end emerges when we think about the way our actions are directed or aimed at the good; and clearly we can aim at the good in many ways, and with a variety of motivations. However, we find that a standard definition of our final end is as 'the ultimate object of desire'...For the ancients, desire, orexis, is the most general kind of motivation to do something that we can have. It covers wanting of various kinds, and also covers the motivation generated by reasons, including ethical reasons.

The final good is good, but not on the same scale of goodness as the goods that we seek for their sake. Aristotle makes the same point in a passage where he says that happiness is the final good, since the final good is choice-worthy, and happiness is choiceworthy in the right way—that is, by being the kind of thing that is not counted along with other goods. The final good, then, is not the kind of thing that can be straightforwardly put on a scale of goodness with the other goods that we recognize.

What is the relation between the final good and the other goods? One suggestion is that the final good just is the collection of all the goods we aim at, taken together. It is not one of the goods, nor is it something separate from them. Rather, we seek a final good just by seeking all our other goods in an organized way. This is the answer of the author of the Magna Moralia and also of a later head of Aristotle's school, Critolaus, who characterized our final end as 'the fulfilment of all the goods'.

Our final good, that is, cannot just be goods, whether objects or states of affairs; it is more closely related to our own activity than that...People do feel, then, that our final good cannot be something that other people could give us; it must be something we can achieve for ourselves. And so my final end involves my activity: it is not a thing or state of affairs that others could bring about for me...This idea, that my final end or goal essentially involves my own activity, and is not a good that others could just as well get for me, is important for our understanding of the ancient theories.

It is also not surprising that ancient ethics, with one marginal exception, never develops anything like the related consequentialist idea of a maximizing model of rationality. If my ethical aim is to produce a good, or the best, state of affairs, then it is only rational to produce as much as possible of it. But ancient ethics does not aim at the production of good states of affairs, and so is not tempted to think that rationality should take the form of maximizing them. Rather, what I aim at is my living in a certain way, my making the best use of goods, and acting in some ways rather than others.

According to Aristotle, "There appear to be several ends (tele}> but we choose some of them because of something else, e.g. wealth, flutes and tools in general, and it is clear that they are not all complete (teleia). But the best good appears to be something complete. So, if there is only one that is complete, that would be what we are searching for while if there are many, it would be the most complete of them. We say that what is pursued for its own sake is more complete than what is pursued for something else; and that what is never chosen because of something else is more complete than things that are chosen both for themselves and because of something else; and that something is simply complete if it is chosen always for its own sake and never because of something else."

An individual's ends form a hierarchy, just as the skills and branches of knowledge do. The end of the most authoritative kind of knowledge, he says, 'will include' the ends of all the subordinate kinds of knowledge. One end can, then, be more complete than another by including it (not just by stopping desire at a further point). Let us call this comprehensiveness. By completeness, then, Aristotle means to include both aspects: Our final good, the ultimate object of our desires, is complete in that it is not just final but final because comprehensive.

A person's life is self-sufficient if it lacks nothing; as Aristotle points out, this is compatible with the agent's having a wide range of dependencies and needs that arise from a life embedded in family and state concerns, and the basic idea is not that of being able to go it alone, like Robinson Crusoe, but of being independent of a certain range of pressures and needs, those that can be regarded as external to the kind of life chosen. Thus my life can be self-sufficient, even if as a parent my well-being is dependent on the well-being of my children, if having and caring about children is one of my chosen aims.

For a life to be lacking in nothing does not imply the absurdity that it contains everything, or even everything that is, in fact, worth having. Rather, it must contain everything that is required by the deliberated projects that that life contains. The life can still be self-sufficient, even if it contains a dependency on, say, children, if that dependency flows from concerns and projects which are a deliberated part of that life.

As Aristotle puts it: "Most people are pretty much agreed about the name [of the final good]; for both the many and the refined call it happiness [eudaimonia], and suppose that living well and doing well are the same as being happy. But as to what happiness is, they disagree, and the many do not characterize it in the same way as the wise. For the many characterize it as something evident and clear, like pleasure or wealth or honour, some saying one and others another—and often even the same person says something different, saying after falling ill that it is health, and when in poverty that it is wealth. And when they are aware of their own ignorance they admire people who say something lofty and beyond them."

In ancient ethics, happiness is introduced via a broad notion of a life's going well, and as a thin specification of our final end. In fact, questions about our final end are sometimes not carefully distinguished from questions about happiness, since it is taken for granted that happiness is just what we all think that our final end is. Thus, happiness clearly inherits many of the points that we have seen are generally held to be true of our final end. Happiness, says Arius, is the best thing in one's life, or the greatest of one's goods, or the most important. Happiness is one of our aims, but in being the final, overarching aim it is thought of as different in kind from our other aims. It can be sometimes thought of as the collection made up of our other ends, but is more commonly thought of as the agent's activity in the pursuit of these ends, as by Aristotle, or as her activity, or making use of other goods, as by later Peripatetics. Happiness is thus thought of as active rather than passive, and as something that involves the agent's activity, and thus as being, commonsensically, up to the agent.

These points are not, of course, true of our notion of happiness. It has often been pointed out that we use 'happy' to describe temporary and even very shortlived states or feelings of a person. Moreover, we apply the word on the basis of the way the agent feels: if he says that he is or feels happy, we tend to say that he is right; there may be more to say about the basis of his claim, but if he says honestly that he is happy, then he is. Happiness can for us be short-lived and subjective. It is sometimes said that by contrast the ancients thought of happiness as longer-term, as applying to a whole life, and as more objective: whether an agent is happy is not settled by whether she thinks that she is. But this is misleading. Rather, the ancient concept of happiness was an extremely weak and unspecific one; happiness applies to my life as a whoie, and does not depend on my say-so, because happiness is just a thin specification of my final end, and this applies to my life as a whole (as has been stressed) and does not depend on my say-so...Happiness in ancient theories is given its sense by the role it plays; and the most important role it plays is that of an obvious, but thin, specification of the final good.

The question 'In what does happiness consist'? is the most important and central question in ancient ethics. But although the agent's final good and happiness are the entry point for ethical reflection, the answer to the question 'What ought my life to be like'? is best considered after we have looked at other aspects of ancient ethics.

Happiness, Success, What Matters, and the Demands of Virtue, J. Annas

As Aristotle says, there is consensus that our final good is happiness, but this point is trivial and settles nothing, for there is intense disagreement as to what happiness consists in. Thus there is agreement as to what one could broadly call the form of happiness, though little as to the content. Happiness is the best thing in life, the greatest of our goods. It is different from the other goods we aim at; it is not just another end, but the way we actively pursue those other ends, and so can be referred to as the use we make of those ends. Since happiness is our own activity it is something we do, and so is, commonsensically, 'up to us'.

Our final end...must accommodate two crucial points. One is virtue; we achieve our final end by developing the virtues, and we have seen that there is no chance of understanding these non-moratly, as merely dispositions to live a successful life where that is understood in neutral terms. Rather, the virtues are dispositions to do the morally right thing, dispositions developed by training our feelings and emotions in morally right ways. The other fact to be accommodated is other-concern. As we have seen, some theories demand (apart from justice) only limited other-concern, restricted to particular other people, while other theories demand that from the moral point of view the agent have equal concern for all humans just as such. Concern for others, for their own sake and not the agent's, must form part of the content of the agent's reflective final end.

Ancient ethical theories are theories about happiness—theories that claim that a reflective account of happiness will conclude that it requires having the virtues and giving proper weight to the interests of others. We should face an obvious, but frequently ignored, consequence of this: ancient theories are all more or less revisionary, and some of them are highly counterintuitive. They give an account of happiness which, if baldly presented to a nonphilosopher without any of the supporting arguments, sounds wrong, even absurd. This consequence is frequently evaded because it is assumed that ancient ethical theories are morally conservative, concerned to respect and justify ancient ethical intuitions without criticizing or trying to improve them. But this assumption is false.

It is in fact common ground to the ancient theories that, on the one hand, we are all right to assume that our final end is happiness of some kind, and to try to achieve happiness in reflecting systematically on our final end; but that, on the other hand, we are very far astray in our initial assumptions about what happiness is.

The point has already been made that when we ask about the relation of virtue to happiness we are not trying to make two equally determinate notions fit together. Rather, happiness is the vague notion that has to bend to that of virtue, not the other way round. We now have a fuller understanding of this point, having seen the depth and extent of the commitment to morality and the interests of others involved in the ancient ethical perspective. So we should not be surprised that ancient theories have counter-intuitive consequences about happiness. Given what we have seen so far, they could not fail to. The conception of happiness that we start with could not possibly be unaltered at the end of the process of reflection and conscious adoption of an ethical theory.

A modern response at this point might well be that, given this situation, ancient theories should just have abandoned the idea of giving an account of happiness. What they say about virtue, nature and the interests of others is compelling; they only spoil things by casting their theories in terms of happiness, condemning themselves to failure by persisting in an unsuitable framework. They should have realized that commitment to virtue leads not to true happiness but to the sacrifice of one's happiness.

Happiness comes in, in the first place, as something that we obviously all go for. Once we see the need for a final end, an end we pursue in some way in every action, there is no better specification than happiness that we can come up with for it. For, while we can be said to want other things for the sake of being happy, we cannot be said to want to be happy for the sake of any further end. Before we start to reflect, happiness is our only end which is complete and selfsufficient. And hence it is not so surprising that happiness should be our best initial way in to specifying what our final end is. Before starting to do philosophy, we have no other such way in.

An ethical theory that left all our intuitions about happiness in place could hardly do justice to the drive that started us reflecting to begin with. So it can be seen as a success, rather than as a failure, when an ancient theory starts from the intuitive position that we seek happiness, and ends up giving an account of happiness far removed from the content of the original intuitions.... We should not find the project so peculiar if we remember that happy feelings and moods are not relevant, and that happiness applies to a whole life, or to an agent in respect of her whole life, and that it implies that she has a positive attitude to her whole life.

The development of the debate about virtue and happiness from Aristotle through the Stoics to Antiochus rests on this point of method: how much of the content of our initial intuitions about happiness is it important to retain? All the figures in this debate have answers to this, sometimes quite developed and subtle. (Any initial expectation that the more intuitive the theory about happiness the better, is quickly seen to be too simple.) In this part we shall see what theories share and what divides them on this, the major issue of ancient ethics. What they share is the methodological assumption that they are developing a theory of happiness in developing their ethical theories. What divides them are two connected points. One is their choice of candidate for giving us the content of happiness—pleasure, tranquillity, virtue and so on. The other is their degree of willingness to reject or modify our initial expectations that the happy life is one of satisfaction and success, measured in ways that we prephilosophically accept.

On the one hand, what we need an account of is happiness, a life that can reasonably be said to be enjoyable or at least preferable. For ethical reflection takes its starting point from reflections on one's life as a whole, and begins by realizing that one has a final end, and seeking to make this more precise; and we cannot proceed to do this any other way than by asking what happiness consists in, since happiness is the only thing on which there is consensus that it is our final end: we all go for it, and we do not go for it for the sake of something further. On the other hand, happiness so far is a thin and unspecific notion, and so subject to considerable revision as the philosophical account progresses. A philosophical account of happiness has to be revisionary, for two reasons. One is that the drive to ethical reflection is a revisionary drive to begin with; it is dissatisfaction with one's life and with the conventional forces that have shaped it that leads to the reflection that seeks clearer and better answers through philosophy. The other is that ethical reflection leads us to see that virtue and the interests of others must play a role in my final end. Thus while we seek happiness, it is a happiness which must make accommodation to the intrinsic value of virtue, and to the interests of others, and the account of it will accordingly be revisionary of our ordinary views about happiness.

Two unifying points in particular emerge from the theories that we have looked at. One is the idea that happiness, properly understood, is up to us; the other is the dominance of virtue.

The Stoics hold a position which implies that happiness is in the agent's power, since virtue is, and virtue constitutes happiness. The Aristotelians hold that happiness also requires external goods, and thus is not in the agent's power, but also depends on the contingencies of fortune which distribute bodily and external goods.... But this debate does not start from the assumption that happiness must be in the agent's power. Rather, it is a debate about the nature of virtue and its relation to other valued things. Can virtue fulfil the formal conditions for being happiness all on its own? Intuitively we think that health, wealth, etc., make a virtuous life better; but, as we have seen, it does not just follow that virtue is not complete, for that depends on the view one takes as to the relation of virtue to other valued things. Debates as to whether happiness is or is not up to us are a result of this debate; they are not what starts it off.

The other unifying thought is what I shall call the dominance of virtue. Only the Sceptics are uninterested in establishing a place for virtue as part of or needed for happiness; and this is because they reject any role for ethical reflection and theory in achieving happiness. Epicurus, as we have seen, has to claim that virtue is required to achieve happiness, implausible as that claim is when happiness is conceived as pleasure, and unsuccessful as Epicurus' own attempts turn out to be. In all the other theories we can see that an acceptable account of happiness has to give virtue a dominant role. Indeed, the Aristotelian-Stoic debate takes the form of asking, Is virtue sufficient for happiness, or necessary but not sufficient?

In twentieth century moral philosophy it is often regarded as problematic whether virtue is even necessary for happiness, and these ancient discussions may seem alien; frequently they are not taken really seriously. Much of the reason for this, however, lies in misunderstandings which I hope have been removed by now. In modern theories happiness is often treated as a definite goal, independently specifiable as a state of pleasure or satisfaction; and this can lead to regarding the ancients as engaged in the high-minded but quixotic and hopeless task of showing us that virtue leads to that.

Ancient debates about virtue and happiness are recognizably debates about the place of morality in happiness; and, giving due weight to the greater flexibility and revisability of the ancient notion of happiness, we could perhaps best restate them as debates about the place of morality in the good life, or the life one would choose to live. Intuitive views give some role to morality, but not a dominant one. Aristotle revises the commonsense notion of happiness in insisting that virtue is necessary for happiness: health, wealth and the goods of popular esteem cannot make a person's life satisfactory. Our lives will only achieve a final end which is complete and selfsufficient— the aim that we all inchoately go for, and try to make precise through philosophy—if our aims and actions are subordinated to, and given their roles and priorities by, a life of virtuous activity: a life, that is, lived in a moral way, from a disposition to do the morally right thing for the right reason, and with one's feelings endorsing this. Nonetheless, happiness requires external goods as well: morality is required to give a life shape in a way that will render its final end complete and selfsufficient, but it seems absurd to talk of happiness when someone meets great misfortunes and is virtuous, but dying on the wheel. When the Stoics challenge this, and argue that virtue is sufficient for happiness, they are left with the conclusion that the virtuous person slowly dying on the wheel is happy.

We all agree that morality matters, and that it should play a part in our lives. But how big a part? Is morality so important that it should override other considerations? Is a moral life one that is lived with a disposition always to let morality override these other considerations? Kant thinks that on reflection we will agree that this is what we think. But to many it has seemed that our reflected views do not support a position as strong as this. How are we to find the truth? By developing theories, but also by appealing to the results of our reflection—and we are likely to find this as indecisive as the ancients did.

A passage of Cicero expresses very well the predicament of the thoughrful and seriously reflective person in the ancient world, faced by the dialectical development of various theories about happiness. On the one hand, nothing could be more important than to settle in determinate terms the question of what our final good, happiness, actually is. For this is the central question of ethics, not a trivial detail. To the thoughtful person, theories that make happiness a form of pleasure have some obvious advantages, but these turn out on inspection to be superficial; the only theories worthy of serious consideration are those that give virtue a dominant role. But this takes us right into the debate between the Stoics and the Aristotelians: how dominant is virtue? It should be important in one's life. But can it be important enough to sweep aside other kinds of valued aim so completely that we can be said to be happy if we are virtuous, regardless of pains and disasters? Isn't it more reasonable to hold that, while virtue matters, it is not the only thing that matters for happiness; we need some level of bodily and external goods as well?

We can feel sympathy for this position. For it is abundantly clear by now that the ancient debate about the place of virtue in happiness is not some conceptually alien debate that we can barely understand, but closely akin to a debate about the place of morality in our lives. We too can agree that morality must have an important place in our lives, and that theories which deny this, or have difficulty in accommodating it, are to that extent discredited. But this leaves us with the problem: How important should morality be? We see a grossly immoral person flourishing, and a moral person in circumstances reduced by injustice or bad luck. We too are torn: we can see the point of claiming that the latter has everything that really matters, and that she has not lost anything worth having as long as she has not compromised her integrity. But we can also see the point, all too clearly, of the claim that the first person has things that matter too, and that it sounds odd to say that the second person is better off.

Socrates' Question, B. Williams

It is not a trivial question, Socrates said: what we are talking about is how one should live. Or so Plato reports him, in one of the first books written about this subject.1 Plato thought that philosophy could answer the question. Like Socrates, he hoped that one could direct one's life, if necessary redirect it, through an understanding that was distinctively philosophical—that is to say, general and abstract, rationally reflective, and concerned with what can be known through different kinds of inquiry.

The aims of moral philosophy, and any hopes it may have of being worth serious attention, are bound up with the fate of Socrates' question, even if it is not true that philosophy, itself, can reasonably hope to answer it. With regard to that hope, there are two things to be mentioned here at the outset.... There are other books that bear on the question—almost all books, come to that, which are any good and which are concerned with human life at all. That is a point for the philosophical writer even if he does not think his relation to Socrates' question lies in trying to answer it.

For Socrates, there was no such subject; he just talked with his friends in a plain way, and the writers he referred to (at least with any respect) were the poets. But within one generation Plato had linked the study of moral philosophy to difficult mathematical disciplines, and after two generations there were treatises on the subject—in particular, Aristotle's Ethics, still one of the most illuminating.

Some philosophers would like to be able to go back now to Socrates' position and to start again, reflectively questioning common sense and our moral or ethical concerns, without the weight of texts and a tradition of philosophical study. There is something to be said for this...At another level, however, it is baseless to suppose that one can or should try to get away from the practices of the subject. What makes an inquiry a philosophical one is reflective generality and a style of argument that claims to be rationally persuasive. It would be silly to forget that many acute and reflective people have already labored at formulating and discussing these questions.

Philosophy in the modern world cannot make any special claim to reflectiveness, though it may be able to make a special use of it.

What the aims of moral philosophy should be depends on its oAvn results. Because its inquiries are indeed reflective and general, and concerned with what can be known, they must try to give an account of what would have to go into answering Socrates' question: what part might be played by knowledge of the sciences; how far purely rational inquiry can take us; how far the answer to the question might be expected to be different if it is asked in one society rather than another; how much, at the end of all that, must be left to personal decision. Philosophical reflection thus has to consider what is involved in answering this, or any other less general, practical question, and to ask what powers of the mind and what forms of knowledge might be called upon by it. One thing that has to be considered in this process is the place of philosophy itself.

Philosophy starts from questions that, on any view of it, it can and should ask, about the chances we have of finding out how best to live; in the course of that, it comes to see how much it itself may help, with discursive methods of analysis and argument, critical discontent, and an imaginative comparison of possibilities, which are what it most characteristically tries to add to our ordinary resources of historical and personal knowledge.

The first thing we should do is to ask what is involved in Socrates' question, and how much we are presupposing if we assume that it can be usefully asked at all.

Socrates' question is not immediate; it is not about what I should do now, or next. It is about a manner of life. The Greeks ; themselves were much impressed by the idea that such a question must, consequently, be about a whole life and that a good way of living had to issue in what, at its end, would be seen to have been a good life. Impressed by the power of fortune to wreck what looked like the best-shaped life, some of them, Socrates one of the first, sought a rational design of life which would reduce the power of fortune and would be to the greatest possible extent luck-free. This has been, in different forms, an aim of later thought as well.

In the thought of Kant and of others influenced by him, all genuinely moral considerations rest, ultimately and at a deep level, in the agent's will. I cannot simply be required by my position in a social structure—by the fact that I am a particular person's child, for instance—to act in a certain way, if that required is to be of the moral kind, and does not simply reflect a psychological compulsion or social and legal sanctions. To act morally is to act autonomously, not as the result of social pressure.

According to Socrates, the virtues cannot be misused, and indeed he held something even stronger, that it is impossible for people, because they have a certain virtue, to act worse than if they did not have it. This led him, consistently, to believe that there is basically only one virtue, the power of right judgment. We need not follow him in that. More important, we should not follow him in what motivates those ideas, which is the search for something in an individual's life that can be unqualifiedly good, good under all possible circumstances.

It is a good thing if people get what they want, and believes in addition that the best way for as many people as possible to get as much as possible of what they want is that each person should pursue what he or she wants. This is, of course, what advocates of laissezfaire capitalism used to claim in the early nineteenth century. Some even claim it in the late twentieth century, in the face of the obvious fact that all economic systems depend on people in society having dispositions that extend beyond self-interest.

There is a question that has proved very important to ediics of how far outside the self such considerations should range. Will it count as an ethical consideration if you consider the interests and needs only of your family or of your community or of the nation? Certainly such local loyalties have provided the fabric of people's lives and the forum, it seems right to say, of ethical life. However, there are some ethical demands that seems to be satisfied only by a universal concern, one that extends to all human beings and perhaps beyond the human race.

Relative to my personal interest, the interests of the town or the nation can represent an ethical demand, but the interests of the town can count as self-interested if the demand comes from some larger identification. This is simply because the requirements of benevolence or fairness may always stake a claim against self-interest; we can represent a self-interest as much as 7; and who we are depends on the extent of identification in a particular case, and on die boundaries of contrast.

I have mentioned several sorts of ethical consideration, and more than one kind of nonethical. Philosophy has traditionally shown a desire to reduce this diversity, on both sides of the divide. It has tended, first of all, to see all nonethical considerations as reducible to egoism, the narrowest form of self-interest. Indeed some philosophers have wanted to reduce tiiat to one special kind of egoistic concern, the pursuit of pleasure. Kant, in particular, believed that every action not done from moral principle was done for the agent's pleasure. This needs to be distinguished from another idea, that all actions, including those done for ethical reasons, are equally motivated by die pursuit of pleasure.

I shall argue that philosophy should not try to produce ethical theory, though this does not mean that philosophy cannot offer any critique of ethical beliefs and ideas. I shall claim that in ethics the reductive enterprise has no justification and should disappear. My point here, however, is merely to stress that the enterprise needs justifying. A good deal of moral philosophy engages unblinkingly in this activity, for no obvious reason except that it has been going on for a long time.

There is a peculiar emphasis given to Socrates' question in that it stands at a distance from any actual and particular occasion of considering what to do. It is a general question about what to do, because it asks howT to live, and it is also in a sense a timeless question, since it invites me to think about my life from no particular point in it. These two facts make it a reflective question. That does not determine the answer, but it does affect it...So I am bound by the question itself to take a more general, indeed a longer-term, perspective on life.

Once constituted in that way, it very naturally moves from the question, asked by anybody, "how should I live?" to the question "how should anybody live?" That seems to ask for the reasons we all share for living in one way rather than another. It seems to ask for the conditions of the gooA life — the right life, perhaps, for human beings as such.

For if it is not better from an impersonal standpoint that each person should live in an egoistic way, perhaps we have a reason for saying that each of us should not live in such a way, and we must, after all, give a nonegoistic answer to Socrates' question. If all that does indeed follow, then the mere asking of Socrates' reflective question will take us a very long way into the ethical world. But does it follow?

Foundations: Well-Being, B. Williams

Neither Plato nor Aristotle thought of the ethical life as a device that increased selfish satisfactions. Their outlook is formally egoistic, in the sense that they suppose that they have to show to each person that he has good reason to live ethically; and the reason has to appeal to that person in terms of something about himself, how and what he will be if he is a person with that sort of character. But their outlook is not egoistic in the sense that they try to show that the ethical life serves some set of individual satisfactions which is well denned before ethical considerations appear. Their aim is not, given an account of the self and its satisfactions, to show how the ethical life (luckily) fits them. It is to give an account of the self into which that life fits.

Plato's aim, to return to that, was to give a picture of the self of such a kind that if people properly understood what they were, they would see that a life of justice was a good not external to the self but, rather, an objective that it must be rational to pursue. For him, as for Aristotle, if it was rational to pursue a certain kind of life or to be a certain sort of person, then those things had to make for a satisfactory state called eudaimonia. That term is usually translated "happiness," but what it refers to in the hands of these philosophers is not the same as modern conceptions of happiness. For one thing, it makes sense now to say that you are happy one day, unhappy another, but eudaimonia was a matter of the shape of one's whole life. I shall use the expression well-being for such a state.

Socrates gave an account of it in terms of knowledge and the powers of discursive reason, and he could give this account because of the drastically dualistic terms in which he conceived of soul and body. Well-being was the desirable state of one's soul—and that meant of oneself as a soul, since an indestructible and immaterial soul was what one really was.

For Aristotle, a human being is not an immaterial soul, but is essentially embodied and essentially lives a social life. Aristotle makes a basic distinction among the powers of reason, so that the intellectual faculty central to the ethical life, practical reason, is very different in its functions and objects from theoretical reason, which is what is deployed in philosophy and the sciences. He did indeed think that the cultivation of philosophy and sciences was the highest form of human activity, but he supposed that the exercise of practical reason in a personal and civic life was necessary to this, not only in the (Platonic) sense that such activities were necessary in society, but also in the sense that each individual needed such a life.

We accept, indeed regard as a platitude, an idea that Aristotle rejected, that someone can have one virtue while lacking others. For Aristotle, as for Socrates, practical reason required the dispositions of action and feeling to be harmonized; if any disposition was properly to count as a virtue, it had to be part of a rational structure that included all the virtues. This is quite different from our assumption that these kinds of disposition are enough like other psychological characteristics to explain how one person can, so to speak, do better in one area than another.

As Aristotle claimed, an ethical disposition is not simply a personal pattern of behavior to which there may be contingently added a tendency to deplore or regret its absence in others. It is a kind of disposition that itself structures one's reactions to others.

There is a problem about the way in which Aristotle presents his inquiry. Indeed, there is a problem about what he can take ethical philosophy to be. He presents it as a practical inquiry, one that is directed, in effect, to answering Socrates' question. He makes it seem as though you might review the whole of your life and consider whether it was aimed in the most worthwhile direction, but, on his own account, this cannot be a sensible picture. He shares with Plato the idea that, if virtue is part of human good, then it cannot be external to the ultimately desirable state of well-being: that state must be constituted in part by the virtuous life. But this is not a consideration that one could use to any radical effect in practical reasoning, as he seems to suggest. One becomes virtuous or fails to do so only through habituation. One should not study moral philosophy until middle age, Aristotle believes, for a reason that is itself an expression of the present difficulties—only by then is a person good at practical deliberation. But by then it will be a long time since one became, in relation to this deliberation, preemptively good or irrecoverably bad.

In general, Aristotle cannot reasonably believe that his reflections on the virtuous life and its role in helping to constitute well-being could play a formative part in some general deliberation that a given person might conduct. In the light of this, the definition of ethical philosophy, and its aspirations, has to be revised. It no longer addresses its considerations to each person, so that each may answer the Socratic question.

On Aristode's account a virtuous life would indeed conduce to die well-being of the man who has had a bad upbringing, even if he cannot see it. The fact diat he is incurable, and cannot properly understand the diagnosis, does not mean that he is not ill. The answer Aristotie gives to Socrates' question cannot be given to each person, as we have seen, but it is an answer for each person.

The most significant questions about real interests arise when what is wrong with the agent goes beyond lack of information or mere rationality (whatever the boundaries of that may be) and affects die desires and motivations from which he deliberates; or, again, when what is wrong with the agent is that he will not believe something that he rationally should believe.

But we cannot simply say that a change is in someone's real interest if, as a result of that change's being made, she would acknowledge that it was in her interest. Perhaps, if you were to be brainwashed by a certain religious group, you would strongly identify your interests with those of the group. As a brainwashed believer, you might have much to say about an increase in enlightenment and the understanding you have now reached of your previous blindness—but that would not establish the value of brainwashing.

If an agent does not now acknowledge that a certain change would be in his interest and if, as a result of the change, he comes to acknowledge that it was in his interest, this will show that the change was really in his interest only on condition that the alteration in his outlook is explained in terms of some general incapacity from which he suffered in his original state, and which has been removed or alleviated by the change.

Not everything in someone's interests is necessary to his human functioning, or is something that he needs. What he does need are the capacities, including the basic patterns of motivation, to pursue some of the things that are in his interests. If it is not to be purely ideological, the idea of real interests needs to be provided with a theory of error, a substantive account of how people may fail to recognize their real interests.

Aristotle himself held a very strong theory of general teleology: each kind of thing had an ideal form of functioning, which fitted together with that of other things. He believed that all the excellences of character had to fit together into a harmonious self. Moreover, he was committed to thinking that the highest developments of human nature, which he identified with intellectual inquiry, would fit together with the more ordinary life of civic virtue, even though they represented the flowering of rather different powers, theoretical rather than practical reason.

In Aristotle's teleological universe, every human being has a kind of inner nisus toward a life of at least civic virtue, and Aristotle does not say enough about how this is frustrated by poor upbringing, to make it clear exactly how, after that upbringing, it is still in this man's real interest to be other than he is.

If Aristotle, with his strong assumptions about the nisus of each natural kind of thing toward its perfection, cannot firmly deliver this result, there is not much reason to think that we can. Evolutionary biology, which gives us our best understanding of the facts that Aristotle represented in terms of a metaphysical teleology, cannot do better in trying to show that an ethical life is one of well-being for each person. This is not because it delivers one an- : swer for all individuals, but one hostile to ethical life—for instance, the answer that an entirely "hawkish" strategy would be right for each and every individual.

The important point is that evolutionary biology is not at all directly concerned with the well-being of the individual, but with fitness, which is the likelihood of that individual's leaving offspring. The most that sociobiology might do for ethics lies in a different direction, inasmuch as it might be able to suggest that certain institutions or patterns of behavior are not realistic options for human societies. That would be an important achievement, but first sociobiology will have to be able to read the historical record of human culture much better than it does now.

If any science is going to yield conclusions that are for each person, as I put it before, it will be some branch of psychology... Perhaps it is unrealistic to suppose that there could be any psychological discipline capable of doing this. It would be silly to try to determine a priori and in a few pages whether there could be such a theory. It would have to be at once independent of assumed ethical conceptions, closely related to the complex aspects of human personality that are involved in ethical life, determinate in its results, and—of course —favorable to ethical considerations in some form. The last it would "of course" have to be, not just for the boring reason that only then would it count as providing foundations for ethical considerations but because, if it failed to be favorable to ethical considerations, it would have a different relation to practice altogether. We need to live in society—and that is certainly an inner need, not just a technological necessity—and if we are to live in society, some ethical considerations or other must be embodied in the lives of quite a lot of people. So a psychological theory which showed that we could not really be happy in any adequate set of ethical considerations would not tell us how to live: rather, it would predict that we could not live happily.

There is also the figure, rarer perhaps than Callicles supposed, but real, who is horrible enough and not miserable at all but, by any ethological standard of the bright eye and the gleaming coat, dangerously flourishing. For those who want to ground the ethical life in psychological health, it is something of a problem that there can be such people at all. But it is a significant question, how far their existence, indeed the thought of their existence, is a cultural phenomenon.

It is false, indeed incoherent, to suppose that every desire aims at pleasure, and it would be false even if the satisfaction of each desire issued in pleasure (which is not so either). Moreover, if it were true that every desire aimed at pleasure, one could not rely on the common-sense assumption that there is a contrast between ethical motivations and pleasure seeking. Ethical motivations would then aim at certain sorts of pleasure. Some of them do indeed issue in pleasure, and Hume, in line with Greek thought on this point, agreeably thought that it was the mark of a virtuous person to take pleasure in doing generous or helpful actions.

One obvious reason why my desires do not all have as their object my pleasure is that some of my desires aim at states of affairs that do not involve me at all: I am not mentioned in a full specification of what would satisfy such a desire.

Our present understanding gives us no reason to expect that ethical dispositions can be fully harmonized with other cultural and personal aspirations that have as good a claim to represent human development. Even if we leave the door open to a psychology that might go some way in the Aristotelian direction, it is hard to believe that an account of human nature—if it is not already an ethical theory itself—will adequately determine one kind of ethical life as against others. Aristotle saw a certain kind of ethical, cultural, and indeed political life as a harmonious culmination of human potentialities, recoverable from an absolute understanding of nature. We have no reason to believe in that. Once we lose the belief, however, a potential gap opens between the agent's perspective and the outside view. We understand—and, most important, the agent can come to understand—that the agent's perspective is only one of many that are equally compatible with human nature, all open to various conflicts within themselves and with other cultural aims. With that gap opened, the claim I expressed by saying that agents' dispositions are the "ultimate supports" of ethical value takes on a more skeptical tone. It no longer sounds enough.

Reasons and Persons: Concluding Chapter, D. Parfit

My two subjects are reasons and persons. I have argued that, in various ways, our reasons for acting should become more impersonal. Greater impersonality may seem threatening. But it would often be better for everyone.

Chapter 3 argued that, in our concern for other people, most of us make mistakes. Most of us wish to avoid harming other people. But many people believe: (The Second Mistake): If some act is right or wrong because of its effects, the only relevant effects are the effects of this particular act.

This leads these people to ignore what they together do. And most of us believe: (The Fourth and Fifth Mistakes) If some act has effects on others that are trivial or imperceptible, this act cannot be morally wrong because it has these effects.

These false beliefs did not matter in the small communities in which, for most of history, most people lived. In these communities, we harm others only if there are people whom each of us significantly harms. Most of us now live in large communities. The bad effects of our acts can now be dispersed over thousands or millions of people. Our false beliefs are now serious mistakes.

Though each act has trivial effects, it is often true that we together impose great harm on ourselves or others. Some examples are pollution, congestion, depletion, inflation, unemployment, a recession, over-fishing, over-farming, soil-erosion, famine, and overpopulation. While we have these false beliefs, our ignorance is an excuse. After we have seen that these beliefs are false, we have no excuse. If we continue to contribute to the problems just listed, our acts will be morally wrong.

Part Two argued that we should reject the Self-interest Theory about rationality. S is the theory that gives most importance to the difference between people, or the separateness of persons. S tells me to do whatever will best for me. For S, the fundamental units are different lives. My supreme concern should be that my whole life goes as well as possible. Each person is rationally required to give to himself, and to his own life, absolute priority.

Since we should reject S, our theory must be, in one way, more impersonal. It must not claim that each person's supreme concern should be himself; and it must not give supreme importance to the boundaries between lives. But our theory need not be Sidgwick's Principle of Impartial Benevolence. We should accept the Critical Present-aim Theory, or CP. On this theory, the fundamental unit is not the agent throughout his whole life, but the agent at the time of acting. Though CP denies the supreme importance of self-interest, and of a person's whole life, it is not impersonal. CP claims that what it is rational for me to do now depends on facts about me now. This claim gives more importance to each person's particular values or beliefs. Since CP gives more importance to what distinguishes different people, in this different way it is more personal than S.

We cannot explain the unity of a person's life by claiming that the experiences in this life are all had by this person. We can explain this unity only by describing the various relations that hold between these different experiences, and their relations to a particular brain. We could therefore describe a person's life in an impersonal way, which does not claim that this person exists. On this Reductionist View, persons do exist. But they exist only in the way in which nations exist. Persons are not, as we mistakenly believe, fundamental. This view is in this sense more impersonal.

I claim that most of us have false beliefs about our own nature, and the nature of our continued existence over time. If we can show that we have such false beliefs, an appeal to the truth may support certain claims both about rationality and about morality. Thus, as I claim, the Reductionist View provides another argument against the Self-interest Theory. And this view supports various moral claims.

I argue (1) Since they are often indirectly self-defeating, the Self-interest Theory and Consequentialism must make claims about our desires and dispositions. They must claim that we should be disposed to act in ways that they claim to be irrational, and morally wrong.

I argue (4) We should reject the Self-interest Theory about rationality, and accept the Critical Present-aim Theory. On this theory, some desires are irrational, and others may be rationally required. Suppose that I know the facts, am thinking clearly, and my set of desires is not irrational. It would then be irrational for me to act in my own best interests, if this would frustrate what, at the time, I most want or value. And (5) Because we should reject the Self-interest Theory, we should claim that great imprudence is morally wrong.

The rejection of the Self-interest Theory is welcome in another way. Compared with CP, S is more of a threat to morality. There are many cases where S conflicts with morality. Some of these conflicts are unavoidable, whatever we want or value. If we believe S, we believe that, in these cases, it would be irrational to act morally. This belief may make us less likely to act morally.

I argue (6) Most of us should change our view about the nature of persons, and personal identity over time. The truth is here very different from what most of us believe.

When I consider what (6) implies, I am glad that (6) is true. This change of view also has psychological effects. It makes me care less about my own future, and the fact that I shall die. In comparison, I now care more about the lives of others. I welcome these effects. Metaphysics can produce the consolations of philosophy.

Many people are Moral Sceptics, but are not sceptics about rationality. The question of objectivity can best be pursued if we consider, not just moral reasons, but all kinds of reasons for acting. There are some claims which all of us accept. Suppose that, unless I move, I shall be killed by a falling rock, and that what I now most want is to survive. Do I have a reason to move? It is undeniable that I do. This claim would have been accepted in all civilizations, at all times. This claim is true.

Since there are some true claims about reasons for acting, we can deny what some sceptics claim. It is sometimes claimed that, unlike rocks or stars, there cannot be objective moral values. Such entities cannot exist. They are too queer to be part of 'the fabric of the Universe'. But, in the case just described, I do have a reason to move. This may not be a moral reason. But, since there is this reason, there can be reasons. Reasons for acting can, in the only relevant sense, 'exist'. Since there are some reasons for acting, it is an open question whether some of these are moral reasons.

There is another ground for doubting Moral Scepticism. We should not assume that the objectivity of Ethics must be all-or-nothing. There may be a part of morality that is objective. In describing this part, our claims may be true. When we consider this part of morality, or these moral questions, we may find the Unified Theory that would remove our disagreements. There may be other questions about which we shall never agree. There may be no true answers to these questions. Since objectivity need not be all-or-nothing, moral sceptics may be partly right. These questions may be subjective. But this need not cast doubt on the Unified Theory.

What Makes Someone's Life Go Best, D. Parfit

What would be best for someone, or would be most in this person's interests, or would make this person's life go, for him, as well as possible? Answers to this question I call theories about self-interest. There are three kinds of theory. On Hedonistic Theories, what would be best for someone is what would make his life happiest. On Desire-Fulfilment Theories, what would be best for someone is what, throughout his life, would best fulfil his desires. On Objective List Theories, certain things are good or bad for us, whether or not we want to have the good things, or to avoid the bad things.

What pains and pleasures have in common are their relations to our desires. On the use of 'pain' which has rational and moral significance, all pains are when experienced unwanted, and a pain is worse or greater the more it is unwanted. Similarly, all pleasures are when experienced wanted, and they are better or greater the more they are wanted. These are the claims of Preference-Hedonism. On this view, one of two experiences is more pleasant if it is preferred.

Another theory appeals only to someone's desires about his own life. I call this the Success Theory. This theory differs from Preference-Hedonism in only one way. The Success Theory appeals to all of our preferences about our own lives. A Preference-Hedonist appeals only to preferences about those present features of our lives that are introspectively discernible. Suppose that I strongly want not to be deceived by other people. On Preference-Hedonism it would be better for me if I believe that I am not being deceived. It would be irrelevant if my belief is false, since this makes no difference to my state of mind. On the Success Theory, it would be worse for me if my belief is false. I have a strong desire about my own life—that I should not be deceived in this way. It is bad for me if this desire is not fulfilled, even if I falsely believe that it is.

Whether we appeal to Preference-Hedonism or the Success Theory, we should not appeal only to the desires or preferences that I actually have. We should also appeal to the desires and preferences that I would have had, in the various alternatives that were, at different times, open to me. One of these alternatives would be best for me if it is the one in which I would have the strongest desires and preferences fulfilled. This allows us to claim that some alternative life would have been better for me, even if throughout my actual life I am glad that I chose this life rather than this alternative.

Another version of both theories does not appeal, in this way, to all of a person's desires and preferences about his own life. It appeals only to global rather than local desires and preferences. A preference is global if it is about some part of one's life considered as a whole, or is about one's whole life. The Global versions of these theories I believe to be more plausible.

Turn now to the the third kind of Theory that I mentioned: the Objective List Theory. According to this theory, certain things are good or bad for people, whether or not these people would want to have the good things, or to avoid the bad things.

An Objective List Theorist might say that the most relevant facts are what his theory claims—what would in fact be good or bad for me. And he might claim that anyone who knew these facts would want what is truly good for him, and want to avoid what would be bad for him.... On the Success Theory it is, for instance, bad for someone to be deceived if and because this is not what he wants. The Objective List Theorist makes the reverse claim. People want not to be deceived because this is bad for them.

In choosing between these theories, we must decide how much weight to give to imagined cases in which someone's fully informed preferences would be bizarre. If we can appeal to these cases, they cast doubt on both Preference-Hedonism and the Success Theory....The counter-example might be more offensive. Suppose that what someone would most prefer, knowing the alternatives, is a life in which, without being detected, he causes as much pain as he can to other people. On the Success Theory, such a life would be what is best for this person.

Sidgwick suggests that 'a man's future good on the whole is what he would now desire and seek on the whole if all the consequences of all the different lines of conduct open to him were accurately foreseen and adequately realised in imagination at the present point of time'. As he comments: 'The notion of 'Good" thus attained has an ideal element: it is something that is not always actually desired and aimed at by human beings: but the ideal element is entirely interpretable in terms of fact, actual or hypothetical, and does not introduce any judgement of value'. Sidgwick then rejects this account, claiming that what is ultimately good for someone is what this person would desire if his desires were in harmony with reason.

Some Hedonists have reached their view as follows. They consider an opposing view, such as that which claims that what is good for someone is to have knowledge, to engage in rational activity, and to be aware of true beauty. These Hedonists ask, 'Would these states of mind be good, if they brought no enjoyment, and if the person in these states of mind had not the slightest desire that they continue?' Since they answer No, they conclude that the value of these states of mind must lie in their being liked, and in their arousing a desire that they continue.

This reasoning assumes that the value of a whole is just the sum of the value of its parts. If we remove the part to which the Hedonist appeals, what is left seems to have no value, hence Hedonism is the truth. Suppose instead that we claim that the value of a whole may not be a mere sum of the value of its parts. We might then claim that what is best for people is a composite. It is not just their being in the conscious states that they want to be in. Nor is it just their having knowledge, engaging in rational activity, being aware of true beauty, and the like.

What is good for someone is neither just what Hedonists claim, nor just what is claimed by Objective List Theorists. We might believe that if we had either of these, without the other, what we had would have little or no value. We might claim, for example, that what is good or bad for someone is to have knowledge, to be engaged in rational activity, to experience mutual love, and to be aware of beauty, while strongly wanting just these things. On this view, each side in this disagreement saw only half of the truth. Each put forward as sufficient something that was only necessary...What is of value, or is good for someone, is to have both; to be engaged in these activities, and to be strongly wanting to be so engaged.

Goods and Lives, M. Slote

I shall argue that time preference is not the atypical or irrational phenomenon that so many otherwise divergent theorists assume and that our ordinary thinking quite naturally ascribes unequal importance to different periods of life.

Sidgwick, for example, holds that the maximization of personal welfare over time pre-supposes the equal treatment of all the times in a person's life in much the same way that the maximization of social welfare (or the welfare of all sentient beings) requires us to accord equal weight to the welfare of every individual.1 And for all their other disagreements, John Rawls follows the Utilitarians in presenting a maximizing conception of the goodness of single lives and of egoistically rational life-planning that treats all time periods in a single life equally: the timing of goods being important only as a means to maximizing individual well-being over time.

Others influenced by Rawls and likewise opposed to Utilitarian moral theory have also insisted on the equal treatment of times within single lives. Thus Thomas Nagel in The Possibility of Altruism has attempted to show that all periods of an individual's life must play an equal role in the origination and transmission of reasons for action.

Intrapersonal maximizers may claim that indifference to when given satisfactions or goods occur in the process of calculating total welfare over time is the most proper expression of the idea of intrapersonal temporal equality, but an egalitarian might want to say that the idea is better expressed by placing an independent value on the intertemporal equality of goods within single lives.

Charles Fried rejects an egalitarianism of sheer temporal moments (or intervals) in favour of (what seems to be) an egalitarianism regarding the various stages or periods of the human life cycle. Childhood, youth, maturity, etc., have, he says, their own characteristic needs and projects (in addition to those that persist across such periods) and a rational plan for a good life involves not only a maximizing of goods realized but the giving of 'richness and realization to each period of life'...Like the other philosophers we have discussed, Fried seems to be suggesting that different (properly articulated) times of life are of (roughly) equal importance in determining the goodness of lives.

But I believe and shall argue, on the contrary, that we typically and naturally think of some times of life as more important than others, and that this conclusion has important implications for our notions of personal good.

What I first want particularly to stress is the lesser seriousness with which we regard the successes and misfortunes of childhood (including adolescence) when considering, in the rough and ready way we sometimes do, how fortunate someone has been in life. I think we have a definite tendency to discount youthful misfortune or success that can be seen, for example, in what we think and say about someone who won all the prizes and captained all the teams in school, but whose later life seems dull or unfortunate by comparison... Within a very wide range, the faces of childhood simply don't enter with any great weight into our estimation of the (relative) goodness of total lives.

Proust tells us (roughly) that we do not reckon the sufferings and pleasures of our dreams among the actual goods and evils of our lives. And it would indeed seem that we have no tendency to consider someone's fortunateness or unfortunateness to be in any way a function of the quality of his dreams during his life.

Thus in cases where an unhappy schoolboy career is followed by (or, as we sometimes like to think, helps to bring about) happy mature years, we think of the later years as compensating for the childhood misery, even as wiping the slate clean, and I believe that Rawls, Sidgwick, and others who have assumed the equal status of all times of life have not taken this sort of common judgement sufficiently into account.

Perhaps children eagerly seek certain goals— membership of the school team, scout merit badges— and simply learn later, as adults, that such things are not worth pursuing, not really valuable....Our problem, then, is to understand how we (adults) can discount typical childhood strivings, successes, and disappointments without being unfair to childhood in the way that the strict analogy with sadism and addiction would force us to be.

We may not take childhood's characteristic goals and disappointments very seriously, but neither is our attitude one of revulsion and repudiation. Instead, we are rather tolerant of schoolboy strivings and interests and find them appropriate to, and acceptable at, the period of life in which they characteristically occur. And this latter fact may actually offer a clue about how to distinguish the childhood goals we subsequently take so little seriously, from sheer irrationalities.

We are accustomed to the idea that goods (benefits, misfortunes, etc.) are often goods for particular individuals rather than free-floating and 'objective'. But our distinction between overall and period-relative goods requires in some cases a double relativity: not merely of goods to individuals, but of goods to individuals at times of life. Such double relativity may not be familiar and, for that reason, its introduction must be properly motivated.

The examples we have mentioned do suggest that some of the principal goals, disappointments, successes, and satisfactions, characteristic of certain life periods, have value only relative to those periods and make a rather negligible contribution to what seems to matter most in a total human life. On the other hand, the period known as 'the prime of life' is typically conceived as containing precisely those goals, strivings, miseries, and satisfactions, that are to be taken most seriously in human life, and is thus largely an exception to what we have been saying about childhood and senescence.

Indeed, the very expression 'prime of life' conveys the implication that the failures and successes of other periods are inherently less serious and less determinative of what one's life has, for better or worse, been like.

I believe, in particular, that what happens late in life is naturally 'and automatically invested with greater significance and weight in determining the goodness of lives. The point can be illustrated.

Such 'pure' time preference is embodied not only in our natural and (I believe) persisting reactions to particular cases, but also in the very language with which we describe how well we think people have lived. We may say that later political success can 'compensate' or 'make up' for (someone's) years in the political wilderness; but it would be an abuse of language to describe early successes as 'compensating' or 'making up' for later failures or miseries.

If (many of) the things children seek are not seen as goods from the large perspective of life as a whole, then it is understandable that these things should not be the subject of regret and gladness later in life; but since the satisfaction of childhood goals and interests really has childhoodrelative value, it cannot be treated like the satisfaction of (non-reason-giving) irrational cravings or sadistic impulses.

Perhaps the main impetus behind the rejection of time preference has been the view that temporal equality is necessary to any proper conception of the unity of one's own (or any single) life. How then, finally, can the present discussion defend itself against the charge that, by giving unequal importance to different times or time-periods, it forces one to regard human lives as less unified than they actually are?

If we lived forever, our (detached) judgements about what makes lives good would perhaps put no weight on the distinction between earlier and later periods.

However, we should also consider whether our defence of lukewarmness to the characteristic goals and interests of certain periods of life may not underestimate life's unity by allowing people to be invidiously dissociated from certain real parts of their lives.

Given the prevalence in Aristotle's thought of the organismic model of identity through time, it is not in the end very surprising that one can find anticipations of our present defence of time preference, and of its higher estimation of the goals and judgements of mature individuals, in the Nicomachean Ethics.

The Importance of What We Care About, H. Frankfurt

Philosophers have for some time devoted their most systematic attention primarily to two large sets of questions, each of which develops out of concern with a pervasively compelling and troublesome aspect of our lives. In the first set, which constitutes the domain of epistemology, the questions derive in one way or another from our interest in deciding what to believe. The general topic of those in the second set is how to behave, insofar as this is the subject matter of ethics. It is also possible to delineate a third branch of inquiry, concerned with a cluster of questions which pertain to another thematic and fundamental preoccupation of human existence — namely, what to care about.

It is not properly within the scope either of epistemology or of ethics to investigate the various distinctive conceptual questions to which this third preoccupation leads. Those disciplines need not reflect upon the nature of caring as such, nor are they obliged to consider what is implied by the fact that we are creatures to whom things matter.

There is naturally an intimate connection between what a person cares about and what he will, generally or under certain conditions, think it best for himself to do. But while the third branch of inquiry therefore resembles ethics in its concern with problems of evaluation and of action, it differs significantly from ethics in its generative concepts and in its motivating concerns. Ethics focuses on the problem of ordering our relations with other people. It is concerned especially with the contrast between right and wrong, and with the grounds and limits of moral obligation. We are led into the third branch of inquiry, on the other hand, because we are interested in deciding what to do with ourselves and be- cause we therefore need to understand what is important or, rather, what is important to us.

It can hardly be disputed that, for most of us, the requirements of ethics are not the only things we care about. Even people who care a great deal about morality generally care still more about other things. They may care more, for instance, about their own personal projects, about certain individuals and groups, and perhaps about various ideals to which they accord commanding authority in their lives but which need not be particularly of an ethical nature. There is nothing distinctively moral, for instance, about such ideals as being steadfastly loyal to a family tradition, or selflessly pursuing mathematical truth, or devoting oneself to some type of connoisseurship.

Suppose that a person does already know what he is morally obliged to do. He may nonetheless choose deliberately to violate this obligation — not because he thinks it is overridden by a stronger one, but because there is an alternative course of action which he considers more important to him than meeting the demands of moral rectitude. It seems to me that both in this case and.in the first the subordination of moral considerations to others might be justified. In any event, it is clear that the question concerning what is most important is distinguishable from the question concerning what is morally right.

There may be some people to whom ethical considerations are not only unequivocally paramount but exclusive. If so, then nothing else has as such any importance in their lives. Their only purpose, to which they intend all their activities to contribute, is to do whatever they regard as most desirable from the point of view of morality — to maximize human welfare, perhaps, or to make society more just. This sort of overspecialization is difficult to sustain, and it is rare.

It is reasonable to suppose that things have importance only in virtue of the differences they make: if it would make no difference at all to anything whether a certain thing existed, or whether it had certain characteristics, then neither the existence of that thing nor its characteristics would be of any importance whatever. But everything does actually make some difference. How is it possible, then, for anything to be genuinely unimportant? It can only be because the difference such a thing makes is itself of no importance. Thus it is evidently essential to include, in the analysis of the concept of importance, a proviso to the effect that nothing is important unless the difference it makes is an important one.

Caring, insofar as it consists in guiding oneself along a distinctive course or in a particular manner, presupposes both agency and selfconsciousness. It is a matter of being active in a certain way, and the activity is essentially a reflexive one....A person who cares about something is, as it were, invested in it. He identifies himself with what he cares about in the sense that he makes himself vulnerable to losses and susceptible to benefits depending upon whether what he cares about is diminished or enhanced.

A person might stop caring about something because he knew he could not have it. But he might nonetheless continue to like it and to want it, and to consider it both desirable and valuable. Thus caring about something is not to be confused with liking it or with wanting it; nor is it the same as thinking that what is cared about has value of some kind, or that it is desirable....The outlook of a person who cares about something is inherently prospective; that is, he necessarily considers himself as having a future. On the other hand, it is possible for a creature to have desires and beliefs without taking any account at all of the fact that he may continue to exist.

The moments in the life of a person who cares about something, however, are not merely linked inherently by formal relations of sequentiality. The person necessarily binds them together, and in the nature of the case also construes them as being bound together, in richer ways.

Desires and beliefs have no inherent persistence; nothing in the nature of wanting or of believing requires that a desire or a belief must endure. But the notion of guidance, and hence the notion of caring, implies a certain consistency or steadiness of behavior; and this presupposes some degree of persistence. A person who cared about something just for a single moment would be indistinguishable from someone who was being moved by impulse. He would not in any proper sense be guiding or directing himself at all.

The fact that someone cares about a certain thing is constituted by a complex set of cognitive, affective, and volitional dispositions and states. It may sometimes be possible for a person, by making a certain choice or decision, effectively to bring it about that he cares about a certain thing or that he cares about one thing more than about another. But that depends upon conditions which do not always prevail. It certainly cannot be assumed that what a person cares about is generally under his immediate voluntary control.

A person who is subject to volitional necessity finds that he must act as he does. .For this reason it may seem appropriate to regard situations which involve volitional necessity as providing instances of passivity. But the person in a situation of this kind generally does not construe the fact that he is subject to volitional necessity as entailing that he is passive at all. People are generally quite far from considering that volitional necessity renders them helpless bystanders to their own behavior. Indeed they may even tend to regard it as actually enhancing both their autonomy and their strength of will.

He cannot bring himself to overcome the constraint to which he is subject because, in other words, he does not really want to do so. The predicament of the unwilling addict is that there is something which he really wants to do, but which he cannot do because of a force other than and superior to that of his own will. In the case of the person constrained by volitional necessity, there is also something which he cannot do but only because he does not really want to do it. The reason a person does not experience the force of volitional necessity as alien or as external to himself, then, is that it coincides with — and is, indeed, partly constituted by — desires which are not merely his own but with which he actively identifies himself.

Whatever the pertinence and the validity of these considerations, however, they do not explain how it is possible for a person to be constrained a by a necessity which is imposed upon him only by himself....Even if volitional necessity is self-imposed there must be some respect in which it is imposed or maintained involuntarily....It must be an essential feature of volitional necessity that it is imposed upon a person involuntarily. Otherwise it will be impossible to account for the fact that the person cannot extricate himself from it merely at will - i.e., the fact that it is genuinely a kind of necessity.

It may seem difficult to understand how volitional necessity can possibly be at the same time both self-imposed and imposed involuntarily, or how it is possible to avoid the conclusion that an agent who is constrained by volitional necessity must be simultaneously both active and passive with respect to the same force. Resolution of these difficulties lies in recognizing that: (a) the fact that a person cares about something is a fact about his will, (b) a person's will need not be under his own voluntary control, and (c) his will may be no less truly his own when it is not by his own voluntary doing that he cares as he does. Thus volitional necessity may be both self-imposed in virtue of being imposed by the person's own will and, at the same time, imposed involuntarily in virtue of the fact that it is not by his own voluntary act that his will is what it is.

The idea that being rational and loving are ways of achieving freedom ought to puzzle us more than it does, given that both require a person to submit to something which is beyond his voluntary control and which may be indifferent to his desires.

How are we to understand the paradox that a person may be enhanced and liberated through being seized, made captive, and overcome? Why is it that we find ourselves to be most fully realized, and consider that we are at our best, when - through reason or through love - we have lost or escaped from ourselves?

Especially with respect to those we love and with respect to our ideals, we are liable to be bound by necessities which have less to do with our adherence to the principles of morality than with integrity or consistency of a more personal kind. These necessities constrain us from betraying the things we care about most and with which, accordingly, we are most closely identified. In a sense which a strictly ethical analysis cannot make clear, what they keep us from violating are not our duties or our obligations but ourselves.

The formation of a person's will is most fundamentally a matter of his coming to care about certain things, and of his coming to care about some of them more than about others. Although these processes may not be wholly under his voluntary control, it is nonetheless often possible for him to affect them. For that reason, as well as because people are generally interested in knowing what to think of themselves, a person may care about what he cares about. This leads to questions concerning evaluation and justification.

People often do not care about certain things which are quite important to them. They may simply fail to recognize, after all, that those things have that importance. But if there is something that a person does care about, then it follows that it is important to him. This is not because caring somehow involves an infallible judgment concerning the importance of its object. Rather, it is because caring about something makes that thing important to the person who cares about it.

The fact that a person cares about a certain thing or about some person, or the fact that he does not care about them, makes an important difference to him. It means that he is, or that he is not, susceptible to being affected by various circumstances in ways which he considers important. Thus the question of what to care about (construed as including the question of whether to care about anything) is one which must necessarily be important to him.

People naturally want the things they care about to coincide, up to a point, with those that are independently or antecedently important to them. Thus a person often begins to care about something when he recognizes its capacity to affect him in important ways, ceases to care about it when he discovers that it does not have that capacity, and criticizes himself for caring too much or too little about things whose importance to himself he has misjudged. When the importance of a certain thing to a person is due to the very fact that he cares about it, however, that fact plainly cannot provide a useful measure of the extent to which his caring about the thing is justified.

Perhaps it is possible only for an omnipotent being - to whom nothing is antecedently important - to love altogether freely and without conditions or restrictions of any kind. In any case, a capacity for wholly unconditioned love is by no means an essential constituent of our finite nature. What makes it more suitable, then, for a person to make one object rather than another important to himself? It seems that it must be the fact that it is possible for him to care about the one and not about the other, or to care about the one in a way which is more important to him than the way in which it is possible for him to care about the other.

Personal Well-Being, J. Raz

When judging a person's well-being one is judging the success or failure of his life, not the means for that success or failure. One can compare different states of a person, different periods of his life, and judge them to be better or worse for him. One can also compare them with what they might have been, with different ways in which his life might have developed and did not. Finally, one can compare various routes which are open to him, various ways in which his life may develop. These judgments may be formed by people other than that person himself, and their views may be closer to the mark than his. Often a person is better placed or more interested in forming an accurate judgment about his own well-being. But sometimes others are better placed and more impartial than he is.

Other things being equal, a person is better off when well fed, in moderate temperature, with sufficient sensory stimulation, in good health, etc., whether he adopts these as his goals or not.... Be that as it may, while there is no denying the importance of the biologically determined wants for the well-being of a person, it is clear that they are not the only determinants of that well-being. Much depends on his other goals, on whether he wants to be friends with someone, or to distance himself from another, to go camping in summer, to acquire a local reputation for hardheadedness, etc.

The reason I dwell on the function of a person's goals in determining his well-being is, in the first place, that goals which are not predominantly biologically determined have one important feature. One can normally do little to help a person, other than by helping him to achieve his goals, or by getting him to adopt goals that are better for him, or to abandon ones which are bad for him. That is, improving the well-being of a person can normally only be done through his goals. If they are bad for him the way to help him is to get him to change them, and not to frustrate their realization.

Goals are adopted, or endorsed. They contribute to a person's well-being because they are his goals, they are what matters to him. Since I never wanted to be a concert violinist I am none the worse for not being one. Someone whose ambition it is or was to become a concert violinist is, other things being equal, worse off if he is not one than if he is.

A person's important immediate goals are nested in larger projects. Moreover, the importance of the immediate goal depends primarily on the importance of the larger goal, and on the degree to which realization of the immediate goal is essential to the success of the larger one....To a large extent one does not measure the importance of an action by the number of goals it enables one to reach, but by its contribution to the highest goals it serves.

Other things being equal, if a goal permeates all aspects of one's life it, and actions serving it, are more important than if it affects only a short span of one's life or only a few aspects of it.

In judging a person's well-being it is his life as a whole that one is judging. When we judge a person's well-being during a period of his life this leads us to take account of the possibility that that period might integrate in a generally successful life. If its character undermines the success of the life as a whole then it cannot be all that good in itself.

People have second order goals, i.e. goals about what kind of goals they should have. They may want all their goals to be well integrated, to give their life a unity, to enable them to look at their past with pride, to enable them to remain spontaneous, and curious about new possibilities well into old age, etc.

It is a consequence of the preceding observations that people's well-being is to a considerable extent a function of their non-biologically determined goals: goals which they have but could have avoided....Had they endorsed other goals they might have accomplished more in their lives, they might have contributed more to others, or to science.

Well-being is sometimes understood as a rough synonym of self-interest. The use of these notions reflects both moral convictions and beliefs about human motivation. According to some the two notions are indeed broadly interchangeable. While regarding 'interest' as roughly co-extensive with 'well-being', I shall follow a slightly different and narrower usage of 'self-interest'. In a nutshell, self-interest is largely a biological notion. Frustrating any of a person's biologically determined needs and desires is in itself against his selfinterest.

The gap between self-interest and well-being is concerned primarily with the success of our projects and goals. But it does not. There are four major differences between the two notions.

First, while both notions are sensitive to biological needs and desires, they are so in different ways. Self-interest is always adversely affected by the frustration of biological needs, and by the shortening of one's life. A person's wellbeing is not reduced by the shortening of his life, nor by frustrating his biological needs, when this is the means of or the accepted by-product of his pursuit of a valuable goal.... Yet the value of biologically determined goals transcends their usefulness as means to other ends. At the very least they are also a precondition of one's ability rationally to adopt new goals and pursuits, and abandon existing ones. And that ability is of value independently of whether it is wanted or not.

Second, success and failure in the pursuit of our goals is in itself the major determinant of our well-being.... Basically a person's self-interest, to the extent that it is served by the success of what he cares about, is served by success in those of his pursuits and relationships which he does not enter into to improve the well-being of others. This explanation is a negative one. It works by exclusion. Self-interest is what remains after subtracting from the wider notion of well-being success in those projects whose value (in the eye of the person in question) is their contribution to the well-being of others.

The fourth difference between well-being and self-interest is that a person's well-being depends on the value of his goals and pursuits. A person who spends all his time gambling has, other things being equal, less successful a life, even if he is a successful gambler, than a live stock farmer busily minding his farm. Their self-interest may be equally served by their activities, but their well-being is not.

What if the value of one person's goals and pursuits is less than that of another's, but neither of them is guilty of any mistake about their true value? If it turns out that each spent his life in activities which were as valuable as anything he could have done then, other things being equal, their lives are equally successful...If a person does so successfully then his life is successful to the highest degree. That someone else could and did engage in more valuable pursuits, which the first person could not emulate for lack of ability or of opportunity, is irrelevant.

One reason for doubting the thesis defended above, i.e., that satisfaction of goals based on false reasons does not contribute to one's well-being, is the ease with which we lose sight of the significance of the interaction of the many goals and concerns a person has....None of the above denies that people whose false goals fail feel disappointed and frustrated. All I am concerned to argue is that these frustrations are preferred by them to ignorant satisfaction. They fall in the category of unwelcome truths, which, hurtful as they are, people wish to have.

Our notion of a successful life is of a life well spent, of a life of achievement, of handicaps overcome, talents wisely used, of good judgment in the conduct of one's affairs, of warm and trusting relations with family and friends, stormy and enthusiastic involvement with other people, many hours spent having fun in good company, and so on. At the very least we can safely say that a large proportion of a person's goals are agency goals. They are normally goals others can help him reach, by providing the right environment, the right conditions. But they cannot reach them for him.

The previous sections argued for three conditions of personal well-being. (1) All but the biologically determined aspects of a person's well-being consist of the successful pursuit of goals which he has or should have. Beyond its biologically determined component a person's well-being can be promoted only through his willing acceptance of goals and pursuits. (2) People adopt and pursue goals because they believe in their independent value, that is their value is believed to be at least in part independent of the fact that they were chosen and are pursued. (3) Barring a person's biologically determined needs and desires his well-being depends, at the deepest level, on his action reasons and his success in following them.

Strong objectivists claim that when a person is well off he should be content. But they deny that he is not as well off as he might be if he is riot content. The effect of the first two conditions is to affirm that though a person may be unaware of how well off he is, his willing engagement in his activities and pursuits is an essential ingredient of his prosperity.

The view to be defended in this section is that a person can have a comprehensive goal only if it is based on existing social forms, i.e. on forms of behaviour which are in fact widely practised in his society.

Success in one's comprehensive goals is among the most important elements of one's well-being. Hence the present section argues in effect for the existence of a fourth condition of personal well-being: (4) A person's well-being depends to a large extent on success in socially defined and determined pursuits and activities.

The second group of reasons for the thesis that one can only have comprehensive goals which are based on social forms does not depend on the fact that the significance of the goal is conditioned by the existence of an appropriate social form. Rather, taking that for granted, they point to the fact that an individual cannot acquire the goal by explicit deliberation. It can be acquired only by habituation.

What is the Good Life?: The Meaning of the Question, L. Ferry

For some, success is above all a personal affair linked to a spirit of conquest. It is invested in seeking celebrity and wealth and in winning love. For others, however, it may just as easily take the form of altruism, committed involvement in a collective project, or support of a great cause thought to be in the general interest. A seemingly more modest choice may lead some to situate success in the private sphere, in the values of love, friendship, the family or—why not?—in an ideal of total emancipation, an aspiration to be free of others, but also of one's own demons, or even in an attempt to strive, throughout one's existence, to become "perfect" or to "outdo" oneself in fashioning a life like a work of art. All of these responses (and others as well), diverse or contradictory as they may be, are in essence acceptable. One could even make a mixed bouquet, choosing bits from one response or another. Does that fact disqualify the question and sap it of its interest?

If what is intended is just to recall that today no model of success is imposed on us in an authoritarian manner, that each one of us is free to lead life as he or she pleases and to seek happiness wherever it lies, the objection is well taken. Does this mean, however, that society suggests no ready-made attitudes to the sovereign individuals, fully conscious and masters of ourselves, that we are henceforth supposed to be? I doubt it. Above all, are we to assume that no "common sense," no agreement on the grand visions of the world, lurks behind choices supposed to be "subjective"? That can hardly be the case. In reality, individualistic sentiment is much more the result of a long history than of consciously made, deliberately undertaken philosophical choice.

Most ancient Greek thinkers situated the question of the good life in relation to the overall order of the world, to the cosmos considered in its totality, and not exclusively in relation to subjectivity or to the ideal of personal fulfillment or individual free will, as we tend to do today. Plato and Aristotle, but also the Stoics, took it for granted that a well-lived life supposed an awareness of belonging within an order of reality external to and superior to each one of us. Not only were human beings not considered to be the authors and creators of this cosmos, but they shared the feeling of being only an infinitely small part of it; of belonging to a totality of which they were by no means "masters and possessors," but one that instead surrounded them and utterly surpassed them. They were not called upon to invent the meaning of their life within the universe, but rather, and more modestly, to discover it.

For the earliest philosophers, the prime task was to comprehend the organization of the cosmos and to contemplate it by means of the intelligence: without such knowledge, how could one find his rightful place—or, as Aristotle put it, his "natural place"—in that cosmos?... Just as each organ and every part of a living organism has its proper place and function, not to be confused with any other, so too every being, human beings included, was supposed to possess a specific location within the Great Whole. That harmonious, just, and beautiful order, which was external to humans and superior to them, thus comported something of the divine that needed to be understood as such. This led to the importance, in the eyes of the ancient philosophers, of speculative disciplines such as mathematics, physics, and logic, but also of sciences of observation such as zoology, physiology, and anatomy, which reveal the marvelous structure of a reality that is not neutral or indifferent but, to the contrary, organized and ordered. Despite its supreme importance, this theoretical task was not an end in itself.

After theoretical intelligence alone, there came the second phase of the demands of practical wisdom. Once the natural order of the world had been identified, individuals were called to their ultimate vocation, which was to seek and, if possible, find their rightful place within that order. This next step required going beyond contemplation and discourse to action: it required an adjustment to the order of the world that had been revealed in its "divine" dimension of justice, harmony, and transcendence of the human. Thus one must learn the concrete lesson of living "according to nature" rather than by artificial social conventions.

The ultimate goal of philosophy is nothing less than achieving salvation by one's own forces. It is not a question of being saved, but of saving oneself from, the greatest of all the ills that weigh on humanity, fear of death. Philosophy, which is inseparable from the thought of finitude, thus culminates in a "soteriology," a doctrine of salvation, or, if preferred, a form of spirituality without God that is situated not only beyond theory but beyond moral praxis itself.

According to Epictetus, existential anxiety is responsible for all of our defects and ills, which is why combating it must be the end of "our thoughts and all consequent philosophical practices. If we believe this assertion (and why not do so, since the statement is so often reiterated?), existential anxiety is the alpha and omega of a philosophy that, far from being simple discourse, is intended to lead us firmly toward wisdom and, by that token, toward the good life.

The moment the wise man understands that the vicissitudes of existence depend not on him but on an order of a world that is in other ways harmonious, the moment he has determined to want what happens rather than to try to change the course of what escapes his control, he also knows not only how vain it is to complain but, above all, how in a more subtle and more profound sense he is himself divine, because he is an integral part of the eternal cosmos with which he aspires to perfect reconciliation. The order of the world, man, and man's salvation: once the three terms of the problem are articulated harmoniously, it is possible to accede to a truly successful life.

The question of the good life is resolved in the name of a totally different conception of transcendence once the representation of the divine is no longer seen as immanent to the order of the world but as embodied in the figure of a personal God placed at the origin of the universe, thus situated outside it. Now the question is no longer to find one's natural place within the organic structure of reality, but rather to place oneself under the benevolent eyes of an other, the Most High, and to conform to the laws that the pure and gratuitous love of such a power was inspired to offer humankind. Despite radical differences between the two responses, however, they are at base analogous. Even when faith replaces knowledge and revelation takes over from reason, the first need is to achieve access to a principle external to and superior to humanity, then, on the basis of that conversion, to find practical ways to conform to the divine verities that such a principle requires.

The great cosmological and theological responses are thus linked by an invisible thread, often dissimulated in the name of differences that are in fact considerable and that do separate them. To the question of the succesful life they both bring responses based on theoretical recognition of a principle, cosmic or divine, that transcends humanity. For both sorts of response, wisdom resides in an attempt-which can take a lifetime-to reconcile oneself with that principle. Salvation-understood in both cases as baps a very different but nonetheless ultimate response to the chalenges of human finitude-depends upon the "success" of that attempt.

In this cosmological or theological optic, not only does the aspiration to wisdom manage to deliver the human being from the torments inflicted by our mortal condition, but in doing so and in this very earthly life, it offers him a place within the community of men.

If modern humanism—or the secularization of the world that is another name for it—consists in the fact that individuals have emancipated themselves from these communities; if it resides in a constant propensity, in its attempt to achieve the most complete autonomy possible, to reject all the forms of transcendence on which these communities were founded, how can we still respond to the question of the good life? Where can we find that master beam to which we must adjust for our salvation if humanity is henceforth left alone, face to face with itself? And at this point, if individuals have lost all that ties them together, is humanity not threatened with an irremediable atomization?

In order to respond to this sort of objection, messianic Utopias had to be transformed into veritable religions of terrestrial salvation. In the absence of cosmic or religious principles, it is humanity itself that becomes sacralized, to the point of acceding, in its turn, to the status of a transcendent principle. The operation is by no means unthinkable: after all, no one can deny that humanity, in a global sense, is superior to each one of the individuals who constitute it, in the same way that the general interest should, in principle, prevail over particular interests.

True atheists, beginning with Nietzsche, could only perceive the passion for "great designs" supposedly superior to the individual, or even to life itself, as an ultimate ruse on the part of religious nihilism; a way of continuing to deny life in the name of a cause purported to be superior to it; a manner of sacrificing, again and again, the world here and now to a "beyond," the perceptible to the intelligible.

Nietzsche's self-appointed task was to shatter the idols of metaphysics and religion and to deflate their bloated notions and consoling illusions like so many balloons. Whatever his critics might say, there is no place for nostalgia here: those who regret the age of the joyous Utopias need to be reminded they were largely murderous and destructive of liberty. We also need to remind those who deplore the disenchantment of the world and the diminished role of religions that—at least in their traditional forms—religions still continue, even today, to be at the origin of almost all the wars and conflicts that bloody our planet.

In a universe of globalized consumerism, making a success of one's life seems no longer connected with any cosmic, religious, or Utopian principle but simply with the will to power—that is, with a maximal intensification of one's own existence. In the absence of any referent external to or superior to the individual, the good life is a life lived to the full, a life in which one is both "really oneself" and fully invested in one's chosen activities, whatever they may be.

Unlike any of his predecessors, he drew the final consequences of the decline of transcendent principles. He was the first to have the audacity to say that, in the absence of such principles, nothing mattered but the intensity of life, whatever the content to which it might be directed. "My doctrine teaches this," he wrote in a crucial text that should be read in this spirit: "He whose supreme joy is in effort, let him strive! He who likes repose above all, let him rest! He who likes to submit, obey, and follow, let him obey! But let him know well where his preference lies, and not recoil before any meansl" It is Nietzsche who predicted, in a flash of incomparable lucidity, the extent to which for us Moderns, after the era of cosmologies and religions, an intensification of the will to power was soon to become the sole aim of existence.

Is a wisdom of radical immanence tenable? Do not misunderstand me: I am not asking whether this philosophical option is "comfortable" or whether human beings can live agreeably with neither divinity nor Utopia, with neither hope nor transcendence, but rather whether such a thing is quite simply thinkable in terms of truth. Let me put it baldly: I believe that no materialist has ever succeeded in thinking his own thoughts, and none has been able to pursue to the limit the consequences of his own principles, without surreptitiously reinstating unavowed (and for him unavowable) transcendences. All such thinkers, as I shall attempt to demonstrate, beginning with the two most imposing pioneers, Spinoza and Nietzsche, have had to make up their minds, sooner or later and for basic reasons, to stealthily reintroduce hope, the universal, the transcendent, and the eternal, not to mention the mystical. This is what prevents me — and I am not a believer—from being a simple materialist.

To be sure, we no longer sacralize the cosmos, God, the homeland, or the revolution, as was once the case, but in compensation it is plain that humanity (or rather, the individuals that humanity comprises) conserves for us a value comparable to that of the former figures of transcendence. This is what I have called a "humanism of the man-god," and it is this hypothesis that I intend to explore and test in the present work. If it turns out to have its share of truth, the entire question of the good life will obviously be modified.

It is not the end of Utopias that is the major event of our age, as those nostalgic for revolution assert. It is not the "disenchantment of the world" that is its specific trait, nor the deconstruction of idols, but rather the world's re-enchantment. The novelty here resides in the appearance of new figures of transcendence, no longer situated upstream from humanity, but downstream from it; no longer looming over humanity like a radical "elsewhere," but taking root at its heart.

One of the most interesting aspects of the study of ancient wisdom traditions—even outside their intrinsic interest—is the way it reveals how profoundly philosophy, throughout its history, has succeeded in forging for itself a status of rivalry with religion as it sought a secular doctrine of salvation, a "soteriology" without God.

Although I myself am an agnostic and have no illusions concerning the aberrations of classical metaphysics, I do not think that we have finished with transcendence, or with the problematics of beatitude and salvation. My conviction, which I will attempt to articulate, is that, on the contrary, we must learn to recognize their new, postindividualistic visages and begin to link them with the ancient quests for wisdom.

In spite of all the deconstructions, and in spite of our attachments to the ideal of individual autonomy, we have to concede, at the end of the road, that it is not we who invent the values to which we constantly refer, not only within the order of truth but also -within that of ethics, politics, and even, no matter what relativist commonplaces might say, that of aesthetics and love. Nothing indicates with certainty that Nietzsche's dictum that there are no facts but only interpretations is not, in the final analysis and with all due respect, an easy way out masked by a philosophical project that is profound but untenable. Once again, we need to dig a bit deeper.

The Wisdom of Nietzsche, or The Three Criteria of the Good Life, L. Ferry

The fact that Nietzsche spent his life denouncing idols, that he carried on a radical critique of the great categories inherited from Greek wisdom—the theoria that aims at truth, the praxis that tends to moral rectitude, the soteriology that promises us that we will be saved one day—should not deceive us about the meaning of his philosophy: the same person who deconstructs also reorganizes the oldest topics and reinvests them with meaning, albeit in a novel, somewhat offcenter manner.

Nietzsche thought he had defeated Platonism and its opposition of a false world of the senses to a true world of the intelligible. But in the final analysis, is he not returning to that view surreptitiously, in a manner both unavowed and unavowable? The question is more complex than it seems. Initially, at least, this contradiction—and one has to recognize from the start that it is a bit too obvious to have escaped notice by a mind as fine as Nietzsche's—is resolved, partly if not totally, when we distinguish between two types of truth.

What is false in the "ideal" truth is precisely its claim to transcendence and to objectivity; its aspiration to place itself above the vital forces that have wholly produced it—in short, in its implicit will to detach itself from space and time, from nature and history, and in its claim to have value for everyone and to have done with relativism and perspectivism. In contrast, what is true in "aesthetic truth," as revealed by the artist, is the fact (difficult to grasp and perhaps still more difficult to admit) that, as an exact opposite of the first sort of truth, it presents itself explicitly as merely a point of view, as a perspective, as an emanation of life rather than a break with life. Art is true because it makes no claim to truth; because it is thus adequate to the real; because it accepts its relativity as a product, while never forgetting the productive activity that has engendered it.

"The only possible life: in art. Otherwise, one turns away from life," as Nietzsche has already stated in The Birth of Tragedy. Thus one senses that the genealogical deconstruction of theoria does not eliminate all notion of truth, that there may be a more profound truth than that of ideas — more real, one might say, than the truth that animates philosophical or scientific rationalism. This is a truth that art alone can satisfy, just as, at that same level, only the senses stop lying to us "in that they show us becoming, disappearance, and change."

If what Nietzsche states in one of his most famous aphorisms, "My philosophy is an inverted Platonism," is true, we need to evaluate the consequences of this inversion as regards the foundation (or the refounding) of a thought that rejects the classical visions of truth as reactive but nonetheless claims to arrive at higher and more authentic forms of knowledge in and by means of art.

What is needed, then, is to suppress the very idea that anything like appearance might exist: "The true world—we have abolished. What world has remained? The apparent one perhaps? But no! With the true world we have also abolished the apparent one!' By this we see that art, defined by Plato as the locus of a reprehensible presentation of appearance, can now escape the accusation of being nontruth.

It is in this perspective that Nietzsche develops the theme of the "artist-philosopher" or the "dancer-philosopher": in order to grasp the "true truth"; in order to be in sync with life (to use a modern expression), thought must no longer claim to rise above or transcend life but, following the model of aesthetics, must accept becoming what might be called a "friendly" expression of life.

To make the paradox explicit: it is because art is "false" (it does not claim to rise above the relativism of life) that it is true. This occurs in at least two ways. First, because art presents itself "honestly" as an interpretation, because it does not claim to be more than it is—because it renounces any claim to an absolute truth, but rather knows that it is totally relative to the forces that compose the real—it accords with the perspective nature of existence and with that "finally true truth" that states that all of our judgments are only symptoms and evaluations.

At closer examination, in fact, the definition of the veracious has not totally changed, and the Nietzschean "revolution" in Platonism brings us back, at least in part, to his point of departure: if art is true, it is — in spite of all and whatever the terms used—because it is in some fashion in conformity with the real, indeed, because it is much more adequate to life than the falsehood that has been designated, since Plato, under the name of truth.

Although Nietzsche operates on one level to subvert the idea of theoria, he continues to assign a primordial meaning to it. To be sure, the first mission of philosophy no longer to arrive at a clear vision of suprasensuous "ideas"; it no longer limits itself to the contemplation of a cosmic order that, as we have seen, Nietzsche had denounced as illusory. It is nonetheless secretly animated by a formidable will to truth, a will to a truth stronger than all previous ones...Subversion, then, but also continuity. We will find these again, and in equal quantity, in the second task of philosophy, which is no longer theoretical but practical or ethical.

Nietzsche denounces all moral visions of the world, not just one or several among them, as symptoms of "the very instinct of decadence" or as an "idiosyncracy of degenerates," as displaying a will to deny life that originates solely in the pathological weakness of their authors. Nietzsche's targets even include the earliest humanitarian impulses of the modern age, in which of course he detects a weak, stale odor of Christianity: "This universal love of men is in practice the preference for the suffering, underprivileged, degenerate. . . . The species requires that the ill-constituted, weak, degenerate, perish."

At times, Nietzsche's passion for attacking charity and his taste for catastrophe turns to sheer delirium: those close to him reported that he could hardly contain his joy on learning that an earthquake had destroyed some houses in Nice, deploring only that the disaster was less serious than was first thought.

He constantly states, loud and clear, that he is anything but an anarchist. One example among many is this passage from Twilight of the Idols: "When the anarchist, as the mouthpiece of the declining strata of society, demands with a fine indignation what is 'right,' 'justice,' and 'equal rights,' he is merely under the pressure of his own uncultured state, which cannot comprehend the real reason for his suffering—what it is that he is poor in: life. A causal instinct asserts itself in him; it must be somebody's fault that he is in a bad way. Also, the 'fine indignation' itself soothes him; it is a pleasure for all wretched devils to scold: it gives a slight but intoxicating sense of power."

If we want to understand Nietzsche as well as just read him, however, we need to add this: It is evident that any "ethical"attitude that consisted in rejecting a portion of the vital forces, even one that corresponds to the reactive forces, to the benefit of another aspect of life, even one of the most "active," would itself sink, ipso facto, into the most patent reaction! "This assertion, moreover, is not only a direct consequence of Nietzsche's definition of the reactive forces as mutilating and castrating; it is also his most explicit and most constant thesis.

One possible response to the question of Nietzsche's morality would be this: The good life is a life that is the most intense because the most harmonious; it is the most elegant life (in the sense that a mathematical demonstration is called elegant because it contains no useless detours and wastes no energy). That is to say, it is the life in which the vital forces, instead of contradicting each other, tearing each other apart, fighting each other, hence blocking or exhausting each other (and here Nietzsche is approaching Freud), begin to cooperate, albeit giving primacy to some forces—the active ones, of course—rather than others—the reactive forces. Thus on the moral plane, parallel to the aesthetization of knowledge, we encounter the "grand style." On this point at least, Nietzsche's thought is perfectly clear, and his definition of greatness in all of his mature works, is unfailingly univocal.

A critique of Platonism and, more generally, of moral rationalism in all its forms, justified as it may have been in Nietzsche's eyes, cannot lead to the pure and simple elimination of rationality. Such an eradication would, in fact, itself be reactive. If we want to arrive at the "greatness" that is the sign of a successful expression of the vital forces, those forces must be put into a hierarchy so as to put an end to their mutual mutilation—and in that hierarchy rationality, too, has its place.

It is that "greatness" that constitutes the alpha and omega of "Nietzschean morality" and that must be our guide in our search for a good life. The reason for this gradually becomes clear: only greatness will permit us to integrate all the forces within us; only greatness authorizes us, by the same token, to lead a more intense life—that is, a life richer in diversity—but also a more powerful life because more harmonious...If a concrete image of "grand style" is wanted, it helps to think of what we must do when we work at a sport or a difficult art—and almost all sports and arts are difficult—to achieve perfection.

The good life as the most intense life? A life that would take as its model the "successful gesture," one that contains the greatest diversity with the aim of attaining, in harmony, the greatest power, with no laboriousness, no waste of energy: that is basically Nietzsche's moral vision, the vision in the name of which he denounces all the "reactive" moralities that, since Socrates, have urged that life be fought against, diminished. To reach a better understanding of this ethical aspiration, which is, in effect, new, it may be useful to compare it with what it is not; to see exactly how it opposes, almost term for term, not only Christianity, but Platonism before it and romanticism after it.

The Socratic "cure," the therapy that Nietzsche sees as furnishing the prototype of all morality for the next two thousand years, was a veritable catastrophe: it consisted in "castration," pure and simple; in the suppression of all the instincts (that is, of the sensible world) in the name of a "truth" of the intelligible. The Socratic cure settled the problem, perhaps, but by eradicating all of its terms. Do impulses oppose each other? Very well, let us do away with them; let us invent the intelligible world and deny the sensible world completely, thus settling all questions once and for all. Socrates is the philosopher who combats reaction with reaction, who pushes to its limit the logic of weakening, of eradicating the forces—the mortal logic of nihilism.

In short, in this morality of grandeur, it is intensity that has primacy; the will to power carries the day against all other considerations: "There is nothing to life that has value except the degree of power!"28 This does not mean that there is no such thing as value. Quite the contrary. We also need to comprehend, as is clear in Nietzsche's critiques of the Socratic cure and of romanticism, that genuine intensity has nothing in common with unleashed passions or the emancipation of bodies: it resides in the harmonious and classical integration of the vital forces.

Nietzsche constantly compared the doctrine [of eternal recurrence] to a religion, asserting both that it "contained more than all the religions that have taught men to scorn life as ephemeral and to look toward another life." Moreover, the doctrine of the eternal recurrence was itself to become "the religion of the most sublime, the freest, the most serene souls" and "the highest form of affirmation that can ever be attained." Nietzsche even proposes, quite explicitly, to put "in place of'metaphysics' and religion, the theory of eternal recurrence.

Nor is it by chance that he defines that amor fati, in a very significant fragment published posthumously, as "the highest state a philosopher can attain." This means that the deconstruction of transcendence is not an end in itself, that one must pursue the question further, and that "joyful wisdom" and the "grand style" do not exhaust the task of philosophy....What does the thought of the eternal recurrence teach us, then? What does it have to say to us today? Basically this: if there is no transcendence and no possible flight into a beyond—be it, after the death of God, a "humanized" beyond—in the form of a moral ideal or a sacrificial politics ("humanity," "justice," the homeland, the revolution, etc.), it is within the here and now, on this earth, in this life, that we must learn to discern what is worthwhile being lived and what deserves to perish. It is here and now that we must learn to separate forms of life that are unfulfilled, mediocre, reactive, and weak, from the forms of life that are intense, grandiose, courageous, and rich in diversity.

Nietzsche: "If, in everything that you want to do, you begin by asking yourself: "Is it certain that I want to do this an infinite number of times?" this will be for you the most solid sort of center of gravity. . . . My doctrine teaches this: "Live so that you must want to live again, that is the duty—for you will live again in any event! He whose supreme joy is in effort, let him strive! He who likes repose above all, let him rest! He who likes to submit, obey, and follow, let him obey! But let him know well where his preference lies, and not recoil before any meansl It is a question of eternity^ This doctrine is gentle towards those who have no faith in it. It has neither hell nor threats. He who has no faith will feel within himself only a. fugitive life."...Here we perceive the meaning of the doctrine of eternal recurrence. Thanks to this doctrine we can interrogate our existence in order to flee pretense and half measures — all the acts of cowardice that would lead, according to Nietzsche, to wanting a thing fleetingly, as a concession; all those moments of existence in which we abandon ourselves to the facility of an exception without really wanting it. The true life is living in such way that regrets and remorse—or their very idea—have no meaning.

But also, how many instants in our lives would stand up to scrutiny if we applied the criterion of eternal recurrence honestly and rigorously? A few moments of joy, perhaps, of love, lucidity, and, above all, serenity. But we lack the sense of the eternal needed to achieve that goal. This is where Nietzsche's doctrine can indeed claim to take the place of the defunct religions: even in the absence of God, eternity remains, and in order to achieve it, we must—as Nietzsche oddly declares—have faith.

Why is it absolutely necessary that a critique of truth reintroduce truth; that the critique of values rehabilitate values; that a denunciation of the religious in all its forms culminate in a new faith? Can we not be satisfied, without the involvement of any state of the soul, with reality as it is—in other words, with being human, not too human, but solely human, essentially glaucous, rather miserable, and disenchanted? Why, if one is truly a materialist, not be one to the end? Why this surreptitious need to reenchant the world, this aspiration to rediscover criteria that would permit us once more—and there is no doubt that Nietzsche, more than any other philosopher, never denied himself this activity—to scorn, to continue to judge the world and our neighbor?

Nietzsche: "My formula for greatness in a human being is amorfati: to want nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely to bear what is necessary, still less to conceal it—all idealism is mendaciousness in the face of what is necessary— but to love it." To want nothing but what is! This formula may seem strange coming from Nietzsche. Does not this surrender to reality go contrary to the spirit of revolt that animates his entire thought, and even contrary to the principle of selection that it asserts, at the same time, in the doctrine of eternal recurrence?

If the doctrine of the eternal recurrence inevitably leads to that of the amorfati, the latter in turn culminates in the ideal of a total elimination of culpability, in an affirmation of what Nietzsche calls the "innocence of becoming": "For how long now have I attempted to prove to myself the total innocence of becoming! . .. And all that for what reason? Was it not to procure for myself the sentiment of my complete irresponsibility, to escape all praise and all blame?"

It is by freeing ourselves from this insidious dual visage of the reactive forces (to repeat, all anxiety is by definition reactive), by freeing ourselves from the burdens of the past and the future, that we attain serenity and eternity, here and now, because there is nothing else, because there is no longer anything to introduce culpability and to relativize present existence. Truth in art, intensity in the grand style, eternity in love of the world as it is: these are Nietzsche's criteria for a good life, finally rid of the illusions of transcendence.

A New Approach to the Question of Happiness, L. Ferry

Beyond the apparently infinite number of possible definitions of happiness, two major "eudaemonistic" moral conceptions—two contrasting philosophies of the "sovereign good," one essentially ancient, the other typically modern—form the background of contemporary discussion.

We have already encountered the first of these philosophies, the one developed within the framework of the Greek cosmologies. It rests on two basic convictions, both of which were contested in the seventeenth century. The first states that there exists a "common good" connected to the cosmic harmony, completely independent of the will or the particular interests of each individual. Whether I like it or not, there is an "objective" order of the world, an organization that I myself have not invented and within which I can and must find my place: it is at that price, and only at that price, that I can bring together the conditions that will permit me to be happy. In this "holist" perspective, then, the All (the cosmos) precedes the parts (individuals) and predetermines the conditions in which individual access to the blessed life is possible. The second conviction is just as essential and flows directly from the first. It states that authentic happiness cannot be reduced to material and psychological well-being but must include the problematic of salvation. In order to be fully happy, one must have vanquished the fear of death, and the only way to do so, the only possible way of life, is the philosophical life, which means that the problematic of happiness goes far beyond the mere satisfaction of material desires and contains a soteriological dimension.

Modern utilitarianism takes a radically opposed position on these two characteristic aspects of the cosmologico-ethical. First, it completely reverses perspective, starting with the individual instead of the All, in its attempt to construct a new conception of happiness based on the individual. That conception reaches its apogee in the conviction that the blessed life resides quite simply in a satisfaction as complete and durable as possible of all individual "interests"—a generic term that covers all varieties of determinations, desires, needs, wishes, appetites, whims, and so forth.... The common good ceases to take precedence over particular interests and is presented as an attempt to bring them into accord, as far as possible, a posteriori. Consequently, it replaces the cosmological conception of the common good, perceived as an objectively harmonious order, by the individualistic idea of the "general interest," seen as the reconciliation, if not as the result, of particular interests.

The philosophical life ceases to constitute the human ideal. That ideal is now situated in commerce, even in the quest for wealth, rather than in wisdom as the Ancients defined it. From the common good of the Greeks we have shifted to the notion of the general interest, and from the idea of happiness to that of well-being.

Today, after the collapse of the cosmological models, the problematic of happiness can no longer be equated with that of the Ancients, but if we nonetheless refuse—as they invited us to do—to reduce that problematic to a mere logic of interests and well-being, how and on what basis can we possibly return to it?

Kant's notion of the "kingdom of ends": This is the conviction that humanity, if properly ruled by moral and juridical laws that are held in common (if not universally), can forge something like a "second nature" and constitute—but this time in the order of the intellect—the analogue of a "cosmos" (that is, a universe) that, although thoroughly human and even founded on human freedom and "manufactured" by human beings, nonetheless represents a harmonious and ordered whole. If we pursue the analogy, the successful moral life is thus defined formally in the same terms as it was among the Ancients, as a life in harmony with the cosmos, the only difference being that the term "cosmos" has changed meaning, now referring to a humanity capable of constructing an artificial universe. It is in this same context that we should understand Kant's categorical imperative, which invites us to live by applying moral maxims transformable into universal laws "of nature."

In contrast to narrowness of mind, Kant suggests that an enlarged way of thinking, which he defines as "anticipated communication" with others, can serve not only as a means for understanding their thought but also, returning to ourselves, as if from outside, as a way to try to look at our own judgments and values as others would view them.

In order to become self-aware, we must in effect stand apart from ourselves, which, among other things, enables us to take into account viewpoints different from our own. Where the narrow mind remains mired in its own community of origin, to the point of believing that community to be the only one possible (or at least the only one that is good and legitimate), the enlarged or broadened mind, by seeing things from the viewpoint of others, can contemplate the world as an interested and benevolent spectator.

We need others if we are to understand ourselves; we need their liberty and, if possible, their happiness, in order to fulfill our own lives. Here a consideration of morality points the way, of its own accord, to a higher problematic, one that takes into account elements susceptible of giving meaning or value to our existences in a substantial manner, and one that we will have to cultivate if we want to arrive, in some fashion, at "saving ourselves by our own efforts."

It is because they are "singular" authors or composers, in this narrowly defined sense (that is, rooted in their culture of origin and their epoch, yet destined to speak to all men of all times by virtue of the universality of their message), that we still read Plato or Homer, Moliere or Shakespeare, and still listen to the works of Bach or Rameau....This conception of great works as "singularities"—as transfigurations of particularities that are local in origin but bear a relationship to the universality of the world— can also be applied to major scientific discoveries or to cultures taken as a global entity.

This whole book has attempted to offer the reader the possibility of appropriating the great responses to the question of the good life, presenting those responses as singularities so as to enable the reader to make personal choices in an enlightened fashion. Hence the friendly debate that the present volume has maintained with both materialism and religions, with both ancient wisdom traditions and contemporary deconstructions. But the book has also taken as its point of departure the conviction that in order to understand the other, in order to evaluate what separates us from hat other but also what permits us to think about ourselves, we need not resort to self-renunciation. Acceptance of diversity is not the same as reverence for diversity, just as respect for others is not relativism.

If there is any truth in what Nietzsche calls the "grand style," it is this: the most enlarged life is also the most singular, the richest, and the most intense. Nietzsche sees it as the life that brings together in harmony the greatest possible diversity of experiences that enrich our view of humanity....The genius of Nietzsche's notion of the grand style is that it presents us with the idea of repose and harmonious serenity, not as a point of departure or an original given, but rather as a point of arrival, a conquest that supposes both knowledge of others (diversity) and mastery of the self (harmony).

To continue our pursuit of the thread of singularity to which the idea of the enlarged mentality has led us, the harmonious intensity to which Nietzsche invites us must be supplemented by the exigency of love. Love alone gives ultimate value and meaning to the entire process of "enlargement" that can and must guide human experience.

The thing that makes someone likable, that gives us the feeling of being able to choose that person among all others, and to continue to love him or her even if disfigured by illness, is of course the very thing that makes that person irreplaceable as he or she is and not otherwise. What we love in someone (or what someone loves in us, as the case may be), and what we must consequently seek to develop for others as in ourselves, is not mere particularity or abstract qualities (the universal), but the singularity that distinguishes that person and makes him or her unlike anyone else.

Happiness, Tranquility, and Philosophy, C. Griswold

Few questions possess as great an existential urgency, and general philosophical interest, as "what is happiness?" If happiness is not the ultimate end of our activities, as Aristotle argued, it is certainly an ultimate end. A life without happiness seems scarcely worth the having. The "pursuit of happiness," in Jefferson's Lockean phrase, seems thoroughly woven into all our projects and aspirations.

In approaching the notion of happiness, I have one particular sense of the term in mind, namely that in which we can speak of a person as generally "happy," as happy over the long term. In my longrange sense of "happiness," you could say you are happy even though at the moment of saying it you might not feel happy....Happiness, in the sense I am discussing it, is not a mood. These may perhaps be referred to legitimately by our word "happiness," but I am interested in discussing this other sense of the term, because it is precisely this sense which people seem most to have in mind when engaged in the pursuit of happiness.

I shall argue that the experience of happiness is best understood, ab initio, in terms of tranquillity. At the same time, I shall suggest that we cannot be happy unless we rightly assess the conditions of our happiness. I shall attempt to elucidate what happiness is by distinguishing it from what I shall call "contentment," and shall explore further the connection between happiness and assessment or reflection. One needs a right understanding of happiness in order to be happy. Then I will attempt to understand the relationship between happiness and a particular kind of reflection, namely, philosophy.

My argument resembles that of ancient ethical theories in that it connects happiness with virtue (or excellence of character), virtue with reflection, and reflection with philosophy. I am also incorporating the more modern view that happiness should be described as, in part, a feeling or experience of a certain sort.

Happiness is best characterized in terms of tranquillity. So understood it captures the connection between happiness and being at rest. Happiness is more like rest than motion, in two senses. First, in the sense of lacking significant discord; it is peaceful, at a deep level. Second, it is more like coming to a stop rather than like a process of moving towards a goal. Happiness resembles an end state, a completion or fulfillment, rather than a condition of lacking and overcoming of lack.

When one says "I have lived happily" or "I am deeply happy" one means, among other things, that one does not experience significant internal discord, and that fundamentally one occupies a spiritual place from which one does not desire to move. One is not, at a deep level, anxious; basically, one is properly oriented, and one s fundamental stance towards the world is complete, at rest.

In general, then, peacefulness and calmness are akin to ataraxia. Understood as ataraxia, happiness is a state of mind, or better, a state of soul. In speaking of eudaimonia, Epictetus explicitly equates it with ataraxia, with freedom and absence of passions (apatheia). It is rather like a state of peacefulness, being in control, inner harmony, calm, rest; as opposed to a state of war, desiring that which is out of one's control to obtain, internal discord, disturbance, motion, perturbation.

In Part I of Hobbes' Leviathan, we read: "Continuall successe in obtaining those things which a man from time to time desireth, that is to say, continuall prospering, is that men call FELICITY; I mean the Felicity of this life. For there is no such thing as perpetuall Tranquillity of mind, while we live here; because Life it selfe is but Motion, and can never be without Desire, nor without Feare, no more than without Sense."

On this view, the enemy of tranquillity is anxiety. I have in mind not so much anxiety about this or that event, but rather a general anxiety about things being out of kilter, not stable, not holding, potentially dissolving.17 When Hobbes talks about the fear people have that their competitors might gain enough power to threaten them, he is getting at the latter, though he remains within the sphere of the political. That nagging doubt, or even the quiet dread of ... of what?

Ataraxia captures what one might call the affective, subjective dimension of happiness. And that feeling or experience or state of mind is, speaking in broad terms once again, something like a sense of basic tranquillity, restfulness, peacefulness.

As an activity in accordance with virtues that by definition are not feelings, it would be strange if happiness were understood by Aristotle as a feeling or emotion. His word for happiness (eudaimonia), and his association of happiness with human flourishing, lead him to think of happiness as a condition of self rather than an experience.

But, surely, the happy life is something someone actually experiences... He does grant that a life of misery and pain cannot be happy. Yet this remains distant from some view of what it feels like to be happy. Aristotle's reticence on the subject leaves open the objection that he has analyzed not happiness so much as the conditions for being ethical, and further that one could be ethical in his sense but, affectively speaking, be unhappy... Can the tumultuous life of the courageous statesman or soldier be happy in the sense of "tranquil," on Aristotle's view?... Insofar as this view lacks a place for the notion that happiness is rest and peacefulness, it strikes me as at the very least incomplete. But neither of the two basic alternative views of happiness—the Aristotelian and the Stoic—is alone adequate. In spite of my endorsement of the association of happiness with tranquillity, however, one cannot accept that association without qualification.

To eliminate psychic motion altogether, and then to call the resulting tranquillity "happiness" seems to purchase happiness at the price of human fulfillment, serenity at the price of our humanity. Why should we accept a notion of happiness that demands so high a price?

Epicurus is said to have claimed that the wise man could be happy (retain ataraxia) even on the rack. My view does not make that extreme claim. There is no mathematically precise way to describe just how resistant tranquillity is to the misfortunes of life. I am claiming both that it is not absolutely resistant, and that the example of Socrates reminds us that tranquillity is within our grasp even in the context of great misfortune, if only we have developed a reflective stance to which our lives testify.

Happiness is, I have insisted, a feeling as well as a reflective stance. But it is not this or that feeling. One might say, awkwardly, that it is a sort of second-order feeling. The feelings it attends will include those of satisfaction, joy, contentment, delight, perhaps bliss; and it will itself settle over them all as does the evening's light over the mountains. There will be shadows too—feelings of, say, frustration, incompleteness in this or that regard, regrets, and so forth. These are not incompatible with the judgment that as a whole one's life has been rightly oriented. The feeling of happiness signals a recognition that one is basically satisfied with who one is, and with reason; one does not want to be somebody else.

The tendency of contentment to reduce itself to a state of mind severed from an appraisal of the truth of the matter. Contentment and unreflectiveness are natural allies. At the extreme, the content are, so to speak, tranquillized. I have in mind the figure of the contented slave, or the contented sinner; someone resigned to the limitations of life, someone for whom the link between the subjective feeling and an assessment of the worthiness of his life is broken. It is for this reason that Nietzsche heaps such scorn on happiness understood as contentment, and Heidegger portrays daily existence as "inauthentic" and as mired unreflectively in the "everyday." Contentment is the road to mediocrity.

One cannot be happy if one harbors a well-grounded standing dissatisfaction with oneself, with how one really is. And that suggests that to be happy one must have the sort of desires a reflective person would want. This helps explain why we place such a premium on long-term happiness; we see that such happiness is connected to a well-ordered life, one that is worth having.

I have been arguing that happiness is linked to a reflective affirmation of one's life. Contentment may be thought of as the satisfaction of desire(s); happiness, as the justified satisfaction that one is desiring the right things in the right way. There is therefore a connection between happiness and our conception of happiness; one needs a right understanding of it in order to have it. Since a conception of happiness must be acquired with effort, and since patterning one's life on that conception also takes effort, it follows from my account that happiness cannot simply happen to a person. Happiness requires effort.

Tranquillity requires assessment, evaluation of my stance; otherwise it would be difficult to distinguish between contentment and tranquillity. The question "am I happy?" develops, on my account, into the question "am I, on the whole, the sort of person I ought to be?" The assessment required by the latter question is a philosophical one...That is, "philosophy" is something like the art of living; its orientation is practical rather than theoretical... I mean that the kind of dialogical reflection in which one engages is like that of Socrates. It is full ofaporiai, yielding of further questions, never straightforwardly self-justifying, always lacking and incomplete.

Happiness in Motion: Desire and Delight, M. Miles

In the face of terrifying vulnerability, Nussbaum writes, Greek thinkers held the belief that reason's activity could make one safe, and thereby save the person "from living at the mercy of luck."...Plato's solution to the problem of human vulnerability was transcendence based on a thoroughgoing recognition and acceptance of the limitations of physical life in the world of nature, and on self-identification with immortal Reason.

"True beauty," Plato says, is "not clogged with the pollutions of mortality and all the colors and illusions of human life." Beauty "pure and unalloyed" is a vision of beauty accessible only to the trained eye, the eye trained by disciplined recognition of myriad beauties. The most careful exposition of Plato's thought must reflect, rather than resolve, the irreducible ambiguity of his attitude toward "the silken weavings of our afternoons."

What one irreducibly has, in the generosity of the universe, is what Plato calls a "sea of beauty." One can, then—and must—relax one's intransigent requirement that gratification must come from the one person one loves, and adjust one's love to beauty itself, in whatever form, wherever it is found. And it is found everywhere, Plato says; it is continuously adjacent to senses and intellect. Having recognized beauty in its collected and concentrated form, it pops into the eye everywhere. This is the happy life. Plato, like Aristotle after him, will not scruple to call the possessor of such a life "divine" because she is not at the mercy of "whatever happens" but has become adept at focusing the vision of beauty-which-is-happiness. Thus the happy life is invulnerable, relying not at all on circumstances.

Aristotle's proposal for the happy life revised Plato's ideal of selfsufficiency and invulnerability. Aristotle acknowledged the possibility that determined and practiced self-identification with rationality might not be enough to make human life good, and therefore happy. He admitted that certain calamities—debilitating illness, severe financial reverses, or the loss of those most dear—can, and regularly do, substantially alter a person, damaging personality and morality.

In Nussbaum's words: "the goal of the Aristotelian is not so much happiness in the sense of contentment as it is fullness of life and richness of value; it is not a solution to omit a value for happiness's sake, to reduce your demands on the world in order to get pleasing answers from the world. The Aristotelian will simply take on the world and see what can be done with it."

Aristotle says, the most virtuous activities are those that flow directly and spontaneously from one's nature. It is not a long step from here to his agreement with Plato that since reason is the "best part" of human beings, virtue, and with it happiness, will lie in the exercise, the activity, of this part. Contemplation is this activity, and, perhaps predictably, since a philosopher is describing it, the philosopher has the happiest life. Happiness will come, not from pleasures, but from the good life itself.

Though Plato and Aristotle agreed that the life of contemplation and reason enjoyed by the philosopher is the best life, Aristotle contributed the requirement that happiness is active, the exercise of a human being s most essential and defining characteristic. And he admitted both that some material conditions were essential to happiness and that happiness could be damaged or destroyed by the intervention of cruel circumstances. Happiness, for Aristotle, is necessarily more vulnerable than it is for Plato; it is still—as for Plato—a highly individual achievement.

Like his classical predecessors, Augustine was preoccupied with the beata vita, the "happy life" (the title of his first treatise as a Christian). The theme weaves throughout his long career as author and preacher. He once said in a sermon: "Everyone, whatever his condition, desires to be happy. There is no one who does not desire this, and each one desires it with such earnestness that it is preferred to all other things; whoever, in fact, desires other things, desires them for this end alone . . . in whatever life one chooses . . . there is no one who does not wish to be happy."

Augustine reworked the ideas of happiness that he received from Greek thought in two dramatic and decisive ways. First, he described happiness as fundamentally unattainable in this life, postponing its actualization to another time and space, outside present human experience. He identified the fulfillment of human happiness as the integration of person that would occur in the promised resurrection of the body. Until then, under the fragile and flawed conditions of human existence, nothing but momentary "glimpses" of happiness would be available....Augustine was the first expositor of happiness to insist that it has something crucial to do with the body, that the realization of happiness cannot occur until body is rescued from mortality and vulnerability.

Augustine's second revision of classical ideas of human happiness was to describe present experiences of happiness as perpetually and irreducibly in motion, oscillating between poles of desire and delight....He pictured a human self as plastic, composed and articulated by what it loves, stretches toward, and identifies with. To love the fragile fleeting objects and people in the world as if they could provide a total stimulus, a reason for being, then, is to make (quite literally) a deadening choice. When the objects vanish into thin air, so does the soul identified with, and defined by, them. It is, then, a matter of survival for the soul to attach itself with desire and delight to a totally trustworthy object, an object that cannot die.

According to Augustine the happy life must somehow be identified in one's own experience if one is to find the energy to move in its direction. In short, an idea of the happy life must be collected from memories of individual personal joy. Any joys will do, "base joys and disgraceful things," as well as "good and worthy joys." Once one has gathered composite memories of happiness and constructed from this collection a cumulative memory of what happiness is, then one has something both personal and concrete to desire, to long toward. Ultimately, of course, though one must perforce begin with memories of any old joys, it is joy in truth that energizes the happy life: "Certainly the happy life is joy in you, who are truth," he wrote, addressing God.

Yet Augustine also deeply distrusted happiness now. At least when he spoke as a theologian, he preferred suffering because one could learn from it. Present happiness is deceptive; it cannot last forever. And permanence was one of Augustine's requirements for true happiness—not merely the lifelong happiness Aristotle required for happiness worthy of the name, but eternal happiness.

Augustine's heady notion of eternal happiness has had its effects in the history of Christianity. His requirement that happiness worthy of the name is necessarily permanent eventuated in centuries of Christians who neither anticipated nor valued happiness now. They expected work and suffering; that is what they recognized as validating their Christianity.

Curiously, Augustine's overvaluation of happiness, his demand that it be a permanent state, his investment in sheltering it from the vulnerability of human life, have denied the possibility of "enough happiness," a "working happiness," a humanly achievable happiness. Moreover, the voluntary relinquishment of happiness in "this life" did not inspire committed work for just societies, only for individual salvation.

As we have seen, Augustine gave human bodies such importance that he refused to imagine a human happiness without invulnerable and permanent bodies, but the cost of this was to exclude the possibility of real happiness now. And when the philosophers and theologian we have considered sought to envision humanly good societies they either described Utopias (like Plato's Republic), or a frankly nonexperiential heavenly city (like Augustine's).

Something like Plotinus' description of the connectedness of living things in a vast—and beautiful—universe of interdependence is needed to challenge the individualistic and futuristic salvation of Christian tradition. As Plotinus put it, "there is no place to draw a limit, to say, 'this and no further is I.'" The primary self-identity of a person must be with the universe seen as beauty, as a finely textured relationship of parts to whole in which none of the parts could be without the whole. Moreover, something like Aristotle's notion that happiness is an activity, the activity most characteristic of human beings, is necessary in order to overcome the potential quietism of contemplation of the beautiful. What if participation in the Great Beauty were to be understood as activity in the world of bodies and society rather than as a self-isolating activity of spiritual exercise?

The universe is utterly interdependent. This knowledge is no longer intuited or romantic, but factual and concrete, the fundamental fact of life. If the universe is irreversibly interconnected for damage, it is also interwoven through veins of energy and delight. Thus, what must be discovered if one is to be happy, now and here, is the broader generosity of the universe, the continuous, amazing circulation of gifts, of love, of light. And this discovery must become the centerpiece of one's identity so that one actually feels a part of this circulation of wealth.

What is finally required for happiness is faith in the immense generosity of the universe, experienced as beauty. There is "enough," enough for all, if we will only cease trying to stipulate and control the channels through which it may flow to us, if we will "await it with confidence, and accept it with gratitude." This is not blind faith; it is grounded in vision and in the experience of many witnesses.

If, as I have claimed, happiness depends on intimate knowledge and experience of the consanguinity of living beings, then happiness is an art of perception, the vision of an eye that can, and must, be cultivated. Not a vision of the heavenly city; not that of an imagined utopia. But now. Here. Bodied and social. Happiness as desire and delight, delight and desire, in motion, active in the world.

It is important to note that the metaphor of vision does not necessarily imply that the one seeing must be at a distance from the object seen, as some twentieth-century theorists of vision have claimed. Plato was the first to articulate a theory of physical vision that emphasized the viewer's activity and the connection of viewer and object.

Happiness, then, will require both an energizing and compelling vision of an intimately interconnected world as the site of the "real self," and continuous investigation and revision of the ways this vision is lived in "human, all too human societies."

Happiness in the Confucian Way, Tu Wei-Ming

The fundamental concern of the Confucian tradition is learning to be human. The focus is not on the human in contrast with nature or with Heaven but the human that seeks harmony with nature and mutuality with Heaven. Indeed, learning to be human, in the Confucian perspective, entails a broadening and deepening process that acknowledges the interconnectedness of all those ways which define the human condition. Through an ever-expanding network of relationships encompassing the family, community, nation, world, and beyond, the Confucian seeks to realize humanity in its all-embracing fullness. This process of inclusion helps deepen our self-knowledge at the same time through a ceaseless effort to make our body healthy, our mind-and-heart alert, our soul pure, and our spirit brilliant. Self-cultivation is an end in itself and its primary purpose is self-realization. That is what it means to be happy.

A defining characteristic of Confucian humanism is faith in the creative transformation of our human condition as a communal act and as a analogical response to Heaven. This involves the integration of four dimensions of humanity: self, community, nature, and Heaven. An exploration of Confucian spirituality must take into consideration (1) the self as creative transformation, (2) the community as a necessary vehicle for human flourishing, (3) nature as the proper home for our form of life, and (4) Heaven as the source of ultimate self-realization.

Confucius made it explicit that learning is for the sake of the self rather than for the sake of others.3 On the surface, this seems to imply a sense of individuality fundamentally different from the conventional view of the primacy of the group in Confucian ethics. However, the Confucian insistence on learning for the sake of the self is predicated on the conviction that self-cultivation is an end in itself rather than a means to an end. Those who are committed to the cultivation of their personal life for its own sake can create inner resources for self-realization unimaginable to those who view self-cultivation merely as a tool for external goals such as social advancement and political success.

Learning as character building is for the sake of self-realization. The self so conceived is an open system involved in continuous transformation. It is never a static structure. The idea of the self as a discrete entity, isolated from the world, is diametrically opposed to the Confucian self as an open, dynamic, and transformative process.

Since the idea of selfhood devoid of communication with the outside world is alien to the Confucian tradition, Confucian selftransformation does not take the form of searching exclusively for one's own inner spirituality. Authentic self-transformation involves tapping spiritual resources from the cumulative symbolic tradition, the sympathetic resonance of society, the vital energy of nature, and the creative power of Heaven.

A distinctive feature of the Confucian spiritual orientation is the view that the human community is an integral part of our quest for self-realization. The idea of cutting loose from our primordial tiesethnicity, gender, language, land, and other intractable realities of life—as a precondition for our salvation is not even considered in the Confucian tradition. Confucians are profoundly aware that we are embedded in this world and that our spiritual journey must begin at home, here and now.

The Confucian proposal that we begin our spiritual journey at home is based on the strong belief that our self is experientially and practically a center of relationships. As a center of relationships, it constantly enters into communication with a variety of human beings. The significance of the other for our self-cultivation is evident because we rarely cultivate ourselves in isolation. It is through constant human interaction that we gradually learn to appreciate our selfhood as a transformative process.

The willingness to share empowers us to generate a dynamic process of interchange first with members of our family and, then, with our neighborhood community and beyond. Concentric circles of relationship move out from the self to family, community, country, world, and beyond. This broadening process is central to the Confucian project of self-cultivation.

The assumption is that the more we broaden ourselves to involve others, the more we are capable of deepening our self-awareness; our persistence in deepening our self-awareness is the basis for our fruitful interaction with an everexpanding network of human relatedness.

The proper measure for humanity is cosmological as well as anthropological; indeed it is "anthropocosmic." In the order of things, nature provides not only sustenance for life but also an inspiration for sustainable life. Implicit in the course of nature—the alternations of day and night and the changes of the four seasons—is a lesson in the enduring pattern of transformation: regularity, balance, and harmony....This sense of nature as home empowers the Confucians to find ultimate meaning in ordinary human existence, to cultivate a regularized, balanced, and harmonious lifestyle, and to unite what many other religions divide into "the secular" and "the sacred."

While radical transcendence, such as understanding God as the "wholly other," is absent in Confucian symbols, Heaven as a source for moral creativity, meaning of life, and ultimate self-transformation features prominently throughout the Confucian tradition. In this sense, all major Confucian thinkers are profoundly religious. While their ways of being religious are significantly different from those in organized religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, or Islam, their reverence for life, commitment to work, and dedication to ultimate self-transformation are based on a calling comparable in intensity of feeling and seriousness of purpose to any of the great world religions.

The provocativeness of the Confucian spiritual orientation lies in its "religiosity," rather than in its humanness, this-worldliness, and immanence. What distinguishes the Confucian approach to human flourishing is its emphasis on education—education as a form of learning, particularly "learning for the sake of oneself." Learning is conceived by the Confucians as a continuous holistic process of character building. This involves a continuing process of self-learning for the purpose of acquiring self-knowledge. Self-reflection and personal introspective examination are constantly practiced as part of the daily routine. The Confucian self, in this sense, is not a static structure but a dynamic ever-changing process.

Since the process of learning to be human is ceaseless, maturing never ends. We can sharpen our understanding of this dimension of the Confucian project by applying this insight to the life history of Confucius himself. Before Confucius died at the age of seventythree, he had remarked that he "could follow the dictates of my heart without overstepping the boundaries of right" at seventy.9 This total harmony between what one is and what one ought to be has been identified by later Confucians as an awe-inspiring attainment: the fusion of necessity with spontaneity.

We may summarize the Confucian paradox as follows: ontologically every human being is inevitably a sage and existentially no human being can ever become a sage. To put it in personal terms, I am not what I ought to be but the resources for me to learn what I ought to be are embedded in the very structure of what I am. This paradox, that every person is a potential sage while actually the process of learning to be a sage is never-ending, forms the context in which the Confucian Way is to be pursued.

The seemingly contradictory description of Confucius' critical awareness of the impracticality of putting his way into practice, and his self-conscious resoluteness to carry it out with all his heart, perceptively captures the spirit of the Confucian project... Despite pessimistic talk about a world beyond redemption, Confucius' faith in the transformability and perfectibility of human nature was never in question. However bleak the immediate situation may have appeared to him, he believed the Way could still prevail in society, and even in politics, through education. In any case, he saw the great task of "repossessing the Way" as a Heaven-ordained moral imperative and a spiritual calling, not to be denied whatever the odds.

We should also note that, despite Confucius' this-worldly spiritual orientation, he was not exclusively concerned with the improvement of the secular order. To characterize Confucius as a social reformer is deceptively simplistic. The Confucian project has a transcendent dimension. The idea that the human Way is sanctioned by Heaven implies that Confucian this-worldliness is profoundly religious.

What drew people to this teacher was a quiet charisma embodied in his daily interactions with students. There was no prophetic claim of privileged access to the divine. Nor was there any suggestion of noble birth or superior native intelligence....What inspired such devotion and confidence in his followers? Certainly they seem to have been heartened by his vision of the transcendent embedded in the practical living of ordinary daily existence. Moreover the commonness, humility, and reverence with which he approached life along with his burning conviction that steady improvement in human life is both a possibility and a necessity seem to have inspired many of them. Confucius may have failed as a potential statesman or as a practical social reformer. As an inspiring witness to the possibilities of human life, however, he certainly lived up to the calling of a fellow human being with a Heaven-ordained mission to transmit the Way, as an inexhaustible student and an untiring teacher.

Confucians may think highly of these admirable human qualities, but they strongly believe that the dignity, autonomy, and independence of the person need not be based on individualism. To define our personhood or our selfhood in terms of human fellowship with others does not undermine our individuality but instead recognizes the self-evident truth that human beings reach their highest potential through communication and communal participation with other human beings. Confucian humanism advocates that the world is redeemable through human effort, and that we can fully realize ourselves, or attain ultimate salvation, by self-cultivation.

A person's growth and development should never be viewed as a lonely struggle, for it involves participation in a large context of human-relatedness. Moreover, this process of learning to be human is not simply the development of the self in relation to one's family, neighborhood, community, or state; it is also a deepening process of self-knowledge and self-understanding.

Creating something out of nothing is not the paradigm of creativity for the Confucian. Rather, creativity in the cultural arena entails interpretive brilliance. It is in this sense that Confucius characterized himself as a transmitter rather than the creator of a tradition.

The Therapy of Desire, M. Nussbaum

I have argued that a conception of philosophy's task as medical, dedicated to the relief of human suffering, leads to a new conception of philosophical method and procedure; that choices of method and procedure are not, as some might suppose, content-neutral, but closely bound up with a diagnosis of human difficulties and an intuitive conception of human flourishing. I have tried to show that in each case the procedures embody complex conceptions of disease and health—and, as well, of friendship and the structure of community.

Asking how to live is never, in the Greek traditions, a merely academic exercise, nor philosophy a merely academic subject. It is prompted by real human perplexities, and it must address these in the end. But the Hellenistic schools move well beyond Aristotle, and even beyond Socrates and Plato, in their fine-tuned attention to the interlocutor's concrete needs and motives for philosophizing. They design their procedures so as to engage those deepest motivations and speak to those needs.

First of all, I have been troubled throughout by the possibility that the schools, in their passion for health, might subordinate truth and good reasoning to therapeutic efficacy. I argued that it was not unreasonable to define ethical truth (to some extent at least) in terms of the deepest needs and desires of human beings. All ethical theories make the connection between truth and desire somehow. In the case of an extreme form of Platonism, the link is contingent, through recollection. But in the case of Aristotle's theory, an ethical proposal will be rejected as false if it is too far out of line with the deepest wishes and desires of the participants in the inquiry.

The schools want the pupil to achieve eudaimonia, and all of them (even the Skeptics, or so I argue) operate with some definite conception of what this end is. They all, as well, view existing society as diseased in its beliefs and preferences, and the pupil as infected with those diseases. This naturally leads to a desire to intervene in the pupil's rational thought processes, to cut beneath what society has imparted in order to get at the sounder judgments that are, they hold, buried beneath this material in the soul. (Or, in the case of the Skeptics, to knock out all the belief-material, leaving nothing in its place.) Aristotle solves the problem of the pupil's autonomy by beginning with pupils who have already had a good moral education (which relies on habituation and other forms of non-philosophical, though certainly not non-intellectual, teaching). With such a pupil he can safely use open-ended dialectical strategies, since he can rely on their producing— in interaction with those relatively healthy preferences—an ethically reliable result. The Hellenistic schools cannot do this: and all, to a greater or lesser extent, restrict the pupil's free consideration of alternatives, manipulating the outcome.

Each of the schools claims to give the pupil a life according to nature. All make claims about nature, deriving them from some sort of scrutiny of the human being, its needs and capabilities. In all, the notion of nature is normative rather than simply descriptive, a notion of unimpeded flourishing connected with the removal of certain obstacles imposed by (usually social) diseases. And in all cases the claim to give us a life according to nature is connected with an idea of recognizing our finitude as mortal beings, giving up socially induced longings that take us beyond those limits. On the other hand, in all three schools as well there is a claim to give us a godlike life—usually in connection with the claim to remove disturbances that most vex a mortal life. Here we see, in each case, a tension or series of tensions between the repudiation of transcendence and the attempt to achieve another sort of transcendence.

The Skeptic's "nature" is still a normative idea of freedom from impediment; the impediments are, as in the other schools, traced to that which society and teaching impose. But in their zeal to remove these impediments, and through their relentless assault on normative commitment itself, they take away what has seemed to all other Greek philosophers—and to most ordinary people—to be, in normative terms, an essential part of our human flourishing.

It seems to me a major contribution of Hellenistic ethics to have urged us to think humanly, like the finite beings we are.

We must now confront directly the central problem with which many of these chapters have grappled: how far does the attachment of these schools to various versions of freedom from pain and disturbance allow their pupils to form commitments to anything outside their own virtue? And how complete is the life that results?

The Skeptics divest their pupil of all commitments, including cognitive commitments, on the grounds that any commitment to the world, even a commitment to the fact that it is this way or that, puts the pupil at risk. The Epicurean seems to understand ataraxia itself in a more active way than the Skeptic—not just as the absence of disturbance, but, in positive terms, as the healthy and unimpeded functioning of all our faculties, including, probably, some uses of our cognitive faculties, and possibly including the interactive mutuality of friendship. This means that even the end may include certain sorts of commitment to others; but the instrumental requirements of the end import far more commitments.

The injunction to live in accordance with nature is, in large part, the injunction to drop the frenzied pursuit of these pseudo-goals, and to reform one's desires and preferences in the light of the recognition that they are at best highly limited tools of human functioning. With probing arguments Epicureans and Stoics both show that the pupil's deepest and most consistent conception of human flourishing makes these items mere instruments, without intrinsic value. And by their analysis of connections between these false ends and socially divisive desires, they provide a further consequentialist argument in favor of their reform of preferences. These are arguments that contemporary social life and, above all, contemporary economic thinking, need to take to heart. For if the Hellenistic thinkers are correct, the behavior of individuals who seek to maximize wealth and other satisfactions—far from being either natural or rational— is the product of a diseased form of social teaching. Such behavior will not be chosen by fully informed human beings, when they have duly scrutinized the alternatives through a process of critical argument.

Hellenistic approaches to the therapy of human life focus on selfsufficiency. And where the pupil's needs make her dependent on a world that does not always meet those needs, they alter needs to meet the world, rather than altering the world to meet human needs. Sometimes one suspects that the account of what has intrinsic worth in human life is tailored to meet the philosopher's knowledge of what can be readily and reliably secured, so that the claim of the uncertain goods that politics distributes is not fairly acknowledged. Do these philosophers want so much to establish philosophy as the art of life, providing everything needed for eudaimonia, that they underrate the worth of political distribution? And doesn't this mean that, in their focus on the souls of individuals, they lose sight of another task that philosophy had previously performed, that of the education of legislators for just and humane public service?

Aristotle, who insists that certain "external goods" are necessary for eudaimonia, turns to political planning to bring the world to people; the Hellenistic thinkers, instead, make people adjust their aims to fit the uncertainties and injustices of the world.

The simple picture fits the Skeptics well: for they have no interest at all in modifying the world, and focus entirely on the project of getting the pupil to be less pained by the way things go in it. Even bodily pain they do not expect entirely to remove; so they will not consider an insufficiency of material goods incompatible with eudaimonia, so long as the pain caused by the absence of these goods is moderate. Beyond that (in a situation, say, of famine) they make no recommendation, political or philosophical, and leave it to the natural responses of the organism to cope as best it can. It is likely to cope selfishly. As for psychological pains caused by social evils such as slavery, injustice, loss of friends, their remedy is to remove the belief that these things are bad. Their pupil will thus (to use their own image) be a eunuch with respect to political change, having no desire, not even one that has to be resisted, to seek social remedies for injustice.

With the Epicureans, things are already more complicated. Epicurus himself strongly discourages active involvement in the political community, and treats justice as merely instrumental to one's own freedom from disturbance. But he is at the same time very much concerned with the body and its needs, defining all pain as bad and eudaimonia as requiring its absence. And he is also very concerned with structures of community, and the ways in which these can help human beings meet their needs. The very fact that Epicurus insists on the physical nature of all reality, including the reality of the human soul, is salient: for no longer (as in Platonism) can bodily ills be dismissed as harmless because they do not affect the "real me." The limits of his approach are, however, plain: not only in the instrumental conception of justice—well enough, perhaps, in a community of friends but less than adequate for a wider world—but also in the narrow boundaries of the world itself, its absence of concern for all but a few nearby people.

Stoic politics is built, to a great extent, on ideas not of human incompleteness but of human dignity and self-government. This emphasis, especially when combined with Stoic universalism about the potential for virtue, puts the Stoics in a position to make a strong contribution to accounts of human rights and human freedom. Their insistence on the equal humanity of slaves and women is especially striking—even if not combined with any very robust interest in altering the political realities of slaves' and women's lives. On the other hand, their firm repudiation of pity or compassion as a political motive undoes a tradition that played in the Greek world, and can still play in ours, a major role in appeals for beneficence and for the recognition of human fellowship and equality.

Stoic political thought seems to me, for these reasons, to be a very mixed achievement: profound and perceptive in its analysis of the politics of the passions and the limits of materialism, profound again in recognizing the dignity of humanity across differences of social class, ethnic membership, and even gender, harsh and dogmatic when it comes to the bearing of material circumstances on eudaimonia. It is one thing to recognize that even in conditions of slavery human beings retain an inalienable worth on account of which enslaving them is unjust and morally repugnant. It is quite another to claim that this dignity is the only thing of true importance to human flourishing, and that it is so rock hard that slavery doesn't touch it—so that it really doesn't matter to eudaimonia whether one is a slave or not. Here it is Aristotle and not the Stoics who seems to set political thought in the right direction: since functioning matters, and since functioning has material and institutional necessary conditions, material and institutional conditions matter, and matter enormously.

The Hellenistic thinkers all recognize that people are shaped by the institutional and material conditions in which they live. In fact, it is the deforming effect of institutions upon desire and functioning that is their starting point. And yet—this is the central difficulty—they seem to take as their task the production of perfect people, one by one, as if perfect people could in fact be produced without profound changes in material and institutional conditions.

The Hellenistic thinkers do not want to acknowledge to what extent the full success of their enterprise, where people are concerned, awaits and requires political and social alterations. For this would make human beings dependent on circumstances for flourishing, and most emphatically dependent on something other than philosophy. This the schools, with their teaching of selfsufficiency and their grand claims to be the art of life, would rather not acknowledge.

We can forgive many of these thinkers for not achieving much in and through politics: for the times in which they lived were difficult times, and it is never easy for philosophers to know how to do any good in politics. What we cannot and should not forgive them for is that they did not more often call for such changes, that they implied, indeed, that we could produce the kingdom of reason on earth simply by perfecting individuals one by one, and then permitting these perfected people to create the world.

The Hellenistic thinkers go beyond Aristotle, I believe, in the detail and power of their analyses of the relationship between emotion and belief, in their accounts of the evaluative element in emotion, in their suggestions concerning the interrelationships among the emotions, and, finally, in their connection of the emotional life with a very general view of the world, one in which we have hostages to fortune. Whatever one thinks of their arguments against the passions, and whatever one finally decides about the Stoic identification of passion with belief or judgment, these accounts are indispensable starting points for any future work.

Something in Between, L. Sumner

A theory about the nature of well-being must tell us, as Griffin says, what it is for something (anything) to be prudentially valuable for someone. In order to do so it must provide the appropriate relation to complete such formulas as 'x is prudentially valuable for y if and only if x stands in relation R to y. It would also be a mistake for such a theory to confuse the conditions that constitute the relation of prudential value (the value for R) with any of the particular things capable of being prudentially valuable (the values for x). An account of the nature of well-being is one thing, a list of its sources or ingredients quite another.... The distinction is important, because it offers the possibility that well-being may be unified in its nature though diverse in its sources or ingredients. I interpret Griffin's argument in Weil-Being as taking up this possibility by defending both a unified theory about the nature of well-being and 'a strong form of pluralism about [prudential] values' themselves.

That theory treats well-being, or utility, as 'the fulfilment of informed desires, the stronger the desires, the greater the utility' (WB 14). In explicating his account, Griffin tells us that 'desiring something is, in the right circumstances, going for it, or not avoiding or being indifferent to getting it'. A desire is informed when it is 'formed by appreciation of the nature of its object'. It is fulfilled 'in the sense in which a clause in a contract is fulfilled: namely, what was agreed (desired) comes about'. Finally, the strength of a desire is its 'rank in a cool preference ordering, an ordering that reflects appreciation of the nature of the objects of desire'.

The intentionality of desire is an awkward feature for a theory of prudential value. According to the desire theory, something makes me better off when it satisfies some (informed) desire on my part. Since my desires can range over spatially and temporally remote states of affairs, it follows that the satisfaction of many of them will occur at times or places too distant from me to have any discernible effect on me. In such cases it is difficult to see how having my desire satisfied could possibly benefit me.

However, the posthumous cases are merely the most dramatic instances in which the fulfilment of a desire fails to benefit us because it has no impact, direct or indirect, on our experience. The obvious remedy is to impose on the desire theory what Griffin has called an experience requirement (WB 13), which would stipulate that a state of affairs can be prudentially valuable for me only if it somehow enters or affects my experience. A version of the desire theory that incorporated such a requirement might look like this: x is prudentially valuable for me just in case (a) I desire x, (b) x occurs, and (c) I am at least aware of x's occurrence.

No version of a desire theory is a mental-state theory, since the actual occurrence of the desired state of affairs (clause (b) above) is a necessary condition for a prudential pay-off. An experience requirement makes awareness of this occurrence a further necessary condition. In doing so it does not, and cannot, convert the theory into a mental-state theory. Since Griffin rejects an experience requirement, he must find some other means of restricting the range of desires whose satisfaction will count as adding prudential value to our lives. His solution is to identify those desires that'enter our lives in a way beyond just being our desires' (WB21). Oneway for desires to 'enter our lives' in this way is for them to become 'the sort of aims or goals or aspirations on which the success of a life turns'...Perhaps Griffin's idea is that not all desires are for things we can get (i.e. bring into our lives).

Since our desires always represent our ex ante expectations, there is always room for these expectations to be mistaken. But in that case the satisfaction of our desires does not guarantee that we are better off; only our ex post experience will do that. Since it is the future-directedness of desire that creates this problem, it is tempting to try to put matters right by closing the gap between the way we expect things to go and the way they actually turn out. The obvious recourse here is to the requirement that a desire be adequately informed, or (as Griffin puts it) 'formed by appreciation of the nature of its object'. The effect of this requirement will be to screen out some of our actual desires; only the satisfaction of the subset of informed desires will count as enhancing our wellbeing.

Desires whose objects prove disappointing in the actual experience of them and desires whose objects never enter our experience at all—these are both cases in which the satisfaction of our desires appears insufficient to make us better off. What they demonstrate is that when a desire is satisfied it is a logically open question whether we are thereby benefited.

I conclude that certain logical features of desires—their intentionality and their future-directedness—make them ill-suited to playing a constitutive role in a formal theory about the nature of well-being. If I am right then desires are the wrong place to start in constructing such a theory.

In Griffin's extended sense of desire there is no longer any difference between wanting something and enjoying it—or rather, the latter simply becomes a particular instance of the former. But in that case we erase the distinction between different kinds of pro-attitudes, and different kinds of theory about the nature of prudential value. In particular, we make it more difficult to locate a kind of theory that might occupy the space in between desire theories and mental-state theories.

That this difference—between wanting something and enjoying it—can make a difference for a theory of prudential value is what I now want to show. So let .us take stock of where we are. Mental-state accounts are too narrow, because they exclude many states of the world that can be ingredients of our well-being. Desire accounts are too broad, because they include many states of the world that cannot be ingredients of our well-being. We ought, as Griffin suggests, to look in between. We know that the breadth of the desire account can be narrowed by introducing an experience requirement, but we also know that some anchoring in states of the world is necessary to avoid backsliding all the way into a mental-state theory. Enjoyment certainly seems to satisfy the first condition, since I can (occurrently) enjoy—find pleasing or satisfying— only what I am experiencing. As for the second condition—well, we need to develop an enjoyment account a little more to see how it might avoid being merely another form of mental-state theory.

Enjoyment is one standard source or ingredient of happiness, but it is not the only one: success in the pursuit of your aims counts as well. The desire theory went wrong by treating desire-satisfaction not as one important source of wellbeing but as constituent of its nature. Hedonism, even a more sophisticated version that takes enjoyment and suffering as its central notions (rather than pleasure and pain), likewise confuses an important source of happiness with its nature.

The important point is that happiness is a response by a subject to her life conditions as she sees them. It is a matter of whether she is finding the perceived conditions of her life satisfying or fulfilling. But what if her perception of important sectors of her life is a misperception? What if she is deceived (by others or by herself) about them? Suppose, for instance, that her happiness depends in part on her confidence in the loyalty and affection of a partner who in fact is merely using her for his own purposes. When she discovers the truth she will, of course, be miserable. But what are we to say of those months or years during which she was deluded? She was certainly happy then, but was her life going well for her?...However, it will encounter the same objections as hedonism, since it will still assess a subject's well-being entirely 'from the inside' with no reference to the actual conditions of her life. If the objections to mental-state theories are decisive, as I earlier agreed they are, then this equation of well-being with happiness must be rejected.

For better or worse, happiness does seem to be a (complex) mental state, dependent on how we see our lives and not (necessarily) on how they really are. Where our assumptions about the conditions of our lives turn out to be mistaken, therefore, happiness and well-being may part company.

Because a reality requirement stipulates a right answer—any happiness based on illusion can make no intrinsic contribution to our well-being—it must be rejected as presumptuously dogmatic. It seems even more dogmatic from a third-person standpoint: who are we to dictate that the solace someone else finds in a comforting fantasy should count for nothing?

A justification requirement would be weaker than a truth or reality requirement, since it would not discount the meaning brought to our lives by beliefs that, though false as matters turned out, were at least reasonable under the circumstances. Assuming that we can agree on standards of reasonable belief, a justification requirement would have the mild advantage of moving closer to the subject's point of view concerning the conditions of her life, but, in reserving well-being exclusively for the rational, it is not much less arrogant than the stronger demand for truth...We can take a somewhat different direction with this issue if we borrow from the desire theory the requirement that a person's endorsement of the conditions of her life be adequately informed. What we are seeking is a theory of welfare that makes the subject's outlook on her life authoritative for determining when that life is going well for her.

We must find some other way of determining how well informed a subject must be in order for her level of happiness to determine how well her life is going. The place to start is with a (slightly) different question: 'When is information adequate?' or 'When would more information be relevant?' The obvious answer is: 'whenever it would make a difference to a subject's affective response to her life, given her priorities.'

The problem with reality or justification requirements is that they impose uniform discount rates on everyone alike: happiness has no prudential payoff unless fully informed, or is discounted at a steady rate as it becomes less informed. The relevance of information for a person's well-being is a personal matter to be decided by personal priorities; there is here no authoritative public standard...Where a person's endorsement of his life is factually uninformed, or misinformed, that gives us one reason for doubting its authority (whether it is a sufficient reason depends on whether the endorsement will, or would, survive the acquisition of the missing information).

The Central Conflict: Morality and Self-Interest, J. Raz

According to James Griffin, "The most important point to make about the putative dualism of practical reason is that deliberation of a sufficiently global scope is not conducted in terms of'prudence', 'self-interest' or 'flourishing' on the one side and 'morality' on the other. It is conducted in terms of strength of practical reasons.. .. values, neither expressly prudential nor expressly moral but values . . . are what we appeal to."

Reflection on the nature of morality, the sources of its normativity, and the motivation people have, or should have, to abide by it, often centres on the problems posed by the possibility of conflict between morality and selfinterest. It is sometimes said that the central question of morality is: why is it that we must conform with morality even when doing so involves significant sacrifice of our own interests?

I will take it for granted (a) that morality can call upon one to make sacrifices, and (b) that moral requirements can conflict with the well-being of the agent to whom they are addressed. The difficulty is that neither seems possible according to the classical view.

The central claim of this articles is that while people may reasonably care about their own well-being, a person's well-being is not, for that person, a source of reasons for action. Section 5 will explain how it is that reason may require people to act against their own self-interest, while the final two sections reflect on the character of people's concern for their own well-being.

Reasons are either prudential or moral (or belonging to some other kind). Prudential reasons have a weight or stringency that is determined by the degree to which they serve the agent's well-being. The stringency of moral reasons is determined from the moral point of view, independently of their contribution to the wellbeing of the agent. It is not surprising that prudential and moral reasons often conflict. The hard question is what to do when they do, and how to understand the fact that moral reasons have normative force even though they do not serve the agent's well-being.

There is nothing very special about the moral arguments, which sets them apart from the others. Were moral considerations a class apart, were they derived—as Kant, for example, thought—from a master argument that determines not only their content, but their character and their stringency, we would not have been able, in practical deliberation, to take our eyes off this fact. It would have determined the outcome of our deliberation. For example, had Griffin, and others, been right in thinking that moral considerations always trump all others, their presence would have put an end to any consideration of any other factor.

If, when we deliberate, reasons and values feature in our thoughts regardless of their relation to our well-being, then considerations that advance our well-being need not be undertaken with that as our end. How can that be?

The more successful a person is in his life the better is his life, other things being equal. Other things need not be equal, for there are other factors that affect the quality of a person's life. One's attitude to oneself and to one's life is one of them. The life of people who are consumed by self-doubt, or selfhate, or suffering from very low self-esteem is diminished by these factors. Similarly, success in relationships or enterprises that are demeaning, worthless, or evil does not contribute to one's well-being. But, provided one's success is in something worthwhile, and that one is at peace with oneself and wholehearted about one's life, then well-being depends on the degree to which one is successful in one's relationships and goals.

Both goals and relationships are subject to people's voluntary control in the sense that they maintain and develop or pursue them at will. They can decide to abandon them or let them decline, or decide to let them assume a more or less prominent role in their lives. So people's well-being depends, up to a point, on themselves—on their wisdom and judgement in choosing goals and relationships, and in pursuing them.

But are there any other restrictions on the sort of ends that could further a person's well-being? This question brings us to the heart of our subject. If the demands of morality and people's concern for their own wellbeing are often, perhaps even normally or necessarily, in conflict, then perhaps all possible considerations, all possible goals, etc., divide into at least two distinct classes: one including those pursuit of which advances the agent's wellbeing and the other consisting of those pursuit of which is morally required, but which by their nature cannot advance the agent's well-being, and sometimes, or often, conflict with the agent's well-being.

Some people may object that by removing the requirement that only what gives pleasure can be good for the agent I removed the subjective element in the notion of well-being. 'And this', they will say, 'is inconsistent with the thought that the notion designates the goodness of the life from the point of view of the person whose life it is. If well-being is having a life full of good actions and activities then it is indistinguishable from the morally good life. But we know that people can have a good life even though their lives are not free from moral blemish. Moreover, we know that moral considerations can conflict with a person's self-interest. Hence, well-being must be connected to pleasure. This is its connection to the person's own point of view.'

The direct implication of the discussion so far is that it is plausible to think that there is no inherent conflict between morality and self-interest. It does not follow that they do not conflict. Whether or not they do may depend on the circumstances, and on the choices people make during their lives.

If our well-being is determined, other things being equal, by success in our goals, which we can adopt, maintain, or abandon, as well as upgrade or downgrade in importance relative to other goals, and since our well-being can be served by doing what we have moral reason to do, does it not follow that, so long as we choose wisely, we choose in ways that serve both morality and our well-being?

There is a second closely related difficulty: the classical conception of well-being makes self-sacrifice impossible. We often feel that moral considerations force us to do what we do not want to do, and that is what is meant by saying that we have to make sacrifices if we are to be moral. But, and this is the difficulty, according to the classical view, so long as we are whole-heartedly rational, morality can never be rightly said to impose requirements that force us to do what we do not want to do...If so, then considerations of morality and of well-being never conflict. Moral considerations do conflict with non-moral considerations, but they do not conflict with concern for my well-being. That concern is malleable. It is shaped by what I have reason to do, including moral reasons. Well-being cannot conflict with morality, for it embraces it.

The dependence of the perspective of the agent's well-being on the temporal dimension explains why we tend to find it natural to think that morally valuable activities, such as tending the sick or teaching the young, do not necessarily detract from the agent's well-being, whereas actions, such as giving to charity, do. Typically, actions have shorter duration than activities, and therefore, other things being equal, contribute less to the agent's well-being. These are, of course, gross generalizations, to which counter-examples are easy to find.

Finally, it is important to emphasize that, while cases in which self-interest is at odds with morality provide one context in which reason sometimes requires agents to act in ways detrimental to their self-interest, this is not the only context where this can happen. Part of the reason that some moral considerations can set back one's well-being is that they are categorical. Categorical reasons are those whose weight or stringency is independent of the agent's will. Many of the reasons that apply to us arise out of our goals and relationships, and depend on our will in choosing and wishing to maintain those goals and relationships. Categorical reasons, such as the reason we have not to kill people, have stringency that is unaffected by whether or not they serve our goals.

As we saw, one's well-being depends on success in worthwhile and wholeheartedly engaged-in goals and relationships. Other things being equal, so long as one is successful in the pursuit of one's goals and the conduct of one's relationships one's life goes well. That makes judgements of well-being depend on the goals people have.

I am not saying that there are no reasons to guide us in the choice of goals and relationships whose success will make our life go well for us. First, we are guided by the relative value of the goals that we can choose. Secondly, we are also guided in our choice of goals by the chances that we will be successful in them. Some may argue that these two points show that we are guided by the pursuit of our well-being after all. How can we assess the relative value of two goals save by their contribution to our own well-being?

Normally considerations of well-being cannot help with choice of goals. Nor can they determine when is the right time to abandon one goal and look for, or adopt, another. The fact that we know that our well-being will not be harmed if we abandon our goal is neither here nor there. We persist with one goal, or abandon another, or take up a new one, because these are attractive to us, and not because of concern for our well-being.

Not everything that happens to a person, or that he does, affects the course of his life. To do so it must be significant for the life as a whole, or for non-negligible parts of it. If I break off from writing and have a cup of coffee, my well-being will not be affected at all. I have suggested elsewhere that only what affects our comprehensive goals and relationships—that is, those within which much of our short-term goals nest—affects our well-being.

I have argued in the present section that well-being cannot be the fountain of all our 'self-regarding' reasons. First, what serves our well-being depends on our goals and relationships, and they cannot, normally, be chosen for the sake of promoting our well-being. Secondly, we may have reasons for 'selfregarding' actions that have no bearing on our well-being. It follows that the pursuit of well-being can at best be one goal of several one may have.

Some, including some of the most important, goals and relationships cannot be successfully pursued with the aim of improving one's well-being. Loving relationships are motivated by mutual love, and one cannot love another because doing so improves one's life. There are other goals and relationships that have to be undertaken for certain motives, that are other-regarding, rather than self-concerned.

Finally, a fourth way in which the goal of pursuing one's well-being can affect one is a consequence of the fact that concern for one's well-being ranges over one's past as well as over one's future. While we cannot change the past, that does not mean that we are indifferent to how well we did in it. Moreover, it is not the case that our concern about the past cannot be action guiding. Some people have the super-goal of shaping their future to suit their past, to continue its path, complement it, make up for it, and so on, in order to make their life better as a whole. They may, for example, wish to compensate for past errors or failures by having another go at the same objectives, hoping that future success will redeem past failures.

It is, therefore, possible to have as one of one's goals the advancement of one's well-being. This leaves intact the following conclusions I argued for above:

1. It is not necessary to have that goal in order to have a good life. Those who do not have it are as likely to have a good life as those who do. 2. Certain important human goods such as love and friendship cannot be pursued with the aim of improving one's well-being. 3. One cannot have only the goal of having a good life. One succeeds in it only by succeeding in other goals. But the goal of having a good life does not provide rational guidance in the choice of one's other goals. 4. These are just one aspect of the fact that pursuit of one's own well-being of does not serve the pivotal role that it is assigned both in some philosophical writing and in popular thought.

The pursuit of one's well-being, at least when given prominence in one's life, is not a very attractive goal to have. In general one's well-being should be an unintended (though obviously not unwelcome) result of the way one leads one's life, rather than one's goal or reason for being concerned with whatever one is.

Those who adopt the goal of pursuing their own well-being can adopt it in part only, and they can give it more or less importance in their lives. At a minimum it is not a goal at all, merely a focus of evaluative concern. In some ways this is the most attractive stance to take towards one's well-being (though this is a matter of individual preference).

First, since success in worthwhile activities contributes to one's well-being, people who know that know that what they do for pleasure, or for a thrill, will, other things being equal, be good for their life. The point I am making here is merely that that is not normally the motivating thought, nor should it be. Secondly, I am not claiming that it is always wrong, let alone self-defeating, to be motivated by concern for one's well-being (in the minimal sense). Merely that, especially if this is the general attitude one has towards all one's activities and relationships, it shows a defect in one's personality, a form of narcissism that impairs one's ability to be fully engaged with anything other than oneself.

Concern for one's well-being is just one possible, and culturally conditioned, manifestation of people's concern for themselves. One way in which the fundamental concern for oneself differs from concern for one's well-being is in being manifested in a variety of different ways, not necessarily including caring about well-being, in different people.

Does concern for the well-being of others encompass all that is morally relevant in one's relations with them? If, as seems likely, it does not, how does it relate to other concerns? In so far as one has reason to be concerned with the well-being of others, how does that concern manifest itself?

Welfare and Happiness, L. Sumner

What hedonism lacks is a reference to the world outside the subject's mental states, while the desire theory, in correcting this problem, loses all connection with the subject's experience of the conditions of his life. Of the two accounts, the latter seems the less promising starting point for building a new and better theory, since the addition of any form of experience requirement is likely to displace desire altogether as the subjective notion central to an understanding of welfare. If we are to work from the established views, therefore, we must return to hedonism.

Although there is a sizeable philosophical literature on the nature of happiness, both traditional and contemporary, few believe that it consists either in pleasure and the absence of pain or in the satisfaction of informed desire. Indeed, no simple theory about the nature of happiness enjoys much support among philosophers; there is not even agreement that such a theory is possible. About the only thing everyone agrees on is that happiness is a complex and multi-faceted notion, one not easily reduced to a formula or slogan.

The theory I shall defend does not simply identify well-being with happiness; additionally, it requires that a subject's endorsement of the conditions of her life, or her experience of them as satisfying or fulfilling, be authentic. The conditions for authenticity, in turn, are twofold: information and autonomy. Welfare therefore consists in authentic happiness. This theory is subjective, since it makes a subject's welfare depend on her attitudes, and since the function of the authenticity requirement is to ensure that these attitudes are genuinely hers. It satisfies the experience requirement, since a subject's happiness is a matter of her experience of the conditions of her life. However, it is not a mental state theory since authenticity is a relation between the subject and the world. The happiness theory thus mediates between hedonism and the desire theory, exploiting the strengths of each while avoiding their weaknesses.

Happiness, like welfare, is subjective. There is, however, this difference between the two notions: whereas the subjectivity of welfare is disputed and needs to be argued for, the subjectivity of happiness is obvious on the face of it.

Most importantly, sensations are identified as pleasurable or painful simply by the way they feel, and are typically (though not necessarily) liked or disliked for this feeling quality. Because we can distinguish between the intrinsic phenomenal properties of pleasure and pain, on the one hand, and our attitudes toward them, on the other, it is possible for us to be indifferent to either, or even to dislike the former and like the latter.... When pleasure and pain are understood in this way, their connection with happiness becomes very distant and tenuous. As physical sensations, pleasures are discrete episodes in our lives which are certainly capable of contributing to our happiness. A life totally devoid of pleasure is difficult even to imagine; if conceivable, then it seems a great waste of the opportunities available to us as embodied beings. But there is no ground for the dogmatic claim that the ascetic life cannot be a happy one. There are other sources of reward besides the body, and who is to say that they cannot add up to a life which is experienced as rewarding or fulfilling?

The proper place for physical pleasure within a life cannot be dictated by a theory, but needs instead to be fixed by the subject's own priorities. Which is to say that it is not the phenomenal properties of the sensation itself which determine just how much a particular pleasure will contribute to our happiness, but rather the meaning or significance which we attach to it.

It is obvious that if pleasure and pain are interpreted as particular feelings or sensations then they are ill fitted to play a constitutive role in a theory about the nature of happiness. They belong instead in our inventory of the (typical or standard) sources of happiness or misery, and they are not the only items in that inventory, nor necessarily the most important.

Enjoyment and suffering are plausible candidates for a constitutive role in a theory of happiness precisely because they are (positive and negative) attitudes or responses to the experiences which make up our lives. It seems roughly right to say that we are happy when we have a (preponderantly) affirmative attitude toward the conditions of our lives, and unhappy when our attitude tends toward the negative.

Four kinds or dimensions of happiness are worth distinguishing:

(1) Being happy with or about something. A distinctive feature of this kind of happiness is that it requires completion by an intentional object: there must be something with or about which you are happy (the recent political developments in Europe, the achievements of a friend, your new computer, etc.).

(2) Feeling happy. This contrasts with the first kind of happiness in two principal respects: it involves an occurrent feeling and requires no intentional object. Not quite grand enough to count as an emotion, it is rather a mood of optimism or cheer which colours your outlook on your life and on the world in general, concentrating attention on everything that is positive and upbeat. The feeling in question can range from mere contentment to a state of intense joy or euphoria accompanying the unshakeable conviction that the condition of your life is just perfect, that things could not be going better...Perhaps the most striking feature of this euphoria is its sense of completeness: right here, right now you have it all—nothing is lacking, nothing remains to be striven for, you are utterly at peace. There may be nothing in particular you feel happy about (except perhaps your life in general); you just feel happy...Feelings of happiness and unhappiness are frames of mind subject to fluctuation from day to day, rather than settled judgements about the quality of our lives.

(3) Having a happy disposition/personality. While feeling happy is an occurrent episode in your life, you may have a settled tendency toward such positive moods. If so, then we may say that you have a happy (sunny, cheerful, buoyant, upbeat) disposition, or that you are a basically happy person. This is the sense in which animals or infants can be happy, despite being incapable of sizing up their lives as a whole. The opposite, of course, is a personality which tends toward the gloomy, melancholy, grouchy, or misanthropic.

(4) Being happy/having a happy life. We come now to the notion of happiness with which we will be principally concerned, that in which you are (have been) happy or your life is (has been) a happy one. Being happy in this sense means having a certain kind of positive attitude toward your life, which in its fullest form has both a cognitive and an affective component. The cognitive aspect of happiness consists in a positive evaluation of the conditions of your life, a judgement that, at least on balance, it measures up favourably against your standards or expectations... Clearly this sort of prudential stocktaking is possible only for creatures capable of assessing their lives as wholes, either at a time or over some extended period of time. The cognitive component of happiness is therefore beyond the range of many subjects-of-alife, such as small children and non-human animals.

There is also no straightforward relationship between happiness and feelings of joy or bliss. The latter are related to the former as its contingent sources or ingredients: they will tend to make a life a happier one, but they are not necessary for happiness. Nor is a cheerful or ebullient personality; those of a more stoic or spartan disposition can still affirm the conditions of their lives and find them rewarding.

To enjoy something is to find it agreeable or rewarding for its own sake. Since this is possible only for your own experiences, the range of things about which you can be happy is much broader than those you can enjoy. Enjoyment also has an affective component which may be entirely absent from this first kind of happiness. If you are enjoying something then it follows that you are happy with it, but the converse does not hold.

Enjoyment and suffering are certainly more intimately tied up with happiness than are pleasure and pain. Once we confine the latter to certain kinds of sensations, identified by their characteristic feeling tone, then there is no future in the idea that a happy life must contain a maximum of pleasure or a minimum of pain, or even a balance of the former over the latter. But enjoyment and suffering are still too episodic, too tied to experiences of specific activities or conditions, to be identifiable with happiness and unhappiness.

It is certainly true that, ceteris paribus, having more things you enjoy and fewer you suffer from will make you happier. But there is no algorithm for computing your level of happiness from the intensity or duration of your particular enjoyments or sufferings. (It was the root mistake of the classical hedonists to believe there could be such an algorithm.) Like pleasures and pains, enjoyments and sufferings are typical sources of happiness and unhappiness. But they are not the only such sources: success or failure in the pursuit of your aims count as well. The desire theory went wrong by treating desire-satisfaction not as one important source of well-being but as constituent of its nature. Hedonism, even the improved version which takes enjoyment and suffering as its central notions, likewise confuses an important source of happiness with its nature.

As Richard Easterlin put it, in an influential discussion: "One may attempt to use 'objective' indexes such as consumption, nutrition, or life expectancy to infer happiness. Or one may seek to gauge wellbeing from various behavioral indicators, for example, measures of the prevalence of social disorganization (delinquency, suicide, and so forth). Ultimately, however, the relevance of such measures rests on an assumed connection between external manifestations and internal states of mind— in effect, on a model of human psychology. And if it is feelings that count, there is a real possibility that subjective reports may contradict the 'objective' evidence. To social scientists, and especially economists, this can be frustrating."

We cannot understand the psychological quality of a person's life simply from a knowledge of the circumstances in which that person lives. There are many good reasons for knowing the context of people's lives—their environmental condition, their economic status, their work life—but none of this information gives us more than a partial explanation of why some people find their lives enjoyable and satisfying and some do not.

In short, people's self-assessments tend to be reliable when they are relevant, sincere, and considered. Of course, it is never possible to eliminate all sources of bias or distortion in self-reporting. But it is also worth keeping in mind that in determining how happy people are we are not solely dependent on what they say. We can also refer to behavioural signs (happy people tend to act happy) as well as second-person assessments by knowledgeable others (happy people tend to look happy to their friends and relations).

For better or worse, happiness does seem to be a mental state, dependent on how we see our lives and not (necessarily) on how they really are. Where our assumptions about the conditions of our lives turn out to be mistaken, therefore, happiness and wellbeing may part company. Why then would philosophers be tempted, counterintuitively, to add a truth (or justification) condition to their conception of happiness?

A truth or reality requirement would stipulate that happiness counts as well-being only when it is based on a view of the conditions of our lives which is free from factual error. This stipulation would be unreasonably puritanical. We do not invariably reassess earlier periods of happiness in this austere manner once we realize the extent to which they depended on false beliefs about states of the world...Because a reality requirement stipulates a right answer—any happiness based on illusion can make no intrinsic contribution to our well-being—it must be rejected as presumptuously dogmatic. It seems even more dogmatic from a third-person standpoint: who are we to dictate that the solace someone else finds in a comforting fantasy should count for nothing?

A justifiability requirement would be weaker than a reality requirement, since it would not discount the meaning brought to our lives by assumptions which, though false, were at least reasonable under the circumstances. Assuming that we can agree on standards of reasonable belief, a justifiability requirement would have the mild advantage of moving closer to the subject's point of view concerning the conditions of her life, but in reserving wellbeing exclusively for the rational it is not much less arrogant than the stronger demand for truth. Once again it presumes to dictate to individuals how much their deviations from an ideal epistemic standpoint should matter to them. But that is for them to decide.

By connecting welfare with happiness we have interpreted that point of view as an endorsement or affirmation of the conditions of her life. When that endorsement is based on a clear view of those conditions, we have no grounds for questioning or challenging its authority: in this respect, the individual is sovereign over her well-being. But when it is based, wholly or partly, on a misreading of those conditions then its authority is open to question, since it is unclear whether or not she is endorsing her life as it really is. Where someone is deceived or deluded about her circumstances, in sectors of her life which clearly matter to her, the question is whether the affirmation she professes is genuine or authentic.

The relevance of information for a person's well-being is a personal matter to be decided by personal priorities; there is here no authoritative public standard. Still, the problem remains that the self-assessments which individuals report cannot merely be taken at face value; we need to know whether they are authentic. The best way to capture the condition they must satisfy is to say that they are defeasible—that is, they are authoritative unless we have some reason to think that they do not reflect the individual's own deepest priorities.

Sen has two main reasons for rejecting all accounts which equate welfare with utility: (i) by reducing welfare to pleasure, desire-fulfilment, or any form of felt satisfaction, such theories fail to capture its evaluative dimension, and (2.) because of the malleability of personal preferences, they leave individual well-being too sensitive to such extraneous factors as social conditioning.

The importance of Sen's second criticism cannot be overstated; it is surely the main reason for questioning the adequacy of any subjective theory of welfare, whatever its constituent ingredients, and for favouring more objective accounts....The problem here is rooted not in the adequacy of people's factual information but in the malleability of their personal values. There seems to be nothing in the theory so far which would rule out finding fulfilment in forms of life which are trivial or exploitative or demeaning.

A subject's ability to recognize a demeaning or dehumanizing life as such itself depends partly on the extent to which she has been able to emancipate herself from extraneous influences; effecting that emancipation is one of the purposes of consciousness-raising or psychotherapy. The insidious aspect of social conditioning is precisely that the more thorough it is the less its victims are able to discern its influence on their judgements about their lives.

It is in response to Sen's problem that some philosophers have embraced a kind of hybrid theory, which combines subjective and objective components. After all, if the problem lies with the standards which people use to assess their lives, what remedy could be more straightforward than to stipulate what those standards should be? When cast in terms of happiness, the general form of the hybrid view would be that something can contribute to a subject's well-being (directly or intrinsically) only if (i) the subject finds it satisfying or fulfilling, or endorses it as an ingredient in her life, and (2.) it is independently valuable.

Let us say, then, that (self-assessed) happiness or life satisfaction counts as well-being only when it is autonomous... Etymologically, the root idea of autonomy is self-rule or selfdirection. In its original use (by the Greeks) it applied not primarily to individuals but to polities such as city-states, where it had more or less the same meaning as our modern notion of sovereignty. Nowadays, however, the concept of primary interest to philosophers is that of personal autonomy. What has been carried over from the political to the personal realm is the core notion of managing one's own affairs, of not being subject to the will of others. A person is autonomous when her beliefs, or values, or aims, or decisions, or actions are, in some important sense, her own. There is therefore an evident connection between autonomy and what we have been calling authenticity.

As John Christman has put it, 'what is crucial in the determination of the autonomy of a desire is the manner in which the desire was formed—the conditions and factors that were relevant during the (perhaps lengthy) process of coming to have the value or desire'. As a result, 'the central focus for autonomy must make particular reference to the processes of preference formation, in particular what makes them "manipulative" in a way crucially different from "normal" processes of selfdevelopment'.

The solution cannot, however, be quite as simple as that. As Christman himself acknowledges, the historical approach is not complete until it has offered some means of distinguishing between 'manipulative' and 'normal' processes of the formation of desires or values. How is this distinction to be drawn? We must keep in mind here that all of our aims, values, and ideals will have been influenced to some extent by our peculiar personal histories and the socialization processes which have shaped us; none of us developed in a social vacuum....It appears, therefore, that neither of the currently dominant theories about the nature of autonomy is self-sufficient.

Selfassessments of happiness or life satisfaction are suspect (as measures of well-being) when there is good reason to suspect that they have been influenced by autonomy-subverting mechanisms of social conditioning, such as indoctrination, programming, brainwashing, role scripting, and the like. Since these are all socialization processes, and since we are all historically embedded selves, the practical question becomes how much emancipation from her background and social conditions a subject must exhibit in order for her self-assessment to be taken at face value. As in the case of the information requirement, the best strategy here is to treat subjects' reports of their level of life satisfaction as defeasible— that is, as authoritative unless there is evidence that they are nonautonomous.

On a subjective theory, individuals are the ultimate authorities concerning their own welfare. Their self-assessments are therefore determinative of their well-being unless they can be shown to be inauthentic, i.e. not truly theirs. The requirements that these assessments be informed and autonomous spell out the conditions of authenticity. A person's own view of her life satisfaction carries an initial presumption of authenticity, and thus of authority. It can be mistaken, even deeply distorted. But it must be shown to be so before we can have any ground for discounting it.

Equality of What? On Welfare, Goods, and Capabilities, G. Cohen

Before 'A Theory of Justice' appeared, political philosophy was dominated by utilitarianism, the theory that sound social policy aims at the maximization of welfare. Rawls found two features of utilitarianism repugnant. He objected, first, to its aggregative character, its unconcern about the pattern of distribution of welfare, which means that inequality in its distribution calls for no justification. But, more pertinently to the present exercise, Rawls also objected to the utilitarian assumption that welfare is the aspect of a person's condition which commands normative attention. Rawls replaced aggregation by equality and welfare by primary goods. He recommended normative evaluation with new arguments (goods instead of welfare quanta) and a new function (equality instead of aggregation) from those arguments to values.

It was not welfare, or not, at any rate, welfare alone, which Sen thought people should have the opportunity to achieve. Instead, he drew attention to the condition of a person (e.g. his level of nutrition) in a central sense captured neither by his stock of goods (e.g. his food supply) nor by his welfare level (e.g. the pleasure or desire satisfaction he obtains from consuming food). In advancing beyond Rawls, Sen therefore proposed two large changes of view: from actual state to opportunity, and from goods (and welfare) to what he sometimes called 'functionings'.

Sen's argument against the primary goods metric was simple but powerful. It was that differently constructed and situated people require different amounts of primary goods to satisfy the same needs, so that 'judging advantage in terms of primary goods leads to a partially blind morality'. It is, Sen rightly said, a 'fetishist handicap' to be concerned with goods as such, to the exclusion of what goods 'do to human beings'. Or, as Sen later expressed the point: 'what people get out of goods depends on a variety of factors, and judging personal advantage just by the size of personal ownership of goods and services can be very misleading... It seems reasonable to move away from a focus on goods as such to what goods do to human beings'. The principle of equality condemns equal goods provision to a sound-limbed person and a paraplegic, because greater resources are necessary to enable the latter to achieve mobility, a desideratum to which a metric of stock of wealth is blind.

According to that argument, as we have seen, it is necessary to attend to what goods do to (or for) human beings, in abstraction from the utility they confer on them. But to call what goods supply to human beings 'capability" was a mistake. For even when utility has been set aside, it is not true that all that goods do for people is confer capability on them-provide them, that is, with the capacity to do things-or that that is the uniquely important thing they do for them, or that that is the one thing they do for them that matters from an egalitarian point of view. In naming his view 'Basic Capability Equality' Sen failed to delineate the true shape and size of one of the dimensions he had uncovered, and which I shall now try to describe.

It is indeed false that the whole relevant effect on a person of his bundle of primary goods is on, or in virtue of, his mental reaction to what they do for him. There is also what welfarists ignore: what they do for him, what he gets out of them, apart from his mental reaction to or personal evaluation of that service. I shall call that non-utility effect of goods midfare, because it is in a certain sense midway between goods and utility. Midfare is constituted of states of the person produced by goods, states in virtue of which utility levels take the values they do. It is 'posterior' to 'having goods' and 'prior' to 'having utility'.

Each terminus of the goods-midfare-utility sequence has seemed to some the right focus for assessment of a person's situation from an egalitarian point of view. Rawlsians look at the beginning of the sequence and welfarists look at its end. Welfarists think that the Rawlsian measure is too objective, that it takes too little account of distinguishing facts about individuals. Rawlsians think that the welfare measure is too subjective, that it takes too much account of just such facts. The reasons each side gives for disparaging its opponent's dimension suggest that each should prefer midfare to the dimension favoured by its opponent.

Given that each side in the foregoing division has reason to prefer the midfare dimension to the one favoured by its opponents, it is extraordinary that midfare had not been uncovered, and Sen's reorienting proposal was consequently profound and liberating, albeit remarkably simple. For it simply says that, in the enterprise of assessing a person's well-being, we must look to her condition in abstraction from its utility for her. We must look, for example, at her nutrition level, and not just, as Rawlsians do, at her food supply, or, as welfarists do, at the utility she gets out of eating food. But this significant and illuminating reorientation is not equivalent to focusing on a person's capability, in any ordinary sense. Capability, and exercises of capability, form only one part of the intermediate midfare state. What goods do to people is identical neither with what people are able to do with them nor with what they actually do with them.

The concept of capability is insufficiently general to capture one of the things that Sen wants to identify....There are two powerful motivations for pointing to something other than either goods or utility when concerning pneself with egalitarian policy, but the motivations point at different things. There is good reason to look at what a person can achieve, independently of his actual state; and there is good reason not to reduce the evaluation of that actual state either to an examination of his stock of resources or to an assessment of his utility level. But these are distinct points, and the language of capability felicitously covers the first one only.

In Sen's discourse, to have a capability is to be capable of achieving a range of what he calls 'functionings'. But Sen characterizes functionings differently at different times, and thereby adds further imprecision to the presentation of his view. Sometimes, in keeping with the ordinary meaning of 'functioning', and in line with Sen's original gloss on 'capability' as 'being able to do certain basic things', a functioning is by definition an activity, something that a person does. The questions 'Can they read and write? Can they take part in the life of the community?' inquire into people's functionings in this familiar sense of the term. But at other times, functionings are not by definition activities but all (desirable) states of persons, and 'being well nourished', 'being free from malaria', and 'being free from avoidable morbidity' are consequently entered as examples of functionings, although, not being activities, they are not functionings in the ordinary sense of the term.

Sen himself notes that being free from malaria may be entirely due to 'anti' epidemic public policy'. What he fails to note is the consequent impropriety of regarding it, in that instance, as something the person achieves, as the exercise of a capability of any kind. Yet Sen would surely not want to exclude heteronomously obtained freedom from malaria from the balance sheet of how a person 'is doing'. And that proves that he has a concern to promote forms of midfare whit" does not derive from his concern to promote the claims of capability as such. Indeed; one may go further: the lacks in people's lives which Sen is most concerned to draw to our attention are midfare lacks which are not lacks in capability proper, and the alleviation of which need not always proceed through an enhancement of the sufferer's capability.

We may conclude that, while Sen's focus on what goods do for people apart from the mental reaction they induce is original and illuminating, it is unnecessarily narrowed when the object of the focus is described in functioning/ capability language. Comprehending as it does everything which 'goods do for people', midfare cannot be identified either with capability or with what Sen calls 'functioning', nor can it be factored into the two without a confusing stretching of the meanings of words.

Why did Sen use the language of capability and functioning to express claims which that language fits quite imperfectly? Because, I hypothesize, he had something in addition to midfare in mind, to wit, freedom, and he wrongly thought that attending to a person's midfare-to what he gets from goods apart from the utility upshot of getting it-is attending to how much freedom he has in the world.

According to Sen, 'the category of capabilities is the natural candidate for reflecting the idea of freedom to do', since 'capability to function reflects what a person can do'. Hence 'the concept of capabilities is a "freedom" type notion', and the functioning vectors accessible to a person determine her 'well-being freedom'. All that may be true of capability (more or less) strictly so called, but it is not true of 'capability' where the term is used to denote the entire midfare dimension between goods and utility.

Unlike the freedom to choose whether or not to eat, freedom from hunger is not constitutively freedom to do anything. Sen speaks of exercising such 'capabilities' as freedom from hunger and freedom from malaria. But they are not freedoms that are exercised. Sen's application of the term 'capability' both to the freedom to a void morbidity and to freedom from morbidity shows that, in the attempt to bring the very different issues with which he is concerned under the single rubric of 'capability', he is led to make equivocal use of the term 'freedom'.

What I cannot accept is the associated athleticism, which comes when Sen adds that 'the central feature of well-being is the ability to achieve valuable functionings'. That overestimates the place of freedom and activity in well-being. As Sen writes elsewhere, 'freedom is concerned with what one can do' and 'with what one can do': midfare fails, on both counts, as a representation of freedom.

Arneson infers that, in so far as the capability approach claims our attention, it is only as a different way of presenting the idea of equality of opportunity for welfare. But that conclusion is hasty. For one might hold that objective (non-welfare) assessment of capability is possible at the basic level, even though, beyond that level, we evaluate capability according to the range of desires which it enables a person to satisfy. The capability which matters as such (that is, independently of its welfare consequences) is capability definitive of a normal human existence, capability whose absence spells non-satisfaction of need.

Still, if capability in its higher reaches waits on utility for its significance, it is in its more basic reaches that it makes its distinctive normative contribution, as Sen acknowledges: 'The issue of capabilities-specifically "material" capabilities-is particularly important in judging the standard of living of people in poor countries—it is also important in dealing with poverty in rich countries.'

I have elsewhere proposed that the right thing to equalize is what I called 'access to advantage'. In that proposal, 'advantage' is, like Sen's 'functioning' in its wider construal, a heterogeneous collection of desirable states of the person reducible neither to his resources bundle nor to his welfare level... Under equality of access to advantage, the normative accent is not on capability as such, but on a person not lacking an urgent desideratum through no fault of his own: capability to achieve the desideratum is a sufficient but not a necessary condition of not suffering such a lack. My own proposal strikes me as better attuned than capability equality to the true shape of the egalitarian concern with such things as health, nourishment, and housing.

Equality of access to advantage is motivated by the idea that differential advantage is unjust save where it reflects differences in genuine choice (or, more or less, capability) on the part of relevant agents, but it is not genuine choice as such (or capability) which the view proposes to equalize.

In my view, Sen has exaggerated the indispensability of the idea of freedom in the correct articulation of the egalitarian norm. No serious inequality obtains when everyone has everything she needs, even if she did not have to lift a finger to get it. Such a condition may be woeful in other ways, but it is not criticizable at the bar of egalitarian justice.

Commentary on Cohen's Equality of What?, C. Korsgaard

Cohen's paper criticizes the views of Rawls and Sen, and offers his own answer, which is that people should be equal in their access to advantage.1 Both terms in this formula are meant to be eclectic. 'Advantage' includes both welfare and resources, and whatever else we might decide is a 'desirable state of the person'. You have 'access' to things you have or can get or are given to you. To say that people should be equal in their access to advantage, according to Cohen, is to say that any involuntary disadvantage— any disadvantage which either was not chosen or cannot be voluntarily overcome—ought to be eliminated or compensated.

Amartya Sen's view is that the quality of a person's life should be assessed in terms of the person's capabilities. A capability is the ability or potential to do or be something-more technically, to achieve a certain functioning. Functionings are divided into four overlapping categories, which Sen calls well-being freedom, well-being achievement, agency freedom, and agency achievement. Our capabilities are our potentials for all of these things. Sen's view, like Cohen's, began as a thesis about the kind of value that egalitarians ought to be concerned about. People ought to be made equal in their capabilities, or at least in their basic capabilities. But Sen is now prepared to claim that his view provides a metric for other purposes as well.

In a liberal theory, the purpose of the state is to allow each citizen to pursue his or her own conception of the good. In a non-liberal theory, some conception of the good is taken as philosophically established, and the goal of the state is to realize that conception. If a non-liberal theory is accepted, my first two forms of assessment are not after all separate: to show that something is a legitimate political objective, all we need do is show that it is indeed an established good. According to such theories, the state is in the business of bringing about the good.

As Rawls points out, classical utilitarianism is strictly speaking a non-liberal theory, since it takes the goodness of the maximization of pleasure as both philosophically established and capable of justifying political policy. An Aristotelian theory that takes the purpose of the state to be to educate the citizens for a virtuous life, or a Marxist theory aimed at rendering us truly human, would also be non-liberal. These theories take a certain conception of the good life to be both established and capable of justifying the use of state coercion.

Rawls defines a liberal theory, by contrast, as one that 'allow[s] for a plurality of different and opposing, and even incommensurable, conceptions of the good'. But the phrase 'allows for' is unfortunately ambiguous. Accordingly, there are two kinds of liberal. One kind of liberal agrees with the non-liberal that the purpose of the state is to enable the citizens to achieve a good life, but disagrees that there is just one established conception of the good life. It is important that each person choose, construct, and pursue her own conception of the good.... There is another, older way to be a liberal which is a little different. According to Locke and Kant, the business of the state is to preserve and protect rights and freedom, not to facilitate the pursuit of a good life. These philosophers believed that it is of the nature of rights and freedom that their preservation justifies the use of coercion.

Unless certain basic welfare conditions are met and resources and opportunities provided, we cannot seriously claim that society is preserving and protecting everyone's freedom. The poor, the jobless, the medically neglected, the unhoused, and the uneducated are not free no matter what rights they have been guaranteed by the constitution. There are two reasons for this. The first is their impaired capacity for formulating and pursuing a conception of the good. The second is just as important. A person who lacks these basic goods is subject to intimidation by the rich and powerful, especially if others depend on her.

Sen argues that the idea of capabilities gives us a way of understanding the idea of positive freedom, and I think that this is correct: to make people capable of effectively realizing their goals and pursuing their well-being is to make them positively free. The qualification is this. In his paper Sen considers whether and to what extent his view can be justified by the idea that human well-functioning, suitably defined, corresponds to some philosophical ideal of the final good: for instance that of Aristotle or Marx. On the view I have sketched, this correspondence, if it were one, would play no role in justifying the distribution of capabilities as a political objective.

Value, Desire, and Quality of Life, T. Scanlon

'What makes a life a good one for the person who lives it?' and perhaps with the closely related question 'What circumstances constitute good conditions under which to live?' These questions have priority in so far as we see improvement in the quality of people's lives as morally and politically important because of the benefit it brings to them.

The name, 'objective list theory', is doubly unfortunate. The term 'list' suggests a kind of arbitrariness (just what its critics would charge), and 'objective' suggests a kind of rigidity (as if the same things must be valuable for everyone), as well as inviting a host of difficult questions about the various forms of objectivity and the possibility of values being objective in any of these senses. One might think the name had been coined by opponents of views of this kind.

But while its name may seem to imply a controversial claim to objectivity, this is not what is essential to the category as I understand it. What is essential is that these are theories according to which an assessment of a person's wellbeing involves a substantive judgement about what things make life better, a judgement which may conflict with that of the person whose well-being is in question. This is in contrast to the central idea of desire theories, according to which substantive questions about which things are actually good are (at least within limits) deferred to the judgement of the person whose well-being is being assessed.

As I see it, according to a desire theory, when something makes life better this is always because that thing satisfies some desire. Substantive good theories can allow for the fact that this is sometimes the caseit is sometimes a good thing simply to be getting what you want-but according to these theories being an object of desire is not in general what makes things valuable.

Someone who accepts a substantive good theory, according to which certain goods make a life better, will no doubt also believe that these goods are the objects of informed desire-that they would be desired by people who fully appreciated their nature and the nature of life. But the order of explanation here is likely to be from the belief that these things are genuine goods to the conclusion that people will, if informed, come to desire them. The fact that certain things are the object of desires which are, as far as we can tell, informed desires, can be a reason for believing these things to be goods. But 'reason' here is a matter of evidence-of reason for believing-not a ground of value of the sort which the original desire theory was, I am assuming, supposed to supply. This assumption raises a general question about what a philosophical theory of well-being is supposed to do.

Informed desires are desires which are responsive to the relevant features of their objects. By acknowledging the importance of these features in making the objects good (and making the desires for them appropriate rather than mistaken), this theory parts company sharply with the unrestricted actual desire theory, according to which it was the satisfaction of desire which made things good.

A substantive good theory... may offer no unified account of what makes things good. It seems to me unlikely that there is any such account to be had, since it is unlikely that there are any good-making properties which are common to all good things. If this is correct, then there will be no general theory of goodness in between, on the one hand, a purely formal analysis of 'good' such as 'answers to certain interests' or 'has the properties it is rational to want in a thing of that kind' and, on the other hand, diverse arguments about why various properties of particular objects make those objects good.

My conclusion, then, is that when statements of preference or desire represent serious reasons for action they can be understood in one of the two ways just described: either as stating reasons which are at base hedonistic or as stating judgements of desirability reached on other grounds. What convinces me of this conclusion is chiefly the fact that I am unable to think of any clear cases in which preferences provide non-trivial reasons for action which are not of these two kinds.

Private Irony and Liberal Hope, R. Rorty

All human beings carry about a set of words which they employ to justify their actions, their beliefs, and their lives. These are the words in which we formulate praise of our friends and contempt for our enemies, our long-term projects, our deepest self-doubts and our highest hopes. They are the words in which we tell, sometimes prospectively and sometimes retrospectively, the story of our lives. I shall call these words a person's "final vocabulary."

I shall define an "ironist" as someone who fulfills three conditions: (i) She has radical and continuing doubts about the final vocabulary she currently uses, because she has been impressed by other vocabularies, vocabularies taken as final by people or books she has encountered; (2) she realizes that argument phrased in her present vocabulary can neither underwrite nor dissolve these doubts; (3) insofar as she philosophizes about her situation, she does not think that her vocabulary is closer to reality than others, that it is in touch with a power not herself. Ironists who are inclined to philosophize see the choice between vocabularies as made neither within a neutral and universal metavocabulary nor by an attempt to fight one's way past appearances to the real, but simply by playing the new off against the old.

I call people of this sort "ironists" because their realization that anything can be made to look good or bad by being redescribed, and their renunciation of the attempt to formulate criteria of choice between final vocabularies, puts them in the position which Sartre called "meta-stable": never quite able to take themselves seriously because always aware that the terms in which they describe themselves are subject to change, always aware of the contingency and fragility of their final vocabularies, and thus of their selves.

The metaphysician... assumes that the presence of a term in his own final vocabulary ensures that it refers to something which has a real essence. The metaphysician is still attached to common sense, in that he does not question the platitudes which encapsulate the use of a given final vocabulary, and in particular the platitude which says there is a single permanent reality to be found behind the many temporary appearances. He does not redescribe but, rather, analyzes old descriptions with the help of other old descriptions.

Common sense tells us that "reality," if properly asked, will help us determine what our final vocabulary should be. So metaphysicians believe that there are, out there in the world, real essences which it is our duty to discover and which are disposed to assist in their own discovery.... By contrast, ironists do not take the point of discursive thought to be knowing, in any sense that can be explicated by notions like "reality," "real essence," "objective point of view," and "the correspondence of language of reality." They do not think its point is to find a vocabulary which accurately represents something, a transparent medium. For the ironists, "final vocabulary" does not mean "the one which puts all doubts to rest" or "the one which satisfies our criteria of ultimacy, or adequacy, or optimality."

For a metaphysician, "philosophy," as defined by reference to the canonical Plato-Kant sequence, is an attempt to know about certain things - quite general and important things. For the ironist, "philosophy," so defined, is the attempt to apply and develop a particular antecedently chosen final vocabulary - one which revolves around the appearance- reality distinction. The issue between them is, once again, about the contingency of our language — about whether what the common sense of our own culture shares with Plato and Kant is a tip-off to the way the world is, or whether it is just the characteristic mark of the discourse of people inhabiting a certain chunk of space-time.

The ironists description of what she is doing when she looks for a better final vocabulary than the one she is currently using is dominated by metaphors of making rather than finding, of diversification and novelty rather than convergence to the antecedently present. She thinks of final vocabularies as poetic achievements rather than as fruits of diligent inquiry according to antecedently formulated criteria.

Whereas the metaphysician sees the modern Europeans as particularly good at discovering how things really are, the ironist sees them as particularly rapid in changing their self-image, in re-creating themselves.

The ironist's preferred form of argument is dialectical in the sense that she takes the unit of persuasion to be a vocabulary rather than a proposition. Her method is redescription rather than inference. Ironists specialize in redescribing ranges of objects or events in partially neologistic jargon, in the hope of inciting people to adopt and extend that jargon.

Hegel's criticism of his predecessors was not that their propositions were false but that their languages were obsolete. By inventing this sort of criticism, the younger Hegel broke away from the Plato-Kant sequence and began a tradition of ironist philosophy which is continued in Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Derrida. These are the philosophers who define their achievement by their relation to their predecessors rather than by their relation to the truth.

We ironists hope, by this continual redescription, to make the best selves for ourselves that we can....Ironists are afraid that they will get stuck in the vocabulary in which they were brought up if they only know the people in their own neighborhood, so they try to get acquainted with strange people (Alcibiades, Julien Sorel), strange families (the Karamazovs, the Casaubons), and strange communities (the Teutonic Knights, the Nuer, the mandarins of the Sung). Ironists read literary critics, and take them as moral advisers, simply because such critics have an exceptionally large range of acquaintance. They are moral advisers not because they have special access to moral truth but because they have been around. They have read more books and are thus in a better position not to get trapped in the vocabulary of any single book.

The word "literature" now covers just about every sort of book which might conceivably have moral relevance - might conceivably alter one's sense of what is possible and important. The application of this term has nothing to do with the presence of "literary qualities" in a book. Rather than detecting and expounding such qualities, the critic is now expected to facilitate moral reflection by suggesting revisions in the canon of moral exemplars and advisers, and suggesting ways in which the tensions within this canon may be eased — or, where necessary, sharpened.

Whereas Habermas sees the line of ironist thinking which runs from Hegel through Foucault and Derrida as destructive of social hope, I see this line of thought as largely irrelevant to public life and to political questions. Ironist theorists like Hegel, Nietzsche, Derrida, and Foucault seem to me invaluable in our attempt to form a private self-image, but pretty much useless when it comes to politics. Habermas assumes that the task of philosophy is to supply some social glue which will replace religious belief, and to see Enlightenment talk of "universality" and "rationality" as the best candidate for this glue.

Habermas, and other metaphysicians who are suspicious of a merely "literary" conception of philosophy, think that liberal political freedoms require some consensus about what is universally human. We ironists who are also liberals think that such freedoms require no consensus on any topic more basic than their own desirability. From our angle, all that matters for liberal politics is the widely shared conviction that we shall call "true" or "good" whatever is the outcome of free discussion - that if we take care of political freedom, truth and goodness will take care of themselves.

The social glue holding together the ideal liberal society consists in little more than a consensus that the point of social organization is to let everybody have a chance at selfcreation to the best of his or her abilities, and that that goal requires, besides peace and wealth, the standard "bourgeois freedoms." This conviction would not be based on a view about universally shared human ends, human rights, the nature of rationality, the Good for Man, nor anything else. It would be a conviction based on nothing more profound than the historical facts which suggest that without the protection of something like the institutions of bourgeois liberal society, people will be less able to work out their private salvations, create their private selfimages, reweave their webs of belief and desire in the light of whatever new people and books they happen to encounter. In such an ideal society, discussion of public affairs will revolve around (i) how to balance the needs for peace, wealth, and freedom when conditions require that one of these goals be sacrificed to one of the others and (2) how to equalize opportunities for self-creation and then leave people alone to use, or neglect, their opportunities.

The idea that liberal societies are bound together by philosophical beliefs seems to me ludicrous. What binds societies together are common vocabularies and common hopes. The vocabularies are, typically, parasitic on the hopes — in the sense that the principal function of the vocabularies is to tell stories about future outcomes which compensate for present sacrifices.

Ironism, as I have defined it, results from awareness of the power of redescription. But most people do not want to be redescribed. They want to be taken on their own terms - taken seriously just as they are and just as they talk. The ironist tells them that the language they speak is up for grabs by her and her kind. There is something potentially very cruel about that claim. For the best way to cause people long-lasting pain is to humiliate them by making the things that seemed most important to them look futile, obsolete, and powerless.

But notice that redescription and possible humiliation are no more closely connected with ironism than with metaphysics. The metaphysician also redescribes, even though he does it in the name of reason rather than in the name of the imagination. Redescription is a generic trait of the intellectual, not a specific mark of the ironist. So why do ironists arouse special resentment? We get a clue to an answer from the fact that the metaphysician typically backs up his redescription with argument - or, as the ironist redescribes the process, disguises his redescription under the cover of argument.

The metaphysician, in short, thinks that there is a connection between redescription and power, and that the right redescription can make us free. The ironist offers no similar assurance. She has to say that our chances of freedom depend on historical contingencies which are only occasionally influenced by our self-redescriptions. She knows of no power of the same size as the one with which the metaphysician claims acquaintance. When she claims that her redescription is better, she cannot give the term "better" the reassuring weight the metaphysician gives it when he explicates it as "in better correspondence with reality."

The liberal ironist needs as much imaginative acquaintance with alternative final vocabularies as possible, not just for her own edification, but in order to understand the actual and possible humiliation of the people who use these alternative final vocabularies.

The ironist thinks that what unites her with the rest ofthe species is not a common language but just susceptibility to pain and in particular to that special sort of pain which the brutes do not share with the humans - humiliation. On her conception, human solidarity is not a matter of sharing a common truth or a common goal but of sharing a common selfish hope, the hope that one's world — the little things around which one has woven into one's final vocabulary - will not be destroyed. For public purposes, it does not matter if everybody's final vocabulary is different, as long as there is enough overlap so that everybody has some words with which to express the desirability of entering into other people's fantasies as well as into one's own.

What matters for the liberal ironist is not finding a reason to care about suffering, but making sure that she notices suffering when it occurs. Her hope is that she will not be limited by her own final vocabulary when faced with the possibility of humiliating someone with a quite different final vocabulary.

For the liberal ironist, skill at imaginative identification does the work which the liberal metaphysician would like to have done by a specifically moral motivation — rationality, or the love of God, or the love of truth. The ironist does not see her ability to envisage, and desire to prevent, the actual and possible humiliation of others — despite differences of sex, race, tribe, and final vocabulary — as more real or central or "essentially human" than any other part of herself.

Within an ironist culture it is the disciplines which specialize in thick description of the private and idiosyncratic which are assigned the job [of binding human beings together, and thus to help eliminate cruelty]. In particular, novels and ethnographies which sensitize one to the pain of those who do not speak our language must do the job which demonstrations of a common human nature were supposed to do. Solidarity has to be constructed out of little pieces, rather than found already waiting, in the form of an ur-language which all of us recognize when we hear it.

Self-Creation and Affiliation: Proust, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, R. Rorty

The topic of ironist theory is metaphysical theory. For the ironist theorist, the story of belief in, and love of, an ahistorical wisdom is the story of successive attempts to find a final vocabulary which is not just the final vocabulary of the individual philosopher but a vocabulary final in every sense — a vocabulary which is no mere idiosyncratic historical product but the last word, the one to which inquiry and history have converged, the one which renders further inquiry and history superfluous.

The goal of ironist theory is to understand the metaphysical urge, the urge to theorize, so well that one becomes entirely free of it. Ironist theory is thus a ladder which is to be thrown away as soon as one has figured out what it was that drove one's predecessors to theorize.

The ironist is trying to get out from under inherited contingencies and make his own contingencies, get out from under an old final vocabulary and fashion one which will be all his own. The generic trait of ironists is that they do not hope to have their doubts about their final vocabularies settled by something larger than themselves. This means that their criterion for resolving doubts, their criterion of private perfection, is autonomy rather than affiliation to a power other than themselves.

The ironist wants to be able to sum up his life in his own terms. The perfect life will be one which closes in the assurance that the last of his final vocabularies, at least, really was wholly his.

The past, for the ironist, is the books which have suggested that there might be such a thing as an unironizable vocabulary, a vocabulary which could not be replaced by being redescribed. Ironist theorists can be thought of as literary critics who specialize in those books — in that particular literary genre.

Nehamas points out that Proust and Nietzsche had in common not only the fact that they spent their lives replacing inherited with self-made contingencies, but described themselves as doing exactly that. Both were aware that that very process of self-creation was itself a matter of contingencies of which they would not be unable to be fully conscious, but neither was troubled by the metaphysician's questions about the relation between freedom and determinism. Proust and Nietzsche are paradigm nonmetaphysicians because they so evidently cared only about how they looked to themselves, not how they looked to the universe.

For Proust and Nietzsche there is nothing more powerful or important than self-redescription. They are not trying to surmount time and chance, but to use them. They are quite aware that what counts as resolution, perfection, and autonomy will always be a function of when one happens to die or to go mad. But this relativity does not entail futility.

Ironist theory must be narrative in form because the ironist's nominalism and historicism will not permit him to think of his work as establishing a relation to real essence; he can only establish a relation to the past. But, unlike other forms of ironist writing — and in particular unlike the ironist novel of which Proust's is paradigmatic — this relation to the past is a relation not to the author's idiosyncratic past but to a larger past, the past of the species, the race, the culture.

Private autonomy can be gained by redescribing one's past in a way which had not occurred to the past. It does not require apocalyptic novelty of the sort which ironist theory demands. The ironist who is not a theorist will not be bothered by the thought that his own redescriptions of the past will be grist for his successors' redescriptions; his attitude toward his successors is simply "good luck to them." But the ironist theorist cannot imagine any successors, for he is the prophet of a new age, one in which no terms used in the past will have application.

Proust, too, was interested in power, but not in finding somebody larger than himself to incarnate or to celebrate. All he wanted was to get out from under finite powers by making their finitude evident. He did not want to befriend power nor to be in a position to empower others, but simply to free himself from the descriptions of himself offered by the people he had met. He wanted not to be merely the person these other people thought they knew him to be, not to be frozen in the frame of a photograph shot from another person's perspective. He dreaded being, in Sartre's phrase, turned into a thing by the eye of the other. His method of freeing himself from those people - of becoming autonomous - was to redescribe the people who had described him...Proust became autonomous by explaining to himself why the others were not authorities, but simply fellow contingencies. He redescribed them as being as much a product of others' attitudes toward them as Proust himself was a product of their attitudes toward him.

Proust temporalized and flnitized the authority figures he had met by seeing them as creatures of contingent circumstance. Like Nietzsche, he rid himself of the fear that there was an antecedent truth about himself, a real essence which others might have detected. But Proust was able to do so without claiming to know a truth which was hidden from the authority figures of his earlier years. He managed to debunk authority without setting himself up as authority, to debunk the ambitions of the powerful without sharing them. He finitized authority figures not by detecting what they "really" were but by watching them become different than they had been, and by seeing how they looked when redescribed in terms offered by still other authority figures, whom he played off against the first. The result of all this finitization was to make Proust unashamed of his own finitude. He mastered contingency by recognizing it, and thus freed himself from the fear that the contingencies he had encountered were more than just contingencies. He turned other people from his judges into his fellow sufferers, and thus succeeded in creating the taste by which he judged himself.

To try for the sublime is to try to make a pattern out of the entire realm of possibility, not just of some little, contingent, actualities. Since Kant, the metaphysical attempt at sublimity has taken the form of attempts to formulate the "necessary conditions of all possible x." When philosophers make this transcendental attempt, they start playing for bigger stakes than the sort of private autonomy and private perfection which Proust achieved.

This quest for the historical sublime — for proximity to some event such as the closing of the gap between subject and object or the advent of the superman or the end of metaphysics - leads Hegel, Nietzsche, and Heidegger to fancy themselves in the role of the "last philosopher." The attempt to be in this position is the attempt to write something which will make it impossible for one to be redescribed except in one's own terms - make it impossible to become an element in anybody else's beautiful pattern, one more little thing.

For Heidegger - early and late - what one is is the practices one engages in, and especially the language, the final vocabulary, one uses. For that vocabulary determines what one can take as a possible project. So to say that Dasein is guilty is to say that it speaks somebody else's language, and so lives in a world it never made — a world which, just for this reason, is not its Heim. It is guilty because its final vocabulary is just something which it was thrown into — the language that happened to be spoken by the people among whom it grew up.

What binds early to late Heidegger is the hope of finding a vocabulary which will keep him authentic — one which will block any attempt to affiliate oneself with a higher power, to achieve a ktema eis aiei, to escape from time into eternity. He wants words which cannot be "leveled off," which cannot be used as if they were part of the "right" final vocabulary.

When Nietzsche and Heidegger stick to celebrating their personal canons, stick to the little things which meant most to them, they are as magnificent as Proust. They are figures whom the rest of us can use as examples and as material in our own attempts to create a new self by writing a bildungsroman about our old self. But as soon as either tries to put forward a view about modern society, or the destiny of Europe, or contemporary politics, he becomes at best vapid, and at worst sadistic.

Metaphysics hoped to bring together our private and our public lives by showing us that self-discovery and political utility could be united. It hoped to provide a final vocabulary which would not break apart into a private and a public portion. It hoped to be both beautiful on a small private scale and sublime on a large public one. Ironist theory ran its course in the attempt to achieve this same synthesis through narrative rather than system. But the attempt was hopeless.

Metaphysicians like Plato and Marx thought they could show that once philosophical theory had led us from appearance to reality we would be in a better position to be useful to our fellow human beings. They both hoped that the public-private split, the distinction between duty to self and duty to others, could be overcome. Marxism has been the envy of all later intellectual movements because it seemed, for a moment, to show how to synthesize self-creation and social responsibility, pagan heroism and Christian love, the detachment of the contemplative with the fervor of the revolutionary.

The Worth of Happiness, W. Galston

Not everything that is lacked is desired, but only that which appears good. If happiness is comprehensive satisfaction, and if satisfaction is the fulfillment of desire, then happiness is the presence of the totality of what appears good. Two conditions must be satisfied. The presence must be secure and enduring; we are not satisfied if what appears good is (or is felt to be) in danger of being removed from us. Second, what appears good when absent must continue to appear good when present. The worth of happiness follows directly from this analysis.

More frequently, we want neither pure desire nor pure satiation, but rather the simultaneous copresence of desire and its object. This accounts in part for the classical defense of contemplation. Contemplation allows us to possess the object without destroying it. Conversely, this mode of possession seems, to an unusual degree, not to destroy the desire to contemplate. To put the same point another way: we primarily desire a form of activity, coupled with consciousness of that activity.

The worth of happiness has been subjected to a number of lines of criticism. For our purposes two are important: the claim that happiness as a goal of striving is inherently unattainable, even illusory; and the claim that happiness cannot be judged good without qualification.

The claim that happiness is unattainable or illusory has a number of variants. First, it may be argued that desires contradict one another, so happiness as total satisfaction of desire makes no sense. To evaluate this thesis we must note that desires contradict one another in different ways. Perhaps the most common is temporal contradiction: we want to engage in activities that cannot be performed simultaneously. But this is not in itself an insoluble difficulty. We resolve to perform the activities sequentially—writing an article, then playing the piano, then going to the movies. Temporarily deferring one activity does not impede happiness if we are fairly sure that that activity is available to us whenever we decide to perform it...And if Aristotle's contention that no activity can be performed indefinitely without losing its savor is correct, then sequential performance of desired activities is not only necessary but also best from the standpoint of happiness itself.

For the second, it now appears that the lack correlated with desire may be removed in two ways. Either what is lacking may be obtained, or the perception of something as lacking may be altered, so that we no longer desire it. The attainment of happiness requires us to combine these modes. Purged of all lacks, we cannot enjoy anything. But if our unexamined feelings of lack are allowed to determine our behavior, our striving will be frustrated.

If the goal of absolute security is unattainable and conflicts with our enjoyment of what we can attain, it would seem to follow that the desire for absolute security is in the strictest sense irrational. If so, one task of reason is to moderate this desire by teaching us to accept the element of contingency and uncertainty in our existence. A delicate balance must be struck. Up to a point, the desire for security is proper and productive. It is as unreasonable never to have a medical examination as to insist on undergoing one every week. Love can be killed by the blithely oblivious confidence that it will endure, come what may.

Kant's "subjective" definition of happiness as contentment with self not empirically linked to any particular acts or moral states seems preferable [to Aristotle's]. It is less moralistic and closer to common opinion (or suspicion), and it forces us to focus on the claims, if any, that virtue can sustain by itself without external adornments. The Kantian thesis we are examining may be summarized by the following preference ordering: 1. happiness plus virtue 2. unhappiness plus virtue 3. unhappiness plus vice 4. happiness plus vice -- where the first is the most preferred, the fourth the least,

The following difficulty arises. Kant's objection to the happiness of the vicious person is that happiness is a reward, and vice ought not to be rewarded: "The sight of a being adorned with no feature of a pure and good will, yet enjoying uninterrupted prosperity, can never give pleasure to a rational impartial observer. Thus the good will seems to constitute the indispensable condition even of worthiness to be happy."... But the claim that happiness is a reward implies the premise that happiness is intrinsically good. Indeed, its value must be very great if only the possession of the one thing that Kant was willing to call "good without qualification" can make us worthy of it.

Kant's implicit affirmation of the worth of happiness need not have led him either to self-contradiction or to the position of the benevolent moralist, for he asserted the existence of a relational good that the other ignored. Kant was able to distinguish between "Happiness is good" and "It would be good for A to possess happiness" and to deny that the former, by itself, entails the latter.

The Vulnerability of the Good Human Life, M. Nussbaum

We must now ask what Aristotle ultimately concludes about our central questions. How far is human good living, eudaimonia, vulnerable? What external events can disrupt or distract it, and how (and how far) should it attempt to make itself safe? Aristotle clearly regards this as a pressing and a delicate question. For the appearances ascribe to luck considerable ethical importance. 'Most people suppose that the eudaimon life is the fortunate life, or not without good fortune; and no doubt correctly. For without the external goods, which are in the control of luck, it is not possible to be eudaimon'. On the other hand, deeply shared conceptions of practical rationality make luck the natural enemy of human efforts at planning and control: 'Where there is most insight (nous) and reason (logos), there is the least luck; and where there is the most luck there is the least insight'. How is this tension to be handled in our understanding of what a good human life, lived according to practical reason, might be?

We are asking, then, about the power of luck or fortune to influence the goodness and praiseworthiness of a human life. Aristotle approaches this question, as he approaches many others, by describing two extreme positions. Some people, he tells us, believe that living well is just the same thing as having a fortunate life. Good living is a gift of the gods that has no reliable connection with effort, learning, or goodness of stable character. In other words, observing the great power of luck in human affairs, they are led to say that it is the single decisive causal factor in achieving a certain sort of life. Nothing else counts for much. 'Eudaimonia, as its name suggests, is just having a good daimon or (external) guardian spirit. In this way, they ' turn what is greatest and best over to luck'.

On the other side are those who maintain that luck has no power at all to influence the goodness of a human life. The causal factors relevant to living well, to eudaimonia, are all, they claim, within the agent's firm grasp; external uncontrolled happenings can neither significantly enhance nor significantly diminish good living. It is worth noting that these people, as Aristotle describes them, are philosophers determined to establish a thesis, even at the cost of denying some prevalent and obvious appearances. Aristotle makes us aware of two routes by which such opponents have arrived at their denials of luck. One route (associated with Platonism) involves narrowing the specification of the good life, acknowledging as intrinsically valuable only activities that are maximally stable and invulnerable to chance.

Life is made worth living for a human being only by voluntary action; and not simply the low-level voluntary action of a child, but action shaped overall by adult excellence and its efforts. Then if the luck theorist were right in denying to those efforts any important role in living well, we would all be living lives that all of us, including the luck theorist himself, would probably judge to be not worth the living. Such a view indeed ' strikes too false a note' - not just because it clashes with a widely-held belief, but because it clashes with a belief so deep and basic that we hold it to be a condition of our continued willingness to remain in existence.

The good-condition theorist argues that eudaimonia is invulnerable because it consists simply in having a good ethical state or condition and because this condition is itself stable even under the direst circumstances. To oppose such an opponent Aristotle can, then, adopt more than one strategy. He can argue that states of character are vulnerable to external influences. Or he can argue that good states are not by themselves sufficient for good living. If he takes the second course he must, in addition, argue that the further element that must be added to good states is itself not invulnerable. Aristotle's argument, as we shall see, is a complex combination of these two lines of attack.

According to Aristotle, "No activity (energeia) is complete if it is impeded; but eudaimonia is something complete. So the eudaimon person needs the goods of the body and external goods and goods of luck, in addition, so that his activities should not be impeded. Those who claim that the person who is being tortured on the wheel, or the person who has encountered great reversals of fortune, is eudaimon, so long as he is good, are not saying anything — whether that is their intention or not.".... Once again, Aristotle insists that doing does matter. Being excellent in character is not yet acting according to excellence. But action according to excellence requires certain external conditions: of the body, of social context, of resources. The person on the wheel cannot act justly, generously, moderately; he cannot help his friends or participate in politics. How, then, can he be said to live well?

"It is impossible or not easy to do fine things without resources", Aristotle says. He goes on to enumerate various types of necessary ' resources': "For many things are done through philoi and wealth and political capability, as through tools. And deprivation of some things defiles blessedness (to makariori): for example good birth, good children, good looks. For nobody will entirely, live well (be eudaimonikos) if he is entirely disgusting to look at, or basely born, or both solitary and childless; still less, perhaps, if he has terribly bad children of philoi, or has good ones who die."

These are not rare disasters, nor does Aristotle here seem to view them that way. They are regular parts of the course of many human lives. Aristotle's list makes us begin to notice the extent to which an average life is hedged round by dangers of impediment. Unconstrained activity begins to look like the rare or lucky item. Having made these general observations about the power of circumstance to disrupt good activity, Aristotle is ready to test our intuitions against a particular case: "For many reversals and all sorts of luck come about in the course of a life; and it is possible for the person who was most especially going well to encounter great calamities in old age, as in the stories told about Priam in the Trojan war. But when a person has such misfortunes and ends in a wretched condition, nobody says that he is living well".

Aristotle's remarks about Priam and related cases go against a well-established tradition in moral philosophy, both ancient and modern, according to which moral goodness, that which is an appropriate object of ethical praise and blame, cannot be harmed or affected by external circumstances. For Plato, the good person could not be harmed by the world: his life is no less good and praiseworthy because of adverse circumstances. For the good-condition theorist, the same is evidently true, though for slightly different reasons.

And at the conclusion of the Priam psssage, Aristotle summarizes, "What, then, prevents us from saying that a person is eudaimon if and only if that person is active according to complete excellence and is sufficiently equipped with the external goods not for some chance period of time, but for a complete life?"

Now the complexities begin, as Aristotle begins to ask in what ways this stable good life, based upon steady character and consisting in activity according to the excellences of character and intellect, is vulnerable. Small pieces of either good or bad fortune, he now tells us, will not produce a 'decisive change of life'. But big and numerous contingencies can, if they happen well, make life more makarion because the opportunities they afford will be used nobly and well; on the other hand, correspondingly great misfortunes will ' crush and pollute the (condition of being) makarion - for they bring pain and get in the way of many activities'.

According to Aristotle, "The eudaimon person is not variable and easily changed. For he will not be easily dislodged from his eudaimonia, nor by just any misfortune that happens his way, but only by big and numerous misfortunes; and out of these he will not become eudaimon again in a short time, but, if ever, in a long and complete time, if, in that time, he gets hold of big and fine things."

Aristotle does concede that such extreme bad luck could dislodge a good person from full eudaimonia. But he reminds us that a person of good character and practical wisdom will often be able to resist this damage, finding a way to act nobly even in circumstances of adversity...Indeed, part of the 'art' of Aristotelian practical wisdom seems to consist in being keenly responsive to the limits of one's ' material' and figuring out what is best given the possibilities, rather than rigidly aiming at some inflexible set of norms. Aristotelian practical excellence is prepared for the contingencies of the world and is not easily diminished by them. But none of this will suffice to prevent the loss of eudaimonia in a very extreme case such as Priam's.

In short, an Aristotelian conception of eudaimonia, which bases excellent activity on stable goodness of character, makes the good life tolerably stable in the face of the world. But this stability is not limitless. There is a real gap between being good and living well; uncontrolled happening can step into this gap, impeding the good state of character from finding its proper fulfillment in action.

Excellence, in this case and others like it, diminishes self-sufficiency and increases vulnerability: it gives you something of high value and it enjoins that in certsin situations of luck you be ready to give it up. But that excellence should bring risk and pain is no surprise, Says Aristotle - unless you are in the grip of the false notion that excellence is necessarily linked with having a good time. There is pleasure when the noble activity resches its end; but if the world should prevent this fulfillment, the good person still chooses to act nobly.

We must now look more closely into the nature of the damage that dislodges the good person. For misfortunes can ' pollute' good activity in two ways: by disrupting the expression of good dispositions in action, or by affecting the internal springs of action themselves....What does take time and repeated good fortune to heal is the corruption of desire, expectation, and thought that can be inflicted by crushing and prolonged misfortune. Aristotle's repeated use of words suggesting spoilage or pollution, and his assertion that the damages of luck are reversed, if at all, only over a long period of time, suggest that he is thinking also of this deeper, more internal sort of damage. It takes a long time to restore to the slave a free person's sense of dignity and self-esteem, for the chronic invalid to learn again the desires and projects characteristic of the healthy person, for the bereaved person to form new and fruitful attachments.

So far we have spoken of the necessary vulnerability of human eudaimonia, given the worldly contingencies of specifically human life. We can see how closely risk and richness of value are connected: for the very same evaluative choices that enhance the quality and completeness of a human life - the choice to value activities rather than just intellectual keenness - open the agent to certain risks of disaster.

It is, however, Aristotle's view that certain central human values are available and valuable only within a context of risk and material limitation. A divine or unlimited life could not have those same values, those good things, in it. In the first book of the Politics, he tells us that certain central ethical notions — including the advantageous and disadvantageous, the just and unjust, the good and bad — are notions that belong to the human being alone among the animals, and that the polls is the association of living beings who have these conceptions.... It is plain that these central human values - which are, in the bulk of Aristotle's ethical writings, treated as ends in themselves, important constituents of human eudaimonia - cannot be found in a life without shortage, risk, need, and limitation. Their nature and their goodness are constituted by the fragile nature of human life.

Plato suggested that there is available in the universe a pure transparent standpoint, from which the whole truth of value in the universe is evident. Aristotle (in most of his writing on virtue) replies that this does not look to be the case. Lack of limit is itself a limit. There may be no single nature to which all of genuine value discloses itself.

Desire and the Meaning of Life, S. Blackburn

The peril here is what the philosopher George Berkeley called the vice of abstraction, or 'the fine and subtle net of abstract ideas which has so miserably perplexed and entangled the minds of men'. It is much easier to lament the hollow nature and the inconsistencies of desire if we stay out of focus, keeping the terms of discussion wholly abstract. Thus, it sounds miserable if the satisfaction of desire is fleeting, and desire itself is changeable and apt to give rise only to further dissatisfactions. But is it really something to mope about?

When we ask if life has meaning, the first question has to be, to whom? To a witness with the whole of space and time in its view, nothing on a human scale will have meaning (it is hard to imagine how it could be visible at all—there is an awful lot of space and time out there). But why should our insignificance within that perspective weigh on us?

For some people, the thought that their work may eventually fail, and give them no memorial, is extremely painful. Others manage to be quite cheerful about it: after all, very, very, few of the world's people leave behind achievements that excite the continuing admiration of the next generation, let alone generations beyond. This is sadly true even in philosophy departments.

Life is a stream of lived events within which there is often plenty of meaning—for ourselves, and those around us. The architect Le Corbusier said that God lies in the details, and the same is true of meaning in life to us, here, now. The smile of her child means the earth to her mother, the touch means bliss for the lover, the turn of the phrase means happiness for the writer.

Meaning comes with absorption and enjoyment, the flow of details that matter to us. The problem with life is then that it has too much meaning. In other moods, however, everything goes leaden. Like Hamlet, we are determined to skulk at the edge of the carnival, seeing nothing but the skull beneath the skin. It is sad when we become like that, and once more we need a tonic more than an argument.

For Aristotle, a long succession even of pleasurable inner sensations cannot make up genuine happiness, or eudaimonia. 'Inner sensations' could be generated or sustained by living in a fool's paradise. A person might be happy, in this sense, when her desires are unfulfilled, but she doesn't realize it, or her pleasure derives from misunderstanding or deception.

When we have been ignorant or deceived, the Aristotelian verdict, looking back, would be that we thought we were happy when we were not. We had the illusion of happiness. True happiness in this sense requires some correct relationship with our world. It cannot be gained by stoking up sensations within. In the same way, a succession of pleasures, a life of endless release of endorphins, perhaps through some chemical stimulation, would not be a life of Aristotelian happiness. It is not one we could admire or envy or wish for those whose happiness we care about.

The Aristotelian alternative requires engagement with the world. It requires reasoning and activity, and engagement with others, and notably it requires real love and friendship. For Aristotle this is because we have a telos or 'end'. It is the 'purpose' and therefore the 'good' of human beings to lead a certain kind of social life. The essential comparison is with health. The telos of a living thing is to live what counts as a healthy life for things of that kind. So our telos will be to live what counts as the healthy life for a human being, our 'natural' life or 'intended' life.

Utilitarianism is consequentialist, or in other words, forward-looking. It looks to the effects or consequences of actions in order to assess them. In this it contrasts with deontological ethics. For consequentialism, an action that might be thought wrong, or undutiful, or unjust, or a trespass against someone's rights, might apparently be whitewashed or justified by its consequences, if it can be shown to be conducive to the general good.

Deontological notions of justice, rights, duties, fit into a moralistic climate, where things just are right and wrong, permissible or punishable. These are the words of law, as much as words of ethics. Utilitarianism by contrast gives us the language of social goods.

Happiness as an Aim of Life and Education, N. Noddings

The Greeks in the age of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle wanted to make happiness safe from contingency; that is, they wanted to define happiness in a way that makes it independent of health, wealth, and the ups and downs of everyday life. Happiness, from this perspective, is not episodic; rather, it should apply to a whole life or to the tendency of that life. In this, many religious traditions have agreed. They have said that human beings cannot count on happiness in their mortal lives and cannot achieve it by pursuing it directly. But, whereas the Christian and Moslem traditions posit an afterlife in which some will attain an absolutely dependable happiness, the Greeks located happiness in the full exercise of rationality. Reason, they argued, is the essential characteristic of man, and the development and use of reason constitute his genuine happiness. In insisting on the primacy of reason, Greek thinkers believed that the exercise of reason makes it possible for man to live his life in harmony with the universe, which itself is characterized by order.

Is there anything that is both necessary and sufficient for happiness? As we proceed, we will see that philosophers, social scientists, and ordinary people are still engaged with this question. We still ask: What exactly are the components of happiness?

Few of us today accept the intellectualist position. At least, few of us admit to it or state it publicly, but our school curriculum continues to be heavily influenced by it. The heavily abstract and theoretical subjects are more highly respected than practical, less theoretical ones. Aristotle created a hierarchy of human activity that devalues the practical and those who do the world s practical work. Indeed, he claimed that it was the function of some to do this sort of work so that those with greater intellectual capacity could fulfill their function - to think.

Equating happiness with the life of pure thought strikes most of us today as the height of intellectual snobbery, and yet there is something in it that is not easily brushed aside. Surely the development of our human capacities has something to do with happiness, and rationality is one of our most treasured attributes.

Another way of escaping the contingencies associated with happiness in everyday life is to accept misery as our mortal lot and put our hope for happiness into an afterlife. If we believe in an afterlife and live so as to merit it, we are assured of happiness; it is a certainty. For many people, however, religious faith has also had the salutary effect of relieving earthly misery, indeed transforming it into contentment, which (they suppose) is the nearest thing to happiness that people should expect in earthly life.

In extreme forms, emphasis on living so that heaven is assured may lead to willful ignorance and a refusal to consider any views that might shake one's dogmatically held beliefs. The possibility of self-deception is also great. People convinced of the truth of their unexamined beliefs often claim to be happy, even though an objective observer may assess their lives as anything but happy. This observation raises a question to which I will return in a later section of this chapter: Do people know when they are happy?

Another negative effect of deferring happiness to an afterlife may be quietism, which, in its informal sense, leads people to leave everything in the hands of God. In this way, people need make no effort to improve the physical and social conditions of humanity but simply be content that all will come right eventually under God's control... People quieted by religion may not be easily aroused to work toward the betterment of their own condition.

Despite its often negative effects, involvement in religion also has demonstrably positive effects. Without some form of religious belief, people are hard put to define the purpose of life. It is comforting to believe that the purpose of life is, first of all, to know and love God. On the one hand, this statement of purpose opens the road to happiness for all people, provided only that they are believers. It contrasts sharply with the Greek notion that only those with significant talent and adequate leisure can achieve the most divine characteristics of human life - reason and contemplation.

Psychological studies are more descriptive than explanatory, however, and they tend to avoid both normative accounts (what should make us happy) and reports of joy or ecstatic happiness. Both are important omissions. We not only learn from accounts of joy and religious ecstasy (to be explored in a later section), but many of us achieve a form of happiness from hearing these accounts - even if we know that we would not be so moved by the reported experiences.

There is a sense that, if we want happiness, we should live or think in a certain way. Usually, what is prescribed is pursuit of the good. Happiness follows. It remains to explore the question What is the good? We have already met one answer from the Greeks - the contemplative life and/or the life of perfect action.

An ultimate concern is "a meaning which gives meaning to all meanings." This meaning is found for some in religious life, for others in intellectual, artistic, civic, or relational life of another sort. It is well documented, for example, that people can find rich spiritual experiences in connection with nature, in physical labor, in personal intimacy, in all sorts of sensory experience when a relation is established.

Perhaps, instead of trying to define happiness, we should ask what gives people happiness and, thus, include much of what has been so far discussed - theoretical/contemplative thought, religious ecstasy, peak experiences triggered by a variety of events, and a set of fortunate contingencies such as health, wealth, and reputation (so long as these are accompanied by virtue).

Still another complication is that we can be happy in one part (domain) of our lives and unhappy in another. One may be happy in working life and unhappy in family life or vice versa. To have a substantial effect on overall happiness, the domains assessed must be considered important in one's life.

Often we equate happiness with financial success, and then we suppose that our chief duty as educators is to give all children the tools needed to get "good" jobs. However, many essential jobs, now very poorly paid, will have to be done even if the entire citizenry were to become well educated. Thus the answer to poverty cannot be completely formulated in educational terms. Poverty is a social problem, not merely an educational one.

Moreover, we do our students (and our society) a significant disservice when we define happiness entirely in terms of financial success. A good society will make sure that its people do not suffer from a lack of those resources that constitute objective happiness, but its educational system will encourage them to explore and appreciate a full range of possibilities for promoting happiness. Education, by its very nature, should help people to develop their best selves - to become people with pleasing talents, useful and satisfying occupations, self-understanding, sound character, a host of appreciations, and a commitment to continuous learning.

A positive response on SWB is not the last word on happiness, nor does it tell us how happiness is achieved or under what circumstances it is likely to be long-lasting. Should we pursue happiness or just hope that it appears? George Orwell once commented, "Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness." If Orwell was right, something like Tillich's ultimate concern is a more reliable foundation for happiness than its direct pursuit.

William James described the tendency toward happiness as healthy-mindedness and identified two ways of being healthy minded. In one, the involuntary way, a person just is happy; he or she naturally looks on the bright side. If we were to examine the lives of such people, we would probably find some objective factors contributing to their overall sense of well-being, but many of these people retain their optimism even through difficult times. They are what social scientists call happy personalities. James's label for them, healthy-minded, is a bit odd because, as his account goes on, it seems that he has greater regard for the "sick soul" than for the healthy-minded one.

Children should learn (something many seem to know almost instinctively) that sharing the unhappiness of others, paradoxically, brings with it a form of happiness. This is a major conclusion reached by care theorists, who argue that those things we do to improve the relations of which we are part will work for our benefit as well as that of others.

Happiness and Human Good, P. Foot

Happiness is not the universal aim of action. Brave people choose great and immediate evils, such as certain death, in order to rescue or defend others. And even in their choice of lives some reject happiness for the sake of some other goal.

What is problematic for morality about the relation between virtue and happiness does not come from the direction of such theories as psychological hedonism or psychological egoism, but rather from the idea that happiness is Man's good, together with the thought that happiness may be successfully pursued through evil action. For then it would seem that there is an independent criterion of rational action—the pursuit of happiness—with rationality on occasion demanding what virtue forbids.

If someone has much to enjoy in his life this is at least a factor counting in favour of his happiness. But happiness is also a matter of that to which one might give the general title of gladness. Sometimes the gladness will attach to particular moments, as when good news is heard, or good things especially salient in one's mind, but gladness, unlike enjoyment, does not as such occupy dockable time, and this part of happiness too may take the form of a sense of things being well, rather than of thoughts that occupy the mind. Being contented, by and large, with the way things are in one's life, or at least being conscious of the good things in it, is obviously a large part of happiness, and the question 'Are you happy?' may ask someone how it is with him or her precisely in this respect.

Contentment is not only not necessary but also not sufficient for a happiness that could convincingly be called humanity's good. I recall a talk by a doctor who described a patient of his (who had perhaps had a prefrontal lobotomy) as 'perfectly happy all day long picking up leaves'. This impressed me because I thought, 'Well, most of us are not happy all day long doing the things we do', and realized how strange it would be to think that the very kindest of fathers would arrange such an operation for his (perfectly normal) child... The example shows that when we talk about a happiness that is supposed to be humanity's good we cannot intend pleasure or contentment alone. As Aristotle remarked, we should not wish to continue in the pleasures of childhood at the cost of remaining a child.

What seems to be missing—and necessarily missing—is the dimension of depth: a dimension that we cannot count as irrelevant to the happiness-as-good of a grown-up. We are mistaken if we think of happiness as something 'in the mind' in principle detachable from a person's resources of experience and belief, as if a mental state were like the surface of a pond that could be described in terms of the coming and going of water beetles there, without any reference to what was lower down.

Possible objects of deep happiness seem to be things that are basic in human life, such as home, and family, and work, and friendship. They are, in a way, ordinary things, even though, in a person such as Wittgenstein, the chief joy of his life was in the quest for truth, and in other exceptional men and women it is in artistic creation or the exploration of strange lands. Most people, of course, find their greatest happiness in more mundane surroundings.

It seems certain, therefore, that we must go beyond the description of a life of pleasure and contentment in looking into the concept of human happiness. It is not enough, however, to say that a life of trivial pleasures and contentment cannot plausibly be identified with a life that is good in the sense that Wittgenstein must have intended when he spoke of having had a wonderful life. Something important is still missing, because, though it seems that this must be problematic, we have not yet said anything decisive against the conjunction of even the greatest, deepest, happiness with wickedness.

The suggestion is, then, that humanity's good can be thought of as happiness, and yet in such a way that combining it with wickedness is a priori ruled out. Wittgenstein in speaking of his life as a wonderful life certainly did not mean that it had been a life of virtue; but I am sure that he would not have counted as a source of happiness anything he saw as evil in it.

The conclusion of the present chapter is that happiness is a protean concept, appearing now in one way and now in another. There was nothing wrong with what the doctor said of his patient who was 'perfectly happy all day picking up leaves'. And there is also a sad truth to be recognized in the saying about the wicked who flourish like the bay tree. But there is a third interpretation of the word happiness: the one in which we must understand someone who in sacrificing his life for the sake of justice would not have said that he was sacrificing his happiness, but rather that a happy life had turned out not to be possible for him. We cannot ignore this interpretation of the concept if we identify happiness with human good.

In my own terminology 'happiness' is here understood as the enjoyment of good things, meaning enjoyment in attaining, and in pursuing, right ends. I do not, however, accept McDowell's apparent identification of happiness with a life of virtue, or his idea that a loss incurred through an action necessary for virtue is 'no loss at all'. He seems to me to allow too little for the genuine tragedy that there may be in a moral choice. I myself would rather say that there is indeed a kind of happiness that only goodness can achieve, but that by one of the evil chances of life it may be out of the reach of even the best of men.

Truth and Happiness, M. Lynch

Unless we can show that it is, at least sometimes, important to care about truth for its own sake in our ordinary lives, we won't have really shown that truth matters. With this in mind, my strategy will be to move inward out. I'll start in this chapter with the most personal reason we should care about truth: caring about truth is deeply connected to happiness. This is because our lives go better when they are lived authentically and with integrity. And authenticity and integrity, are both, in different ways, connected to truth.

There is another sort of self-knowledge, indeed, the sort of self-knowledge we are ordinarily most concerned to have, which we value for more than its consequences. This is knowledge of what matters to us, what we care about. It is because of this sort of self-knowledge that the Greek dictum "Know yourself" resonates so powerfully with us, and why the question "Who am I?" is not just the product of teenage angst, or a call for pointless navel-gazing. As most people know, it is a question that can reappear throughout one's life. Self-knowledge is important to us, precisely because we often lack it, and lacking it, we fear that we may be sleepwalking our way through life.

People sometimes don't know what they care about for different reasons. One reason is a general lack of self-reflection. I might care about something very deeply, but not realize that I do because I've never paused to think about it. As a result, I might find myself moved to tears, or anger or worry over some event without knowing why. The causes of this lack of self-reflection may be my own: I may be lazy or undisciplined.

When it is possible, it is useful to know what most matters to you, what you care about. Knowing what you want helps you to figure out how to get it. But knowledge of what you care about is more than useful. It is a constitutive part of some of the most important aspects of our psychic lives. In particular, it is essential for a certain network of attitudes we need to have toward ourselves.

A sense of self comes in degrees. A person with a strong sense of self is very aware of what she cares about; she almost always knows, in other words, what really matters to her, while obviously a person with a weaker sense of self has less knowledge of this sort. In either case, however, it is having certain true beliefs that is essential. Knowing what you care about is constitutive of having a sense of self.

Roughly speaking, one is authentic in this sense when one is true to oneself. What does it mean to be true to your self? We can get a handle on this idea indirectly by reflecting on an influential analysis of freedom pioneered by Frankfurt, Wolf, Watson, and others. According to this view, having freedom of will involves having the will you want to have. Think of it this way: some of a person's desires are "first-order" desires, like the desire to smoke. Other desires are desires about what desires one would like to act on, such as the desire not to desire another cigarette. Acting freely, this analysis suggests, means that your actions are those that are in accord with those desires you most desire to be effective.

As an account of free action, this position is intriguing, but ultimately lacking. Whether an action is ultimately free depends on more than just whether it is the result of a desire I desire to have. Part of the question, surely, concerns whether or not your actions—and your desires—were causally determined by past events and the implacable laws of nature. Nonetheless, even if the account is not successful as an analysis of free action, it can, I think, help us to understand authenticity.

Intuitively, to live an authentic life, you must identify with those desires that effectively guide your action. You identify with a desire when it reflects the kind of person you wish to be, what you care about... Like the case of the person who can't kick his addiction to nicotine, a lack of authenticity is linked to a lack of self-control. And it is this connection that illustrates the importance of authenticity for happiness...What this shows is that not only does life go better when you care about something, you also need to know that you do.

In sum, authenticity, being true to yourself, requires having the will you want to have—identifying with the desires that guide your action. What you identify with is determined by what you care about. Thus if you don't know what you care about, if you lack a sense of self, in other words, you don't know which of your first-order desires you identify with. If you don't know which of your possibly conflicting desires you identify with, you cannot be acting authentically. Consequently, knowing what matters to you is partly constitutive of authenticity.

A more helpful way of justifying our interest in something for its own sake is by showing that it is an essential part of something that is good, for example, by showing that it is an essential part of a good life. By a good life, I mean a flourishing life—a "happy" life, in one meaning of that term. In this minimal sense, living a good life is a basic aim shared by each of us. Being happy is good—"in itself"—and other things can be worthy of deeply caring about because they are necessary parts of it. Being a part of something good is crucially different from being a means to it. A means to an end is ipso facto different from the end itself. A necessary part of something, on the other hand, helps make the whole of which it is a part the thing that it is. Change or destroy that part and you change or destroy the whole. Thus being good because you are part of something good (like happiness) is different from being good as a means to it.

"Happiness" is a slippery word. I don't mean by it a fleeting and momentary state of mind. Like the Greeks, I use it to refer to something far more complex, a feature of a life as a whole. By a happy life, I mean a good or flourishing life, a life lived well. I've argued that caring about truth and having certain true beliefs are necessary for happiness. I now want to say a bit more about what that is, and how I think of it.

The goodness of a life is a matter of degree. In asking about what makes a life a good life, we ask about what makes a life better. Therefore, to say that something is partly constitutive of happiness or the good life is to say that your life would go better with it than without it. Further, the various ways in which one's life can go better or worse need not always travel together. Accordingly, whether a life is a good life is not a black and white matter—it may be better in some respects and yet worse in others.

So what makes life go better? Many people believe that what makes life good is getting what you want. After all, it is generally good to get what you want. Furthermore, this answer grounds flourishing nicely in human psychology— in what we actually desire; it is practical, down to earth, direct, and no-nonsense. It is also wrong.

Even when it is expanded to include more than pleasure, the idea that flourishing consists in getting everything you want is not promising. Some things that I want, as I indicated above, may not be worth wanting. People often want things that, intuitively, are not the sort of things that would make their lives better. Some of us want things (cigarettes, relationships with people who abuse them, and so on) that make our lives worse.

If all that matters for living well is getting what I want, then the best way to live well would be to adopt desires that are easily satisfied. Reducing one's desires can indeed be helpful. We all probably have more desires than we could satisfy and perhaps more desires than we should satisfy.

Many people spend their lives wishing for things that, realistically, they can't have. This makes them miserable. They would be better off without such desires. Yet while this is true, it is hardly the case that life would always be better when one has simpler and easily satisfied desires. For some of the things that are, intuitively, the most important to desire—for instance, lasting friendship or being a successful parent—are not desires that are easily satisfied. Further, sometimes a life goes well because it is engaged in long-term, incredibly difficult projects—such as the cure for cancer, or the search for world peace, or political justice for an oppressed minority. Such desires are incredibly difficult to satisfy; they might even be "fruitless." But lives are sometimes made much better for having them. Facing challenges—even impossible challenges—can give life meaning and value.

Some objective theories maintain that there is only one supreme good toward which we all should be aiming. Plato, for example, believed that the good life was the life of contemplating the abstract, perfect form of the "The Good"—that which all and only good things had in common that made them good. Not surprisingly, Plato therefore praised the philosophical life, the life of contemplation, as the best sort of life.

The idea that there is one and only one good life is not confined to dead Greek philosophers, of course. Many thinkers—both in Western and non- Western cultures—have insisted that it is the religious life that is the best sort of life. The best life is the life lived as God wishes it to be lived. And some of the "romantic" poets and philosophers argued that it is the artistic life that should get top billing. The best sort of life is one lived in pursuit of creative selfexpression. But for many people in our culture, and I am one of them, the idea that there is one and only one way of living that is the best way for everyone to live is not compelling. Humans are too various in their needs, abilities, desires, and beliefs to make it plausible or even desirable that there is a single best way to live.

We need a way of thinking of flourishing that allows for a degree of objectivity without collapsing into the position that there is only one best sort of life. The key to reaching such a conception is to understand flourishing as a fluid concept. Fluid concepts are concepts that can be extended and enriched in new ways as circumstances demand. They come in different types. One sort of fluid concept is what Wittgenstein called a family resemblance concept. The concept of a game was Wittgenstein's favorite example. Plausibly, there is no one characteristic or set of characteristics that all and only games share. Games come in a rich and seemingly never-ending variety of forms. Some use boards, but not all do; some involve competition between groups, but not all do; and of course not every competitive activity (like war) is a game. In learning the concept of a game, we don't memorize a list of the essential features that all and only games have, because there is no such list. Instead, we extrapolate from paradigmatic examples of games, extending our concept when necessary to cover new cases.

Another way for a concept to be fluid is for it to be open textured. A concept is fluid in this sense when, starting from a shared, minimal core, it can be enriched in different and even incompatible ways as circumstances demand. Concepts of this sort are like sketches.

Our common concept of happiness or flourishing is open textured in just this way. Unlike our concept of games, we believe that a happy life has some core—if thin and sketchy—characteristics. These minimal features are what anything we would count as a good life must have in common. More precisely: a life without these features would, other things being equal, be a worse life. But like the rough lines of our sketch, these characteristics are open to divergent development.

To admit that our common, minimal concept of flourishing, of the good life, is fluid in these ways means not that anything goes, but simply that the rules we do have for deciding when a life goes better are not crystalline but open textured. The conditions for their future use are not determinate. Wittgenstein once asked what we would say if a chair started to appear and disappear, or grow, or move around on its own. Would we still call it a chair? That we don't know what to say doesn't mean that we don't know what a chair is—it is a device made for sitting—it only means that our concept of a chair is fluid, and might be used in the future in more than one way. So it is with flourishing and living well, both in general and in our own case. None of us knows what life has in store for us, and thus none of us knows how we may need to fill in our shared sketch in order to live a good life.

Taking Socrates' Question Seriously, D. Haybron

This book is fundamentally a plea for the importance of the psychology of wellbeing— or what I will call "prudential psychology," following the philosophical practice of using 'prudential' to denote matters of well-being, and the use of 'moral psychology' for the psychology of morality. To that end, I will argue that individuals are less authoritative in matters of personal welfare than modernity has usually allowed.

Socrates, Plato tells us, posed, and proposed to answer, the question of how one ought to live. Many ethical philosophers since then have taken this as a summary statement of their mandate, and this is now a common understanding of ethical theory's brief: to answer Socrates' question. If we read the modern literature on ethical theory through the lens of this question, however, a further question arises given the narrow focus of most of it on the moral aspects of the good life. Did Socrates misspeak? Or has his query been too narrowly construed?

What animates many people to ask Socrates' question is not worries about morality, but worries about what makes for a fulfilling life, or what it would take for our lives to go well for us. Well-being and happiness, not morality, are probably the first things on most people's minds when they reflect about how they ought to live. They are, after all, largely what makes life worth living. An ethics that proposes to take seriously Socrates' question ought to have something substantial to say about them.

Perhaps the superficiality lies in the way people tend to think about happiness and related states, and not in the idea that such matters are of central importance in a good life. This, probably, would have been the view of most ancient philosophers, for whom well-being, including the psychology of well-being, was a major preoccupation. Such thinkers took Socrates' question quite seriously, and tried to articulate ideals of the good life that intelligent persons would, on reflection, find compelling. What they did was not virtue ethics but wellbeing ethics—hence the name "eudaimonistic ethics": their ethical theories were explicitly accounts of eudaimonia or well-being. Virtue and morality came into the picture because of how they connected with the more fundamental notion of well-being, not the other way around. This is precisely the reverse of what we find in the modern literature, including virtue ethics.

Ancient ethical thinkers knew that psychology was a key, if not the key, to a proper understanding of human well-being. None of the major schools of ancient ethical thought failed to maintain that the good life was a pleasant one, and most took great pains to show how this was so, often developing sophisticated doctrines about the mental aspects of flourishing.

Plato tries hard in the Republic to defend a similar view of well-being, arguing at great length that the unvirtuous must be plagued by psychic disharmony, so that only the virtuous life is truly pleasant. Aristotle moderates such views by identifying well-being with virtuous activity, and counting goods of fortune in the assessment of well-being. He too discussed the psychological aspects of human flourishing at length, developing an influential view about the role of the emotions in a virtuous life, but also saying much about the character of pleasure and arguing that the life of virtue is the most pleasant.

With some notable exceptions, such as Mill, modern ethical theorists seem proportionately to be far less interested in the nature of well-being than their ancient counterparts. Even Utilitarians, who ground their ethics in the promotion of well-being, often understood in hedonistic terms, have tended not to produce great works on the character of well-being or its psychology. Bentham's discussion of pleasure is unusually thorough, but it still is not, for all that, very interesting.

Because there are diverse ways of thinking about the psychological aspects of well-being, some of which de-emphasize or go beyond the states encompassed by subjective well-being, it is useful to have a neutral term that can embrace a wide range of approaches. Ancient objectivists about human flourishing, contemporary researchers working on eudaimonic psychology, positive psychologists, "negative" psychologists studying mental illness, and others all have views about the psychology of well-being. They all study prudential psychology. Like 'moral psychology', the term is sufficiently broad and theoretically neutral that it allows practitioners in various disciplines complete latitude in defining their own subspecialties and theoretical approaches to the subject. It is not meant to supplant terms like 'positive psychology', but to place various fields in a broader context that highlights their common interests and significance.

Why did philosophical work on well-being and its psychology fall out of favor in the modern era? Such historical questions rarely have simple answers, but surely some credit must go to a shift in views about personal authority in matters of well-being. The ancients apparently took it as a given that individuals are not, in general, authorities about their own welfare. Quite the opposite: most ancient philosophers followed Socrates' lead in distinguishing "the many" and "the wise," with the former and much larger class being, basically, dolts. Aristotle notoriously maintained that some of us are so ill-fitted for self-governance that we are better off enslaved, with masters to look after us. Even Epicurean hedonists believed that most of us require considerable enlightenment about the true character of our interests; the pursuit of pleasure, correctly understood, is not at all what most people would expect. The standard economic view of modernity, that well-being consists in people getting whatever they happen to want, would have seemed childish if not insane to most ancient thinkers. Given this sort of background, the richness and depth of ancient thought about human flourishing should come as no surprise: if most of us are badly mistaken about our own interests, then a better understanding of well-being must be among our top priorities. Perhaps it should be the central task of intellectual inquiry, as it evidently was among the ancients.

The spirit of modernity is rather different. Inspired by Enlightenment optimism about the individual's powers of reason and self-government, modern liberals tend to believe in one or another form of the sovereignty or authority of the individual in matters of personal welfare: by and large, people know what's best for them, and tend to act rationally in the promotion of their interests.

We all make mistakes, of course, but not so much that we urgently need enlightenment about our own well-being. What people need more than anything, on this view, is freedom. In particular, they need the liberty and resources to pursue their various goals however they see fit. People tend to fare best—and pretty well at that—when empowered to shape their lives according to their own priorities. Call the optimism in question liberal optimism, given its association with liberal freedoms.

This sort of view does not eliminate the need for philosophical work on well-being. But it does diminish its importance. People who are authorities about their own good don't need enlightenment; they need empowerment. They need economics, not philosophy. Thus, perhaps, did formal research on well-being pass largely from the philosopher to the economist, who attempts to solve the arcane problems of how most efficiently to get resources into people's hands. Economics, and its attendant focus on our material conditions, became ascendant in the culture and in policy circles. Questions about the character of well-being and its psychology, and the most sensible way to live, have accordingly taken a back seat.

But what if it turns out that people don't have this kind of authority? What if they frequently and predictably make serious mistakes about what matters in life, act irrationally, or otherwise err in ways that undercut their prospects for well-being? What if, as a result, they tend to botch their lives at an alarmingly high rate, in many cases being unwitting pursuers of ««happiness? It might still seem a good idea to empower people as much as possible to live as they wish; that is another question. But it would probably not seem like a good idea to treat the study of well-being and its psychology as an idle intellectual exercise.

The central thesis of this book is that people probably do not enjoy a high degree of authority or competence in matters of personal welfare. We should expect them systematically to make a host of serious mistakes regarding their own well-being. Surprisingly often, people's choices may frustrate their prospects for happiness and well-being rather than improve them. In the pursuit of their dreams, even people blessed with excellent opportunities may less likely succeed than shoot themselves in the foot. Or, at least, bungle the job more often than the liberal tradition's characteristic optimism would lead us to expect. At the same time, I want to reject any stringently objective approach to well-being and affirm that psychological states like happiness are indeed central to it, just as moderns have tended to believe.

Rationalism's philosophical roots date at least to Plato, who took human life to be properly governed by reason, and well-being to consist in a well-ordered soul in which reason holds the reins. Much of the philosophical tradition has, in varying ways, followed him in placing reason at the center of well-being; hence I call it the "Platonic error." Aristotelian views of well-being, despite the important role they accord the emotions, are far more rationalistic than hedonism, a point that is most apparent in Aristotle's account of well-being as living according to reason, with reason firmly in charge. Sentiment counts, but only in a secondary role.

While this book emphasizes the sentimental aspects of human nature, according the rational aspects a less central place in human flourishing, it is not strongly sentimentalist in the manner of classical hedonism. Our rationality is still quite central to who we are, and a complete account of well-being should probably acknowledge this more fully than hedonism does. This book reflects not a full-blooded sentimentalism but a "dual aspect" approach to human nature and human flourishing, according to which neither reason nor sentiment is properly the sovereign master in either the constitution of well-being or the pursuit of a good life. The idea is closer to shared governance.

It may also help us to develop policies that better serve human well-being. Generally, we will see many reasons for doubting one of the central assumptions of contemporary political and economic policy—namely, that people's choices reliably track their interests. If people are surprisingly imprudent, and their mistakes are predictable, then policies aimed at compensating for these tendencies might prove more effective than has been recognized. Alternatively, if it turns out that increasing people's control over their lives often yields smaller dividends than expected, then the urgency of advancing that control, say by increasing people's resources or capabilities, may sometimes be diminished. Perhaps it will even tend to leave people worse off in a surprising number of cases.

I submit that inquiry into human nature primarily means inquiry into human flourishing or well-being. If you want to understand wolves or elephants then among your first questions, it seems, will be "what does it mean for them to flourish?" and "what do they need to flourish?" Surely such questions are not peripheral to an understanding of those species. Are human beings different in this regard? There is no obvious reason why they should be.

This book will not be suggesting that people are mostly idiots, as the ancients seemed to think. The point is rather to indicate that well-being is less transparent, and harder for human beings to secure for themselves given their psychological capacities, than we tend to think. It may be—and I think it is—that human beings are quite adept in matters of well-being, but only in contexts where their exercise of control over the shape of their lives is in certain ways constrained, or else assisted by exogenous influences like cultural norms. If people too often act imprudently, the problem may lie not with them but with a mismatch between human nature and the demands imposed by certain environments.

The trouble with this view [hedonism] is mainly that happiness appears to be an emotional and not merely experiential phenomenon, in ways that rule out a hedonistic analysis. Intuitively, one is unhappy (say) by virtue of being depressed, not by virtue of experiencing the unpleasantness of depression. Life satisfaction theories identify happiness with being satisfied with one's life as a whole. I reject this sort of view largely because life satisfaction appears not to have the kind of significance happiness seems to possess. For instance, life satisfaction attitudes are governed by norms, such as gratitude, that can drive a deep wedge between how satisfied we are and how well we see our lives going for us.

The view of wellbeing is developed by noting that the emotional state theory of happiness reveals a close relationship between happiness and the self: our propensities for being happy or unhappy in various ways of living are important to who we are. This matters, I argue, because it seems important to live in accordance with who we are: well-being consists, at least partly, in self-fulfillment. And self-fulfillment in turn consists partly in fulfilling our emotional natures—in being authentically happy, in Sumner's terms.

We cannot assume that people's choices, even when self-interested, will track their interests. It is perfectly possible that people seeking fulfilling lives will freely choose, en masse, to live in distinctly unfulfilling ways. And even if they do end up better off on the whole than they were before, the price of those gains may be far higher than they realize. Second, and most importantly: a people armed with nothing better than a smiley-face psychology doesn 't stand a chance of answering these sorts of questions.

For human well-being mostly depends not on what people have but, among other things, on what they do with what they've got. A better question, arguably, is this: do they live in a sensible manner? A decent response to this question will require us to understand whether their way of life suits their natures. And central to that project, surely, will be seeing whether their way of life conduces to their flourishing psychologically. If a civilization cannot muster a reasonably affirmative answer to this question, then we might reconsider whether it is properly called "civilized." For if its people do not flourish psychologically, they do not flourish. Period. It is with the psychology, I would suggest, that the really interesting story about the flourishing of these creatures lies.

Happiness, Well-Being, and the Good Life, D. Haybron

Most scholarly work under the rubric of 'happiness' centers on two senses of the term. The first usage treats 'happiness' as basically a synonym for 'well-being', or equivalently, 'flourishing', 'welfare' or 'eudaimonia'. The concept of well-being is a normative or evaluative concept that concerns what benefits a person, is in her interest, is good for her, or makes her life go well for her. The use of 'happiness' to discuss premodern philosophy almost always takes this meaning, as when it is employed to translate 'eudaimonia.' To ascribe happiness to people, in the well-being sense, is to say that their lives are going well for them. It is to make a value judgment about their lives. This is the most natural reading of talk about leading a happy life, as opposed simply to being happy. For while being happy seems to be a property of the person, and can sensibly be regarded as a purely psychological matter, most people probably would not say as much about the idea of having a happy life, which plausibly involves non-mental states of affairs as well.

More commonly, 'happiness' bears a purely psychological meaning, denoting some broad and typically lasting aspect of the individual's state of mind: being happy. (Note that the well-being and psychological senses of happiness refer to distinct kinds, not species of a common genus.) This is the standard usage in the subjective well-being literature, and the predominant usage in the vernacular. The dominant views of happiness in this sense are hedonistic theories, which roughly identify happiness with pleasure; and life satisfaction theories, which equate happiness with an attitude of being satisfied with your life as a whole (this normally involves a global judgment about your life, as opposed to merely having a pleasant experience).

Summing up: The query "What is happiness?" is not, absent further cues to one's meaning, a well-formed question. One could be asking a variety of things, though in most cases the question will likely have one of two meanings. Roughly: 1. What is this state of mind that so many people seek, that tends to accompany good fortune, success, etc.? (happiness in the long-term psychological sense) 2. What is it for my life to go well for me? (happiness in the well-being sense)

Crudely, hedonism identifies well-being with pleasure. A bit more precisely, well-being consists in a subject's balance of pleasant over unpleasant experience. The central idea is that what ultimately matters for welfare is the hedonic quality of individuals' experience, and nothing more. The chief attraction of this view is that it accommodates the plausible thought that, if anything matters for welfare, it is the pleasantness of our experience of life. And nothing else seems to be valuable in quite the same way. Despite its attractions, most philosophers have rejected hedonism and other mental state accounts, mainly because of experience machine-type worries.

As of now, the theory to beat is the desire-fulfillment theory of well-being, also called the preference satisfaction account; for brevity I will usually refer to it simply as the "desire" theory. The dominant account among economists and philosophers over the last century or so, the desire theory identifies wellbeing with the satisfaction of the individual's desires.

Desire theories come in many varieties, the most important type being informed-desire theories, which restrict the desires that count to the ones we would have given full information (rationality, reflection, etc.). These variants predominate, since many find it intuitively obvious that we don't gain from the satisfaction of desires that are grounded in ignorance or irrationality. Desire theories have a number of attractions, one being that they are extremely flexible, able to accommodate the full range of goods that people seek. But most importantly, they comport with the liberal sensibilities of modernity: what's best for me depends on what I care about, and on such matters I am sovereign. This seems appealingly non-paternalistic.

The third theory, L. W. Sumner's authentic happiness view, is meant to rectify the most serious difficulties with hedonistic and desire theories while retaining their emphasis on subjective experience and individual sovereignty. His view identifies well-being with being authentically happy: being happy, where one's happiness is both informed about the conditions of one's life and autonomous, meaning that it reflects values that are truly one's own and not the result of manipulation or oppressive social conditioning.

In broad terms, Aristotelian theories identify well-being with "well-functioning," which is to say functioning or living well as a human being: the fulfillment of human nature. This consists, in the first instance, in a life of excellent or virtuous activity, though this is sometimes put less astringently, as a "fully" or "truly" human life. The idea is that we flourish by fully exercising our human capacities. It is not simply a matter of being morally virtuous, although moral virtue is essential to well-being as Aristotelians see it. Aristotelian theories address widespread intuitions about the importance of personal development and leading a "full life" replete with the essentials of a normal human life.

Eudaimonism merits classification as a distinct family of theories, kewwes, because all share the same fundamental motivation: the idea that well-being consists in nature-fulfillment. Differences arise in their views of a person's nature, and of what it means to fulfill that nature. Subjectivists like Sumner and most desire theorists start from very different foundations, such as the ideal of individual sovereignty.

Finally, we have list theories of well-being, which identify well-being with some brute list of goods, such as knowledge, friendship, accomplishment, pleasure, etc. Their appeal derives from the fact that other approaches seem incapable of encompassing a broad range of intuitions about well-being. The elements on most proposed lists do strike many as intrinsically beneficial, so it can make sense to incorporate them in your theory.

To give a theory of the good life is not to characterize some special kind of value, but simply to specify all the things that ultimately matter in life, whether they benefit the agent or not.The Good Life functions as an umbrella concept encompassing the domain of values that matter in a person's life, and can be employed within any ethical framework. Since almost no one would deny that it is a good thing both to flourish and to be virtuous, all respectable ethical doctrines will maintain that the good life involves both virtue and well-being, and perhaps aesthetic or other values as well. Kant, e.g., agreed with Aristotle that the good life involves both morality and well-being: both values are worth seeking. But unlike Aristotle, he saw these as distinct, and often conflicting, aspects of the good life. Thus Kant allows, along with the Utilitarians and most commonsense thought today, that bad people can sometimes flourish. But being bad, they would not have good lives.

The important point for our purposes is just to see that the nature of well-being really is a substantive issue concerning the existence and character of a certain sort of value. Dissecting concepts is not likely to settle it.

Let me sum up by returning to Aristotle and Darwall. An example of a linguistic claim here would be to say that 'eudaimonia' and 'well-being' express the same concept. We explain what the concept well-being is via a conceptual claim, such as Darwall's contention that the concept of well-being is the concept of what one ought to want for a person insofar as one cares for him. Whereas the Aristotelian account of well-being that we know best involves not a linguistic or conceptual claim, but a substantive normative claim to the effect that what ultimately benefits a person is a life of virtuous activity.

Happiness, the Self, and Human Flourishing, D. Haybron

The primary aim of this chapter is positive, namely to defend, at least provisionally, a partial account of well-being that accords a central place to happiness. Negatively, my chief target will be, not Aristotelianism, but subjectivism. Subjectivism can be understood in any number of ways, but here I conceive it in the manner that seems best to explain the popularity of such theories (roughly following L. W. Sumner). Subjectivist theories of welfare assert the sovereignty of the individual about her own well-being (what Richard Arneson aptly calls the thesis of "agent sovereignty"): her own priorities determine what sort of life makes her best off. Nothing can make you better off that goes against your all-things-considered (informed, etc.) preferences, desires, or judgment. The appeal of such a view lies mainly, it seems, in the plausible idea that by deferring to subjects' own judgments we respect their status as autonomous agents. We seem thus to avoid a kind of paternalism.

Subjectivism does allow for some kinds of error, such as inconsistency, but not for fundamental errors in one's values. While subjectivists need not claim that well-being is transparent to the agent, their commitment to agent sovereignty constrains how far they can reasonably move in the direction of opacity. The less transparent your theory makes well-being, the more susceptible you are to the "Who are you to say?" objection about paternalism. In any event, the common notion—pervasive among economists—that people typically know what's good for them clearly gets much support from the dominance of subjectivism.

In fact happiness proves to be a source of counterexamples to subjectivism. The best accounting of happiness's value requires, instead, a eudaimonistic, and non-subjectivist, conception of well-being. The type of eudaimonism I have in mind centers on the idea of self-fulfillment, which I understand as a specific form of nature-fulfillment: the fulfillment of the self. While sharing the eudaimonism of Aristotle's views, we will see that my approach departs from the Aristotelian mold in important ways. The central contention of this chapter is that happiness—or rather, "authentic happiness"—has intrinsic prudential value as an aspect of self-fulfillment. This is because happiness bears a special relation to the self: the facts about what makes us (authentically) happy partially define who we are, our selves.

The question is whether, by living in conflict with their natures, Henry and Claudia have made a mistake. I would submit that they have: their values are misplaced. Intuitively, they assign too little importance to their happiness. I think their more perceptive friends would, quite plausibly, say that they are living in conflict with who they are. This mistake is prudential: they would be better off happy. And the mistake concerns the value of happiness as an aspect of self-fulfillment: living in a manner that conforms to the sort of person one is, permitting the fulfillment of the self. We ought not to live in conflict with our natures, or at least the aspect of the self involving happiness, without good reason (e.g., a weighty moral reason). If this is correct, then happiness is, in an important sense, an objective good: it is good whether one values it, or would value it given all the facts etc., or not.

To recap the view defended previously, to be happy is roughly for one's emotional condition to be broadly positive with only minor negatives, embodying a stance of psychic affirmation. This condition has two aspects, namely the individual's central affective states—roughly, moods and emotions—along with her mood propensities. For simplicity, I will not focus on mood propensity in what follows, though it clearly enhances the significance of happiness for the self. On this view, happiness is not merely a state of one's consciousness. It is more like a state of one's being—not just a pleasant experience, or a good mood, but psychic affirmation or, in more pronounced forms, psychic flourishing.

If the contentions of this chapter are correct, the self has at least one further aspect, which I will call a person's "emotional nature." With qualifications to be noted in the next section, to have a certain emotional nature is to be disposed characteristically to be happy in certain circumstances and not others. Our emotional natures are partly determined by our temperaments, but not wholly: our desires, values, characters, and habits of thought, perhaps among other things, also have a role. As I am arguing in this chapter, our propensities for happiness are not merely a part of our natures; they are more specifically a part of who we are: the self.

Our propensities for happiness clearly evolve over time, depending heavily on social and cultural factors as well as our particular values, among other things. And there are many ways to fulfill one's emotional nature. Indeed, one might reasonably embark on a plan to change one's emotional nature, say by undertaking to become a cellist, and thus to be made happy by the things that tend to make cellists happy (like playing the cello well). This sort of example poses no difficulty for my view: our emotional natures will still constrain the options that make sense for us.

Authenticity arguably has a further dimension, beyond the information and autonomy requirements, namely richness. Briefly, the authenticity of one's happiness increases, other things being equal, to the extent that it is grounded in richer, more complex ways of living. For such ways of living more fully express one's nature. Someone might conceivably be happy, for example, leading the impoverished life of Rawls's grass-counter. The choice to lead such a life could well be autonomous, say as a means of making happiness easier to come by. But there is not much of him in such a way of life, for he isn't really doing much of anything—indeed, his happiness reflects a stunted version of himself. Whittling oneself down in this way hardly seems a path to authenticity. A more authentic life—a life more fully expressing his nature, his individuality—would have him fully engaged in the business of living, with all the richness of an ordinary human life. And the resulting happiness would, it seems, be more authentic as well.

We can now state the central claim of this chapter: well-being consists partly in authentic happiness—in "emotional nature-fulfillment." More specifically, authentic happiness has intrinsic prudential value as an aspect of self-fulfillment, which in turn constitutes at least part, of well-being. This value, moreover, is objective in the sense that it benefits you whether you want it, or would want it after reflection, or not. This might seem a weak claim, but it rules out virtually all extant theories of well-being.

If all this is right, then matters of affective make-up are far more significant than we tend to suppose. Why hasn't this putative fact gotten more recognition? Mainly, it seems, because "mere" matters of emotional constitution are seen as little more than parameters that limit the range of our realistic options in life, much as the facts about how tall or intelligent one is are among the brute facts one must accommodate when planning one's life. A rational agent had best take such factors into account when deciding what to do, but this is not because they have any special value. It is just that she won't get what she wants otherwise.... In short, we have tended either to ignore the emotional self altogether, or to consider it significant only as a potential obstacle to the satisfaction of our desires.

The most serious problem is that Sumner seems unable to give a plausible account of how authenticity affects the value of happiness. Is the value of happiness wholly conditional on authenticity? This is not credible: surely you are better off as a happy brain in a vat or brainwashing victim than as an unhappy one. Certainly you are better off in one respect, as we just saw: your experience is more pleasant. In fact the hedonic value of happiness appears not to be affected at all by considerations of authenticity. In what way, then, is your well-being compromised? This is hard to say. Inauthentic happiness is not prudentially worthless, nor is it simply bad. It appears to be mixture of good and bad. Sumner's theory seems unable to account for this, save perhaps by ad hoc stipulation. If happiness is valuable not just hedonically but also as part of self-fulfillment, however, then we can plausibly account for the significance of authenticity: whereas happiness's hedonic value is untouched by inauthenticity, its value qua self-fulfillment is undermined in proportion to the shortfall in authenticity. In short, we cannot achieve selffulfillment insofar as our happiness depends on ignorance about our lives, on being mindless tools, or on other forms of inauthenticity.

More authenticity is not always better. Sometimes we do not want to know all the facts. Sometimes we are happy to maintain certain minor illusions, particularly about our loved ones. (Do you want to know everything about your parents?) In fact there is considerable evidence that happy people typically have inflated opinions of themselves, are unrealistically optimistic about their prospects, and otherwise see the world through rose-tinted lenses. Indeed, it is sometimes claimed that the only people who have a realistic sense of themselves may be depressed, or suffer from low self-esteem. This may seem problematical for my view....It stands to reason that small departures from perfect authenticity—minor illusions—may be justified by a significant hedonic payoff in some cases. We trade a little bit of authenticity for a sum of pleasure. So we may be better off for it, but there is a cost nonetheless.

One possibility is that value is somehow a projection of human psychology, and that the mind projects value onto the world according to a teleological paradigm. We see things as having "natures," and see value in the fulfillment of those natures. The idea that some sort of nature-fulfillment is intrinsically valuable has a very broad appeal: eudaimonistic ideals can arguably be found among not just the ancients and their followers but Thomists, Marxists, Nietzsche, the existentialists, and humanistic psychologists like Maslow and Rogers, among many others. Whereas ancient and medieval thinkers tended to focus on our generic natures as human beings, the modern era has taken an inward turn, emphasizing the peculiar psychological constitution of the individual person: the self.

It is worth noting some points of contrast between the variety of eudaimonism suggested here and its Aristotelian relatives. Theories in the Aristotelian tradition are perfectionist and externalist, conceiving of nature-fulfillment in terms of the proper exercise of our distinctively human capacities. The present view, by contrast, is non-perfectionist and internalist, grounding nature-fulfillment in the arbitrarily idiosyncratic make-up of the individual. Insofar as virtue benefits the individual, it does so via its connection with other goods, such as the agent's happiness.

The present account also differs from Aristotelian views in positing a less intellectualistic view of human nature, placing a greater emphasis on its affective dimension as something that matters independently of its connection with reason. But this is not a romantic irrationalism....And it is highly plausible that self-fulfillment will involve, not just being happy, but success as well in relation to those commitments that define who we are and lend meaning to our lives.

This chapter may be viewed as arguing for a more central place for the emotional self in our view of human flourishing: self-fulfillment is not simply a matter of living up to our ideals, achieving our goals, etc., but also of living in accordance with our emotional natures. And sometimes the demands of the emotional self will have normative primacy over those of the rational. While these two aspects of the self are deeply intertwined and overlapping, they require separate attention. The upshot is that some improvements in happiness, even authentic ones, may not make our lives go better for us on the whole. For they may deprive our lives of too much meaning.

To arrive at a complete account of well-being will require a broader theoretical framework, one that can among other things explain what counts as an individual's "nature" in the relevant sense. Why do propensities for happiness count, for instance, and not the appetites? But these remarks should help to situate my contentions about happiness, illustrating the sort of place happiness might occupy in a fuller theory of well-being.

The central aim of this chapter has been rather modest: to establish, at least provisionally, that happiness has intrinsic prudential value as an aspect of selffulfillment. And the arguments for this claim have themselves involved fairly modest claims, notably that at least part of well-being can be characterized in terms of self-fulfillment, and that the facts about what makes us happy are important to who we are. These contentions seem quite plausible, and not particularly shocking.

The view defended in this chapter takes a more sentimentalist approach to thinking about well-being: human flourishing depends substantially on the verdicts of our emotional natures, to a significant extent independently of what we think about our lives. There is a large part of well-being, in short, that hinges on matters of sentiment, needing no stamp of approval from reason. Of course I have not denied an important role for reason in a fuller account of well-being, so that a complete view would likely have both sentimentalist and rationalist elements (in contrast, say, to hedonism, which in its canonical forms is a wholly sentimentalist approach). Nor have I suggested that reason and sentiment can be wholly separated; perhaps sentiment always has some rational element and vice versa. But it does appear that our reflective judgments do not bear the sort of authority regarding our welfare that many of us take them to.

The Pursuit of Unhappiness, D. Haybron

The idea that freedom is what human beings fundamentally need to have their best shot at flourishing is a central tenet of modern liberal thought. Since it is indisputable that human beings are in some sense a freedom-loving species, an important question is how "freedom" is to be understood here. Liberal modernity has tended to view freedom primarily as self-determination, floridly conceived: to a first approximation, the ability to shape our lives in accordance with our own priorities.

The implication is that freedom, including having a wide array of options, is good for us. A life rich in options is, in fact, our best bet for attaining well-being. While we may not be geniuses, we still tend to know what's best for us and how to get it. Moreover, many would add, we tend to do rather well when empowered to live in the manner that seems best to us. Such appears to be the spirit of the modern age: a spirit of optimism about the individualized pursuit of well-being, founded in Enlightenment trust of the individual and her powers of reason.

Liberal optimism is obviously appealing, but it rests on some non-trivial assumptions. Here I want to consider the plausibility of liberal optimism's chief psychological doctrine, which I will call the Aptitude assumption. Roughly, Aptitude maintains that human psychology is well-adapted to environments offering individuals a high degree of freedom to shape their lives as they wish. We have the psychological endowments needed to do well, indeed best, in such environments by choosing lives for ourselves that meet our needs.

Systematic Imprudence thesis: Human beings are systematically prone to make a wide range of serious errors in matters of personal welfare. These errors are weighty enough to substantially compromise the expected lifetime well-being for individuals possessing a high degree of freedom to shape their lives as they wish, even under reasonably favorable conditions (education, etc.).

If Systematic Imprudence is correct, then the truth of Aptitude becomes at least an open question. Liberal optimism consequently rests on a questionable view of human nature: we may not be well-equipped for the individualized pursuit of happiness, perhaps even tending unwittingly to be pursuers of unhappiness when we possess the freedom to fashion our lives according to our own designs.

The central contention of this chapter is that the individualized pursuit of well-being is probably substantially undercut by systematic tendencies toward imprudence: the Systematic Imprudence thesis is very likely true. This in turns suggests that a key assumption of liberal optimism, Aptitude, may well prove to be false. I will not be claiming that the Aptitude assumption is in fact false or unwarranted. The point is rather that we should take this possibility seriously. The truth of Aptitude should be considered an open question. A secondary aim is to sharpen our grasp of the remarkably bold psychological assumptions underlying much modern thought about human nature, the good life, and the good society.

Aptitude claims that: Given (roughly) the greatest possible option freedom, and otherwise reasonably favorable conditions, individuals will tend to choose prudently, so that most can expect to do well over the course of their lives, and better than they would given less freedom to shape their lives.

Let's begin with prediction: do we know what will make us happy? Are we, in short, good at affective forecasting. There is good evidence that we are not. The most serious difficulties noted in the literature relate to adaptation. With most events, large and small, we tend to adapt quickly, probably within a few months, and return to our prior level of happiness (or misery, as the case may be). This is the well-known phenomenon of hedonic adaptation. I argued earlier that claims about adaptation may often be exaggerated. But there can be no question that hedonic adaptation is a very real phenomenon, and that many events have surprisingly little effect on our long-term happiness.

The impact bias is a broad tendency to overestimate the enduring emotional impact of future events. This tendency is deeply problematical for the pursuit of happiness. Adaptation neglect, for instance, makes us prone to exaggerate the importance of monetary outcomes for our happiness, since financial gains typically yield only short-term emotional benefits. Employers who offer generous signing bonuses know well what they're doing: the recipients may picture themselves reveling in their windfall, not recognizing that the joy will soon fade.

If we are unrealistically optimistic in predicting outcomes, we will tend to make some bad choices. There is considerable evidence of a general tendency toward positive illusions in thinking about ourselves and our lives, raising serious concerns about our ability to make important life decisions wisely. At least three types of positive illusion contribute to this worry. First, we tend to have inflated opinions of ourselves: most of us are above average, in most respects, in our minds. Thus, for instance, most people have been found to rate themselves more favorably than observers do on various personality measures. And people tend to see positive personality and other attributes as more descriptive of themselves than most people, and negative attributes as less descriptive. Most of us think, for example, that we are above-average drivers.

Second, we tend to overestimate our control over outcomes. For example, subjects tend to believe that they have more control over a roll of the dice if they personally throw them than if someone else does. Third, most people are unrealistically optimistic, believing their futures to be brighter than the evidence warrants. Thus we typically think ourselves more likely than our peers to experience pleasant events, such as liking our first job or receiving a good salary, and less likely to experience negative ones, like having difficulty finding a job or being involved in a car accident. We also tend to overestimate our performance on future tasks, more so to the extent that we see the task as important to us. And our predictions of the outcomes of a wide range of tasks correspond less to what is really likely than to what we desire, or see as socially desirable.

Lay rationalism is a tendency to base decisions on "rationalistic" attributes, such as economic values, rather than "soft" attributes like predicted experience or happiness. Roughly, the idea is that we often choose options that fare better according to "hard" criteria like monetary payoff, even where we predict that those options will be worse for our experience of life.

The potential of lay rationalism to subvert human welfare should not be underestimated: probably the most important things in life, beyond the bare necessities of existence, tend to be intangible or "soft," and hence at a disadvantage relative to "harder" factors. Thus one's choice of an occupation may tend to depend excessively on matters like income rather than how rewarding it will be, or how worthwhile. Lay rationalism could help us to explain the prevalence of materialism without having to claim that people overwhelmingly have materialistic values: for the most part, the values people endorse in surveys are decidedly non-materialistic.

I have discussed lay rationalism, the impact bias, and positive illusions as distinct phenomena, but we should bear in mind that they might exhibit perverse synergies when taken together. Lay rationalism, for instance, may tend to privilege risky goods at the expense of sure things, an example being wealth versus relationships. Often you get the latter more or less by default—just hang around and be a decent friend, sibling, etc. Whereas monetary success is usually a much riskier venture, and most people who set out to get rich don't even come close.

This small sampling of biases does not even come close to exhausting the hurdles our brains present to us in the pursuit of happiness. But together they indicate that we may be biased to pursue goods that do little to advance our well-being over the goods that really do benefit us, and that such biases are encouraged by inflated views of our chances for success.

Insofar as people are not as happy as they might be, how much of this owes to the sort of imprudence we have been discussing? This of course cannot be answered with any precision. But as Daniel Gilbert dryly observes, "the average American moves more than six times, changes jobs more than ten times, and marries more than once, which suggests that most of us are making more than a few poor choices."

Natural selection hardly tends to be kind to massive prudential ineptitude, the objection goes, and the simple fact that we made it through the Darwinian sieve might seem to indicate that most of us somehow manage to conduct our lives pretty well, at least from a self-interested perspective. In fact it is not clear how far we should expect evolutionary processes to select for prudent behavior, since natural selection ultimately favors not prudence but fecundity, broadly speaking: inclusive fitness.

In stark contrast to the conditions in which we evolved, life in the unbounded society requires setting one's own priorities and successfully pursuing a complex and varied set of goals that will, over the course of a lifetime, satisfy both the individual's diverse priorities and, of course, the individual himself. In accomplishing this, the agent must effect a three-way convergence of his motivations, his emotional make-up, and his arbitrarily diverse priorities. And all these things must come together, often with little advice or precedent from others, with a very low serious error rate. Happiness takes many choices; unhappiness needs only one.

In short, our important choices in life must accomplish a remarkable harmonization of many factors that are utterly removed from the conditions of the Pleistocene world, while at the same time being relatively immune to heuristics and biases and motivational tendencies better suited to that world than our own. It is possible that our evolutionary endowments will transfer effectively to life in the unbounded society, so that we are well-adapted for this sort of situation despite its gross novelty. Hunter-gatherer societies are themselves quite varied, for instance, contending in many different ways with a wide range of physical and social circumstances, so perhaps the adaptability that served us there will do the same for individuals in option-rich societies. This is possible. But it does not seem likely, and the burden of argument lies with the liberal optimist who wants to assert it.

It may be helpful to reflect on one of our better known tendencies toward imprudence: our propensity to overindulge in sweets and fats, to the point that it basically kills many of us. We have evolved a formidable sweet tooth and "fat" tooth—a sensible disposition in light of the dietary constraints facing our Pleistocene ancestors. Perhaps human beings have evolved other "teeth" as well—such a "stuff" tooth or a "status" tooth—that cause us to seek certain things even when doing so threatens our interests.

Situationism maintains that human behavior depends far less on matters of personality and character than we tend to suppose, and far more on external features of the situation...The general moral is this: human behavior is extraordinarily sensitive to situational factors, particularly social factors, so that such influences can easily motivate us to act in ways having nothing to do with, or worse conflicting with, our express priorities. Some have even argued that matters of values, character, and personality play a relatively small role in explaining most behavior, though this is controversial and to my mind implausible. Stated crudely, how we choose to live may depend substantially if not mainly on who we're with, not who we are or what we care about.

These points suggest a more sentimentalist and communal view of human nature than we tend to find in the liberal tradition. Liberal thinkers, and many philosophers before them, have tended to stress the individual's rational deliberations as the fundamental and proper guide to human life, properly lived, thus taking a view of ourselves that is in an important sense both rationalistic and individualistic. If something like the story sketched here proves correct, then we may need to rethink common assumptions about the nature of the beast we are dealing with.

The liberal optimist's view of human nature, embodied most plainly in mainstream economic thought, has helped to create a set of very strong and pervasive presumptions about the value of certain freedoms for human welfare, and in turn about the kinds of policies and social forms that tend to promote well-being.

Happiness, Well-Being, and Capabilities, A. Sen

How adequate is the perspective of happiness in judging a person's well-being or advantage? We could err either through not being fair to the importance of happiness, or through overestimating its importance in judging the well-being of people, or being blind to the limitations of making happiness the main - or only - basis of assessment of social justice or social welfare.

Capability has a role in social ethics and political philosophy that goes well beyond its place as a rival to happiness and well-being as a guide to human advantage. I will not pursue this distinction further here - at least directly, even though it will figure in explaining why an enhancement of a person's freedom may not necessarily increase his or her well-being.

The discipline of welfare economics, which is the part of economics that is concerned with the assessment of the goodness of states of affairs and the appraisal of policies, has had a long history in placing happiness at the very centre of the discipline of evaluation, seeing it as a sole guide to human well-being and to the advantages enjoyed by different people. Indeed, for a long time - for well over a century - welfare economics was dominated by one particular approach, namely utilitarianism, initiated in its modern form by Jeremy Bentham, and championed by such economists as John Stuart Mill, Francis Edgeworth, Henry Sidgwick, Alfred Marshall and A. C. Pigou, among many other leaders of economic thought. It gave happiness the status of being uniquely important in assessing human well-being and advantage, and thus serving as the basis for social evaluation and the making of public policy. Utilitarianism was for a very long time something like 'the official theory' of welfare economics, though there are many compelling theories now.

Where problems arise is in the claim that: 'Happiness is that ultimate goal because, unlike all other goals, it is self-evidently good.'... It is the claim that nothing else ultimately matters - liberty, equality, fraternity or whatever - that may not resonate so easily with the way people have thought and continue to think about what looks self-evidently good.

Happiness, important as it is, can hardly be the only thing that we have reason to value, nor the only metric for measuring other things that we value. But when being happy is not given such an imperialist role, it can, with good reason, be seen as a very important human functioning, among others. The capability to be happy is, similarly, a major aspect of the freedom that we have good reason to value. The perspective of happiness illuminates a critically important part of human life.

This recognition need not, however, lead us to the belief that we value the things that we do value just for the reason that not getting them would lead to frustration. Rather, the reasons that we have for the valuation of our objectives (no matter how remote these objectives are from merely seeking happiness) actually help to explain why we may sensibly feel happy about achieving what we are trying to achieve, and frustrated when we do not succeed. Happiness can thus have indicative merit in being, typically, related to our successes and failures in life. This is so even though happiness is not the only thing we seek, or have reason to seek.

The utilitarian calculus based on happiness or desire-fulfilment can be deeply unfair to those who are persistently deprived, since our mental make-up and desires tend to adjust to circumstances, particularly to make life bearable in adverse situations. It is through 'coming to terms' with one's hopeless predicament that life is made somewhat bearable by the traditional underdogs, such as oppressed minorities in intolerant communities, sweated workers in exploitative industrial arrangements, precarious share-croppers living in a world of uncertainty, or subdued housewives in deeply sexist cultures. The hopelessly deprived people may lack the courage to desire any radical change and typically tend to adjust their desires and expectations to what little they see as feasible. They train themselves to take pleasure in small mercies.

The practical merit of such adjustments for people in chronically adverse positions is easy to understand: this is one way of being able to live peacefully with persistent deprivation. But the adjustments also have the consequential effect of distorting the scale of utilities in the form of happiness or desire-fulfilment. In terms of pleasure or desire-fulfilment, the disadvantages of the hopeless underdog may thus appear to be much smaller than what would emerge on the basis of a more objective analysis of the extent of their deprivation and unfreedom. Adaptation of expectations and perceptions tends to play a particularly major part in the perpetuation of social inequalities, including the relative deprivation of women....To overlook the intensity of their disadvantage merely because of their ability to build a little joy in their lives is hardly a good way of achieving an adequate understanding of the demands of social justice.

In the making of state policy for adult citizens, wellbeing freedom may be of greater interest, in this context, than well-being achievement. For example, the state may have reasons to offer the person adequate opportunities to overcome hunger, but not to insist that the person must take up that offer, without fail. Offering the opportunity to all to lead a minimally decent life need not be combined with an insistence that everyone makes use of all the opportunities that the state offers; for instance, making everyone entitled to an adequate amount of food does not have to be combined with a state ban on fasting.

A person's capability can be characterized as well-being freedom (reflecting the freedom to advance one's own well-being), and agency freedom (concerned with the freedom to advance whatever goals and values a person has reason to advance). While the former may be of more general interest to public policy (such as poverty removal, in the form of eradicating major deprivation in well-being freedom), it is the latter that can, arguably, be seen as being of primary interest to the person's own sense of values. If a person attaches more importance to some goal, or some rule of behaviour, than to personal well-being, it is a decision that could be seen to be for him or her to make (except for special cases, such as mental dysfunction that may prevent the person from thinking clearly enough about their priorities).

Having more capability in terms of agency freedom is an advantage, but only in that specific perspective, and particularly not - at least not necessarily - in the perspective of well-being.

Prolegomenon to Flourishing, R. Kraut

"Good," its linguistic relatives ("better," "best," "well"), their opposites, and corresponding terms in other languages pervade the vocabulary of everyday life. With their help, we arrive at conclusions about what to choose and what to do. We want not just to eat, but to eat good food; not just to make plans, but to make good plans; not just to have friends, but to have good friends. If we lacked a vocabulary for making such evaluations and still finer distinctions ("good, but not as good as"), decision making would be an impoverished enterprise.

"Good" goes even deeper than that. When followed by the preposition "for" or "of," it purports to tell us where our interests lie. To deliberate about what is good for someone, or the good of someone, is to ask about what is beneficial or advantageous—not what is beneficial or advantageous in general, but for or to him in particular. It is to inquire about how to place that person in a more favorable position than he would otherwise occupy...Without such terms, we would lose the grounding for the evaluations we make. For when we use "good" as a grader of members of a kind (good food, plans, friends), we are guided by our ideas about what is good for this person or that.

Common sense, we will see, tends to make systematic errors about what is good for us, and philosophers have sometimes incorporated those errors into their theories. If we learn how to guard against these tendencies, we should arrive at a better understanding of how to live our lives. In doing so, we will not be entirely abandoning common sense—far from it. Much that will be said here about what is good for us will be obvious. The trouble with common sense, in this area, is that it accepts too many ideas; they cannot all stand up to scrutiny. We have to lay bare our underlying assumptions about what is good for us in order to see that our house is not in order and to set about rebuilding it.

When you say that eating certain kinds of food is good for you, and that making certain plans is good for you, and that having these friends is good for you, what is it that you are asserting about each of these things? What justifies your claim that each of these things is good for you?... There is no guarantee that this is a fruitful question to ask—that it is well formulated, that it has an answer, or that we need an answer. Perhaps there is nothing that all good things (things that are good for someone) have in common. Perhaps nothing is amiss if they do not. Perhaps we would do better to think in terms of what is good absolutely—just plain good—than to inquire about what is good for us. Or, even if what is good for us is a matter of great importance, perhaps the assumptions we make about this matter in our everyday lives are entirely in order as they stand.

There is no way to tell, at the start, whether philosophical reflection that presses, as this study does, toward greater abstraction and systematicity will bear fruit by detecting pervasive errors in our thinking. There is no guarantee that we are asking a good question when we ask about the nature of goodness. We simply must be on guard to avoid unwarranted assumptions as we seek a theory that withstands all the critical tests we can bring to bear upon it.

A theory about what is good for human beings will of course have to say something about human beings, and not just about what it is for G to be good for S. Similarly, there is no saying what is good for some particular individual living being, unless we know a great deal about him or her or it. Some of what we must know pertains to the peculiar circumstances and idiosyncrasies of that particular individual, though other facts we must know pertain to the species to which S belongs. Because we want to say what is good for any human being, we must in some way reckon with human nature.

In this study, when it is asked whether something is good for someone, or claimed that it is, it is noninstrumental goodness that is being talked about. "Is it good for someone to know how to swim?" If we construe that as a question about whether swimming is a useful skill for anyone to have, it becomes the sort of practical question that philosophy is not well equipped to answer. But it becomes a more difficult and interesting question if it asks whether swimming should be included among the noninstrumental goods—that is, whether it is a component of a person's well-being or welfare.

Clearly, flourishing is a good thing—good for what is flourishing. We can talk about a flourishing or thriving business or legal practice, but flourishing is primarily a biological phenomenon: "flower" and "flourish" are cognates. Above all, it is plants, animals, and human beings that flourish when conditions are favorable. They do so by developing properly and fully, that is, by growing, maturing, making full use of the potentialities, capacities, and faculties that (under favorable conditions) they naturally have at an early stage of their existence. Anything that impedes that development or the exercise of those mature faculties—disease, the sapping of vigor and strength, injuries, the loss of organs—is bad for them.

The good of an artifact looks to the good of something beyond it. Not so for living things: in their case, what is good for S is the flourishing of S, or what leads to it. To say that something or someone is flourishing is both to evaluate and to describe it. "S is flourishing" entails "S is doing well"; and when S is a living thing, "S is doing well" entails "S is flourishing." But "flourish" has rich empirical implications that are absent from the more abstract and nonbiological term "doing well." If you say that S is flourishing, your statement is put into grave doubt if it is then pointed out to you that S is sick, weak, mutilated, injured, stunted. Nothing so seriously impeded is flourishing. And therefore nothing so seriously impeded is doing well....For human beings, no less than other living things, it is always good to flourish; and if a human being is flourishing in all ways, both physical and psychological, he is doing very well indeed.

Having access to a dwelling that protects one from extreme cold is a resource that any human being needs in order to stay alive, and so it is a necessary condition for human flourishing. But that access is not itself a component of flourishing. It is good because it is a means to an end, and only for that reason.

To know what constitutes their flourishing, we must know something about human beings in general. We noted, in the previous section, that their flourishing requires the development not merely of physical powers, but of psychological powers as well. Which powers? Using the categories of common sense, we can say at least this much: a flourishing human being is one who possesses, develops, and enjoys the exercise of cognitive, affective, sensory, and social powers (no less than physical powers). Those, in broadest outline and roughly speaking, are the components of well-being.

Our approach has a greater affinity to the one adopted by Plato and Aristotle: both are eager to determine what is really in the interests of human beings, and they rely heavily on a schematic picture of the human soul as a grounding for their theories of well-being.

From Aristotle I borrow the identification of human well-being with the actualization of powers of thought, emotion, and sociality inherent in human nature; the centrality of the process of socialization through which these powers emerge; and the goodness of pleasure when (but only when) it takes as its object the activities that express these powers. The methodology of the present study, which searches for ways to refine and systematize the opinions of the many (common sense) and the wise (philosophers) and seeks the resolution of disagreements within and between these groups, is also indebted to Aristotle. But there is much in Aristotle that I leave aside: for example, his thesis that human beings have an essence, that all human goods are hierarchically ordered (with theoretical thought at the pinnacle), that the well-being of all species can be ordered on a scale and divine life is to be ranked first, and that without ethical virtue nothing can be good for a human being. I do not deny any of these Aristotelian claims, but neither do I defend them. The one to which I am most sympathetic is the thesis that in favorable circumstances human beings have better lives than do other living things. Note too that Aristotle never admits, whereas I insist, that one must be prepared sometimes to sacrifice one's own good for the sake of others.

It is good for us to receive loving attention as children, to acquire linguistic competence and the ability to communicate with others, to grow physically and make use of our sensory capacities, to mature sexually, to learn the complex social skills of adulthood, to enrich and develop greater mastery over our emotions, to learn how to assess reasons and deliberate with an independent and open mind, and thus to interact with others as full members of the community. It is good for our powers of perception, natural curiosity about our environment, and receptivity to beauty to grow. Rather than maintain total indifference to other human beings or sheer, blind hatred of the members of our social world, it is better for us when we are children to develop the ability to form bonds of friendship, to enjoy the company of others, and to devote ourselves to the good of others. Total and lifelong isolation from other human beings would disfigure us.

Speaking in the broadest possible terms, there is one kind of life that is best for all human beings—a life of flourishing, one that follows a pattern of psychological and physical growth, filled with enjoyment. But it is no less true that the concrete realization of such a pattern differs enormously from one person to another. It is not only the conative theory and hedonism that have the resources to cater to human differences—to recognize that what flourishing consists in, most specifically, for each person, varies from case to case and from one generation to another.

Ages ago, before we human beings became language users, the kind of development that was good for each of us was, in many ways, utterly different from what it then became when language transformed our cognitive, affective, and social lives. Being nonlinguistic was not then the grave defect (if it was a defect)—the severe diminution in well-being— that it is now. There can be and have been smaller transformations in the components of human flourishing than this. Our way of conceptualizing the human mind can change, and that in turn can change the mind. For example, we talk now about the powers of the imagination in new ways: we want our children to develop these powers and to enjoy activities that give free rein to this mental faculty. That picture of healthy human development is not and has not been possessed by all individuals and all cultures. And those who think of the imagination as a faculty to be cultivated will of course try to cultivate it—their theory about what a healthy mind is will alter their minds and those of their children....Our psychological potential, like our physical potential, is subject to alteration, and when that happens, the components of flourishing alter as well.

Strict hedonism is handicapped by its need to account for the badness of blindness solely by appealing to the intensity of visual pleasures: it holds that it is that pleasure alone that explains why it is good for someone to be able to see. But we do not value the enjoyment of our eyes because of the intensity of the feeling we get from seeing. (In fact, this is normally a rather calm pleasure.) What is good for us is the activity we enjoy—looking at objects—and not just the feeling we get from that activity.

Developmentalism, begins with a root idea and sketches in broad strokes what well-being is: it is flourishing, and in the case of human beings, that consists in the exercise of cognitive, social, affective, and physical skills. That is a mere sketch; if it could not be filled in, it would be useless. There is no mechanical or systematic procedure for filling it in; we simply proceed inductively with examples that can be multiplied indefinitely. Nor is the list we produce meant for all time. Vocations, sports, social roles come into existence and can go out of existence, and even while they abide, the human skills they put into play can vary from one generation to another.

When developmentalism appeals to the notion of flourishing and reminds us that plants, animals, and humans all can be said to flourish, it is not proposing the foolish idea that we humans should learn a lesson about how to live by looking to the way other living things do it. It does not claim that we should make use of our natural capacities because, after all, that is what lions and roses do. Its idea, rather, is that it would be foolish to begin with the assumption that whereas it is good for all other living things to flourish, it is not good for us to flourish.

The idea behind developmentalism is not the absurd thesis that we should set aside any thoughts we have about human good and substitute for them a theory of good derived from animal behavior. Rather, it rests on the plausible assumption that a theory is strengthened when it is made more general and systematic. If a theory of goodness can fit its account of human well-being into a larger framework that applies to the entire natural world, that gives it an advantage over any theory that holds that "G is good for S" is one kind of relationship for human beings and a different kind for all other creatures.

We can be made to experience what is distressing and unpleasant through our eyes, ears, throats, tongues, stomachs, flesh, and so on. When we feel bad in these various ways, the powers of these various organs are being used to ill effect. What we feel is not pleasure— something positive—but, rather, various forms of distress or unpleasantness— something negative. We are not merely in neutral territory as sensory beings. In that sense, the sensory system we have been given by nature is disordered and not functioning as it should, from the point of view of our well-being; rather, it is made to go in the opposite direction. These disturbances could therefore be called forms of unflourishing. We might say that our auditory system is un-flourishing when, by means of it, we take in noises that we cannot abide; or, rather, that we are un-flourishing, as auditory beings, when this happens. We are in this respect sinking into negative territory: un-flourishing.

What is it about pain, dizziness, nausea, and other such sensations that justifies us in classifying them as things that are bad for us? One way to answer this question is to say: the way they feel. That is what I have been insisting upon. But we can give a fuller answer by fitting that reply into a larger framework. What is good or bad for a living thing always has something to do with its closeness to or distance from living the kind of life available to a flourishing member of its species. Animals that have perceptual systems do well if the organs and mental processes that are part of those systems operate well, and those animals fare well, as sensory beings, to the extent that they have certain kinds of experiences and not others.

A simple theory of what is good or bad in the emotional life of a human being would say: whenever someone feels a positive emotion, that is good for him, because of the way it feels; whenever one feels a negative emotion, that is bad, because of the way it feels. After all, sensations can be good or bad because of the way they feel; emotions are experienced as well, and the way they are experienced seems to be a proper grounding for classifying them as good or bad.

It is reasonable to want to be the sort of person who becomes angry when there is good reason to do so; to feel afraid in truly dangerous situations; to feel guilty or ashamed when one goes astray and needs to change. Of course, all these feelings are indeed bad whenever they are uncalled-for or excessive. If someone is angry but in fact nothing that merits his anger has happened, then there is nothing to be said in favor of his anger, and everything to be said against it: the very way anger feels makes it bad to feel, unless it is accompanied by other psychological factors that deprive it of the badness it would otherwise have.

The degrees of emotional warmth and closeness of personal relationships vary enormously, ranging from the familiarity of a second self to the tepidness of civic cordiality. It is impossible to achieve intimacy with a great many. The best one can hope for is to share the deepest mutual affection—love—with a few, and to have some liking for or felt connection with everyone else who is not a mere stranger in one's social world. These sorts of relationships with others cannot be sustained for long unless one has achieved a certain kind of self-mastery and social intelligence. One must not merely experience certain warm feelings and sympathies, but learn how to express them and to become effective in one's efforts to treat others well.

The absence or deterioration of basic mental competencies—to use language, to deliberate, to order one's experience into a meaningful narrative, to recognize people and remember events—is a loss. Psychiatric disorders are exactly that: disorders—bad for the person who suffers through them. That does not mean that the mere possession and use of basic mental skills is noninstrumentally good. But taking pleasure in their use certainly is. Someone who delights in using language, solving mental puzzles or practical problems, telling stories, or making things is, to some extent, doing well precisely because he enjoys the exercise of his cognitive powers. It is not simply his being pleased by something or other that is good. Nor is it the mere use of his mind. But when the process of using one's mind for this or that purpose, or for no purpose at all, is enjoyed, that is good.

No element of a good life should be maximized. What is good for someone should take its proper place in his life, falling somewhere in the range of neither too much nor too little. It should not displace all else. Plato was right, as we noted earlier: good is produced when excess is avoided through the imposition of measure and balance.

The enjoyment of literature, we can reasonably say, is an exercise of one's cognitive and affective powers. It activates and enlarges one's powers of imagination, social understanding, and appreciation for the riches of language. It builds on the pleasure we take, as children, in storytelling, and it admits of endless variation and development. As one becomes a more experienced ethical agent and learns more from one's social interactions, one can bring to and take from one's reading a deeper understanding of human beings.

It should be kept in mind that developmentalism is not a doctrine about how social and political institutions should be designed. It is a theory about what it is for something to be good for someone and about which things are good. Political consequences can be drawn from it only if it is combined with a theory about which undertakings are appropriate for a political community. Developmentalism must not be seen as a version of what Rawls calls "perfectionism"—a term he uses for any political theory that "direct[s] society to arrange institutions" in a way that promotes "the achievement of human excellence in art, science, and culture." Leaving political theory to one side, developmentalism exploits the idea that what is good for any being is its flourishing.

Someone who does what in fact harms himself and benefits others is not necessarily engaged in an act of self-sacrifice— his motive might be to benefit himself at the expense of others. But when someone thinks of himself as acting for the good of others and willingly accepts a loss of well-being as a necessary condition of success, then the subjective element of self-sacrifice is in place. We would not comfortably describe him as engaged in an act of self-sacrifice, however, if we thought that in fact he is not disadvantaged by what he does.

Intimate relationships typically involve some willingness to accept some degree of sacrifice for the sake of the other person, and the character of an intimate relationship can change radically when individuals sense that the other person is not willing to incur any losses in well-being. Each is then willing to act for the good of the other, but not if any sacrifice is involved. It is good for people to enter into and sustain some relationships in which each individual is confident that sacrifices would be made on his behalf. Such relationships provide the sort of attachment and commitment that enhance our well-being as affective beings. In such friendships, each stands ready to be worse-off in some respect; but in a different respect they are, because of that willingness, better-off—though this is not the calculation that stands behind their being prepared to make a sacrifice.

Somehow or other, we have to take steps to learn about what is good for us, and even to care about what is good for us; that is not a topic about which we inevitably come to have tacit knowledge merely by virtue of having desires. Yearnings, hankerings, cravings, hungers will propel us forward toward objects of all sorts—good, bad, and indifferent. We might hanker after what others around us want, simply because we do not want to be without whatever it is that they have. So the fact that some people hanker after fame should not lead us to suppose that it is good for them to have it or to enjoy its possession.

The desire for fame must not be confused with other desires. Its object is simply that one be known by many others. It should be distinguished from the desire to be admired, appreciated, or respected for one's skills or accomplishments. A singer who is gratified by the warm applause of her audience need not have a general desire to be famous, or even the more specific desire to be famous as a fine musician. When she is pleased by the enthusiastic response of her audience and shows her audience that she appreciates their response, she is participating in a relationship that has some of the characteristics of a friendship.

Developmentalism affirms the great value of wealth by using an entirely different approach: it points out that good schools, hospitals, athletic facilities, parks, theaters, museums—the public institutions that cater to all forms of flourishing— require a vibrant economy. Furthermore, our lives go best when we have interesting jobs—jobs that do not deaden us, physically, intellectually, and emotionally—and that kind of work is available to large numbers only when the economy is well advanced. So, if we are to flourish, economic institutions must also flourish.

Here is another item—the suffering of one's enemies—that can be added, along with fame and riches, to our list of goals that are often pursued but not good to achieve, however much progress toward them and success in attaining them may be enjoyed. Someone else's being worse-off does not make one better-off. An awareness that a person one hates is suffering can be enjoyed; in fact, it is possible to enjoy seeing any human being or creature suffer—even those toward whom one has no particular feeling. But enjoyment is good only when it takes certain objects. There is nothing about S's being worse-off that can make it plausible that T's enjoying it is good for T.

Its military success is unlikely to endure forever. A community will not flourish (that is, many of its members will not flourish) over a long period unless it makes available to them a wide variety of social roles that do not have as their object the vanquishing of foes. It will have to find or create the resources needed for the development of inner powers that do not have as their raison d'etre the suffering or death of others.

Plato asked: is it good to be just? That is, if someone is just, is that good for him? He thought it a matter of the greatest importance to show that it is....In any case, there is no reason to treat the question "What is good for human beings?" with disdain—as though it could have no practical importance or philosophical interest. And when we do ask that question and consider some of the answers proposed by our philosophical predecessors, we inevitably face the question Plato raised: are justice, honesty, and other qualities that are normally taken to be virtues good for anyone? Are they good only for those who receive just and honest treatment? Or also for those who treat others in these ways?...There is a much simpler question that should be asked: is being a good person good at all for the person who is good? Or is being a good person a total loss from the standpoint of one's own well-being?

None of this proves what Plato sought to prove: that being a just person is so great a good that it is worth having even if it brings with it the loss of all other goods. Our conclusions are more modest: justice in one's relation to the whole of one's social world is one component of a flourishing life; if someone is entirely unjust—unjust to everyone—that by itself detracts from his well-being.

Since our well-being consists in the exercise of our powers, and among these powers are those that are involved in reasoned choice, it is bad for us when matters that we can decide about, on our own, and take pleasure in controlling are taken out of our control.

One of the great goods that a child must be trained to acquire and enjoy is the ability to make up his own mind about areas of his life that are important to him—what job he will have, whom he will marry, with whom he will associate, where he will live, and so on. If major choice points do not exist, if every important aspect of his life is planned for him, his cognitive powers are not challenged, and he is not called upon to exercise his imagination. No room is left, in his decision making, for creativity, individuality, and exploration.

The notion of "autonomous deliberation" used in the preceding paragraph is the familiar idea we invoke when we talk about a person having an independent mind and in this sense governing himself. An autonomous person, so conceived, does not merely make decisions; he makes his own decisions, he judges for himself. That is entirely compatible with his seeking the advice of others—provided that the advice is not followed slavishly but is critically scrutinized and evaluated according to his own standards. If someone begins each day by consulting an authority figure about how the rest of the day is to be spent, and he merely does whatever he is told to do because he assumes that, whatever the content of that advice he is receiving, it must be good advice, his actions cannot reasonably be regarded as an expression of any independence of mind.

Important as it is, autonomy is only one good among many, and its value must not be exaggerated. It is certainly not a precondition for the existence of all other human goods; nor is there is any basis for holding that it is preeminent among goods and outweighs all others. Someone who makes up his own mind about the kind of work he will do and the person he will marry might make extremely poor choices and suffer greatly as a result.

Developmentalism proposes that we can achieve some insight into what is good for us by tracing the development—and that means healthy development—of a human being over the course of a lifetime. As we have seen in our discussion of the virtues and the value of autonomy, it seeks to understand why valued features of our lives are valuable by seeing how they fit into the life of a properly developing child. It does not simply assert that justice, honesty, and autonomy are somehow valuable. It asks a more specific question: are they good/or us? And then it uses a rough picture of the powers of a human being—cognitive, affective, sensory, and so on—as a template in which whatever is good for us can be situated.

To say that justice and self-governance are good for us, and to explain why, is to take a step toward a more concrete specification of what a flourishing life is—more concrete than is provided by the bare assertion that it consists in the use of our cognitive, affective, and social powers. Illumination about well-being is to be obtained by a process of making the general and abstract more detailed and precise. But this is not a process that comes to an end at some fixed and easily recognizable point. Every account of what is good for a human being must be a sketch that is specific enough for certain purposes but not for others; further elaboration and further inquiry are always possible. That is true not only because the story we tell about our powers is always subject to revision or expansion, but also because we can always find new insights about what is good for us by deftly giving greater detail and density to the rough picture of human well-being that we all take for granted.

Our story has explanatory force because it allows us to see how the items about which we are being asked have a place within a convincing and attractive picture of human life as it should be lived when all goes well. To the question "Why is flourishing good?" we can reply by giving a more concrete specification of what the flourishing of this or that species consists in: flourishing is not good as a means to some further end, but because this (and here we fill in the details) is what it involves. The goodness of each separate component of flourishing is better understood when it is seen as part of a larger whole, and the goodness of the whole is better understood when it is seen not merely as an unspecified abstraction but as a complex whole that is constituted by these concrete parts.

Philosophical reflection "accounts for" ultimate ends not by inferring truths about what is good from premises devoid of empirical content, but by systematizing commonsense notions of what is involved in a flourishing life for this or that species.

Happiness: Introducing the Concept, N. White

The various aims - and enjoyments, desires, judgments about what's worthwhile, etc. - all of which the notion of happiness is taken to include, seem often to conflict with each other. They seem to conflict with each other in such a way that they can't all be surveyed and evaluated together. Accordingly there might be no non-arbitrary way of constructing a coherent concept out of them. The concept of happiness may simply be the expression of a firm but unrealizable hope for some kind of coherence of aims.

Most of the important ideas about happiness, and the difficulties that arise from them, were already present in the thinking of the ancient Greeks. Most philosophical questions about happiness that were investigated subsequently - though certainly not all of them - concerned which of those ideas to develop and refine and try to apply, and how to make sense of the obdurately problematic concept itself. That means that the history of happiness, especially when it's brief, has to be to a large extent the ancient history of happiness (though not, for all that, the history only of ancient happiness).

The role of the concept didn't change much between Aristotle's time and Freud's. Speaking, in Civilization and its Discontents, of "what men themselves show . . . to be the purpose and intention of their lives", Freud said, "What do they demand of life and wish to achieve in it? The answer to this can hardly be in doubt. They strive after happiness; they want to become happy and to remain so."

One knows that one would "enjoy" or "welcome" certain things and not others. In each such category a number of things come to mind. All of them are eligible for figuring in one's plans and choices. The various such things that present themselves to one's attention are always rivals for a person's efforts to gain or enjoy them. They're to some degree in conflict, if not intrinsically, then at the very least in competing for the resources and time necessary to gain them or, in the case of projects, to carry them out.

Having a plurality of aims isn't caused by luxury or plenty. Those in need have at least as much reason to have a plurality of aims as those who are well provided. A human being doesn't live by bread alone, or water alone, or sleep alone, or any other single thing. Even keeping alive in extreme straits can require attending to more than one immediate need.

A good account of happiness has to begin with an awareness of the fact of the plurality of aims and conflicts among them. It seems to me that our development of a concept of happiness starts from that awareness. And an articulation of the concept has to incorporate it, and to show how the concept can be won from the plurality, with its potential conflicts, that the awareness sets before us.

If understanding happiness is difficult for infernal philosophers, it isn't easy for others either. If we wanted or valued just one thing, then saying what happiness is would be much easier than it is.

Conflicts, Perspectives, and the Identification of Happiness, N. White

In the fifth century BC, Gorgias the Greek Sophist, whose name Plato used as the title of his dialogue, appears to have adopted the position that a person's well-being consists in, to put it broadly, "getting what(ever) one wants."...Gorgias doesn't tell you what to want, or what he believes you should want. That, he maintains, is your business. He doesn't believe that he needs to tell you what to want, in order to tell you what your well-being consists in or to help you get it. Whatever things you happen to want, your well-being consists in getting them.... Living "rightly" means here: getting the greatest possible satisfaction of the greatest desires, as they arise. The greatest satisfactions come from satisfying the most intense desires. When a desire appears or grows strong, then it should be satisfied.

Before taking up Plato's reaction to (what he presents as) Gorgias' view, I must mention that the view that well-being consists in getting what you want reappears in various forms throughout the history of happiness....With further modifications and elaborations, a much more systematic adaptation of the idea crops up in so-called "desire-satisfaction" theories of well-being, sometimes linked to "the theory of preference" as it's been developed by philosophers and economists.

In the Gorgias Plato launches a criticism of the position espoused there by Gorgias and Callicles. To begin with, he makes Callicles feel uncomfortable about the fact that his aims can often conflict. In particular there are conflicts between certain desires of his and views that he has about which desires it's good to have. Callicles turns out to be unwilling to advocate the greatest possible satisfaction of just any desires. He regards some desires as shameful or trivial or both.

Plato thought that the state of having conflicting aims, so far from being "the greatest good" as Gorgias claimed, is a bad state to be in. We can start to see his reasons if we consider everyday deliberation about what to do. In ordinary deliberation, a short-term conflict of aims is the occasion for thought. A person can't do everything at once. When two immediate aims conflict, you have to decide what to do now. Even when two projects aren't intrinsically opposed, starting on both of them simultaneously usually won't be possible.

This kind of case tells us that a conflict of aims, or a plurality of aims that we can't embark on fulfilling simultaneously, has to be dealt with, somehow. Such cases don't, though, tell us how to deal with conflict. They don't tell us whether one aim should be abandoned, or whether the conflicting aims should be coordinated (one being postponed until the other's taken care of), or whether their respective merits should somehow be measured against each other, or in some further way...Not being able to deal thoughtfully with conflict and multiplicity of aims, Plato thinks, makes in every situation for poor results.

On this matter, Aristotle had an especially stringent-seeming suggestion. He says, in his other treatise on ethics, the so-called Eudemian Ethics," we must urge everyone who has the power to live according to his own choice to set up for himself an object . . . to aim at - honor or reputation or wealth or culture - with reference to which he will perform all his actions. For not to have one's life organized by reference to some end is foolish." That's one way to deal with the plurality of aims over the long term: pick out a single aim as in some sense pre-eminent. But this isn't the only way to deal with the issue.

We acquire or develop the concept of happiness, it seems plausible to assert, by starting with the idea of taking a relatively narrow set of local aims into consideration in the way indicated, and then extending that idea to include a whole life or some similar extent, along with all of the aims that one might have in it. And then we try to figure out how all of those aims might be taken into consideration - whether coordinated, for instance, or cut down or selected - within that extent.

The concept of happiness, then, can be thought of as what results when we figure that out - if we can. Acquiring the concept means acquiring, first, the idea of trying to figure out how to take all of those aims into consideration, and, at the ideal limit, succeeding at doing so.

Deliberating about how to be happy is therefore also the analogue of deliberating about how to deal with a smaller group of aims over a shorter time span. That seems to be the obvious upshot of Plato's way responding to Callicles in the Gorgias. Given that much, it's pretty clear what an account of the concept of happiness would aspire to do. It would aspire to state, insofar as that's possible, how the whole multiplicity of our aims, etc., should best be taken into consideration in an overview of a life or other relevant period or domain. This is what all historical accounts of happiness try to do, one way or another and to one extent or another. The fact that we have the idea of trying to do this shows that, at least to some extent, we have the concept of happiness.

A perspicuous account of happiness could be expected to explain, in a general way, how all aims can be taken into consideration in assessing or evaluating a person's condition. The account would include a way of saying, on the basis of all those considerations, what makes that condition better or worse. The account might explain what it is for a condition to be optimal. These are things that Plato and other philosophers try to do.

Couldn't a philosophical account of happiness be expected to go even further, and to give concrete directions about how a person might become happy, or happier? Some of the history of happiness shows attempts to do that - not just a general specification of how varying considerations should be taken into account, but direct instructions about what to do.

Plato's Republic tries - unsuccessfully - to explain the well-being and also the justice of a city-state (polls) in exactly the same breath, and way, as the well-being of the person.

What we can ask from a philosophical account of happiness, I've said, is that it explain clearly how all aims, desires, etc., can be pulled together and taken into consideration in assessing or evaluating a person's condition.

A person looks for a single evaluation of his condition to focus on, even if he doesn't exactly know how it ought to be constructed. That's why he thinks that there should be a single answer to his question, "What does my happiness consist in?," even if he thinks that another person might reasonably answer the question according to different standards.

Evidence on this point is easy to find in the history of happiness. Aristotle provides an especially good illustration of the propensity to look for a single way to assess one's own condition overall. Going somewhat against his usual tendency to say that words (including "good") can be used in different ways, he wasn't prepared to say that about the word "happiness" (eudaimonia) as applied to human beings. He didn't allow a plurality of evaluations to be given for various kinds of human happiness. He wanted to identify human happiness, to say what it is, not to characterize a variety of things that it can be.

Plato's thinking is guided by two considerations, both of which turned out to be highly influential. One was the thought that a conflict among aims is bad for a person. The other was that unless happiness is some kind of harmony, no clear account of it can be articulated or understood.

Plato believed that conflict within a person's soul betokens a failure of some of its parts to perform their "natural function." Plato believed that each element of a human personality has a function that it naturally performs. Hunger, for instance, has the natural function of causing an intake of food that will keep the body in good condition. However, the "bodily" desires tend to encroach on each other. For example, a glutton's desire to eat might move him to forgo exercise, and so no longer be in good shape. Plato seems to hold that the performance of natural function is a good thing.

Plato holds that if a person is subject to conflict, then that's generally because his reason hasn't successfully governed his personality. In particular his reason hasn't governed and organized his desires. In that case, not only is his reason not performing its natural function - which is to organize and direct the personality - but in addition, that means (Plato believes) that the person's reason doesn't have a clear, consistent conception of the harmony of all desires to which a person should conform. That's a failure of reason, a kind of irrationality...So it appears that a conflicting specification of aims can't articulate what happiness is, if it's to do its job of guiding. That makes it useless for the philosopher or anyone else to offer it. That's how Plato reasons.

The Republic is built around the idea that an individual who's in a good condition (like a city-state as well) has "harmonized" the parts of his personality, "and [has] linked and bound all three together and made of himself a unit, one man instead of many, self-controlled and in unison". This is the kind of person whom Plato regards as happy, in contrast to the fragmented personality of the democratic man.

A substantial number of philosophers have over the years rejected the thesis that the more harmony, the better. Aristotle was the first. Within the sphere of politics he denied that the best city-state was the most unified. Speaking of the character Socrates in the Republic, he says: "I'm speaking of the premise from which Socrates' argument proceeds: "the greater the unity of the city-state [polls}, the better'. Isn't it plain that a city-state may at length have so much unity that it's no longer a city-state? For the nature of a city-state is to be a plurality. ... So we shouldn't attain the greatest unity even if we could, for it would be the destruction of the city-state. "... Aristotle holds much the same view about the individual. He says that a bad man will be subject to conflicts in a way that the good man won't, but he doesn't exempt the good man from all conflicts.

Other philosophers hold that conflict of aims, and certainly a multiplicity of them, is in some ways desirable; some even go so far as to say that life is very much less good without conflict. When it's objected from Plato's side that opposed aims lead to frustration of at least some of them, these thinkers respond either by saying that frustration of aims is itself to be welcomed, at least to some extent, or that having opposed aims doesn't, after all, always augment it.

The important idea that one sees in Nietzsche's writings is that clashes of desires can be desirable. They are so when they're a source of a certain sort of exhilaration, and also a spur to the kind of accomplishment that Nietzsche thinks is grand and impressive. Conflicts of aims prevent life from settling into a humdrum routine, and combat the kind of "happiness" that most people want.

Nietzsche has some pretty definite reasons for being hostile to Platonic-style harmony. Knowing that one's striving for things that are hard or even impossible to reconcile generates tension in a person, and a sense of the difficulty of one's undertaking. Nietzsche likes that, and is for it. He takes it as a sign that one's extending oneself and responding to a challenge. That causes exhilaration. Even frustration can have results that a strong person should welcome.

Ralph Waldo Emerson intended something similar to Callicles' attitude - and certainly in opposition to Plato's objections to conflicts among a person's aims - with his famous remark: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do."

In spite of the nearly continuous presence of opposing views, most philosophers have tended to accept, to one degree or another, Plato's view that happiness must consist in some kind of harmonization of desires, aims, etc., and that philosophy should try to articulate both what that harmony is and how it enables an overall assessment of a person's condition. But that hasn't been easy. One of the things that the history of happiness shows is how hard it is.

Freud's scheme of id, ego, and superego is a descendant of Plato's division of the soul into appetite, spirit, and reason, but it's motivated by rather different considerations and issues in quite different recommendations. (Thus Freud doesn't advocate a complete governance of the personality by the superego analogous to Plato's rule of reason.)

The challenges in question here are challenges to the whole concept of happiness: rejections of a central role for it, and of the idea that it makes sense. They deny that there can be a coherent, understandable such concept, which takes all aims and considerations into account and incorporates them all into a single assessment of a person's condition.

They're of two kinds. One says that there are aims, which are rational aims, that lie outside the concept of happiness, so that happiness can't embrace all aims. On this view, there are rational considerations that compete with happiness to govern a reasonable person's decisions. The most important example of such a consideration would be morality. The idea would be that there can be a conflict, in deciding what to do, between one's own happiness and the demands of morality, conceived as something distinct from it.

The other challenges say that (whether or not there are aims lying outside happiness) there is no such concept as happiness because our various aims, etc., simply can't be pulled together into a coherent whole. They thus couldn't be all taken into consideration in forming a single, all-embracing assessment of a person's condition. There would thus be no way of conceiving of such an all-embracing assessment, and no possible philosophical account of it.

Most people stick to the idea that even if morality is something separate, all of your other aims and considerations belong together under the heading of your happiness. There's something in most people that makes them want to sum everything in their lives up, if they can.

That propensity, however, isn't irresistible. In addition to morality and perfection (and their combination in the notion of moral perfection), further candidate scores or evaluations can figure as potential rivals to them, and to happiness. Some thinkers would take beauty to be one, or even to split up into several different ones. So would sublimity, which has a long history going back to Longinus' treatise On the Sublime and beyond, and is something like the grandeur that attracted Nietzsche. Self-realization or self-development suggest standards of evaluation that can be taken to be either equivalent to happiness, or a part of it, or a rival to it, as when Benjamin Constant says, in his 1816 essay, "It is not to happiness alone, it is to self-development that our destiny calls us". The list might be extended.

Doing Without the Concept, N. White

[Consider] a person who has a lot of puzzle pieces, but doesn't know what picture they're supposed to make up when they're put together, or even which of them actually belong to the puzzle. He thinks that if he knew the picture he'd be able to determine which pieces belong and how they fit together. The picture will guide him, he thinks, in assembling the pieces... We might try to use this simile to convey one idea of what it would be like to possess an adequate concept of happiness. A simile like this one influences many philosophical attempts to articulate what happiness is. But our possession of the concept of happiness isn't what this simile suggests.

Philosophers and others expect the concept to provide guidance of this kind. They not infrequently say that the concept of happiness is like the picture on the puzzle, and that it would enable them to put the pieces - the various aims, etc, - together in the, or some, right way. Many philosophers have tried to identify a guiding concept.

I think that we should be struck by how very little there is to say about what speaks for one identification of happiness over another. This makes me doubt that we have a single concept of happiness here, and it makes me doubt, too, that we're witnessing various philosophers offering identifications of one and the same concept. They're all working with the same problem. It is and always has been the problem of how to take all of our multiple aims, etc., duly into consideration - in view of the fact that they can't all be fulfilled or even pursued at once - and make of them an overall measure of a person's condition.

Aristotle is like someone who expects the picture eventually formed by the puzzle to give special prominence to one of its pieces, the best piece. This piece is to have a large and important place, and the others cluster around it....Plato wants the picture to have a coordinated variety of the different designs that are on different pieces, organized for the eye by a particular design: the one on the piece corresponding to reason.

Each puzzle-solver thinks that the best puzzle solution would be the one that most fully exhibits the kind of arrangement that he's concentrated attention on. But now we've lost our grip on the notion of fitting the pieces together that we thought we'd started out with. Or rather, it turns out to amount to different things. It turns out that it doesn't mean what it sounded like, namely, what actually goes on when one works on a puzzle - which is to get the outlines of the pieces to line up snugly with each other. Instead, "fitting" can now mean the physical collocation of the pieces, or the coordination of their colors to highlight or maximize a particular visual feature, or an arrangement that makes the pattern on one of them organize the rest for the eye.

The simile of the puzzle merely suggests to us how these accounts of happiness speak to different concerns. They don't exhibit a concept of happiness that guides a philosopher how to take all of the pieces into consideration in the best way. Not only are different results strived for. Even more significant, different notions of "fitting together" have been brought to bear.

This, I'd say, is what's happened throughout the long series of philosophical attempts to explain what happiness is. We start with the problem of dealing with our various aims. We're aware of local conflicts between particular things that we strive for. We then try to deal with the conflicts in different ways, each of which we take to be appropriate to what we're doing at the time. We then think that we generalize the idea in two ways, to try to form an all-embracing concept of happiness. We suppose that we can take all of our aims into a complete scheme of "coordination"; and at the same time we suppose that the same kind of coordination is applicable across the board. There is, however, no general notion of coordination that's actually used to give us guidance about what to do.

The problem associated with the notion of happiness goes deeper than it seems to. Kant's reservations about the notion don't measure its full extent. Kant bases those reservations on the pervasive uncertainty of our knowledge of the empirical world: "[I]t is impossible for the most insightful and at the same time most powerful, but nonetheless finite, being to frame here a determinate concept of what it is that he really wills. Does he want riches? How much anxiety, envy, intrigue might he not thereby bring down on his head? . . . Or long life? Who guarantees that it would not be a long misery? Or health at least? How often has infirmity of the body kept one from excesses into which perfect health would have allowed him to fall, and so on?"

Kant's conclusion (shortly afterwards in the Critique) is a rejection, on the ground of this uncertainty, of the rationality of aiming for happiness: "In brief, he is not able on any principle to determine with complete certainty what will make him truly happy, because to do so would require omniscience.".. We desire one thing, Kant says, but we can't be certain what will happen if we get it. We can't be certain which of our other desires will be satisfied or thwarted. In particular, Kant is pointing out a certain problem about the coordination of desires. We can't be certain, he notes, what effect the fulfillment of one desire will have on another. If you satisfy your desire for a long life, that may lead to the frustration of another desire, namely the desire not to be in an infirm state.

Kant is therefore right that we don't have a clear idea of how our aims, etc., are to be taken into consideration all together. But that's not because we can't make certain predictions about their repercussions for each other. It's because even if we knew all the repercussions, we don't have a determinate way of evaluating the various possible combinations.

As a guide to getting us out of conflicts and other problems, Plato recommends a philosophical program of articulating - in a definition or other such account - what harmony is (and, in his scheme in the Republic, what the good is). Without this guidance, Plato thinks, we can't improve our condition effectively.

As we develop a picture of what life is to be like, we don't start from a "framework" concept of happiness (an idea of what the picture on the puzzle is to be), to which we tailor our particular aims so that they'll fit into it. Rather, we simply have particular aims: some very specific and some more general or complex or systematic. For the most part, we build up a conception of what happiness would be out of the aims that we have. But we never have or try for a completely and consistently articulated concept of happiness, or even suppose that there must be such a thing, or a criterion for it such as was sought by Plato, Sidgwick, and much of the rest of the tradition of work on the concept. If that's right, then in an important sense the history of the concept of happiness has been a search for something that's unobtainable.

Good Lives: Prolegomena, L. Becker

It is the effort to contribute to a detailed, defensible, substantive account of the good life that sustains my interest in writing on the topic.... Stated as a set of ordinal precepts for individuals, it is simply that we should first immunize ourselves against bad fortune by acquiring the power to detach ourselves from harm. (The object is not to become detached, but to acquire the ability to detach; not to have the ability to ignore events or deceive ourselves about them, but rather, by means of understanding them, to be able to control the damage they do.)

Second, we should construct and follow a schematic, practicable, revisable plan for our whole lives — a plan which, if followed successfully, will accomplish the following things (in lexical order): it will create and sustain the exercise of the deontic virtues (traits that issue in actions required for a productive social life: reciprocity, justice, fidelity, and so on); it will create and sustain in us a high level of goal-directed activity; it will leave open at least one possibility, consistent with the above, for having a fulfilling and beautiful life; it will create and sustain the prudence required to minimize the need for detachment (especially the sort of detachment that flattens affect, reduces expectations, and induces passivity). Third, within the framework of such a plan, we should (in the following nonlexical order) cultivate loving relationships and make them just and beautiful; find a vocation and follow it; act as if the Aristotelian principle were true; stay calm; be passionate; be convivial; and, ultimately, stop trying to have a good life and get on with it. Then if our lives are not good by accident, or not good as a byproduct of the activity bounded by those precepts, we will be able to make them good, in at least one robust sense of that term, under almost any circumstances.

What seems so clearly valuable (or required, or excellent) when we focus on a thin temporal slice of a life (or a single, long strand of a life) may turn out to be optional, or awful, or vicious when we take a larger view. And it is the life as a whole that we consider when we think about its value in relation to other things, or as part of the cosmos.

It is useful to divide conceptions of the good life into pluralist and unitary ones. A pluralist conception holds (a) that the goods realizable in a human life are genuinely diverse, that is, not reducible to a single species, (b) that genuinely diverse combinations of goods are sufficient to make a life a good one, and thus that good lives may differ in kind as well as degree, and (c) that any theoretical explanation to be found for the diverse array of good lives will be purely formal, or schematic, or perhaps merely heuristic. A unitary (or monistic) conception, by contrast, holds either (d) that goods are not diverse, and thus good lives differ only in degree, or (e) that whether goods are diverse or not, there is only one set of them sufficient for making a life a good one, or (f) that though there may be more than one sufficient set, all of them have in common the same ordered subset of necessary goods, a subset rich enough, or ordered rigidly enough, to ensure that all good lives will be remarkably similar.

The history of philosophical accounts of the good life can plausibly be written as the history of failed unitary conceptions, with footnotes to pluralist ones. Would it be profitable to extend this history by putting forward yet another unitary account? The following considerations suggest that such a course would be futile.

Consider the range of things that might plausibly be regarded as (a) distinct goods, not reducible to others on the list, (b) intrinsic, necessary, or widely instrumental goods, and (c) definitive, at least in part, of a good life. We may call goods falling into this range "criterial" ones with respect to a good life. Here is a reasonably full list of them.

1. The material conditions necessary for sustaining life and consciousness. On the assumption that a vegetative existence is not a life in any sense relevant to this discussion, the material conditions for life and consciousness are bedrock necessary goods.

2. The quality of consciousness. Here the definitive criterion is a certain state or states of consciousness (sensation, pleasure, desire, serenity, passion, compassion, active contemplation, and so on).

3. Understanding. Here the definitive criterion is a form of knowledge or comprehension of the nature, value, and meaning of things, events, and experience. The good life is then defined as one in which, among other things, soundness and completeness in such matters are to some extent achieved.

4. Self-command. Here the definitive criterion is the possession of a sound self-concept and the ability to resolve states of consciousness into acts of will: decision, choice, and action.

5. The harmonization of reason, desire, and will. Here the definitive criterion is not the quality of consciousness achieved (though that may be a byproduct), or the soundness and completeness of one's understanding, or action alone, but rather the unification of the multiple and often conflicting elements of action...Or unity can be understood in terms of the ecstatic convergence of all these elements in a single, triumphant, and definitive aim (Nietzsche). Lives are good, by this criterion, insofar as they achieve such unity.

6. The exemplification of goodness-of-a-kind. Here the definitive criterion is the excellence or perfection of a certain type of thing, for example, an individual human being, a human community, the natural order, a divine order, a tradition, or a narrative. A good life is defined as one that realizes (or contributes to) goodness-of-a-kind.

7. Meaningful opportunity. Here the definitive criterion lies in the liberty (either negative or positive) and autonomy to choose and carry out projects that are valuable, valuable enough to warrant the claim that the mere potential to pursue projects gives value to one's whole life... Moreover, what is at stake here is potential alone. The potential to choose and carry out valuable projects is sufficient to give life dignity and make it good, even if that potential is never actualized.

8. Meaningful activity. Here the definitive criterion lies in the effort to achieve valuable ends, that is, in the active pursuit of projects valuable enough to warrant the claim that their mere pursuit (regardless of success or potential for success) has made one's whole life valuable.

9. Meaningful necessity. Here the definitive criterion is found in being required for, or compellingly called to a role in, something apart from one's own life — something good enough to make carrying out that role (whatever the result) sufficient for a good life.

10. Self-love. Here the definitive criterion lies in the self-esteem required to avoid self-destructive acts, the self-respect required to defend one's liberty and integrity, and the concern for one's own interests that gives shape to rational deliberation. Without self-love, no other goods in one's life can be sustained long enough, or realized completely enough, to make one's whole life good. Self-love is a distinct sort of widely instrumental good.

11. Benevolence. Here the definitive criterion lies in the direct concern or affection one person may have for the being and well-being of another. This concern or affection is measured not by the giver's state of consciousness or acts of will alone, and not by what the giver produces in the recipient, but by the congruence between the other's well-being and the giver's desire for it.

12. Mutual love. Here the definitive criterion is the reciprocal desire, affection, benevolence, empathy, and conviviality that might be thought to be the source of the most deeply rewarding states of consciousness we can have; the matrix in which we can achieve the most perfect harmony of reason, desire, and will; the characteristic through which we can best exemplify what is good of our kind, or the most meaningful kinds of opportunity and necessity; the source of the only sustainable form of selflove, and hence all of the goods for which it is necessary; or a necessary condition for the sort of self-sustaining cooperation that makes productive social life (and hence all good lives) possible. Thus, in addition to being an intrinsic good, it has a strong claim to being necessary.

13. Sexuality. Here the definitive criterion is the expression, in consciousness and conduct, of the sexual aspect of our human nature, in erotic love (mutual or not), sexual behavior, and reproduction. Erotic experience and sexual desire are intrinsic goods as states of consciousness, of course, and important forms of mutual love are erotically charged or otherwise sexual. We have reason to believe that sexuality suffuses, and contributes powerfully to the good of, a great area of our lives. Its connection to reproduction, and hence to the necessary material conditions of life, is a warrant for calling it a widely instrumental good.

14. Achievement. Here the definitive criterion lies in the results, rather than the antecedent elements, of action, in the product rather than the opportunity or necessity of the project, in the external outcome rather than the inner experience. The good life is thus one of productive activity, intentional or otherwise — good because, and to the extent that, its products are good. (Even a miserable wretch may have a good life in this sense.)

15. Rectitude. Here the element that is definitive of a good life is morally right conduct. The good life is the morally correct one, the just one, the one that fulfills moral requirements.

16. Integrity. Here the thing definitive of a good life is an intact, coherent identity as a particular kind of life —for example, noble or ignoble, courageous or cowardly, honorable or dishonorable. The contention is that in order to have a good life, one must first have a life. That life must be something identifiable, in terms of essential defining characteristics, as a life of a certain sort. Integrity, in this nonmoral sense, is a necessary condition for every sort of good life and may perhaps be sufficient for one.

17. A life as an aesthetic object. Here the thing definitive of a good life is the extent to which, considered as an object, the life has intrinsic aesthetic value. Is the life beautiful, sublime, or a work of art?

Most of these criterial goods are intuitively plausible as partial criteria of the good life. Any attempt to select only one, to the exclusion or lexical subordination of all the others, will be very difficult to defend. In fact, standard unitary accounts of the good life rarely attempt to do that. Instead, they attempt to show that one or another of these criteria, when properly satisfied, will generate a life that necessarily satisfies (most of) the other criteria as well. Since attempts to show this inevitably involve some redescription and reorganization of the other criteria, it is useful to briefly survey the major ones.

Congruence theories measure a good life by the degree to which it conforms to, or fits into, or is attuned to a given external order. Injunctions to follow nature, or to do God's will, or to accept one's place in a given social order fall under this heading, and under criterial goods....The connection between doctrines of congruence and the sort of indoctrination that produces prejudice, reinforces injustice, and perpetuates oppression is clear; clear too is the danger that conformity to an external order will suppress individual excellence. Thus, it is highly implausible to accept any ordering of priorities compatible with a unitary account of the good life based on congruence.

Accounts based on inner unity measure a good life by its inner harmony, unity, integrity, or wholeness —particularly with respect to reason, passion, and will. Here good 5 (the harmonization of reason, desire, and will) has been given pride of place. Advocates of this view —for example, Plato, Butler, Nietzsche, and Freud —insist that it is also the route to satisfying other criteria. Thus, Plato makes inner unity's compatibility with individual happiness, ideal communities, and human excellence central to his discussion; Butler is concerned to reconcile self-love and benevolence; Nietzsche puts inner unity forward as a measure of human excellence and aesthetic value; Freud connects it to personal happiness and the conditions for civilization. Again, however, it is fair to say that the monism is insupportable. A moral monster can have inner unity, and justice surely should not be subordinated to that sort of unity.

A unitary theory based on human excellence measures a good life by the degree to which it exemplifies, or realizes, generic human characteristics. This is a version of criterial good 6 (exemplification of goodness-of-akind). Aristotelian accounts of human flourishing fall under this heading. But some other accounts of self-realization belong here as well, whether grounded in metaphysics (for example, Idealism, dialectical materialism, existentialism), evolutionary biology, or developmental physiology and psychology; accounts that emphasize achievements measured against generic human capacities rather than personal potential also fall under this rubric. The fundamental problem with unitary accounts along these lines is that they are insupportable without independent guarantees that human excellence is compatible with inner unity, integrity, congruence, rectitude, and mutual love.

Personal excellence or achievement measures a good life by the extent to which it realizes one's personal potential, given one's particular circumstances and talents. The standard here is individual (rather than generic) human excellence, but the objections to using it as a unitary account are the same as those for the generic account. The temptation to use it (as opposed to a generic standard) may come in part from an egalitarian desire to have an account of the good life that makes it available, in principle, to everyone.

Personal well-being or fulfillment provides an account of the good life in terms of the degree to which (a) the cup of one's experience is filled with pleasure (or at least is free from pain), (b) one's needs and desires are satisfied (or at least not frustrated), and (c) the conditions under which one experiences the world are conducive to pleasure, satisfaction, and the absence of pain and frustration. Hedonism and Epicureanism belong here, as do various psychological theories of "adjustment".

A much more robust version of this candidate for the good life is pos- L sible. It centers on the nature of positive personal experience and the material conditions necessary for such experience; it acknowledges diversity in the types of good experience; it recognizes that circumstances may make personal fulfillment or well-being (defined in terms of such experience) impossible, and that certain sorts of efforts to guarantee such experience are self-defeating. It then makes the case that (viewed from "inside" one's life, so to speak) personal well-being, broadly conceived, must be the ultimate measure of a good life...From that standpoint it is not hard to see how Joan of Arc, Kierkegaard, Virginia Woolf, or Albert Schweitzer might have had lives so desolate as not to qualify as ones of personal well-being, and yet had lives which, as a whole, were so noble, profoundly creative, courageous, or self-sacrificial that we are compelled to describe them as good. If these judgments are right, as I believe, then personal well-being or fulfillment is not a plausible candidate for a unitary account of the good life.

Right conduct measures a good life by the extent of its conformity to moral requirements, where those requirements are defined under some special conception of morality. Such a special conception might be defined, for example, in terms of universalizable, rationally justifiable rules of conduct directed by concern for the welfare of others. Alternatively, it might be defined in terms of a single, supreme principle held to be determinative for all conduct. Either way, right conduct is very often thought to be a constraint on conceptions of the good life, in the sense that pleasure, or congruence, or achievement will be required to stay (mostly) within the boundaries defined by moral duty and obligation. Some basic level of justice or right conduct may thus be thought to be a necessary condition of a good life. But how basic? How necessary? Does unjust conduct foreclose the possibility of a good life? Is it possible for people to foreclose the possibility of good lives for themselves by being fundamentally, dispositionally unjust, even though they restrain themselves from unjust conduct? The answers to these questions are by no means obvious. What does it mean, for example, to say that a murderer *ai might have lost forever the possibility for a good life?

It seems that even if rectitude is necessary and sufficient for a good life it is only minimally sufficient, never desirable by itself, and only tolerable alone when all other forms of the good life are impossible. It may be, as I shall urge below, that while nothing is more important to the good life than rectitude, there are other things which are as important. If that is so, we will have to give up the effort to make our account a unitary one.

Autonomous activity measures a good life by the extent of one's ability to direct one's own affairs, to construct and live out one's own conception of a good life. The idea here, drawn from good 4 (self-command), is that the essence of a good life lies in the dignity, or nobility, that comes from being the author of one's own story, the creator of one's own good life. Autonomous activity requires opportunity or liberty, both negative and positive, and agency: the ability to conceive of goals, to deliberate about their worth and about means to them, and to choose to pursue them.

At most autonomy is like right conduct, that is, necessary and occasionally, under extreme circumstances, sufficient. But if that is true of both, neither can be a unitary account of the good life; if we are committed to such an account, we must choose one or the other. And if we suppose that autonomy is a precondition for morally right conduct, then it appears that we must choose autonomy.

Vocation measures a good life by the extent to which one is drawn into a necessary role in something good enough so that playing one's part in it promises to yield a better life than one could reasonably hope to construct for oneself. The plausibility of this vision of a good life rests on showing that participation in the role to which one is drawn or called is either morally right, licit, or sufficiently good to justify participation and to warrant the loss of autonomy involved in surrendering to it. How can this be shown?

Aesthetic value measures a good life, considered as an object, by the extent to which it has some superordinate aesthetic value. I say "superordinate" here to emphasize the fact (which could as well be said of any other attempt at a unitary account) that the sort of aesthetic value at issue is only the sort that could plausibly dominate moral rectitude, inner harmony, and all the other criterial goods, that is, the sort that might by & itself be sufficient for a good life. It is fairly clear that making one's life a work of art or achieving some sort of narrative unity in one's life will not suffice unless one aims at a rather exalted form of art.

What about beauty, and sublimity? Is a beautiful life necessarily a good one? The temptation to say so is dependent, it seems to me, on the claim that a beautiful life necessarily realizes many of the goods described in the other criteria: inner unity and integrity, excellence of a kind, meaningful activity, meaningful necessity, or (sometimes) an exalted state of consciousness and/or moral rectitude....It seems plausible to go only this far: that beauty or sublimity can be fundamental and sufficient for a good life when (enough) other goods are realized through it. That modest result, however, falls far short of the claim that one could plausibly advance a unitary account of the good life in terms of such aesthetic values. The same is true of integrity.

Summarizing, Rawls says: "The guiding principle [is] that a rational individual is always to act so that he need never blame himself no matter how his plans finally work out. Viewing himself as one continuing being over time, he can say that at each moment of his life he has done what the balance of reason required, or at least permitted. Therefore any risks he assumes must be worthwhile, so that should the worst happen that he had any reason to foresee, he can still affirm that what he did was above criticism."

I suggest that rationality is self-defeating in a sense... I imagine, in other words, that in a very wide range of life-circumstances it will be rational for us to cultivate deeply internalized commitments (to family, friends, institutions) which thereafter will typically block the pursuit of full deliberative rationality in important areas of our lives. Once we have acquired such commitments, we will no longer be able to pursue full deliberative rationality as a comprehensive way of life. Rather, we will find ourselves unwilling or unable to deliberate about some matters that, considered objectively, would be genuinely open questions. We will, for example, find ourselves saying, with Bernard Williams, that when we have thought about why we should save our families from death rather than save strangers in similar peril we have had one thought too many.

At this late date, what a recital of the range of possibilities for a good life does above all else is to remind us of how preposterous it is to suppose that there is only one best sort of life. Each of the candidates for a good life has its own better and best versions, defined in large part by how completely other important goods are realized in it. When the candidates are defined so as to look their best, the contention that a life of personal fulfillment is either inferior or superior to a life of human excellence, or achievement, or rationality at a comparable level is barely worth considering.

Forms of life can be ranked according to inclusiveness, that is, in terms of the quantity and quality of goods of diverse sorts that they can coexist with, make possible, create, or sustain. The diversity of criterial goods and the way in which most of them show up (in one guise or another) in all candidate descriptions of the good life suggests that the best life will be replete with diverse goods. It will be one in which all the necessities, and as many as possible of the other criteria, are as fully realized as possible. If it turns out that one of the candidates defines the sort of life that is the most inclusive in this way, it will be the best (in one important sense of "best"). Presumably, this idea could be tested by asking of each candidate in turn: (a) whether it is compatible with each of the criterial goods, considered separately, even though it may not be compatible with all at once; and (b) whether, given favorable conditions and a dominant role in defining a life, it will typically generate all the necessary goods and a more robust set of goods overall than any other candidate.

Well-Being and Excellence, R.M. Adams

Within the realm of what is good for its own sake, and not just instrumentally good, most contemporary ethical thought focuses mainly on well-being or welfare—that is, on the nature of human flourishing or what is good for a person. The theory developed here, however, gives a primary place to excellence—the type of goodness exemplified by the beauty of a sunset, a painting, or a mathematical proof, or by the greatness of a novel, the nobility of an unselfish deed, or the quality of an athletic or a philosophical performance. It is the goodness of that which is worthy of love or admiration, honor or worship, rather than the good (for herself) that is possessed by one who is fortunate or happy, as such (though happiness may also be excellent, and worthy of admiration).

Excellence is obviously an important topic for theism, inasmuch as a god must be worthy of worship, and it lies equally at the heart of Platonic conceptions of the good. In a contemporary context, however, a focus on excellence stands in need of defense. We are all interested in well-being, but many today are reluctant to give a large place in ethical theory to conceptions of excellence. In this chapter I will try to show that our interest in well-being should lead to an interest in excellence.

The first difficulty that desire-satisfaction theories of a person's good must face, as Sidgwick notes, is "the obvious objection that a man often desires what he knows is on the whole bad for him," or, more broadly, that people often want what is not good for them, whether they know it or not. Sidgwick's solution for this difficulty is "that if we interpret the notion 'good' in relation to 'desire', we must identify it not with the actually desired, but rather with the desirable".

Sidgwick suggests a definition of 'desirable' as meaning: [SI] what would be desired, with strength proportioned to the degree of desirability, if it were judged attainable by voluntary action, supposing the desirer to possess a perfect forecast, emotional as well as intellectual, of the state of attainment or fruition.

Going on to a related concept, Sidgwick frames a definition of "a man's future good on the whole" as: [S2] what he would now desire and seek on the whole if all the consequences of all the different lines of conduct open to him were accurately foreseen and adequately realised in imagination at the present point of time.

I may want a thing only because I mistakenly think it is a means to something else that I want, or because its "bad effects, though fore-seen, are not fore-felt," as Sidgwick puts it. I may want something that would not be good for me, and want it for its own sake, but only because I have not adequately realized what it will be like when I get it.

Desire-satisfaction theories have sometimes seemed politically appealing to liberals because the idea that one's good is determined by one's own preferences seems to afford a bulwark against paternalism. But the hypothetical character of [SI] and [S2] involves a radical departure from this idea, and deeply undermines any such bulwark. Anyone who has been told that something is what she herself would want if only she knew better, knows that it was not being commended to her on the basis of her own preferences, but on the basis of supposedly superior wisdom. Perhaps, in view of our frequent desires for what is bad for us, it never was very realistic to suppose that any plausible theory of a person's good can provide a bulwark against paternalism.

The gravest disadvantage of the theory articulated by Sidgwick in [SI] and [S2] is that though it accounts well enough for some of the ways in which we may desire what is not good for us, it cannot cope so well with all of them. believe this is a disadvantage that it shares with other desire-satisfaction theories of the nature of a person's good.

Of course desire-satisfaction theorists need not try to exclude in any way the influence of idealistic desires—or of altruistic desires either—if they are prepared to accept a paradox. I mean the paradox that if under the relevant conditions I would choose, all things considered, for the sake of my ideals, or for the good of others, to sacrifice my own comfort, tranquillity, physical and social pleasures, health of mind and body, and length of days, then that is what is best for me. Rawls says some things about happiness that suggest he might be prepared to take this line.9 But I think it is not plausible. And Sidgwick's position was less heroic. He said that "when the sacrifice is made for some ideal end, as Truth, or Freedom, or Religion: it may be a real sacrifice of the individual's happiness". He must also have thought it could be a real sacrifice of the individual's own good, since he was in the end a hedonist.

It is only too familiar a fact that people can and often do have it in for themselves, though many theories of human nature imply the contrary. People sometimes do themselves serious bodily harm, or even kill themselves, at least partly out of self-hatred. One may refuse something that seems likely to make one happier, because one feels one does not deserve to be happy. And even without active ill will one can be indifferent toward oneself. People sometimes, in depression, exhaustion, or ennui, do not care very much about their own lives; and that is another way in which one can fail to desire what is good for oneself. To the extent that one is influenced by ill will or indifference toward oneself, it seems unreasonable to take what one wants, or even what one would want if one had all relevant knowledge, as definitive of one's good.

I have argued that our desires regarding our own lives may be too idealistic to define our good; they may also not be idealistic enough to define it. I may fail to prefer what is better for me because my desires are base. I may prefer money to friendship, idleness to creativity, casual commercial sex to love.

In view of all these considerations, I do not think the prospects are very bright for a desire-satisfaction theory accounting for all the gaps between what we want and what would be good for us. But that is probably not my deepest reason for re- jecting such a theory. Someone more favorably disposed than I am to the theory may be able to arm it with more successfully ingenious epicycles than I have found to defend it against some of the objections I have presented. Even if it could be rescued from all of them, however, I think a desire-satisfaction theory is not particularly plausible in view of the quite different roles that considerations about people's desires and about their well-being play in our lives.

The question, what would be best for a given person, is less characteristic of that person's own point of view (the point of view defined by the whole system of his aims) than of the point of view of someone who loves him. The lover could of course be himself, but the focus of self-love is quite different from that of trying to optimize the satisfaction of all one's aims. (The former is typically narrower than the latter.) The question 'What would be best for him?' is particularly apt to arise (perhaps indeed most apt to arise) in situations in which some measure of paternalism is inevitable, in which we have to decide on behalf of a child or some other person whose system of preferences is undeveloped or immature, or whose capacities for choice are in some way impaired. Our interests and desires are in large part the product of our education; and though our desires are in some ways corrupted by our culture, the desires we would have had without any education or cultural influences at all would hardly constitute a fully human motivational system, let alone one adequate to define our good. In thinking about what would be good for a child for whose education we are responsible, therefore, we must think about what interests and habits of choice to encourage and foster in her, and cannot presuppose a system of preferences and volitional tendencies already in her as defining the good that we intend for her.

If desire-satisfaction theories of the nature of a person's good won't do, what will? Without pretending to offer here a complete theory of the nature of a person's good, I wish to explore the idea that what is good for a person is a life characterized by enjoyment of the excellent. More precisely, I shall argue that the principal thing that can be noninstrumentally good for a person is a life that is hers, and that two criteria (perhaps not the only criteria) for a life being a good one for a person are that she should enjoy it, and that what she enjoys should be, in some objective sense,16 excellent. Its being more excellent, and her enjoying it more, will both be reasons for thinking it better for her, other things being equal—though I distrust judgments based on comparative evaluations of widely different types of excellence, and I do not mean to endorse any maximizing or optimizing calculus. The exposition of my view will come mainly in three parts: about the idea of a life, and about the criteria of enjoyment and of excellence.

Another truth about human well-being that is intuitively evident is that a person's good is not very fully realized unless she likes or enjoys her life in the long run. You may be very virtuous; you may be brilliant, beautiful, successful, rich, and famous; but if you do not enjoy your life, it cannot plausibly be called a good life for you. We may think of this as the kernel of truth in hedonism, or as the important truth to be found in the neighborhood of hedonism.

We probably do not have a metric that yields a nice mathematical treatment for questions of how much a person enjoys her life. There is no perspective on one's life such that how much one likes it as a whole from that point of view settles how much one has enjoyed it, for most of the enjoyment of life is found in enjoying it as one goes along. On the other hand, as noted previously, adding up the enjoyment value (if it could be computed) of minutes and seconds of consciousness does not seem to correspond very well to what we are after in asking about the enjoyment of life; what we really and reasonably care about in life is not very amenable to mathematical treatment. The enjoyment (and the excellence) of somewhat enduring projects and relationships that tend to give meaning and unity to one's life as a whole, or to major parts of it, is important to the fully human enjoyment of one's life (and to the excellence of what is enjoyed).

The most controversial of my theses about a person's good (and the most important for my larger aims in ethical theory) is that it depends on the excellence of what she enjoys. In practice we tend to think in accordance with this thesis. I have claimed that the primary point of view from which the question about a person's good arises is that of a person who loves her. And we surely do desire for those we love the enjoyment of the excellent, in preference to the enjoyment of things of lower quality, though they might be equally enjoyed. Few parents would desire for their children a lifetime of narcotic highs, no matter how much they would be enjoyed. We do not regard such pleasures, in any amount or intensity, as an acceptable substitute for friendship, knowledge, or accomplishment. Many of us, likewise, would not wish for our children or our students a life of devotion to wealth or power or fame—not because those things cannot be enjoyed, but because we think there are better things to enjoy. Probably we also believe that the greater goods are likely in fact to yield more enjoyment; but I do not think that is the main reason we believe enjoying the greater goods would be better for people.

In hoping that those we love will enjoy what is excellent in preference to what is not, we are not merely hoping that they will share our personal likes and dislikes. It is not particularly a manifestation of benevolence toward someone if I hope that he will prefer raspberries (which I love) to sea cucumber (which I detested the one time I ate it). But it may well be a manifestation of love to hope that he will prefer good art to bad. This presupposes belief that excellence is objective, at least in a way that personal likes and dislikes are not. Our hopes and aspirations for people we love give reason to think that most of us hold such a belief, at least in practice and with respect to some realms of value.

The support I have offered thus far for taking the excellence of what is enjoyed as a criterion of a person's good is little more than an appeal to intuition. It is an appeal that I think most of us cannot consistently disregard unless we are prepared to change some important attitudes and practices; but it is certainly not the strongest sort of argument. It will be worthwhile, therefore, to add an argument drawn from the internal dynamics of enjoyment.

We should think so insofar as we believe that some things are objectively more excellent than others. Could we sustain our valuing and enjoying if we regarded the valuing as purely subjective, merely a matter of our individual likes and dislikes? Perhaps, but it may be doubted. I suspect the interest in such activities as art or sport would be hard to sustain if we thought (or better, if we really felt) there was nothing more to the value of the activities and the ends we pursue in them than our liking them. It would also be hard to find meaning or interest in our lives, more broadly, if we thought that about all our activities and ends.

Some philosophers may object to the use of excellence as a criterion for a person's good because they fear it will have elitist or paternalist consequences. I think the most obnoxious sort of elitist consequence cannot fairly be laid to its charge. For nothing that has been said here implies that people who have achieved greater excellence, or who have more capacity for excellence, ought to have more rights or opportunities than others. To say that the excellence of what is enjoyed is a criterion of each person's good is not to say anything about how the good of different persons should be weighed in the principles of right or justice.

The excellence criterion of a person's good can support a strong respect for individual autonomy if we believe, as John Stuart Mill did, that the greatest excellences in human life involve or presuppose autonomous choice. The emphasis on excellence can particularly support a respect for the individual quest that seeks something beyond the conventional or the presumptively natural.

It may already have occurred to the reader that there is a parallelism between my account and an informed-desire-satisfaction account of well-being—that enjoyment and excellence in the former correspond, respectively, to the satisfaction and the well-informedness of desire in the latter. This is true, but there are also significant differences. The most important is my commitment to objective excellence. By insisting that enjoyment that constitutes my good should be enjoyment of what is excellent, rather than insisting that desires that define my good should be perfectly well informed, I substitute a frankly and irreducibly value-laden criterion for one that is ostensibly procedural. I think this is necessary if we are to deal adequately with the fact that our desires can be too base to define our good.

I doubt that enjoyment of what is not in any way or degree excellent can be a constituent of our good; surely it cannot at any rate be an important constituent of our well-being. There may be relatively little enjoyment that is not enjoyment of excellence. In particular, the enjoyment of physical pleasure as such is normally an enjoyment of healthy life, which I believe is an excellence, an imaging of the divine life. Unfortunately, however, there is some enjoyment that is not enjoyment of excellence because it is enjoyment of the bad. Among the clearest cases of this are enjoyments that are malicious or vain, such as schadenfreude or the savoring of inflated fantasies of one's own importance. These seem to me not to contribute noninstrumentally to our good at all; one reason that they do not may be that the enjoyments themselves are bad in a way that diminishes the excellence of our lives.

I am not denying, of course, that real friendships and real achievements are enjoyed; so it does not follow from these examples that the excellence of what is not enjoyed at all can constitute part of one's well-being. Probably it can, for it is plausible to think it remains better for oneself to do what is excellent when no available course of action affords any enjoyment. But a life rich only in that sort of excellence is no life to wish on a friend. It is in the enjoyment of excellence that a person's good is primarily to be sought.

Nietzsche's Theory of Value and the Good Life, T. Carson

Nietzsche's ideal of the Ubermensch is an important vision of the good life; it is also the key to understanding Nietzsche's own positive theory of value. Nietzsche takes "strength," or "power," to be the ultimate standard of value. On his view, strong people have good lives and weak people have bad lives. Nietzsche defends the view that strength, or power, is the standard of value in a number of passages. It is unclear exactly what Nietzsche means by "strength" or "power." He never defines these terms, nor does he ever give necessary and sufficient conditions for being a strong person. However, we can reconstruct Nietzsche's concept of strength or power, and thus his theory of value, on the basis of his detailed description of the (very) strong person (the Ubermensch).

I will argue that Nietzsche's theory of value is separable from his moral theory; one can accept Nietzsche's theory of value without accepting his "immoralism." Objections to Nietzsche's immoralism are not necessarily objections to his theory of value. I will also argue that ideals of value such as the Ubermensch have considerable importance from the standpoint of the rational-desiresatisfaction theory of value. An ideally rational person must be able to vividly imagine the kinds of lives envisaged in such ideals and the process of imagining such lives is likely to alter the kinds of preferences that she would have for her own life. Some people find, on due consideration, that they desire to possess some of the characteristics that Nietzsche ascribes to the Ubermensch.

Nietzsche: "I teach No to all that makes weak—that exhausts. I teach Yes to all that strengthens, that stores up strength, that justifies the feeling of strength. "What is good? —All that heightens the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself in man. What is bad?—All that proceeds from weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power increases —that resistance is overcome. Not contentment, but more power; not peace at all, but war; not virtue, but proficiency."

One of Nietzsche's basic criticisms of conventional moralities is that they weaken and thus harm the "higher types" of people who adopt them. These criticisms presuppose that strength or power is also the standard for measuring personal welfare. In The Will to Power Nietzsche claims that the value of particular moral codes should to be measured by the standard of "life."

Nietzsche: "What are our evaluations and moral tables really worth? What is the outcome of their rule? For whom? In relation to what?—Answer: for life."

The fact that Nietzsche denies that moral judgments can be true or justifiable is perfectly consistent with the view that he takes certain kinds of value judgments to be both true and justifiable. Nietzsche is a "moral nihilist" in his own narrow sense of the word "moral," but he is not an axiological nihilist or irrationalist.

Nietzsche denies the objective truth or reasonableness of all judgments that make use of the concepts of guilt, retribution, and moral praiseworthiness and blameworthiness.This, he says, follows from the fact that people do not have free will: "The error of free will... the doctrine of the will has been invented essentially for the purpose of punishment, that is, because one wanted to impute guilt...Men were considered "free" so that they might be judged and punished —so that they might become guilty... Christianity is the metaphysics of the hangman."

A strong person in Nietzsche's sense does not necessarily have social/economic power. Members of the lower classes have little social/economic power. But, according to Nietzsche, many of the strongest individuals belong to the lower classes. "Where one must seek the stronger natures . . . they prosper most often in the lowest and socially most abandoned elements." ... Nietzsche would also reject the view that social power is sufficient for being a strong person, since he says that weaker, degenerate types of people often occupy positions of great social power.

Nietzsche takes self-control to be an essential feature of the strong person. "The essential feature is precisely not to "will"—to be able to suspend decision. All unspirituality, all vulgar commonness, depend on the inability to resist a stimulus: one must react, one follows every impulse."..."Or, to speak more definitely, the inability not to respond to a stimulus —is itself merely another form of degeneration."

Nietzsche: "A strong person must have strong passions. The passions are "great sources of strength", "the mightiest natural powers"... "The highest man would have the greatest multiplicity of drives in the relatively greatest strength that can be endured. Indeed, where the plant "man" shows himself strongest, one finds instincts that conflict powerfully (e.g., in Shakespeare), but are controlled . . . the greatest perhaps also possess great virtues, but in that case also their opposites. I believe that it is precisely through the presence of opposites and the feelings they occasion that the great man, the bow with great tension, develops."..."Emotional deadness" is the most distinctive characteristic of the "last man," who represents an antithesis to the Ubermensch.

Nietzsche: "To have to fight the instincts —that is the formula of decadence: as long as life is ascending, happiness equals instinct."... "What is it fundamentally that allows us to recognize who has turned out well?... He has a taste only for what is good for him."... Nietzsche emphasizes the importance of being able to act spontaneously (on instinct) without deliberating about what to do. In order to be able to act in this manner without harming oneself, one must have "good instincts." According to Nietzsche, psychic harmony and good instincts are attained through a process of self-discipline and sublimation.

Nietzsche seems to be committed to the view that one's strength is to be measured or determined at least partly in terms of one's ability to do or achieve various things. Increasing the efficiency with which one uses one's energies contributes to one's strength only to the extent that it enables one to accomplish more with one's limited energy (force).

The strong person is not a member of the "herd" of which Nietzsche speaks so contemptuously; she is self-directed and is not a conformist. The high valuation Nietzsche places on non-conformity can be explained in terms of some of his other views. He says that the basic values of European societies of his time are "unnatural" and "life denying." The "higher types" of people who adopt these values become weak and sick as a result. At most, this only shows that being a conformist is incompatible with being a strong person if one lives in a society that has the wrong sorts of values. Conformity per se doesn't necessarily lead to the adoption of harmful values. However, conformity is incompatible with the kind of creativity ("being a creator of new values") that Nietzsche takes to be essential for being an Ubermensch.

According to Nietzsche, the need for the approval and admiration of others is a mark of deficient self-esteem or self-love: "You cannot endure yourselves and do not love yourselves enough: now you want to seduce your neighbor to love, and then gild yourselves with his error. . . . You invite a witness when you want to speak well of yourselves; and when you have seduced him to think well of you, then you think well of yourselves."

Nietzsche says that a strong person would be "joyful," "gay," "cheerful," and "lighthearted". Nietzsche defines Lust (joy, pleasure) as the "feeling of power" that a person derives from accomplishing things and overcoming obstacles. Given this and given that "strength" is to be defined largely in terms of the ability to accomplish things, it would seem to follow that the strongest people experience the most joy (pleasure).

The strong person's courage enables her to be lighthearted in the face of adversity.29 Her tremendous self-esteem allows her to be indifferent to public opinion and the disapproval of others. She rejects conventional morality and with it the notions of free will, guilt, and responsibility. Because of this, she doesn't dwell on her own shortcomings and misdeeds: "To be incapable of taking one's enemies, one's accidents, even one's misdeeds seriously for very long—that is a sign of strong, full natures in whom there is an excess of power to form, to mold, to recuperate and to forget." Lightheartedness is incompatible with ressentiment, which Nietzsche takes to be paradigmatic of weakness and degeneration. According to Nietzsche, ressentiment is a kind of impotent hostility. It is "the submerged hatred, the vengefulness of the impotent.

"Amor fati" (love of fate) or an affirmative attitude about one's own life and the universe as a whole is another characteristic of the strong person. Nietzsche uses the doctrine of "eternal recurrence" as a test of strength. A strong person must be able to take pleasure in the thought that the entire course of history (including his own life and everything that happens to him in his life) will occur over and over again an infinite number of times in the future.

Nietzsche: "My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal i t... but love it."... "The highest state a philosopher can attain: to stand in a Dionysian relationship to existence— my formula for this is amor fati."

The camel (the ordinary civilized person, a "tamed beast of burden") represents the lowest stage of human development. The lion (the warrior, barbarian) represents a higher stage. But the child (the creative person) occupies the highest level. According to Nietzsche, a strong person would not be kind to others out of a sense of pity or moral duty. However, a strong person would be free from many of the typical motivations for being cruel or unkind, e.g., ressentiment (touchiness, vindictiveness, and envy) and dissatisfaction with his own life: "[M]an has felt too little joy: that alone, my brothers, is our original sin. And learning better to feel joy, we learn best not to hurt others or to plan hurts for them."

Another characteristic Nietzsche takes to be essential for being an Ubermensch is creativity, or creative genius. He says that "the highest individuals are creative men." All of the historical individuals for whom Nietzsche expresses great admiration are creative geniuses of one sort or another. It is significant that Nietzsche lavishes more praise on Goethe than on any other historical personage.

Nietzsche attaches great value to the ability to do creative work in art, music, philosophy, and other artistic and intellectual fields. For him, however, the most important kind of creative ability is the ability to "create new values."... According to Nietzsche, "He who determines values and directs the will of millennia by giving direction to the highest natures is the highest man."

Nietzsche: "Through esteeming alone is there value: and without esteeming the nut of existence would be hollow. Hear this, you creators!"..."We who think and feel at the same time are those who really continually fashion something that had not been there before: the whole eternally grown world of valuations, colors, accents, perspectives, scales, affirmations, and negations. The poem that we have invented is continually studied by the so-called practical human beings (our actors) who learn their roles and translate everything into flesh and actuality, into the everyday. Whatever has value in our world now does not have value in itself, according to its nature — nature is always valueless, has been given value at some time, as a present—and it was we who gave and bestowed it."

Strength or power means health; psychological health is the sole standard of value. The primary basis for this interpretation is the fact that Nietzsche often uses the words "weak" and "strong" interchangeably with "sick" and "healthy." According to this interpretation, Nietzsche values creative activity only as a means to psychological health. In order to achieve psychological health, one must sublimate or spiritualize one's desires. Nietzsche says that sublimation is the only way to control one's passions without thereby weakening and destroying them. Sublimation is a redirection of one's energies. All other methods for attaining self-control, e.g., extirpation of the passions, diminish one's energies. They involve a weakening of certain desires without a corresponding strengthening of other desires. Roughly speaking, sublimation, as Nietzsche and Freud conceive it, is a redirection of one's energies. The goal of sublimation is to control certain unwanted desires by redirecting the energies one uses to satisfy them into other pursuits.

An Ubermensch could be immoral... This, however, is not a decisive objection to Nietzsche's theory of value. We must distinguish sharply between a theory of the good life or personal welfare and a theory of right and wrong or a theory about what constitutes an ideal moral agent. The fact that the Ubermensch ideal is not plausible as a theory of right and wrong or a theory of moral goodness is not an objection to it as a theory of the good life. Nietzsche's theory of value implies that one could flourish or have a good life and yet be morally bad...Nietzsche wants us to reject or "go beyond" judgments of good and evil (what he calls "moral judgments"). But he does not want us to reject or "go beyond" value judgments of good and bad.

The Quest for the Good Life, F. Feldman

In this book I defend one of the oldest, simplest, and most intuitively plausible views on this question. I claim that the Good Life is the pleasant life. I claim that pleasure is the Good. Since I make these claims, I am a hedonist.

I try to explain what I mean (and what I think some of my predecessors meant) by saying that pleasure is the Good, and I try to show that, when charitably interpreted, hedonism is not refuted by the classic objections that have been raised against it.

The central intuition of hedonism is that the pleasant life is the Good Life. But this sentence—'The pleasant life is the Good Life'—is open to a number of interpretations. It can be misunderstood. In fact, I think it has been misunderstood and that the misunderstandings have in many cases led critics to dismiss hedonism prematurely. Something like this often happens: a hedonistic philosopher proposes a theory about the Good Life. He says, 'Pleasure is the Good; possession of a lot of pleasure makes for a good life.' Another philosopher comes along and denies this, pointing out that it is possible for a person to be disgusting and disgraceful even though he has a lot of pleasure. Thus, the second philosopher concludes, having a lot of pleasure does not necessarily make you a good person or ensure that you lead a good life.

But, as I see it, the dispute might be at cross-purposes. Perhaps the first philosopher took the question about the Good Life in one way, and proposed a view about that question as he conceived it, and the second philosopher took it in another way, and rejected the view as an answer to the question as he conceived it. Such disputes would be pointless. If we are to have a meaningful debate, we must have a shared understanding of the question. Thus it seems to me that we should attempt to make the question at least a little bit clearer before we begin. To clarify the question, let us distinguish among several different things that we might have in mind "when we ask whether someone has a good life.

Sometimes, when we speak of the Good Life, we have in mind the concept of a life that is good in itself for the one who lives it. Some philosophers speak here of 'personal welfare' or 'well-being'. A good life, in this sense, would be a life that is outstanding in terms of welfare, or well-being. Other philosophers seem to have the same idea in mind when they speak of 'a life well worth living'.

These five concepts of the goodness of lives are indeed five distinct concepts. In the absence of actual views about what makes for a morally good life, or a useful life, or a beautiful life, or a good life in itself, or an exemplary life, it might be hard to prove conclusively that these are different ideas. But there are some considerations that may help to make the differences more apparent. Reflection on these differences may also help to clarify the concept that is of central importance here.

Similarly, there's a difference between the extrinsically good life (Scale B) and the life good in itself for the one who lives it. I assume that Mother Teresa did a lot of good in the world. She made things better for others. Her life as a whole was tremendously beneficial. So in one sense it was a good life. That is, it was extrinsically good, or good as a means. At the same time, we can easily imagine that doing all these good deeds took a toll on her. She sacrificed her own welfare in order to benefit others. As a result, her life went less well for her. She suffered; she took less pleasure in this life. We can imagine that she lived with constant frustration; she was not happy. This illustrates a way in which a person can have a life that is good for others (Scale B), but not so good for herself (Scale E).

It takes only the briefest reflection to see that there is a difference between the aesthetically good life (Scale C) and the life good in itself for the one who lives it. King Lear's life is widely taken to be an example of an aesthetically good life. I would not wish it for my beloved firstborn child.

"When I say that the pleasant life is the Good Life, what I mean is that the pleasant life is the life that is good in itself for the one who lives it; it is the life of high personal welfare. Thus, I focus on goodness as evaluated by Scale E.

I mean to be searching for a suitably general statement of necessary and sufficient conditions for a life's being good in itself for the one who lives it. I want to know, in the abstract, what features make a life a good one for the one who lives it. Ideally, I would like to find a principle that would yield a ranking of lives—a principle that would tell us when one life is better in itself for the one who lives it than some other life would have been. I would like to find a theory that would locate the fundamental sources of value in lives. Ideally, I would like the theory to assign specific (perhaps numerical) values to those elements, and then to give a systematic way of aggregating those values so as to yield a value for the whole life.

My focus in this book is the attempt to develop a view about the sort of life that would be good in itself for the one who lives it. I am interested in this topic for a couple of reasons. For one thing, I am inclined to believe that philosophical discussions since ancient days have presupposed, roughly, that the central project of an important part of moral A philosophy is the attempt to identify the Good Life in this sense. So there is ample historical precedent for undertaking the project.

I am also inclined to think that many familiar theories about rationality presuppose this notion. According to these theories, the concept of rationality is to be explained by appeal to the concept of individual welfare. What's rational for you to do is what will most enhance your welfare (usually weighted for probability). Your welfare, as I see it, is to be explained by appeal to the Good Life. Those who have high welfare are precisely those who live good lives. Some consequentialist views in the normative ethics of behavior are similarly linked to views about the Good Life. On these views, the morally right act is the one that most enhances the aggregate of welfare of all affected.

My own view is that the project needs no such justification. The question about the Good Life is intrinsically worthy of our attention. We are people. We are alive. It is reasonable for us to wonder about what would make our lives good ones.

We might say that you have a good life to the extent that you have the features and behaviors in that set relative to your species (presumably the human species). Some people attribute something like this view to Aristotle. They take note of a famous argument in the Nicomachean Ethics where Aristotle seems to argue that the good for man cannot be excellence in nutrition, or growth, or anything else that men have in common with beasts. Rather, it must be 'activity of soul in accordance with virtue', since this is a function distinctive of people....More recently a number of philosophers have resurrected this view. In general, those who endorse this sort of view say that the Good Life for a person is the life manifesting to a high degree the excellences peculiar to persons; the value of a life for a person is the extent to which the person manifests those excellences, less the extent to which he or she manifests various deficiencies.

Furthermore, there is this nagging problem: suppose the peculiar function of some type of animal is to serve as prey for a predator slightly higher up the food chain. Then one of the prey animals is living the Good Life if it is killed and eaten by the predator. That seems utterly implausible. The theory seems to generate plausible results only in cases in which the peculiar function of some species involves doing something that is guaranteed to be enjoyable. Otherwise, doing "your thing" might make your life worse for you....Advocates of this view have confused two scales of evaluation. Perhaps they have mixed up considerations relevant to the evaluation in terms of 'goodness as an example of the type' with evaluation in terms of 'goodness in itself for the creature'.

Finally we come to hedonism. Hedonism is roughly the idea that the Good Life is the pleasant life. Or somewhat more exactly, it is the view that a life is better in itself for the one who lives it as it contains a more favorable balance of pleasure over pain.

Hedonism is intended to be an answer to the question, 'What makes for a good life?' But there are many distinct questions that could be asked with those words. They could be used to ask about the basis of the morally good life, or the beneficial life, or even the beautiful life. As I understand it, and as I think it was traditionally understood, the question is not to be understood in any of these ways. Instead, the question should be understood as an inquiry into what makes a person's life good in itself for him—what makes for individual welfare. I think some criticism of hedonism is based on a misconception concerning the scale of evaluation. One central theme of this book has been that it is important at the outset for us to be clear about the scale of evaluation such that hedonism is intended to provide the basis for a ranking on that scale.

I think quite a lot of the literature on hedonism is marred by confusion and obscurity about the nature of pleasure and pain. Some people seem unquestioningly to take pleasure to be some sort of feeling. Others seem almost as unquestioningly to take it to be something other than a feeling. "Pleasure talk" in ordinary language blurs important distinctions. These make a difference to the content of the hedonistic thesis. The theory means one thing if it says that feelings of pleasure are the Good. It means something completely different if it says that taking pleasure in things is the Good. A third main theme of this book has been that it is important for us to recognize the distinction between sensory and attitudinal pleasures, and the accompanying distinction between the corresponding forms of hedonism.

Quite a few of the classic objections to hedonism seem to me to be fairly effective against forms of sensory hedonism. Such forms strike me as implausible. But those objections are much less effective against forms of attitudinal hedonism. Thus, I am more inclined to defend some form of attitudinal hedonism. Attitudinal hedonism has other advantages. Once we recognize that pleasures have objects, we are free to draw distinctions among those objects and to claim that pleasure taken in objects of one sort may be more valuable than pleasure taken in objects of another sort. In this way we can maintain our hedonism but get different evaluations of lives and worlds. At any rate, another main theme of this book has been that while sensory hedonism may be naive and implausible, there are forms of attitudinal hedonism that deserve serious consideration.

Many of the great axiologists of the past (and present) have offered "visions of the Good Life". They have described, sometimes in considerable detail, the important features of the sort of life they take to be best. In some cases, they have given the description but no theory. We are left to construct the theory on the basis of the sort of life they seem to admire. In other cases, philosophers have focused mainly on more abstract considerations. They have given us a formulation of the theory, and we are left to fill in the details.

Aristotle also held that when a person engages in virtuous activities, he gets pleasure out of them. He says, in a somewhat untypical passage, that 'pleasure completes the activity like the bloom of youth in those who are in their prime'. So it is pretty clear that Aristotle would say that the life of a morally (in his sense) and intellectually virtuous person would have to be pleasant, because the person would always be acting in accord with one virtue or another, and all these virtuous activities would have their "bloom". But, of course, Aristotle did not think that the virtuous person performs the virtuous acts simply as a means to achieve the pleasure. The pleasure is just a happy by-product of the virtuous activity, and a sign of virtue.

So now we come to the present question; What is the vision of the Good Life that is supported by my favored forms of intrinsic attitudinal hedonism? Would it be the life of the sage, or the rake, or the scholar, or the vigorous man of the world? Or would it be something else entirely? The simple answer is that my view implies that the Good Life could be a life of virtually any of these sorts. If we are interested in the goodness in itself of a life for the one who lives it, then, on my view, the whole issue comes down to one thing: Does the one living the life take intrinsic attitudinal pleasure in the things he is doing, the life he is living? If he does this, and does it with intensity, and for a long time, and does not take counterbalancing attitudinal pains in other things, then my view implies that he is living a good life—no matter where he takes his pleasure.

Similarly for the Aristotelian scholar, deeply engaged in philosophical wisdom. If he takes substantial intrinsic attitudinal pleasure in the fact that he is engaging in this sort of thing, then his life is going well for him. If not, not. The activity itself is not the source of value on my view. Rather, it is the enjoyment it provides. So, in the end, we have to say that almost any sort of life might be a good life on some forms of attitudinal hedonism.

A Study of Goethe's Ethics: Varieties of Happiness, J. Prandi

In this excerpt from the Introduction to the Metaphysic of Morals, Kant voices his strong opposition to any ethical system that enshrines human happiness as the highest value: "Yet to take one's own happiness as the principle [for morality] is most reprehensible, not only because it is wrong . . . and not only because it provides nothing that could serve as a basis for morality, since what makes a person happy is totally different from what makes a person good. Rather, personal happiness as a moral principle is reprehensible because it puts motives behind morality that would actually undermine it and even destroy its nobility and grandeur."

Although Goethe, who studied Kant especially in the 1790's under the influence of Schiller, was receptive to Kant's aesthetics, his view of morality would remain ultimately incompatible with Kant's. While Kant was preoccupied with determining right from wrong in a verifiable fashion, Goethe leaned more toward a natural morality. Kant ends up postulating that the moral or virtuous act is a matter of duty, which in many cases is quite unpleasant (displeasure even seems to authenticate its virtue at times), whereas Goethe favors the path nature has determined for human beings as the virtuous one. Contrasting himself with Schiller, whose convictions about morality are based on Kant's work, Goethe writes that Schiller "preached the gospel of freedom; I wanted to be assured that the rights of nature were not abridged."

In some verses directed against an ethics of the Kantian variety, Goethe attacks the notion of a "pure morality" as one contrary to nature: "How they plague us, whom they consider dirty, with their pure morality! / Of course they would never allow themselves to trust crude nature! / They must flee into a spirit-world to escape the beast."

The contrast between Goethe's priorities and Kant's is illustrated again in Goethe's idea of a 'critique of the senses.' Whereas Kant had focused on a critique of reason, what Goethe proposed was a 'critique of the senses': "Kant brought it to our attention that there could be a critique of reason... In just that sense I would like to propose that a critique of the senses would be necessary if art, especially German art, is at all to recover and go forwards with a cheerful, lively step." The centrality of the senses pervades Goethe's entire Weltanschauung, in the area of practical ethics as well as aesthetics.

Goethe thought human happiness a worthy goal and standard for a good life. The kind of happiness at issue here is pleasure, physical as well as intellectual... The centrality of happiness in Goethe's world view is beautifully expressed in his 1805 essay on Winkelmann. In this paean to Greek sensibility, Goethe poetically posits happy human beings enjoying their existence as the purpose of the universe: "For what purpose does the expenditure have of suns, planets and moon, stars and milky ways, comets and veils of fog, completed and emerging worlds, if in the end a happy human being cannot unconsciously rejoice in his existence?"

Goethe again comes very close to an Epicurean view of happiness when he writes in Part Three of The Italian Journey: "I have also paid attention and found out during this year among strangers that all truly clever people will discover and remain convinced that the moment is all, and that the excellence of a rational person is: to behave so that his life, insofar as it depends on himself, contains the greatest possible quantity of rational, happy moments."

In his conversations with Eckermann, Goethe again comes near to equating happiness with goodness or virtue. That which destroys the happiness of a person is morally bad, he says, but what promotes it is right and true: "The value of moral beauty and goodness can only be known through experience and wisdom, by which what is bad proves itself so in its consequences, which would destroy the happiness of the individual just as of the whole community; in contrast what is noble and just is a thing which brings about and strengthens individual and common happiness."

Happiness is a main preoccupation of Goethe's life, as it was in the ethics of Lucretius and Spinoza, whereas resignation is a subsidiary chapter. As one critic wrote, if Goethe "had a world historical mission at all, it lay precisely in being happy, and in the mode of his happiness."1 We will be concerned here with the modes of happiness Goethe speaks of from his first trip to Italy to the end of his life. In the course of that trip, he chiseled out a happiness for himself that owed at least as much to his own efforts and attitudes as to an enjoyment of the gifts of fortune.

What Goethe gained in Italy was, as he wrote to Carl August on January 25, 1788, his physical and moral health and a new understanding of art: "The main purpose of my trip [to Italy] was to heal the physical-moral evils that had tormented me in Germany and made me unfit; and then to quench my great thirst for true art. In the former I succeeded fairly well; in the latter I was completely successful."

As with Spinoza, happiness for Goethe comes to mean self-generated action in accordance with one's nature; along with the enjoyment of products or processes of one's own nature and external nature.... Goethe confesses his proximity to Spinoza's aim in a conversation: "The meaning and sense of my writings and my life is the triumph of what is purely human (der Triumph des Reinmenschlichen). So I will never give this up, and will enjoy what good fortune and fame offer me; but the sweeter fruit for me is to understand healthy humanity."

Basic to Goethe's concept of human happiness is his deep-seated conviction that people are happy when they act in harmony with nature. That Goethe found so many examples of this sort of existence in Italy was a salient aspect of the trip he so often claimed had changed his life. The common people in Naples, he wrote, "are so natural that a person might be able to become natural along with them." Of course nature includes both mind and senses: it was the harmony between the two that so impressed him when he was among the Italians: "Everything points to a happy country, one that abundantly satisfies primary needs and also produces people of a happy disposition who can expect, without anxiety, that the following day will bring what the present one has brought, and therefore they live on and on free from care."

In addition, living naturally means living in rhythm with physical forces and circumstances. Consequently the study of the dynamics of plants, rock formations, weather, etc., can serve for Goethe as inspiration for rediscovering and maintaining a life natural to him as well as understanding humankind in general: "Without my efforts in the natural sciences I would never have come to know people as they really are." When observing tidewater animals near Venice, Goethe notes: "What a precious, splendid thing a living being is! How suited to its condition, how true-to-nature! How very useful my studies of nature are to me, and how happy I am to continue them!" Thus the phenomena he observed in nature help him to recognize what living naturally could mean for himself personally.

Being true to one's nature is nonetheless harder to define for humankind than it is for the crabs and limpets Goethe had observed near Venice. As Goethe once said: "Human beings when they come into the world are as naked morally as they are physically." Fortunately he did not consider it desirable to return to the forest primeval and resume hunting and gathering in order to live according to nature.

Goethe often affirmed change as a principle in his own life, and could justify it with natural analogies such as the snake's shedding of old skin or the changes from worm to chrysalis to butterfly. It is well known that he valued transformation as a natural process in himself and in nature. Melancholy dwelling on past mistakes, like remorse of any sort, was condemned in Spinoza's Ethics as useless and morally bad. The idea of natural metamorphosis as good is the very opposite of a more popular Stoic or Platonic image of virtue: constancy in the face of change.

In general, the method Goethe chose for discovering what was natural for himself was the study of individual things and people. He expressed clear preference for studying single things in nature: "That which is individual in its sharpest determination", he wrote, was the only thing that really interested him.

In terms of natural morality it is understandable that Goethe went about observing people and things rather than prescribing rules according to abstract notions or moral ideals. Though he distinctly perceived the limits of empiricism, he took pleasure in inductive reasoning, which he felt suited his personality. In view of the idealistic preoccupations of so many Germans of Goethe's day however, it is remarkable that he adhered to descriptive rather than normative accounts of human behavior. The only norm for him is the nature of the thing itself.

Whatever promotes rational, personal happiness is what is natural and good. As one critic observed in comparing Aristotle's definition of happiness with Goethe's: "Aristotle set up virtue and moral values as the only source of happiness, whereas according to Goethe, the entire individual personality without regard to an ethical standpoint, produces a genuine feeling of happiness." Of course Goethe does have an ethical standpoint: it is that of natural morality, where happiness is the standard.

Goethe's preoccupation with his own inner development and cultivation in himself of that which he considered natural continues throughout his life to be a source of particular pleasure. In a revealing diary entry of March 3, 1786, he ties his happiness expressly to his way of seeing himself and the world: "How happy my way of looking at the world makes me is inexpressible." More than a score of years later he writes again of the joy he takes in watching his personality unfold and in fixing his recognition of that unfolding on paper. In the realm of individual things worth investigating in nature, he finds that he himself is one of the most rewarding things to explore: "And since I am only interested in that which is individual in its sharpest determination,...I feel secretly happy to be building up and portraying for myself over and over the quite uncommon personality in my own bosom; for I have had the good fortune to imagine my personality's special traits and to seize them and write them down."

The great advantage of studying it is that it is the thing each of us can perhaps know best; and in knowing it one will also understand something of the rest of nature, according to Spinoza. He is helpful as a key to understanding Goethe's very positive evaluation of personality. We may say that the pleasure Goethe has with his personality is "pleasure arising from the fact that man regards himself and his power of acting". This is Spinoza's definition of self-complacency.

Self-understanding and reflection upon his own thought processes were from youth through old age a great source of Goethe's happiness. The joy of selfdiscovery was especially keen during his first trip to Italy: "By the way, I have gotten to know happy people who are only so because they are whole;...I want to and have to achieve this also and I can, ...I have made immense progress in getting to know myself on this trip."...Goethe would have agreed with Spinoza that self-complacency, the "pleasure arising from the fact that man regards himself and his power of acting," is, especially when compatible with reason, "the greatest good we can expect".

Goethe, as we will endeavor to show, essentially adopts a natural ethical standpoint that is, like utilitariansim, geared to human happiness, but unlike utilitarianism, rejects the idea of promoting happiness for the greatest number.

Goethe was convinced that goals for individuals should not be extrapolated from their social responsibilities, but rather be set according to the nature of the individual. What he said in a conversation in 1830 confirms this: "I don't know why people want to sacrifice individual interest to the interests of the masses. I maintain that each person must remain what he or she is, working and producing according to their own intimate conviction."..."I would think," responded Goethe, "that everyone would have to begin with himself and create his own happiness first of all, from which in the end the happiness of the whole will arise without fail."

Goethe further avers that his own goal as a writer was "to make myself a better and more sensible person, to enrich my own personality, and then to say only things I recognized to be good and true. Of course I won't deny that this was effective and useful in a larger circle, but that was not the purpose but rather the quite necessary result."

Clearly Goethe thinks it is natural for a person to try to promote the happiness of friends and acquaintances; he just thinks that the possibility of doing so is rather limited. His exclamation contrasting the happiness he is able to bring others with that he can muster on his own behalf is weighted with a sigh: "Dear Lotte, a person can do so much for himself but so little for others"....It could be argued that Goethe's self-centeredness made it difficult for him to help others to any great extent. Still, he maintains that happiness is something one must achieve for oneself, since efforts to advance it for others meet with only modest results...It is a formidable enough task to promote one's own happiness: "So people should admit to themselves that in the end everyone has enough to do in initiating, maintaining, and promoting a situation for himself; no one should dictate to another how he should go about it, for in the end he is on his own as to how he helps himself in misery and finds for himself a happy state."

But this statement is not as brutal as it may appear. Goethe is concerned not with misfortunes like hunger or poverty to which all are prey, but rather with personal unhappiness that is peculiar to one person and related to his or her needs for self-expression and development. It is the specific content of happiness that is possible after one has secured the basic necessities of life to which Goethe turns his attention. His interest, in other words, has a middle and upper class bias, like so much of the philosophical speculation of the period. It is only at this level that the kind of individuality that absorbed Goethe as a phenomenon comes into play.

The element in Goethe's happiness concept that sets it off from hedonism and brings it into harmony with the individual happiness of other human beings is its rationality. Thanks to this rational quality, Goethe's happiness escapes the charge of being illusory (i.e., not in the interest of true happiness) or narrowly egotistical. The eudemonistic formula for happiness in the Italian Journey stresses the rational component by stating that the mark of a rational person is "to behave so that his life, in so far as it depends on himself, contains the greatest possible measure of rational happy moments".

Though self-centered, Goethe's world view cannot really be called selfish. Yet the fact remains that Goethe took far less interest in the sufferings of underprivileged humanity than in the suffering of those who possessed already the basic means of life: food, clothing, shelter. To this extent, the criticism of Goethe's lack of involvement in political and social issues (or involvement on the side of an old-fashioned conservatism) is fair and valid. Self-development and harmony with nature were only realizable insofar as people were free from the worries of bodily subsistence.

Goethe enjoys making scientific observations in part because the analogies he constructs from them inspire a more thorough understanding of human life and ethics. In a letter to Knebel, Goethe speaks of how nature "has opened the way to humanity" in a way that the study of the Greek and Roman classics could no longer do. In his study of plants and comparative anatomy, he was happiest with discoveries that struck a responsive chord within him.

Goethe offers two equally valuable paths to self development and understanding: first, to take in observed data from the external world and use them as a basis for understanding the self and other external phenomena; second, to search in the world for echoes of what one has discovered already in the inner self. Both paths involve analogy; in the former case the observations of outside things begin the process; in the latter, insights into the self serve that purpose.

In a letter to Schiller, Goethe speaks of his productive impulses as a lasting source of satisfaction: "In Jena, in Knebel's old room I am always a happy human being because there is no other place on earth to which I owe so many productive impulses." Goethe also confided to Eckermann that his real happiness was always his poetic activity: "My poetic thoughts and works were my real happiness."

Unlike other theories of education or personality, which place the heuristic value of barriers to self-gratification in the foreground, Goethe hails the successful correspondence of inner and outer, wish and reality, as constitutive of the optimal education and productive of greatest personal happiness. The genius lies in knowing how to build bridges from the inside to the outside world and conversely in discovering those in the outside world which could be linked to one's subjective experience. Work and striving is involved in this, as Goethe once commented: "People have always considered me a person particularly favored by happiness and good fortune; and I do not want to complain or to find fault with the course of my life. But basically it has been nothing but effort and work."

Much of Goethe's happiness is related to his Bildung, the process of selfeducation that can be described as we have seen as a mediation between inner and outer reality. The activity of mediating the two terms as well as the contemplation of the results, remained a major source of Goethe's joy in life.

If Goethe speaks often in glowing terms of domestic happiness, it is as a consolation for the seeming impossibility of a more complete happiness that would include public and private realms. He does not fall entirely prey to the bourgeois fallacy of imagining the private and public realms separate; he merely takes stock of the limitations of his era. One does certainly find in Goethe's fictional works a high regard for happiness and its relative incorruptibility within the private realm, but it can be argued that this is strictly a defensive, compensatory attitude.

Philosophy, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life, R. Solomon

It has long been thought, at least since Socrates, that one of the most beneficial results of philosophy is happiness. Not that happiness will immediately follow your taking up philosophy, needless to say, except for the happy fact that many students find that they genuinely enjoy doing philosophy.

Philosophy is the great accompaniment. It goes along with just about everything. It consists of nothing more (but nothing less) than reflecting on what we are doing, making sense of it, perhaps reconsidering it, and weighing it against the alternatives. Thus, philosophy goes along with and enhances all sorts of careers, relationships, and activities. It gives them meaning in the sense that it is only by being appreciated, by understanding the significance of what we are doing, that what we are doing becomes meaningful.

This is one of the special features of human life, that it can be appreciated as meaningful. Unfortunately, our ability to reflect on our lives and find them meaningful also means that we can reflect on our lives and find them not so meaningful. In the worst case, we might find our lives downright meaningless or a waste of time. But that is all the more reason we need to reflect on our lives and make sure that what we are doing is meaningful since, in this question about what we are doing with our lives, life itself makes us all philosophers.

Aristotle himself insisted that the good life is doing something worthwhile that you love and are good at, whether it is philosophy (his choice) or one of the arts—music, dance, literature—or perhaps gardening or being an inventor. It would be misleading to say that there are as many different views of happiness as there are people in the world, but it is clear that there are many different types and conceptions of happiness, and one size does not fit all.

Yet, as always, there are larger philosophical questions that need answering. Above, we made a quick equation between happiness and a meaningful life; but is a happy life always meaningful, and is a meaningful life necessarily happy? The answer to the first question seems to depend on which of the above versions of happiness one accepts...A happy life is meaningful, we might say, if it is the right kind of happiness. But then we seem to be back where we started and facing yet another version of relativism: are all conceptions of happiness of equal value?

To the second question, it seems that the answer is no. If a person dedicated his or her life to finding a cure for a dreaded disease, to taking care of the poor in some abject Third World country, or to creating a perfect artwork despite continuing frustration and utter lack of recognition or appreciation, we might applaud such a life as meaningful but nevertheless recognize that the person was not happy. Many celebrated saints and artists lived such lives.

So whether or not someone is happy is not just a question of how they feel right now. It is rather a question of the larger dimensions of his or her life, whether he or she is living well or badly, because just as there are all sorts of degrading pleasures, so too there are meaningless ways of feeling happy—taking a drink or a drug, spending time with a couple of boisterous but shiftless friends.

A happy and meaningful life, in other words, cannot be just a life internally enjoyed. We want to be part of the world as well. We also realize that we have a limited time, and that makes it all the more urgent that we do something worthwhile with what we've got. So we give our lives meaning by the choices we make, by the relationships we form, and by the difference we make. That, in a nutshell, is what happiness is all about. Not just a life of pleasure but a life of doing something meaningful and worthwhile and, as a virtuous person, enjoying it all as well.

Measuring Well-Being, C. Sunstein

What is the relationship between the state and social well-being? This question assumes special significance in light of the original aspiration of the American founders—to create a deliberative democracy. Public officials would be accountable to the citizenry at large, but they were also supposed to engage in deliberative tasks and to profit from and encourage deliberation among the people as a whole. Both the structure of the national government and the system of individual rights were intended to encourage public deliberation.

Things have not worked out as the Framers envisioned. One of the most serious problems is the public emphasis on issues and events that have little relevance to most people's lives. People lack accurate information about what is most important. In elections, for example, "soundbite politics" often replaces discussion about public issues. The problem affects day-to-day governance too. Instead of focusing on, for example, education and its improvement, public attention is often directed to sensational anecdotes, crude oversimplifications of issues, or scandals about public officials' private lives. In these circumstances, we are likely to end up with misdirected policies or worse—a form of government by faction, the evil most feared by the American founders. A high priority for those thinking about the role of the state should be to develop methods for focusing attention on things that matter to people's lives.

An important part of this task is to establish criteria by which to measure governmental performance. If broadly debated and well-publicized, such criteria should promote democratic discussion and at the same time help to counteract the very problems to which they draw attention. To develop criteria of this kind, we need a theory of social well-being. To be helpful, the theory must be not only substantively plausible but also practical to apply.

Part of my goal here is to show what most economists do not deny: that GDP is an inadequate measure of social well-being, and that we lack an adequate alternative. GDP is too crudely connected to things that people should care about. To overcome the limits of GDP, I offer a simple proposal: Democratic governments should produce an annual "quality of life report," designed to measure their performance in producing good lives for their citizens... While the facts identified by a quality of life report will not dispose of strictly legal debates, they do have implications for many legal controversies, especially those involving the criminal justice system, race and sex equality, and government regulation.

One of the simplest measures of social and economic well-being, used internationally and by many nations, is GDP. It refers to the total quantity of goods and services produced, weighted by their respective prices. Goods and services that are not paid for are not included. GDP is highly influential in international comparisons.

If income is unequally distributed, a high GDP may disguise the fact that many people are living bad or even desperate lives. For example, the United States has the highest per capita real GDP in the world. But it also has a higher rate of children living in poverty—one in five—than does any other wealthy country in the world. The rate of children living in poverty is double that of the industrialized nations taken as a whole and four times that of Western Europe. Nearly half of all black children in the United States live in poverty. This crucial economic fact is undisclosed by GDP.

Physical security is surely an important ingredient in well-being, but it is at best indirectly reflected in GDP. Consider also the fact that there is no inevitable connection between GDP and life expectancy. Some countries have a relatively low GDP but long life expectancy and low rates of infant mortality. Many countries have a high GDP but do poorly in promoting longevity. Education is an important part of a good life, whether or not educated people accumulate wealth; but the association between education and GDP, while real, is extremely crude.

Wealth is less valuable when money cannot be used to buy votes or political power, education, marriage, or goods connected with self-respect. Similarly, the value of money is reduced to the extent that it is unnecessary for someone to have money to obtain important goods. If education, health care, political power, and clean air are free, money is less valuable.

Because GDP is aggregative, it effaces qualitative differences, and for this reason it is a crude indicator of social welfare and an unpromising foundation for democratic deliberation... People should be informed about the diverse potential effects and make judgments on the basis of an understanding of the qualitative differences. If all the relevant goods are aligned along a single metric, they become less visible, or perhaps invisible.

The United Nations makes what is probably the most influential international effort to measure well-being, though there have been illuminating efforts elsewhere. I summarize several methods here. A key point is that alternative accounts often place a premium on health and education as well as per capita income.

The United Nations approach places particular emphasis on a "human development index" (HDI). This figure is calculated on the basis of longevity, knowledge, and income. "Longevity" is determined on the basis of life expectancy at birth. "Knowledge" is calculated by a formula based on adult literacy and mean years of schooling, with literacy weighted twice as heavily as mean years of schooling. To take account of the diminishing value of income, the "income" ingredient is based on an adjustment of per capita GDP, understood as standard of living.

The HDI approach has important limitations. Any "index" will be controversial, and the equal weighting of the three variables seems somewhat arbitrary. In any case, the three variables are interrelated. Income can "buy" good educational attainment and also longevity; people who are poor tend to live shorter lives. So, too, people who are in good health and who are welleducated have a better chance to make money. The use of the three variables is controversial partly because of these complex interrelations.

All this has implications for law and policy. A high priority for both domestic and international agencies should be to compile accurate information about quality of life, to allow comparisons across time and space, and to ensure that the relevant reports are widely disseminated....These comparisons may spur healthy competition to do well along dimensions that count. If a state knows that it ranks forty-second in, say, unemployment, there will be both local and national pressure to make things better. If a state has an especially high level of violent crime, perhaps priorities can be changed to redress the problem. And if women are doing much worse than men, or blacks much worse than whites, the public can see this fact and perhaps take corrective action.

The quality of life report should be widely disseminated to the public and, in particular, to the news media. Strong evidence indicates that the media can play a large role in counteracting social problems by focusing public and private attention and by giving government incentives to respond. Instead of attending to anecdotes and sensational scandals — or offering statements about supposed trends — the news media should focus on the quality of life report and thus allow debate to be based on actual evidence. The report may well have an especially important role during elections, but it could affect deliberation and policymaking more broadly as well.

We have seen that any conception of what matters is a product of judgments that may be controversial. Human needs have a great deal to do with facts—Do people have jobs? Do they have food or housing?—but they are not simply facts. Any conception of needs is a product of human judgment about what matters.

Conceptions of Happiness, I. Gotz

In ordinary usage, happiness often means temperament; that is, a disposition to be cheerful, and, generally, to be unmoved or greatly disturbed by reverses of fortune. It also connotes mood, or frame of mind, as when we say we are "feeling happy," or "feeling good," where the antonym is "sad." While temperament connotes a certain stability of character ("he/she has a happy disposition"), mood conveys a peculiar note of fleetingness: moods come and go, and "feeling happy" may soon give way to "feeling sad." There is a third usage, though, that in some ways encompasses both the temporality of mood and the stability of temperament in some kind of life long characterization of a person's life. When we say, "he/she has found happiness," or "he/she led a happy life," we seem to have in mind some kind of overall preponderance of happiness over unhappiness, such as would allow us truthfully to label a person's life "happy".

Beyond etymology, one might define happiness generally as a certain kind of relationship between a person and his/her own existence. This is, essentially, the definition given by Camus. The relation grounds a judgment, often implicit, about the value of the relation.

Happiness, one might say, is undefinable, just as "good" is, and "yellow," and "blue." We know what yellow is, and we understand what anyone talking about yellow means, only because we have had a direct, experiential knowledge of it. It would be impossible to communicate what yellow is to someone who had never experienced it, such as someone blind from birth. Similarly, one could argue that we all know what happiness is, and we understand what someone talking about happiness means, because we have experienced happiness ourselves.

Besides the drink, dance has been a major tool of ecstatic happiness, because its means of transcending the ego, its tool of intoxication, is none other than the body of the dancer. Transcendence is gained in various ways: by assimilation with a power larger than oneself, achieved by means of rhythm and pantomime: warlike dances, hunting dances, the magical dances of the shaman, the sexual dances of the gypsies and even rock'n roll, by which we seek to master the other's rhythms by sliding imperceptibly into their selves.

The pursuit of ecstatic happiness has declined 'pari pasu' with the rise of rationalism in society. The barometer for this decline is the presence or absence of choral dancing in a culture, and the judgments we make of its significance. Champagne bashes for the winners at the end of a sports season, cast parties at the end of a play, dancing the hora during weddings, are celebrativo affirmations of life that remind us of what once was prevalent, but has now ceased to be the rule. Our age is Apollonian; it is scientific and serious. If this is so, our age has succumbed to temptation in ceasing to pursue happiness in the abandon of ecstasy. Maybe we should impose this same penalty upon ourselves: to learn once more to experience happiness as ecstasy.

The idea that happiness consists primarily in the exercise of the mind can be traced to Aristotle. For him, it is a happiness to be had here, on this earth. Christianity turned Greek eudaimonia into heavenly beatitude, the beatific vision, which is the overwhelming contemplation of the Divine Essence. Aquinas's statement, "The essence of happiness consists in an act of the intellect", is basically Aristotelian; but for Aristotle, such an experience takes place here on earth, among one's friends, while for Aquinas, it takes place in heaven, and is essentially individualistic.

The philosophical arguments of the Greeks in support of the excellence of the contemplative life were enhanced when Jesus praised it over the active life. Since then, two forms of contemplation have been clearly present in the West, the secular one, still advocated (at least theoretically) by the universities and by intellectuals generally, and the religious one, practiced in the monasteries. But the monasteries are in decline, and the contemplative spirit of the universities is being eroded by an emphasis on the technological and the practical.

Aristotle felt that play failed to meet the criteria of happiness because of its lack of seriousness. But perhaps he erred in this; play fulfills admirably his own definition of self-contained activities, and stands a better chance, in our world, of being the kind of happiness that he sought hi contemplation. Not that this makes the pursuit of self-sufficient happiness any easier to understand: play itself has been corrupted and turned into work; that is, into an activity one engages in for the sake of a salary. But being more energetic and active it may be more accessible to us than contemplation. The playful attitude, which one can carry with oneself into any kind of sphere of work, including business, may be a better ticket to happiness than the contemplative one.

Time, is a sense, is the most natural of experiences. But the naturalness of time, the sense of duration (la duree), has all but disappeared for us. We are ruled by artificial, mechanical time. Duration has been broken down into hours, minutes, and seconds. Most of us no longer have an "experience" of the passage of time and cannot tell how much time has elapsed without the help of a clock. This is a big loss, but further still, the clock has become the tyrant of our lives. Since the industrial revolution, we have been enslaved by clock time. Nothing in our lives is exempt from it. The clock has imposed an artificial uniformity, not merely on time itself, but on the whole of human living. The pursuit of happiness here and now must reckon with these problems, or else forfeit the hope of a truly rich experience of happiness. The objective must be, in some way, to conquer time without getting out of it.

In a sense, some form of contemplation is necessary for any experience of happiness. For contemplation, in the now of the present, extends itself into the past through memory and into the future through hope. It thus unifies our lives for us, so that we can be in accord with them, and thereby be happy. We cannot change the physical structure of our lives in time, but we can conquer its divisiveness through the will to make present both the past and the future, in memory and in hope.

When a fit is achieved between what one wants and what one gets because one wants only what one can get, one is happy. This is contentment... Happiness consists in knowing how to adjust oneself and one's desires to the circumstances of time, place, persons, working conditions, and the like, in which one happens to find oneself. One knows one's way around. One knows how to accommodate oneself to one's environment, and out of this adjustment is born a certain sense of happiness, namely, contentment.

Rousseau: "One can be happy on earth only in the measure in which one withdraws from things and nears closer to oneself." The reason given is that fixing one's existence in things and people divides the self into a myriad tendencies. Yet there is a physical or "natural" limit to these tendencies, and so, correspondingly, there is a limit to happiness. The limit comes from the very finite nature of one's capacities; from the nature of things desired, which can perish, or change; and from the reality of time, which is limited, and therefore forbids the use and enjoyment of every thing one could have. On the other hand, the inner world is close at hand, and it is the only thing fully within our control. The "natural" thing to do, therefore, is to restrict one's field to one's grasp, since one's grasp is "naturally" limited; that is, restrict it to what one can get. In other words, one must live within the natural limits of one's being. In this way, happiness becomes possible. "O man! Close your existence to the outside, and you will never be miserable."

Rousseau: "In what then does the human wisdom that leads to true happiness consist? Not simply in the diminution of desires, for if they fell below our power to achieve, part of our faculties would be unemployed and our entire being would not be satisfied. Neither does it consist in the extension of our faculties, for a disproportionate increase in our desires would only make us more miserable. True happiness comes with equality of power and will. The only man who gets his own way is the one who does not need another's help to get it: from which it follows that the supreme good is not authority, but freedom. The true freeman wants only what he can get, and does only what pleases him. This is my fundamental maxim." (Emile, Book II)

Being happy is not something that depends on us alone, since so many fortuitous circumstances attend its acquisition. Happiness, thus, is only conditionally good (that is, conditioned on circumstances outside our control). Accordingly, Kant did not consider happiness as the primary goal of life. For him, the goal was to become worthy of happiness.

Contemplative views of happiness also tend to promote isolation, since contemplation cannot be carried out properly in the hustle and bustle of daily life or amidst the noise of groups. Self-development, too, implies that one is developing oneself, something that can be done only by the self. Examples of this search for happiness and fulfillment in progressive isolation abound in literature.

What is freedom? A suggestion of an answer may be discovered in Nietzsche's own answer: "That one has the will to assume responsibility for oneself". That is: to understand freedom one must think predominantly of mastery rather than of license or fate. Freedom, briefly, may be described as the power, or ability, or potential, of progressively becoming master over one's actions, both those that proceed from the self, as well as those imposed upon the self by law, habit, defect, ignorance, or fate. This mastery must be propriate, that is, self-originated. Finally, this mastery must be progressively directed toward "the good"; that is, toward what is progressively and constantly and consciously being ascertained, accepted, and willed as desirable for oneself and for the community; that is, toward happiness. From this perspective no one is "born free," nor is one ever, fully, free. "Free" is something one becomes; rather, something one makes oneself be over a period of years.

We are, too, a potential to be free and a potential to be happy. Happiness involves a progressive actualization of the potential to be happy, and simultaneously, a progressive actualization of the potential not to be unhappy (that is, a distancing from unhappiness). This progressive actualization is achieved through our choices, through which we make the potential for happiness ex-sist (that is, stand out, or come to be) in the world.

One can say that all freedom depends on the consciousness of conditioning; that is, as one seeks to master oneself, one must be aware of the determinisms that come from inheritance, from upbringing, and from cultural taboos and expectations; and not merely as these exist in the outside world and are imposed on us by social, political, legal, and educational agencies, but, perhaps more importantly, as they have become part and parcel of our inner beings. Without this self-knowledge our self-mastery may remain inadequate and become a mere illusion. Similarly, it may be appropriate to say that all happiness depends on the consciousness of unhappiness, in the sense that a progressive actualization of one's potential to be happy requires that one be aware of the possibilities of unhappiness arising both from one's own constitution as well as from one's surroundings.

Can God himself be happy while contemplating the mess this world, which he created, is in? Here, the Stoic answer seems insufficient. It is not enough to inure oneself against externals by the achievement of an unassailable serenity: one may counter that one ought to be moved by the sufferings of the world. One may claim, too, that this is one time when happiness must be sought in the experience of striving to overcome or alleviate the evil of the world in some sort of Nietzschean battle against all odds. But the Ubermensch, after all, is not a machine; feelings are engaged even while people fight.

Four Notions of Happiness, W. Tatarkiewicz

Among all the extensive writings on happiness of the last 2000 years and more, there is literally not a single book which has examined this question in its totality and set out all the solutions. A complete book on happiness has never been published and this is somewhat incredible if we consider the number of books that have been written about humanly less important matters. This is the gap I would like my book to fill. I have tried to present, at least in outline, everything than can objectively be said about happiness; I have avoided confining myself to one aspect, even if it is the most important, or to one concept, even if it seems the most correct, or to one method of achieving happiness, even if it seems the most reliable. I would like this book to be what in the Middle Ages was not written, but would have been called a 'Summa de beatitudine'.

One of the things that will emerge is that the unattainability of happiness is largely a fallacy that has arisen from the multiplicity of meanings given to the word, and that happiness is at least no further from man's average condition than unhappiness. As Epicurus said, one of the reasons why people are not happy is that they imagine that they cannot be.

For the moment let us leave to one side the more esoteric notions used only in certain circles and by certain writers as well as the more subtle variations and shades of meaning. This still leaves us in ordinary language with two basically different meanings. One is the notion of an extremely fortunate experience, the other an evaluation of life as a whole.

In the first context the term signifies a state of intense joy, bliss and rapture. It signifies a state that is intense but short-lived, since such intense states do not last. "Happiness flooded her heart in a wave like warm blood." This description assigns the same meaning to 'happiness': it is happiness in the purely psychological sense. On the other hand, when H. Rashdall in his book on moral philosophy says: "Happiness represents satisfaction with one's existence as a whole", he does not mean bliss or rapture. In this sentence the term refers to life in general and not a single episode of pleasure. It is more a judgement than an emotion. The 8o-year-old Goethe assigned the same meaning to happiness when he wrote to his friend Zelter: "I am happy and would like to live my life over again." This idea of happiness corresponds more than the former one to the ancient eudaemonia thought to express the notion of happiness which was the first term used in Europe. Man's happiness consists in satisfaction with his life: this is the second basically different meaning of the word.

When the melancholy Italian poet Leopardi wrote that "whatever happiness is, it is unattainable", it was not the first of our concepts that he had in mind. It is not true that intense joy is impossible; his statement can only be true of the second concept, in other words that there can be no lasting satisfaction with our lives.

Goethe told Eckermann in 1824 that in the 75 years of his life he had never known even four weeks of total happiness; at about the same time (1830) we find him confessing to Zelter, as quoted above, that he is happy and would like to live his life over again. There is no inconsistency in these two avowals: those "four weeks of happiness" are meant in the sense of intense pleasure and unalloyed joy, while the happiness to which he lays claim is understood in the other sense of the word - as a general satisfaction with life.

For our present purposes the second meaning is preferable, not only because it is the older meaning and so has historical precedence. What is more important is that happiness in the first sense can be replaced by its synonyms: joy, bliss, rapture. There are no such synonyms for the second meaning; it can only be replaced by phrases like "satisfaction with one's life as a whole" or something of the sort. But the most important consideration is that happiness is regarded as something supreme in human existence, as an ideal and a goal in life; now this is true of a happy life rather than of a single happy experience.

Yet another meaning was given to happiness by the ancients. Aristotle states that to be happy (eudaimon) is "to live well and to do well", while Boethius explains that happiness is a perfect state - perfect because it combines all different kinds of good. The same idea was in Herodotus's mind when he wrote of a Greek hero that his happiness consisted in "dying for his country". He could not have been thinking here of success or a great joy. All three meant by eudaemonia-happiness the possession of the greatest good available to man.

All the ancient philosophers took this view of eudaemonia; happiness for them was the possession of the greatest good available to man. In this sense it could not be measured in terms of success or intensity of joy or the feeling of satisfaction but by the degree of good possessed. The ancients stopped short of saying what sorts of good these were; that did not belong in a definition of happiness but depended on which good was considered supreme. On this there was no agreement among classical thinkers. Some held that happiness was determined by moral goods because these are the highest; others advocated hedonistic goods and others still a balanced mixture of all kinds of good. But for all of them eudaemonia (happiness) was possession of the greatest measure of good. Whether such possession actually gave pleasure was of little importance in eudaemonia; the Stoics in fact stated outright that happiness had nothing to do with feeling pleasure.

The same notion of happiness was retained by medieval thinkers; beatitudo meant the same to them as eudaemonia to the ancients. They were far from thinking of beatitudo - happiness as success or pleasure or satisfaction. For them its essence lay in the possession of good while joy or rapture was only a natural consequence of this (they called it: felicitas). St. Augustine wrote that the happy man is one who possesses what he wants and wants nothing that is evil. St. Thomas is even more forthright: he explains that the man who attains happiness can no longer want anything, since this is the supreme good which contains all other goods.

With these two additions to the two main meanings, we have four uses of the term 'happiness'; a man is said to be happy if (i) he is satisfied with his life, (2) he experiences the greatest joy, (3) he is successful and (4) he possesses the highest good. These four meanings are a copious source of confusion in our ideas about happiness; four concepts each designated by the same word are apt to fuse in our minds into a single nebulous notion hovering between the four. Even though most philosophers who have written about happiness have accepted only one of them and eliminated the rest, the average man is still inclined to lump these four different things under a single label.

Nevertheless there are common factors in all four meanings. When we speak of happiness in the sense adopted in this book some account has to be taken of joy, success and eudaemonia. 1. Happiness can be achieved without good fortune, but with good fortune it is easier, more probable. 2. Happiness is not a succession of joys, but it is more pleasurable in proportion to the number of intense joys. 3. Happiness can be achieved even without the possession of many goods but it is more valuable when it coincides with their possession.

Definition of Happiness, W. Tatarkiewicz

Even complete satisfaction does not necessarily add up to happiness. Satisfaction with particular things, however important - health or an untroubled conscience, success or position - falls short of happiness if it is not accompanied by other satisfactions. It is then only partial satisfaction; happiness requires total satisfaction, that is satisfaction with life as a whole.

There is nobody who has not been satisfied with life at some moment. But as Aristotle said: "One swallow does not make a summer nor does one fine day; similarly one day or a brief period of happiness does not make a man satisfied or happy." Happiness means lasting satisfaction. Thus happiness has to be defined as 1) complete, 2) lasting, 3) satisfying, and 4) touching the whole of life. This is an extremely high measure of happiness, tantamount in fact to ideal happiness. In the conditions of human existence, happiness that is complete, lasting and total, without qualifications, exceptions or interruptions cannot be hoped for. There is probably no one, even among those considered happy, who has been satisfied without qualification or without exception and without interruption.

On the one hand, therefore, we expect of happiness, satisfaction that is complete, total and lasting; on the other hand, we see that satisfaction of this order does not in actual fact exist. There is, however, a way out of this dilemma. A distinction has only to be drawn between ideal and actual happiness. It is only ideal happiness that can be strictly defined as complete, total and lasting. Actual happiness is not quite like this. But here the same definition holds if the terms used in it - completeness totality, permanence - are given a looser interpretation, if they are understood approximately. The definition may refer to the highest measure, to the ideal maximum of happiness but cannot claim that this is attainable. The happy man is one who at least approaches this ideal, this maximum.

The ideal would be a life in which every element gave rise to satisfaction. But lives of this sort do not seem to happen; even the most successful have their lacks. These lacks are not only inevitable in life; they are even necessary to make it happy. We often have to suffer before we can feel pleasure; without hunger we would not enjoy the delight of eating, or the joys of victory without fighting. 'Satisfaction with the whole of life' is not, in the literal sense, psychologically feasible. But satisfaction with parts of life can be emotionally equivalent to satisfaction with the whole of it.

The man who stops thinking about his happiness does not by the same token cease to be happy. (Potential, not actual, satisfaction is all that is required for happiness.) The times at which a man is actually aware of his happiness usually make up only a small part of his happy life. It is enough that he would be satisfied if he were to think about it. In stories, the happiest people are those who think least about their happiness and are least aware of their happiness. If this is true, conscious satisfaction with life would even be something of an obstacle to happiness.

Life cannot be a series of delights, for continuous satisfaction, an uninterrupted state of contentment, are foreign to the human psyche. A pleasure that persists becomes an infliction. To be more precise, anything pleasurable loses its flavour if it lasts too long; it eventually begins to cloy. What is more, pleasure must be temporary if it is to be felt, especially if it is to be felt intensely. Though unsatisfied desires are distressing, there is some justification for Baltasar Gracian's maxim: "There must always be some desire unfulfilled if we are not to be unhappy in our felicity."

In yet another sense 'life' amounts to all the events in which a man is involved and to which he reacts from birth to death. It is in this, the most common of all its senses, that we say that the happy man is satisfied with life. Here, life is an accumulation not only of happenings within his psychological and physical self but also outside it. This applies even to events in which his involvement is passive. A man's life may include a medical diagnosis that saves his health, an institutional official decision which leads to an appointment, a war which destroys his property even though he does not fight in it, the publication of a book which influences his views, or the death of another man which causes him sorrow.

One more attribute has to be added to the definition of happiness, namely that it is justified satisfaction. This will put the euphoria of the paralysed outside the compass of happiness, since his satisfaction is founded upon illusion. The same applies to the satisfaction of certain healthy people, who are gratified because they think they possess something which in fact they do not. This is the situation of the man whose happiness springs from his family life but whose wife is unfaithful. If he is unaware of this he may be satisfied, but we would not call him happy.

By refusing to acknowledge satisfaction based on illusion, we are tampering with the fundamental nature of our definition of happiness. We are ceasing to treat it as something purely subjective, and the subjective feelings and appreciations that make up satisfaction are no longer our only measure of happiness. At this point the modern subjective notion of happiness impinges on the ancients' objective idea of eudaemonia.

The curious fact has emerged that the way to a conceptualization of actual happiness is through the concept of ideal happiness. For it is to this that the attributes listed in the definition - completeness, totality, permanence - refer. These indicate the ideal requirements of happiness, which can only have a restricted relevance to actual happiness. It would have been impossible to take any other course, since we cannot estimate what is the minimum satisfaction needed for happiness; on the other hand we can imagine the maximum.

These are the three main reasons which make happiness so difficult to define. Firstly, the term is ambiguous; secondly, the definition applies to ideal happiness and only indirectly and approximately to actual happiness; and thirdly, the notion is a hybrid one with a subjective and an objective element.

The Concept of Happiness and Its Variants, W. Tatarkiewicz

According to the one definition awareness of happiness may be enough; according to a second it may be unnecessary, for it is possible to be happy without awareness of happiness. In the former case awareness is, at any rate, the prerequisite of happiness. To be happy we have to know and feel that we are happy. This was pointed out by Seneca: "No man is happy who does not hold himself happy". The same idea was later repeated by Samuel Johnson: "No man can enjoy happiness without thinking that he enjoys it".

La Rochefoucauld took a completely different view. He claimed that people were neither as happy nor as unhappy as they imagined. This view is similar to Shakespeare's "I were but little happy if I could say how much". In this case belief is not the touchstone of happiness; it may even be at odds with it...We are thus provided with two different concepts of happiness, the first of which says that it is an inevitable condition of man's life regardless of whether he is conscious of it, and the second that it is an inevitable condition of his consciousness regardless of whether it has any basis in the conditions of his life.

Happiness as a momentary and as a lasting state. We have described happiness as a life with which we are satisfied; but at certain times this satisfaction is stronger than at others. In common parlance, it has become usual to isolate these moments when we are particularly aware of our happiness and to designate them alone as happiness. But a happy moment does not amount to a happy life. This is the source of such paradoxes as Voltaire's: "One can feel happy without being happy".

"A lifetime of happiness", says someone in Shaw's Man and Superman, "no man alive could bear it; it would be hell on earth". Another way of saying this is: 'A lifetime of happiness would be misery'. And this prompts the interpretation: ideal happiness (unabated, unalloyed and untroubled) would not be real happiness.

Happiness through tranquillity and through struggle. In keeping with normal usage and our adopted definition, happiness is understood in a wide sense. It can be attained not only in conditions of peace, welfare and serenity but also in critical and dramatic situations, in stress no less than in comfort, and in conflict no less than in triumph. Karl Marx told a questioner that for him happiness meant struggle and unhappiness meant surrender. Far from considering happiness to be identical with tranquillity, he saw it in the very reverse.

The different interpretations of happiness - the concrete and the abstract, the subjective and the objective, the real and the ideal, the broad and the narrow and so on - lead to discrepancies in men's views of happiness. What is true of a happy moment is not true of a happy life and what holds good for ideal happiness does not for realizable happiness. As long as the word is used in several senses and with varying nuances, highly paradoxical statements will continue to be made about happiness - to the effect, for instance, that it is 'the unhappiest who are happy', which appears in one of Seneca's letter.

If Spengler equated happiness with peace, he could not help arguing that it is "unknown to the highest specimens of humanity". If Stendhal considered happiness as placidity and satiety, he could maintain that there were people who despised it. If happiness were, as George Eliot understood it, well-fed indifference to the troubles of others and so only possible for egoists, it would obviously be morally reprehensible. But this does not apply to all happiness and is irrelevant to it in its normal broader sense.

Whole societies and ages, no less than individuals, possess their own theories of happiness and embody these in their concept of happiness, so narrowing it. For instance, among certain social classes and at certain periods the theory that happiness subsists in prosperity, wealth, a comfortable and quiet life, tranquillity and favourable circumstances was commonly held. This theory was especially popular in the igth century, when the average European saw happiness in precisely these terms.... A certain theory of how to attain happiness became a part of the concept of happiness itself.

The Concept of Happiness Down the Ages, W. Tatarkiewicz

A search for the origins of the concept of happiness in ancient Greece will reveal the existence of related notions that were already in circulation in the pre-philosophic period. The first of these was the idea of good fortune, a wholly natural concept appropriate to a simple, primitive mode of thought. Of all the things which later came to bear the designation of 'happiness' this was the first, historically anterior notion. The Greeks usually referred to it as 'eutychia' (from 'eu', well, and 'tychia', fate). But it was also given a religious, mythological slant in the word 'eudaimonia' (from 'eu', well, and 'daimonia', deity) meaning literally the condition of a man enjoying the patronage of sympathetic deities and so being fortunate... That the concept of happiness was derived from the earlier notion of good fortune is demonstrated by the retention of the same word. The Greeks continued to talk of 'eutychia' even when a man's success was achieved not thanks to, but in spite of, fate.

This extended notion of good fortune embracing all successful lives was widely used by the Greeks, though at first in a somewhat loose and vague sense. It was left to their philosophers to narrow down its meaning, and even then this was not done by the earliest thinkers, since they were more interested in cosmogony than in man. Human affairs did not really become a field of serious inquiry until the 5th century.

Democritus was probably the first philosopher whose speculations centred on the notion of a successful, enviable life, the best that can befall a man, what we would today call a happy life. He was also the first to maintain that a happy life does not depend solely on good fortune or indeed on any external contingencies, but also, and even to a greater extent, on a man's cast of mind. A happy life is one that is enjoyed, that brings satisfaction. The important thing is not what a man has, but how he reacts to what he has. Since fate is not the crucial factor, there is no point in calling happiness eutychia, or eudaemonia either, since it is not a gift of the gods. Democritus referred to it simply as 'well-being', 'good humour'. Such a condition is relatively independent of circumstances. It can arise whenever a man's experiences are in tune with each other, and 'harmony' and 'proportion' are present in his soul. He then enjoys a state of unruffled serenity, which can best be described by comparing it with the stillness of the sea... According to Democritus: "It is not bodily advantages and property which provide happiness, but integrity of character and richness of mind."

Nevertheless, natural and congenial as it seems to us today, the view did not survive in Greece. Though it was of their own devising, the Greeks soon discarded it. This can be attributed to the influence of the two 5th-century thinkers who made the greatest impression on Greek ideas and pushed them in a new direction: Socrates and Plato. They, too, were exercised by the question of what kind of life is best, but their idea of what was best was something else again. They conceded that it did not consist in pleasures and success, but they also argued that it was not made up of general satisfaction either. They considered that it was not contentment, but the possession of goods which made possible the best life for a man. Satisfaction is only a consequence of the possession of goods and in itself does not create happiness. For Socrates, Plato and their successors the measure of happiness was objective and not subjective as in Democritus. In this sense, Plato described the happy as those who "possess the good and the beautiful".

This objective concept of happiness was adopted by Aristotle and his authority led to its acceptance over a long period. Happiness, he said, is the possession of what is most valued. If the most highly prized attribute is knowledge, it is the wise who are happy, but if courage, then it is the brave. Happiness is not the same as pleasure or success. Only the ignorant masses, Aristotle wrote, equate these with happiness. Be that as it may, a happy life is, nevertheless, usually a pleasurable and successful one. Anyone who possesses what is most prized is also content. But this contentment is only the normal consequence of happiness, not its essence. In Aristotle's interpretation of happiness, a man is not happy because he is satisfied but satisfied because he is happy. Aristotle's idea of happiness, defined as the accumulation of the greatest goods accessible to a man, long remained the main concept of ethics and was designated by the old word, eudaemonia, which thus outlasted the synonyms used by Democritus.

Aristotle himself held that a variety was needed and that even the supreme moral and intellectual goods were not sufficient by themselves. If a man is to be happy, he must not be ugly, of low birth, frail or sickly, poor, lonely, without friends or family. Only a fusion of various goods will give him happiness. But this view was not shared by the post-Aristotelian philosophers. They began looking for a single, supreme good, large enough to make for happiness by itself. They were sure such a good existed, and it was only its nature which was disputed. The Stoics saw it in virtue, and so considered as sufficient to happiness something which for Aristotle was merely one of its ingredients. The different schools of philosophy were agreed on the concept of happiness - possession of a supreme good - but differed in their ideas of what this supreme good was and so varied in their view of happiness.

On the other hand, Aristotle and the Hellenic philosophers found, thanks to their shared concept of happiness, common ground on many other points. Above all, there was agreement that the determinants of happiness lay in man himself and not in his circumstances, and that it depended on him whether he was happy. This idea was summed up in Boetius' remark to the crowd, which is always inclined to think differently: "What do you seek outside the happiness which lies within you?"

All the great ancient schools of philosophy were also agreed on one other matter: that only moral and rational behaviour leads to happiness. On this point the hedonists were as single-minded as the moralists. "There is no pleasurable life", wrote Epicurus, "which is not rational, morally exalted and just, nor is there any rational, morally exalted and just life which is not pleasurable." This sentiment was even more strongly adhered to by the Stoics, Platonists and Peripatetics.

Thus the Greeks were acquainted with all the four concepts which are today embodied in the word 'happiness': good fortune (eutychia, a prephilosophic term), supreme joy or bliss, general satisfaction with life, and possession of supreme goods (eudaemonia in Aristotle and his successors). But the part played by these notions was disparate. The concept which we now consider the most important was used by Democritus, but in Greek philosophy it was eudaemonia which prevailed for many centuries.

As long as he was wise, a man could create his own happiness, and so remove it from the lap of fortune and the gods. Fate might deny him bliss, but it could not deprive him of happiness. However, in late antiquity this belief in the self-dependence of human happiness dissolved and there was a return to theocentricism, though in a modified version. This was part of the general intellectual shift from a wordly to a religious outlook. Plotinus and the many lesser thinkers of his day continued to regard happiness as the possession of goods, but if they were to produce heavenly happiness these had to be heavenly goods. Those in which Aristotle of the Stoics had seen the source of happiness were no longer enough. They believed that happiness must have a divine dimension and was attainable only by means of turning one's thoughts and life towards God. Thus Greek thought on happiness came back to its starting point of a religious vision focussed on the joys of Elysium and god-sent fortune, and the transcendental ideals which had been shed in its classical period.

Christianity came into being in this period of intensified religiosity and from the start interpreted happiness transcendentally. WThen the Gospels refer to happiness they are usually thinking of happiness in the heavenly kingdom prophesied by Christ. There is a resemblance here with the Greek idea of bliss. In the Greek Vulgate the word used for the happy is invariably 'bliss', in the Latin the controlling idea is felicitas which is the exact equivalent of bliss. Indeed, Christianity applied this celestial concept of happiness to life on earth as well. It taught that a state of bliss (the kind that both Greek and eastern religions imagined existed only in heaven) could be found in this world: if not now, at least in the future once a change had been wrought in the souls of men and the Kingdom of Heaven had been fulfilled on earth. But people could, in fact, be happy even now as long as they led God-fearing lives.

The distinctive feature of the Schoolmen's idea was their view that only religious goods bring felicity and that all others are too fleeting and illusory, too insignificant, to give happiness. Like the ancients, they held that the way to happiness lay through a life of reason and virtue. But, though they considered this essential, they did not regard it as enough. It had to be reinforced with the help of God, with grace, and grace, they held, is more easily obtainable by faith than reason. It was not so much that they made happiness dependent upon virtue, reason, or even upon sacrifice and suffering, and the search for God (for all these things were known in antiquity) but their association of it with grace and faith, which was the new element brought by the Christian philosophers to the concept of happiness.

This idea of happiness persisted virtually unchanged throughout the middle ages, and long afterwards. The chief philosophers of the iyth century still thought of happiness as something perfect, as possession of the highest goods. Thus an idea which seems strange to us now managed to remain in philosophic currency from the 4th century B.C. to the 17th century A.D.

In modern times the concept of happiness was radically refashioned by being given a subjective colouring. It ceased to be described as possession of goods but as a subjective sense of gratification. A life is a happy one if we are satisfied with it, and it is the man satisfied with his life who is qualified as happy. Whether or not he possesses goods and of what kind they are makes no difference. As long as he is content he is happy. Happiness and possession of goods, happiness and perfection, which for so many centuries had been associated, were separated. This evolution towards a subjective concept has been so complete and become so deeply engrained that it seems strange today that for two thousand years people could have taken an utterly different view of happiness.

During the Enlightenment, when happiness and pleasure became virtually synonymous, the pattern of ideas assumed an extreme simplicity, especially in the empiricist school which was then in the ascendant. In England at the dawn of the 18th century Locke pronounced: "Happiness in its full extent is the utmost pleasure of which we are capable..." At the turn of the century we find Bentham still committed to this same view - of happiness as pleasure. Likewise, in France, the other capital of philosophy, the most representative and influential thinkers reduced happiness to pleasure or vice versa.

From thinking of happiness as a pleasurable life it was a short step to regarding it as an emotionally positive balance of life, resulting in a general satis factionwith life. However, this idea, which is now paramount, did not acquire this position until the igth century. Long ago Democritus had come near to it, but he had been an isolated thinker. It is hard to connect the emergence of this new concept with any specific name or date. It must, presumably, have spread gradually until it eclipsed previous ideas of happiness.

The new concept brought new problems and new solutions to old ones. With regard to the fundamental question of how happiness was to be achieved European thought had previously shown an unusual measure of agreement. Now, however, it produced dissensions and even chaos. Under a new and hazy dispensation, everyone was free to offer his own advice. The traditional and generally accepted doctrines were coloured by novel and idiosyncratic views, which sounded paradoxical and cynical to those who clung to the old belief that a life of reason and virtue was the surest path to happiness.

In early times 'happiness' meant simply success. Then for long centuries, covering much of antiquity and the middle ages, it signified a man's perfect condition or the possession by him of the highest virtues and goods. Modern times reduced happiness to pleasure. Today, without discarding these earlier notions, we employ yet another concept of happiness.

Happiness and Mental Health, W. Tatarkiewicz

Some clinical psychologists not only liken mental health to happiness but even equate the two. What, they ask, is the touchstone of mental health? Freedom from mental disease? Too negative. Normality? Too imprecise. This leaves only a feeling of contentment and happiness as a yardstick. Psychologists who take this line associate mental health explicitly with contentment, well-being, happiness. K. Menninger has defined it as "happiness and contentment", W. W. Boehm as "satisfaction", M. Jones simply as "happiness". The World Health Organization's official definition of mental health is "the presence of physical and emotional well-being".

Analysis of the concept of mental health has revealed the same multiplicity of meaning, the same ambiguities as are found in the concept of happiness. Mental health can be interpreted in two ways: as a momentary function of personality and situation or as a relatively constant and enduring function of personality. Clinicians have opted for the second of these alternatives as the proper concept of health. Now in defining happiness, exactly the same double interpretation has applied. Happiness has been and is understood either as a momentary state which may quickly disappear or as a relatively durable satisfaction with life. The latter is certainly the proper concept of happiness.

Clinicians are agreed that mental health depends not only on the individual's constitution but also on his environment and his relationship to it. Adaptability is an important aspect of a healthy personality. The healthy individual must be capable of adjustment if this is demanded by the environment. He can, according to the clinicians, change the internal balance of his psychical powers in the same way as he can change the outside world.

The most important question - what is mental health? —has drawn a wide variety of answers from clinical psychologists: A. It consists in what is known as 'self-realization'. The desire to fulfil his personality, one psychologist has written, is the only stimulus to man's activity and there can be no mental health if he is deprived of this stimulus or lives at odds with it. B. It consists in a well-adjusted relationship with oneself and others. The healthy man works with others for their common benefit. He neither needs nor wants to dominate. He takes sufficient interest in himself and others. This is the key to a proper relationship. C. It consists in 'environmental mastery', in 'resistance to stress', in adjustment to external circumstances or independence of them if they are oppressive. D. It consists in the integration of the functions of the personality, that is, on the 'balance of psychical forces' or 'an integrated view of the world' as some psychologists have put it. E. Others give a more concrete definition. Mental health consists in a capacity for three basic human activities: work, recreation and love.

A specific feature of the mentally sound personality is its orientation towards the future, by which it is more absorbed than by the past or even the present. This is linked with a property of the organism whose "basic direction is forward", as H. S. Sullivan has stated. This, too, is in perfect accord with the view of happiness elaborated earlier in this book: that the feeling of happiness and equally of unhappiness, is influenced more by the future than by the present or past, that the expectation of good or evil is more potent than recollection of them or even the actual experiencing of them.

Investigations into mental health are not only or primarily of theoretical importance. They have the practical object of improving human existence. The notion itself has a built-in value judgement. When we credit someone with mental health we are not only assessing his psychic state but also acknowledging this to be a desirable condition. Health is one of the goods of life, but it is not the only good nor one which embraces or compensates for others. It should not be regarded as a panacea. If the promotion of mental health were to treat it as such, it would be misconceived. Pre-occupation with health to the exclusion of everything else would be prejudical to other goods. But the psychologist is not necessarily so blinkered. He tends to agree that health is only one of the human goods.

By health we understand the positive functioning of the psychophysical organism; by happiness either (in the subjective version of the concept) a positive emotional state or (in the objective version) a set of circumstances producing a state of this kind. These circumstances include not only the positive environmental pattern. Hence the two concepts are not identical. But on the other hand, there is a close correlation between them. The feeling of happiness is a natural if not always evident sign of mental health, while health is an important if not exclusive prerequisite of happiness.

Happiness and the World, W. Tatarkiewicz

A happy life may indeed be described, but there is no way of guaranteeing that another happy life would bear any resemblance to it. If a description of a happy life can be given at all, it can only be a description of this or that life in particular and not of happy life in general.

In order to be happy, a man must be contented with his life. In order to be contented with his life a man must be satisfied, in one way or another, with the world arround him. For no life is isolated and every man's life embraces not only the processes taking place within him, but also events which occur in the world around him, though, of course, only a negligible part of the events taking place in the world affects an individual's existence directly, and again only a fragment of that has any bearing upon his happiness.

Human happiness is swayed not only by specific occurrences in the world, but also by the overall structure of the world, or at least by the image of that structure which the man has formed in his mind. Everyone has some sort of idea of his own of the world and the way he perceives his life depends to a certain extent on that image. Everyone's estimation of his life is related to his expectations of the world and what he expects of the world is conditioned by what he imagines that world to be. His mental image of the world, and of its worth, of the supremacy of good or evil, are all conditioned by what has happened to him in the past. However, his interpretation of those happenings depends upon his mental image of the world. If that image is a rosy one, the successive events will take on an equally rosy hue for him, but they will appear dismally grey if the image he has formed is a gloomy one.

Hence satisfaction with life is composed of two elements: the one personal and the other impersonal. The proportion of each can vary. In the lives of some people personal factors - health, temperament, abilities - are in perfect order and could only minister to happiness, but at the same time they are afflicted by extraneous misfortunes which affect their lives, such as a disaster befalling their country or the death of someone near and dear to them. Even if they are not touched by disasters or death, the world as a whole may seem to them to be senseless, without value or purpose.

But on the other hand, there are those whose grounds for discontent lie within themselves and their lives. Their living conditions are unbearable, they lack health or talents and are incapable of any achievement, they enjoy neither a good post nor recognition. Their lot seems all the more unfortunate since they see that others are healthy, talented and appreciated by society. It is quite possible that they have been misled by appearances. It is a common misconception that other people are more fortunate and that happiness is to be found on the other side of the street. But a faulty assessment of the world can cause as much dissatisfaction as one well-founded.

Human beings tend to expect happiness from the world and to believe that they will become happy as soon as they encounter favourable extraneous conditions. However, they usually learn by experience that these conditions are not so important that they form - to use Aristotle's definition - an additional, not a determining factor. Epicurus expressed the same idea when he said that happiness "is not a gift of the gods", and and that a man must attain it himself. This proposition has been put forward even more forcefully in modern times. In the 18th century it became one of the tenets of orthodox philosophy that "happy and unhappy occurrences constitute but a small fragment of human happiness and unhappiness".

Which of our attitudes can be considered to guarantee happiness - that of retreating into oneself, or that of becoming involved in and concerned with the world around us ? The latter is probably nearer the truth. We must have, a cause for our happiness. No matter whether it is an important or a trivial matter, without it we cannot kindle happiness within ourselves any more than a flint can kindle a fire without something for it to be struck against. When a man is deeply attached to and concerned with something, he has more grounds for happiness than when he is attached to and concerned with himself alone. "A happy man is one who devotes himself entirely to some cause, who is engrossed in the reality of predicaments, occurrences, colours, tones, problems, not the one who constantly perceives only himself in the face of troubles and events. Men have been conscious of this from time immemorial ... and consequently they have always sought for remedies against thinking too much about themselves, by trying to emulate the unconcern and simplicity of children, filling their leisure with boisterous games, giving themselves up to the passion of gambling, to sham fighting and real aesthetic contemplation." Writing in a similar vein, Bertrand Russell said that nothing is as tedious as being enclosed within oneself, while nothing gives so much serenity as directing one's attention and energy outside oneself.

Such is the dual nature of happiness. It is an inner state, but it requires help from outside; it is within ourselves but it is not attainable solely through ourselves. The outside world alone cannot give us happiness. The greatest good fortune is of no avail unless accompanied by the correct inner attitude. But that inner attitude must be directed towards the external world. It must fill one's life, otherwise that life will become dull and barren. Pascal was aware of this duality of happiness when he wrote: "The Stoics recommend us to retreat into our innermost being, for there we will find solace. But that is false. Others say we should go out of ourselves and seek happiness in recreation, but that, too, is false, because maladies occur. Happiness is neither within, nor outside us."

Of all the external influences affecting human happiness the strongest is undoubtedly that of other people. /'It is man - Holbach wrote5 - who is most essential to man's happiness." The contribution of other people is manifold. It can be either active or passive. Those who primarily contribute to our happiness are those closest to'us. To be happy, a child needs his mother, a mother needs her child. However it is not only one's close relatives and friends who contribute to one's happiness. A teacher needs his pupils, a writer needs his readers, an ambitious man needs people who admire him and offer him prominent posts. A prerequisite of happiness for certain people appears to be that it should excite envy. Montaigne wrote that a pleasure had no flavour for him if nobody knew about it. According to Samuel Johnson happiness is nothing, unless others are aware of it, and it is but little unless it arouses their envy.

One man can contribute to the happiness of another in a number of ways: through his own act ions and through those of which he is the subject, through what he does for the happy man, and through that which the latter does for him. His contribution may be the result not only of his activities but also of his qualities as, for instance, his goodness or his beauty. In still other instances his very existence suffices. A child is his mother's happiness before any of his qualities become apparent. Not only individuals, but also social groups affect man's happiness. A man can hardly be happy in a country, society, class, social system or atmosphere which are hostile to him.

If a man needs something in order to be happy, then he is dependent upon it for his happiness. But the greater his dependence, the less, according to one view, his happiness. For happiness requires freedom, while every form of dependence curtails freedom. Hence the paradox that everything which contributes to increasing happiness also contributes automatically to reducing it. This accounts for the mistrust of things which are believed to be conducive to happiness, and for the Cynics' and Stoics' ideal of independence, of liberation from the tyranny of the external world, for no man is free who has need of things outside himself.

It is impossible to liberate oneself from every extraneous influence for without them life would become empty and barren. But this generalization is false since if certain forms of dependence are troublesome, it does not mean that all must necessarily be so. The average man is not likely to follow the advice of the Stoics. Philosophers, too, have found a basis for a directly opposed view. Newman wrote: "Does the conviction that we are our own masters bring us happiness ? This view may be held by the very young who are at the peak of success. These men presume that it is a great thing to do everything in accordance with one's whims, to be dependent upon no-one, to exist without constant affirmation, constant prayer, constant adjustment of one's actions to the will of others. But with the passage of time these men - like all others - perceive that independence was not designed for man, that it is a state at odds with his nature, that liberty will gratify for a moment, but will not lead to the end in safety."

To increase our own happiness, it may be enough to see the happiness of another, for happiness radiates an atmosphere of gladness which communicates itself to others. Anatole France once wrote that it is easiest to attain happiness among those who are happy, while Stendhal said: "Happiness is infectious among those who live together." Not every happiness, of course, gives joy to others or communicates itself to them. People tend to be indifferent towards the happiness of those they do not care about, while the happiness of an adversary can be positively exasperating.

Partiality for happy people is another remarkable fact. Those who are happy are often given preferential treatment for the simple reason that they are happy. Thus happiness is not only good in itself, but also entails additional benefits, whereas unhappiness is not only an affliction, but also brings in its wake further distress. Here, too, the rule applies that "unto him that hath shall be given".

One of the roots of such an attitude, in accordance with which the happy are favoured and the unhappy rejected, is the fact that many people believe in a run of luck ("if he has been unhappy so far, he will continue to be") and in the possibility of happiness being transmitted ("the happy man brings luck, the unhappy brings misfortune"). That is why people shun those who are unhappy, or at least prefer not to become involved in their affairs. A chapter in Balthasar Gracian's Oraculo Manual is headed: "One should know those who are happy in order to make use of them, and those who are unhappy in order to avoid them."

Solitude and company are equally enjoyable, but they can be enjoyed only when one feels the need for them. Most men need to be alone just as much as they need company. Solitude can be savoured to the full when one is tired of company, and social contact is appreciated more when one grows tired of being alone. Vauvenargues wrote that solitude is like a diet. But those who need a diet now, certainly require more substantial nourishment at other times. Loneliness is delightful for those who wish for it, but it is a torment for those who have no other choice and are obliged to be alone. Their suffering is even more acute if they realize that others are not alone. Therefore the feeling of loneliness, if unpleasant, becomes all the more so when experienced among people.

To a certain extent, the charms of seclusion can be explained as follows. It attracts us through the pleasures we hope to derive from communing with nature and with ourselves. Human nature being what it is, people are capable of devoting undivided attention to nature or to themselves only when not distracted by others. Loneliness may also be chosen as a refuge from the unavoidable distress which human companionship brings. The young often shun and fear people because they do not know them, the old do so because they know them only too well.

Even Goethe himself, though he was very much a man of the world and happy in his worldly existence, told Eckermann towards the end of his life that he would have been happier if he could have been more often alone.

The amount of human companionship or solitude necessary to happiness depends on the individual's psychological type. One man needs a greater amount of external influences and stimuli than another; one can be compared to a spider that spins a web out of its body, another to a bee which brings nectar into its hive. Pessimists, by the nature of things, prefer loneliness because it severs their contacts with a world they believe to be evil, while optimists seek company in order to enjoy the maximum contact with the world. The Romantics sang the praises of solitude, while the Positivists extolled the delights of company.

All men seem to be separate worlds and there is no means of bridging the gulf between them. This metaphysical loneliness, which is woven into the very fabric of individual existence, is acutely felt by some, while others, quite immune to it, are content to be linked with their fellow men by superficial relationships.

Different people complain of loneliness for different reasons. One will say he is lonely because he lives alone in an out-of-the-way place, another that, though he lives in a community, he has no one with whom to exchange ideas, a third that, although he has the opportunity to exchange ideas, everybody seems to be a stranger to him and he can establish no close relationships, while a fourth feels alone in the innermost core of his being, although he is surrounded by people who are friendly and close to him. People who seek loneliness are usually thinking of it in the first two of these four senses. They wish to free themselves from superficial contacts and social entanglements rather than from deeper emotional bonds. This is what Montaigne had in mind when he wrote: "The most important thing in the world is to be capable of relying upon oneself." Generally speaking, it is only with regard to the first two aspects of solitude that people can choose whether to be alone or not. They are free to decide whether or not to establish social, worldly contacts, while in the case of emotional relationships they have far less freedom of choice.

Happiness and Time, W. Tatarkiewicz

Satisfaction with life as a whole must be satisfaction not only with that which is, but also with that which was and that which will be, not only with the present, but also with the past and the future. The feeling of happiness thus includes not only an agreeable present state, but also a favourable assessment of the past and good chance for the anticipated future. This plurality of satisfaction is essential to happiness. The present moment, however pleasant, cannot ensure the happiness of a being endowed with reason - a being who remembers the past and who is concerned with the future. Not only things which exist now and which affect the individual directly, have a bearing upon his happiness, but also those which are no longer, or not yet, in existence. By its very nature happiness has both a retrospective and prospective character.

In spite of the interaction of these three elements, each has its own, ustinct role in human happiness. These roles are not coequal. It is generally held that the present is of paramount importance, because it exists in reality. To quote the French verse: "ce qui n'est plus ne fut jamais"; whatever has passed by, exists no longer, neither does that which has yet to take place. This is indeed true, and yet the supposition is false, that happiness hinges mainly on the present. Of course, only the present actually exists and we experience only present feelings - nothing could be more certain than this - but present emotions are not aroused by present events alone. For recalled or anticipated experiences arouse - in beings endowed with memory and imagination - present emotions, and thus things which are no longer, or not yet, in existence, contribute to human happiness and unhappiness. The satisfaction we feel is an actual and real one, but actual and real satisfaction need not necessarily be derived from things existing and real at present.

Naturally, considerable differences of opinion exist on that score. The present moment carries a good deal more weight in the balance of happiness for some than it does for others. A child still only has few memories and therefore lives within the present. Present pleasure and present pain determine its general state, its satisfaction or dissatisfaction with life. With adults the position is different, only very intense actual delights and sufferings can absorb their entire consciousness.

It is often said that work, particularly intellectual activity, brings happiness. But even if this is true, it is due only marginally to immediate pleasure, in which work is often entirely lacking, being more frequently linked with effort, fatigue, struggle and even suffering. Only when accompanied by the thought of the final results - whether achieved or anticipated - can it become a source of happiness.

And nothing, perhaps, is more conducive to happiness than a feeling that the present is unimportant, that life is yet to be lived and all that is good and valuable lies ahead. Such an attitude makes the unavoidable imperfections of the present lose their significance and cease to be an obstacle to happiness.

The contribution of the past to happiness and unhappiness lies not only in the fact that it is the object of satisfaction or dissatisfaction, but also partly in the fact that it is the cause of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the present. In the first instance we are consciously delighted with the past, in the second we may not realize at all that we owe our delight to the past. Thus the influence of the past on happiness is twofold - conscious and unconscious.

Satisfaction with the past, however, is not indispensable to happiness. People can be happy being at the same time dissatisfied with their past. Their satisfaction can be due to a past which was far from satisfactory, because the awareness of having freed oneself from a disagreeable past intensifies the enjoyment of an agreeable present. In this case dissatisfaction with the past intensifies one's satisfaction with the present and with life as a whole.

If our imagination can distort the present, it is even more capable of distorting the past. The past, after all, is nothing more than an image, and images are more easily changed than perceptions. Like a stage upon which various spotlights play, the image of the past can take on a rosy glow or a grey and dismal hue in accordance with the mood of the moment. The emotional evaluation of the past can effect a greater transformation of the actual situation than can such an evaluation of the present. Our happiness or unhappiness can thus be determined not only by the past as it really was, but also by an entirely imaginary past. On the whole, this distortion tends more to ally itself with happiness.

Seneca, excluding the past from his calculation of happiness. The present is, after all, only a moment and we can endure even the most dreadful moment provided we know that things will be better soon. Many people feel this way. Consciously or not, they link their happiness with the future only, they measure it up to something which has not yet come to pass, and may be will never come. But they experience that future in advance, they see it and feel it as good or evil. Undoubtedly this is largely a matter of personality. Some people live entirely in the present moment, or in the past, while others live in the future. The happiness of the latter is dependent upon faith in the future, even if it is illusory, while their unhappiness is due to misgivings about the future, even if these are unfounded. Of course, faith or misgivings are often based on past or present experience, but not always: incurable optimists and incurable pessimists do exist, and their vision of the future runs counter to what the past and the present have taught them.

We do not fear the past, since we have left it behind, and we often commend it even though it was unfavourable. Neither do we fear the present, because we know that it will soon pass, that its very existence is nothing more than a sinking into the past. But the future weighs heavily upon our consciousness. The expectation of good or evil has therefore greater significance for happiness or unhappiness than the recollection or even the experience of them. The past and the present have less significance in this respect than prospects for the future. Possession signifies less than hope.

The anticipation of a good future enables one to forget a bad past and to accept a bad present, while the fear of a bad future can erase all the good one has hitherto experienced.

The real past, the real present and the real future, even when combined, do not yet determine happiness and unhappiness. Acting simultaneously with them is the past which has never existed (but which we see down the vista of time) as well as the present which does not exist, and the future which will never exist. For in happiness and unhappiness alike, it is not what was, is and will be in reality that matters, but also what we imagine and feel.

Imagination often means as much as, or more than experience and anticipation as much as, or more than the reality of the present. Happiness is thus also determined by things which never were and never will be. It depends not only on real things and events experienced at first hand, but also on the unreal ones. If both the past and future are reflected in momentary pleasure or distress, they are reflected to an even greater extent in happiness, which is a satisfaction with the whole of life.

Present events pass by at the moment in which they have taken place, but they persist for a longer span of time in one's consciousness. As a rule, we experience them not in a single moment, but over a certain period of time, which can be of longer or shorter duration.

The vast majority of people are indifferent to the remote past. But the recent past, yesterday's sufferings and joys, cause as much pain and delight as those of today. Most people are unconcerned about the distant future as well, but the importance of tomorrow to them is equal to, if not greater than that of the present day.

Obstacles to Happiness, W. Tatarkiewicz

It is commonly held that the main obstacles to human happiness are certain external events. These events are primarily disease and death, loss and degradation. People want to live and associate with the living, they want to own property and fulfil their ambitions. Therefore they suffer through loss of life, of friends and relatives, of property or of social standing.

Obstacles to happiness are felt in a number of ways, particularly degradation. A man suffers when he has no talents, but also when he has talents which are not acknowledged by others. He suffers when he is unjustly condemned, but also when the condemnation is justified. He suffers when he is aware of faults within himself, though no one has pointed them out, and also when someone points out faults which he does not find in himself. A man with ambitions above the common run is exposed to wounding shafts, like a St. Sebastian in a Renaissance painting, because through his wishing not only to possess positive qualities, but also to be recognized as having them, he becomes dependent on other people and their fickle tastes.

People have a tendency to see obstacles to happiness chiefly in those events which bring about losses: loss of life, loss of health, property or position. However, loss of property has little significance for someone who can soon amass another fortune, the loss of a post to one who is about to receive another, the loss of health to one who attaches no importance to it. Only an untoward state of affairs lasting over a period of time constitutes a real obstacle to happiness.

Not all obstacles to happiness are external, because there are also other obstacles which are rooted in the individual himself. They are not all of a biological or sociological nature, for some are purely psychic.

The most reliable means we possess of rendering an obstacle harmless is to remove ourselves from its range of influence, to cease to react to it. When we are incapable of dominating something, we can at least ensure that it does not dominate us, and when we cannot rid ourselves of an evil, we can at least try to become independent of it. If we cannot change our biological state or social status, we have no option but to try to change our mental attitude in order to transfer to it the task of striving for happiness.

We are unaware of a lack, if we are unaware of a need, or when we have become accustomed to the lack and accept it as a matter of course. In Pascal's classical metaphor: "Whoever suffers through having but one mouth and whoever does not suffer through having but one eye?" It depends on a man himself how much the obstacles he encounters in life vex him, or whether they cease altogether to be obstacles. If he cannot avert the evil, he can at least alter himself, his thoughts, needs and habits. "Do not become attached to objects, and you will cease to need them"... Marcus Aurelius stated in a similar vein: "If some external thing distresses you, it is not that thing, but your judgement of it that ails you, and to change the latter is within your power." And Seneca: "Man is unhappy only in so far as he considers himself to be".

Philosophers have developed their theories along these four lines. They have fought against the unhappiness and insufficient happiness of humanity by these four means - the relegation of evils to oblivion, the dismissal of them as unimportant, the alteration of sets of values and the enlightenment of the minds.

The philosophers of antiquity, with whom this view originated, also gave it a more radical form. They began by attempting to use psychological means to combat biological and sociological obstacles, but they ended by concluding that the only obstacles to happiness are mental. They began with a new opinion on the struggle against these obstacles, they ended with a new view of the obstacles themselves. All that takes place outside us is immaterial and only that which takes place within us, is important. Even death is no obstacle, if we do not fear it. Neither is pain, if we can endure it. The only real obstacles are fear and lack of endurance. Biological factors are, at most, indirect and relative obstacles and they are so only for those who take them to heart.

According to this view there are, fundamentally, no biological or sociological obstacles to happiness but only mental ones. It is a view far removed from the commonly-accepted opinion that the former type of obstacle is essential. To the different opinions on the nature of the obstacles there correspond different opinions on the ways one can avoid them. While one of those opinions proposes that external circumstances should be changed, another holds that the changes should be confined to one's inner self. The classical formulation of the latter view can be found in two Hellenistic systems: the teaching of Epicurus and that of the Stoics.

No event is dreadful, but only the fear of it is. There are no external enemies of happiness and man alone is the enemy of his own happiness. Happiness and unhappiness are not a matter of the external circumstances of life, but of an inner attitude towards them. Happiness and unhappiness lie within us and depend upon us. Lucretius extolled Epicurus as the first to understand that man can be unhappy even in the most favourable circumstances, but that it is within his power to change his unhappiness into happiness.

In essence, this view was shared by the Stoics. The only difference was that they saw the source of unhappiness in misguided needs and aspirations, while the Epicureans saw it in mistaken beliefs and superstitions. The former thought the way to happiness lay primarily in the improvement of character, the latter saw it in the improvement of the mind. He who liberates himself from needs, instincts, passions and affections, will be happy according to the Stoics. He who liberates himself from superstitions will be happy according to the Epicureans.

Seneca says of sufferings whose source lies in the past, that there is no reason to be unhappy because one has formerly been unhappy. He says of the fear of an evil future, that he who suffers earlier than is necessary, suffers more than is necessary. Even when we have a real reason for unhappiness, we often suffer more than we need. According to Seneca, some sufferings afflict us more than they should, others afflict us earlier than they should, still others afflict us though they should not do so at all.

Eight 'causes of unhappiness' of modern man, mentioned by Bertrand Russell in The Conquest of Happiness: (l) a passive life divorced from reality. Since man is designed to struggle for survival, a life free of struggle and effort can give him no satisfaction. On the other hand, (2) a life that is too active and hectic, such as the lives of some businessmen which are too restless to be happy; (3) boredom and surfeit. Although we are bored less than our ancestors were, we endure boredom less successfully than they did; (4) fatigue, particularly emotional fatigue, for mental and muscular weariness find a remedy in sleep; (5) envy, which plays a tremendous role in the life of contemporary man; (6) the awareness of sinfulness, stemming from traditional morality which misguidedly focuses man's entire attention on himself; (7) persecution mania, which is usually rooted in an exaggerated opinion of one's own worth and (8) fear of other people's opinion.

Fear or anxiety, depression or a feeling of inferiority, mistrust of life or a conviction of life's worthlessness cannot always be overcome. This can be denied only by someone who sees these states in others without experiencing them himself. Watching them as an outsider, he sees that there is not sufficient cause for them. But anyone who experiences them is convinced that the cause exists and, even if that cause is imaginary, it is no less important to him. Emotions are no easier to overcome when they are unfounded and in order to get rid of them it is not enough to realize that they are illusory. Furthermore, fears and anxieties do not always arise from imaginary causes and the life of an average man holds enough real causes for these states. Although auto-suggestion and other methods can be used to eliminate not only emotions due to imagination but also those with a wholly real cause, this is not always possible. If it is not always possible to eliminate mental obstacles to happiness, then the whole Stoic-Epicurean structure collapses.

If needs and emotions form an obstacle to happiness, there are two ways of combating them. The first radical way, consists in ridding oneself of them entirely or at least as far as possible and in living without needs and emotions. The second consists in directing needs and passions along a new path. The ancients, particularly the Stoics, favoured the first method, but it is not only difficult and at odds with human nature but also unprofitable in so far as, by the elimination of the chance of unhappiness, the chances of happiness are decreased.

Sometimes a change of facial expression suffices to change one's mood. When someone who is in a surly mood compels himself to adopt a calm, contented and friendly expression, his mood adapts itself to the facial expression sooner than he expects. Baden Powell's advice to boy-scouts was, when they were in trouble or danger, or when something unpleasant happened, to make themselves smile end the world would immediately look brighter.

Furthermore, some obstacles may disappear without our participation. Their edge is blunted without our intervention, sooner or later we cease to react to them and the effort demanded by the Stoics becomes superfluous. Needs and desires are exhausted and transformed, and people cease to feel the lack of what they once considered to be necessary.

The fear of death seems to be a feeling peculiar to the age of maturity, when one is still at the peak of one's powers, when many things still remain to be achieved, and the thought of death already faces one with considerable clarity. As one gets older, this intense awareness decreases and sometimes disappears. People who have faced the idea of death think that they will never be free of it. They are, however, wrong in this feeling, like any other, loses its edge. Death ceases to be dreadful, when one has become sated with life, when one's vitality, and with it, one's interest in life, have diminished.

The happiness of different people is hindered by different obstacles, and there are different ways in which these obstacles can be combated. Some people will find it easier to transform the physical, others the psychological circumstances of their lives, some will alter their environment others will change themselves, for some this will require effort, while' for others the obstacles will disapper spontaneously, without any effort of their own. The theories formed on the subject by laymen as well as philosophers are usually constructed on the basis of their personal experience and need not correspond with the experiences of others.

Factors of Happiness, W. Tatarkiewicz

The current notion is that one must live by truth in order to be happy. Chekhov noted down in his diary: "Happiness and joy of living, lie neither in money nor in love, but in truth." But others believe that to be happy man must live by fantasy and illusion. "Error is often the greatest happiness", a 17th century poet said. The philosopher Fontenelle wrote: "Man would lose courage, were he not supported by false imaginings."

The Stoics warned men against passions, the source of human unhappiness. The early i8th century thinker, Dubos, put forward an opposing notion and declared that passions should not be avoided precisely for the sake of happiness, because where passions are lacking, boredom reigns, and boredom is the greatest foe of human happiness.

True happiness is fortune's gift and requires no effort. This is surely the view of the. majority of people and has been put forward by many thinkers, including Schopenhauer who wrote: "Wherever it really occurs it comes uninvited and unannounced, it comes of its own accord and sans faeon." On the other hand, some have believed that true happiness is clearly a matter of effort, courage and toil. Witness Balzac's statement: "All happiness is made of courage and work."

St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas said that happiness lay only in God and have been echoed by the vast majority of Christians. Happiness is possible only for those who realize that there is no God, the materialists and atheists have said since La Mettrie, if not Epicurus

Stoics of all periods have maintained that possessions can only bar the way to happiness. An intermediate view has it that it is not so much wealth itself that determines happiness, as the adequacy of possessions to meet requirements. Dickens had an amusing formula for this: "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds one and six, result misery."

When talking about factors making for happiness, people have sometimes direct and sometimes indirect factors in mind. Sometimes they use a term to describe that which 'gives' happiness directly, in other cases again that which 'leads' to happiness indirectly. These are different things but in both cases we use the same words, and say briefly and imprecisely that something is a 'factor' of happiness.

Some understand factors making for happiness as whatever is essential to happiness and others as whatever, although inessential to happiness, contributes towards it in some way. If the factor is inessential, it can be replaced, in some cases even by its direct opposite. One man maintains that he finds happiness in moderation, another precisely in trying to get the most out of life. To state either that in moderation, or that demanding too much from life is a factor of happiness can be valid, if the factors are not conceived as essential or irreplaceable. This is analogous to other conflicting statements such as, that one finds happiness if one thinks about death or if one forgets about it, if one has a kind heart or a heart of stone.

This frequently admitted failure to comprehend one's own happiness is in fact an incomprehension of the factors of happiness. Many people do not know to what they owe their happiness, or at least are not aware of all its factors. Most frequently he remembers only those which entailed a great deal of effort or anxiety. He may, for instance, remember about his family or his work, but forget about the various social or economic factors which enable him to work and live at ease with his family. He also values the factors he does not possess, deprecating those at his disposal. "Things seem to be essential to our happiness only when they are out of reach."

However great the divergence of views on the factors making for happiness, quite a consensus of opinion does exist on some points. Certain things are almost generally accepted as factors making for happiness - health and beauty, strength and talent, wealth and power, freedom, love and friendship.

However great the divergence of views on the factors making for happiness, quite a consensus of opinion does exist on some points. Certain things are almost generally accepted as factors making for happiness - health and beauty, strength and talent, wealth and power, freedom, love and friendship.

The Polish poet Cyprian Norwid wrote in 1850: "In order to be what is called happy, one should have (1) something to live on (2) something to live for, (3) something to die for. The lack of one of these results in drama. The lack of two results in tragedy."

There are various types of factors of happiness. They fall clearly into two main groups. One of these is composed of all those factors which are objects of satisfaction on their own account. It includes, let us say, wealth and power, a happy family life and an interesting and enjoyable profession. All these things give satisfaction. But it is precisely factors of this type which do not suffice for happiness. Strangely enough, happiness also requires factors which do not give satisfaction in themselves. Health is necessary even if one pays no attention to it, because its lack would make one unhappy.

Factors of happiness fall into two other groups. The first consists of those factors which lie within man himself, the other those which lie outside him. Outside him are his house, his family and his health, the profession he follows, the art or science which fills his life and gives him pleasure. But, in order that his family or profession may really be a factor of his happiness, it is necessary that he should like family life and that he should enjoy his professional work. This applies to everything else. Unless it coincides with certain mental characteristic within the man himself, it cannot become a factor making for his happiness.

Most men adopt a very extreme view on these matters. They set no store by inner factors, and base their happiness exclusively on external factors. An equally extreme, though opposite view was held by many philosophers. Descartes believed that happiness was independent of external factors and that it could be attained in the most adverse, just as much as in the most favourable circumstances.

Human life is a constant interaction of inner conditions and outer sources of happiness, and the attainment of happiness depends largely on whether they are in harmony with each other. The more sources of happiness one possesses, the less one's need of conditions. If someone, as they say, "has got everything", all he needs is the ability to make use of and to enjoy what he possesses. But if his life has brought little good, and much evil, he must have still other abilities in order to be happy. Primarily, he needs the ability to be content with little, to pay little heed to adversity, and to make up for the things with which nature or the world have not endowed him. The more of these conditions he has developed within himself, the less will be his need of sources of happiness.

Sources of Happiness, W. Tatarkiewicz

The experience of the majority of people and the deliberations of philosophers alike seem to indicate that the sources of happiness can be divided into four groups: external goods, feelings of sympathy, pleasant work and objects of unselfish interest.

Such a division is in keeping both with the experience of people at large and the reflections of philosophers. (A) People chiefly expect happiness from external goods, especially those such as wealth, social standing and power which raise one man above another. (B) They seem to find most happiness in sympathy, which brings people closer together, particularly in love and in family life. One can read in many novels that "the happiness a woman can give to a man is the only happiness on earth". (C) A more analytical turn of mind is necessary to perceive that work is also a source of happiness. Many consider it to be the curse of mankind. And so it is, if it is not in accordance with a person's interests or when it places excessive demands on his strength and talents. But many who have worked to gain wealth or social standing have found happiness not in these things but in work itself.

Many thinkers have praised life as the greatest source of happiness. Epicurus maintained that the direct experience of life is "the beginning and end of happiness." Montaigne during the Renaissance, La Mettrie during the Enlightenment, and Guyau in more recent times also extolled the capacity of life to give happiness above all else. Poets have sung its praises even more frequently. One source of happiness does indeed lie in this awareness. This is, however, by no means the most common source, nor is it available to all but is very unevenly distributed. There are those who know nothing of it and who never experience that 'delight of being', that 'happiness of existing'. This may be because their organism is not functioning as it should, or because their attention is focused on something else, on external events, health, business, career, or human relations. If these matters take an unfortunate turn, or, on the contrary, prove too fortunate, they come to pervade the whole consciousness, leaving no room for the feeling of 'the happiness of existing'.

Unreal things, which are simply the products of reminiscences or daydreams, can not only be sources of happiness, but even have a certain advantage over other sources. For while reality cannot be transformed at will, we are free to change daydreams and even memories to our heart's content. In fantasy the consciousness breaks away from life and enters an idealized world attuned to one's desires. De Musset was thus well able to write that "a happy memory is perhaps more real than happiness itself". Memory has the magic property of transforming unpleasant experiences into pleasant reminiscences and by divorcing the bitter fact from its real context, taking away its bitterness.

What are the qualifications necessary for things to become sources of happiness ? Firstly and most obviously, they must be precious to man. Secondly, man must have confidence in them. When asked about the nature of a happy life, Seneca answered that it is "securitas et perpetua tranquillitas" - security and lasting tranquillity. There can be no security or tranquillity without confidence. One can enjoy the present only when confident about the future. It is possible to be happy if today is troubled, but not when tomorrow is ominous.

Sources of which people most readily make use, namely external sources, such as wealth or social standing, are particularly illusory. They cannot easily be attained but they can easily be lost. They are dependent on fate. They are the products of society and, as such, dependent on other people. They are also dependent on us ourselves and our dispositions. But in spite of their deceptiveness, people do not give up striving for them and probably never will, for they are attractive and facile. Even if they do not contribute to happiness, people attach as much importance to them as they do to happiness - if not more. At all events, they do not always cause disappointment. Not every business transaction leads to bankruptcy, neither does every employment end in dismissal.

To sum up: all sources can fail. They fail (i) when one loses them, and even (2) simply because one realizes that they are fallible, and that they can be lost. The possibility alone deprives them of their effectiveness. But they also fail (3) because frequently they do not give us what we expected of them and prove to be of less value than we had imagined, or it turns out that we do not know how to make use of them.

Nothing can be a source of happiness unless we know how to benefit from it. It is easier for ordinary men to avail themselves of wealth or authority, science or art, than of religious values. Faith, in many people, is but half-hearted and shaky. If religious values hold out the possibility of lasting and complete satisfaction for some, they do not do so for everyone. Though they may not fail in the same way as earthly values, man still fails in the face of them; and, as far as happiness is concerned, the final outcome may be the same.

Permanent sources of happiness minimize and render harmless the annoyances one encounters. When absorbed by pleasant things, one may not notice something which others consider to be distressing. We can quote Plotinus here: "We see the happy man according to the measure of our own weakness and therefore we consider to be evil and dreadful that which the happy man does not consider to be so."

Permanent sources of happiness not only make the present good, but - and this is much more important - they open up prospects of a good future. A 'source' of happiness is really that which not only gives satisfaction now, but also heralds it. The important thing in happiness is not only to enjoy many pleasures, but also to have the conviction that one will continue to enjoy them.

Some sources greatly intensify joys, though without necessarily making them unalloyed or uninterrupted. Above all love is such a source of joy. It can absorb the mind completely. The joy one finds in love pervades the entire consciousness, but when love runs a troubled course there is no room in the consciousness for anything but distress. The mechanism here seems to be such that the lover transfers his emotions to all the things with which his beloved is connected. He sees them through the prism of his emotion, so that they appear pleasant, beautiful and important to him. His emotions, reflected in all these things as in a mirror, return to him multiplied, strengthened, and more lasting. But another characteristic of love is that it can be impermanent. It is a more intense, but usually less permanent source of happiness than most others.

The first truth about happiness is that it must have a source. It is impossible to derive it from nothing. The second is that the sources of happiness are varied. If a certain source of happiness is closed, it does not follow that happiness is unattainable. The third truth is that no source is infallible and the fourth that it is necessary to possess internal 'conditions' for happiness in addition to its 'sources'. The fifth is that some sources of happiness are more reliable and effective than others and only some of them are suitable for becoming primary sources, bases of happiness. Others are rather additional sources for those who already possess others. And finally the sixth truth is that for those who have a basis of happiness, other sources are more easily available. The world bears a different aspect to one who believes that it is governed by a wise order, than to one who does not.

There are two modes of living, two methods of building happiness - on one basis and on many bases. The latter is more human, the former is more difficult and often requires the overcoming of one's nature, but it leads more surely towards the goal.

Character and Happiness, W. Tatarkiewicz

Whether a man is happy or not depends not only on what happens to him in life, but also on the way in which he reacts to what happens to him. To be content, it is not enough to have wealth, health or beauty. One must also derive pleasure from these things. Again, for people with a certain disposition even poverty, illness or ugliness do not destroy satisfaction with life. "Nothing would have been lacking for his happiness", says Stendhal about one of his characters, "had he known how to relish that happiness." Happiness does not depend only on external 'sources', but also on internal 'conditions', not only on man's lot, but also on his personality.

A man's personality is determined by his dispositions. These can be innate as well as acquired and some can take shape only to vanish again. The personality is thus not immutable but is moulded and altered by the passage of time and the ups and downs of life. It is different in adulthood, and even more so in old age, from what it was in youth. As a man gets older, he may cease to be hot-tempered or thriftless, he may develop or lose the predilection for home life.

Man may exert an influence on some events in his life, and these events will be an expression of his personality, but there are others which are independent of his personality. They are matters of 'chance for him', and occur without his participation. Just as man's personality does not spring solely from his nature, so also his lot is not solely the result of chance. The personality which a man reveals at a certain period of his life is a combination of his nature and of chance. But similarly, chance and man's nature combine to form his lot.

The complex of events which makes up the course of a man's life and over which he has no decisive influence is described as his fate. Chance is his external fate. But in addition to this there exists his internal fate, which is his nature, the whole complex of dispositions with which he was born. He has no power of decision over those things either. However, if man's life is governed by fate, it is not by external fate alone, because the latter is supplemented by internal fate. Neither is it governed by internal fate alone, because that is modified by external fate.

Certain traits seem to contribute to the happiness of all men at all times. These include flexibility of nature or the ability to adapt oneself to one's lot and, even more perhaps, an inclination towards faith, affection and work. For lack of faith sooner or later leads to anxiety and lack of affection to indifference. Lack of occupation leads to boredom, and it is difficult to be happy when one is anxious, indifferent or bored. Faith, affection and work - these are rather high-sounding words, but, in reality, they are very commonplace. After all, no one lives without some kind of faith, some kind of affection, some kind of occupation.

A man's nature shapes his lot, and his lot shapes his nature. Consequently, in the course of his life a man's lot and his own nature are sometimes mingled so inextricably that when he is happy it is difficult to determine whether he owes that happiness more to his lot or to himself.

On the whole, the capacity of the character to contribute to happiness is revealed only in conjunction with a suitable set of circumstances. Occasionally, however, the character is of such a kind that it alone gives a man happiness, irrespective of his lot. Livy wrote of Cato the Elder, that his nature was such that he could be happy whatever the circumstances of his life. This was also Napoleon's opinion of himself. While he was still on Elba he caused the following inscription to be carved on the house in which he lived: "Napoleo ubicumque felix", "Napoleon is happy everywhere".

Happiness and the Subjectivity of Human Good, M. Canto-Sperber

Many authors consider that—defined subjectively—happiness is tied to an indisputable psychological reality: the feeling of satisfaction with our life up till now and with the expectation that it will continue this way.4 To this we may add the presence of an activity allowing us to attain previously chosen objectives, or at least to toy with the idea of future plans.

Happiness cannot be dissociated from justification. We would be indeed surprised if someone declared himself to be steadily and permanently happy without being able to give one single reason for his happiness. Being able to justify one's happiness is, however, not enough for separating happiness from subjectivity. Several objections come to mind against this idea of happiness as a subjectively experienced good. The first is concerned with false happiness. Sometimes a false belief may be a source of happiness (for instance, x is happy because she believes to be loved when she is in fact cheated on). The couiiterobjection would state that discovering that a past happiness was based on a false belief would not compromise its past reality or, more generally, that it is impossible to be wrong about one's own happiness.

Several philosophers have emphasized the prepositional aspect of happiness. Happiness is not only the fact of "being happy"; it is "being happy about x, j, z," where the part "ar, y, z" (i.e., the things that make one happy) is essential to defining the reality of that happiness. Happiness is real if it relates to states of things that can be described by verifiable propositions. This explains why we can experience satisfaction with something that does not lead necessarily to our own happiness, but to somebody else's happiness, such as a loved one. Likewise, when we wish our loved ones happiness, it is in the sense not only that they experience satisfaction but, most importantly, that their happiness be grounded in objectively good states and things. In this view, it is not enough to say that people feel happy and consider themselves to be happy in order for them to be considered so in the strict sense of the term. Feeling happy is a necessary condition but it is not a sufficient one because the feeling may be experienced for the wrong reasons or be grounded in a false belief.

These considerations suggest that the feeling of satisfaction ought to be grounded in real goods. As objective referents of happiness, human goods are not limited to material goods; they include talents, intersubjective relationships, self-esteem, the quality of the connection to another, and many personal goods such as the ability to reflect, the sense of beauty, the richness of experienced feelings, one's psychological resources, and a good character. Those things are all good in themselves and. as such, they are desirable and deserve to be sought as ends in themselves.

Primarily, "the good life" means a happy, accomplished, successful life. In this sense, the term is used synonymously with "human flourishing," from the Greek eudaimonia. Unlike the Greek term, however, "human flourishing" comes from modern philosophy. Specifically, it first appeared in an article entitled "Modern Moral Philosophy," published in 1958, in which Elisabeth Anscombe severely criticized modern moral thinking. In it, Anscombe reminds us that modern moral philosophy—whether consequentialist or of Kantian inspiration—rests on the concepts of obligation and duty, that is, on ought. The specific moral signification of these concepts is but a relic of a legalist ethical interpretation grounded in the belief of divine law. It belongs to the past and must be replaced with the concept of "what is ethically required in a situation." The definition of what the human being needs in order to prosper and reach his full potential has a decidedly normative bent and is as verifiable as any empirical statement. It leads to saying, for instance, that—in order to best exert his human capacity for choice and action—the human being needs instructions for action called virtues. It was in relation to this kind of understated, minimally moral understanding of the concept of duty (in the sense of what is required) that Anscombe introduced the concept of human flourishing. This article launched the notion of human flourishing, and its pages became the philosophical success story of the recent decades.

Human flourishing is an existential mode, a human norm with objective designs defined by intrinsically good activities, talent development, and perfectibility. Happiness and human flourishing refer to two distinct ontological categories: one is a state of mind, the other a way of life. The concept of human flourishing is defined by the possession, the pursuit, or the practice of goods, such as contemplation, richness, wisdom, or virtue. The concept of happiness is defined by the mental states produced by the possession of such goods. This is why it can be said of a particular person's life to have reached accomplishment regardless of that person's opinion on the subject, and why it cannot be said of someone that he is happy regardless of how he feels. The concept of human flourishing refers to an objective norm defined according to what is required for the optimal development of the human being.

Contemporary theories of human flourishing claim to be the only existing philosophies of human good. I reject this claim. The concept of human flourishing relates to a theory of human good that is far from unique and that, as far as I can tell, is not even a theory of goodness. To speak of "the good life" remains confused if the kind of goodness that is involved is not specified. A good life is not only an accomplished life; it may also be one that is guided by a principle of goodness, a goodness fitted to the scale of human life.

The good in human life is not reducible to subjective good, objective good, or human flourishing. The need to distinguish human good from human flourishing fulfills several requirements. First, it fulfills the requirement to guarantee a form of normativity that is linked to the reflection on human life. To simply consider happiness and human flourishing does not allow normative questions about human life (its dissatisfactions, incoherence, self-delusions), nor does is facilitate comparisons between lives. Indeed, happiness and human flourishing are both reducible to natural properties, whereas the norms that guide us in formulating judgments fitted to existential justifications are not natural. In addition, the formal constraints of compatibility and consistency that give meaning to the concepts of happiness and human flourishing can be much more easily justified by assuming the existence of a higher-order good. Lastly, the hypothesis of a human good distinct from human development fulfills the requirement to dissociate between two different kinds of reasons to act. The reasons to act that are provided by considering my own development are tied to a particular psychological reality. In contrast, those related to the good in human life are related to the order of goods and values, and also to the kind of intelligibility I am seeking in life and the kind of justifications I am elaborating. The second kind of reasons pertains to the norms that guide my reflection on my life. Questions such as "How ought I to live?" and "What kind of person should I be?" can only be asked based on a close examination of my own life.

The Present Alone Is Our Happiness: An Interview, P. Hadot

Not that I am obsessed by the thought of death. I have always been amazed, however, that the thought of death helps one to live better, to live as though one were living one's last day, one's last hour. An attitude such as this one requires a total conversion of attention. To no longer project oneself into the future, but to consider one's action in itself and for itself, to no longer consider the world to be the simple frame of our action, but to look at it in itself and for itself—this attitude has both an existential and an ethical value. It allows one to become aware of the infinite value of the present moment, of the infinite value of today's moments, as well as the infinite value of tomorrow's moments, welcomed with gratitude as an unexpected chance. But it also allows one to become conscious of the seriousness of every moment of life, to do what one does habitually, not by habit but as though one were doing it for the first time, by discovering everything this action implies for it to be well done. What matters is not what one does but how one does it. The thought of death was thus leading me to the exercise of concentration on the present recommended by both the Epicureans and the Stoics.

More precisely, this concentration on the present is a concentration on what we can really do; we can no longer change the past, nor can we act on what is not yet. The present is the only moment in which we can act. Consequently, concentration on the present is a requirement of action.

These fundamental spiritual attitudes are in fact the themes of meditations that have dominated the history of Western thought. The theme of the present is an example of this.

The past chagrins us, either simply because it is past and escapes us, or because it gives us the impression of imperfection; the future worries us because it is uncertain and unknown. But every present moment offers us the possibility of happiness. If we put ourselves in a Stoic perspective, it gives us the opportunity to attend to our duties, to live according to reason; if we put ourselves in an Epicurean perspective, it affords the pleasure of existing at every instant.

Ordinarily our life is always incomplete, in the strongest sense of the term, because we project all our hopes, all our aspirations, all our attention into the future, telling ourselves that we will be happy when we will have attained this or that goal. We are scared as long as the goal is not attained, but if we attain it, already it no longer interests us and we continue to run after something else. We do not live, we hope to live, we are waiting to live. Stoics and Epicureans invite us, then, to effect a total conversion of our relation to time, to live in the only moment we live in, that is, the present; to live not in the future but, on the contrary, as though there were no future, as though we only had this day, only this moment, to live; to live it then as well as possible, as though—as we were saying earlier—it were the last day, the last moment of our life, in our relationship to ourselves and to those around us.

The spiritual exercise of the look from above, stripped of all outdated cosmology and of all mythology, is thus still valid today. It consists simply of occupying what has been called "the point of view of Sirius," to borrow the title of an editorial written for years in Le Monde by Hubert Beuve-Mery. To put oneself in the point of view of Sirius is to aim for the objectivity, the impartiality, of the historian and the scholar, but it is also to undo oneself from oneself in order to open oneself to a universal perspective. This exercise aims to allow one to become aware of one's place in the universe, thus to detach oneself from one's egoistical point of view, and to lead one to become aware of one's belonging, not only to the Whole of the universe, but also to the Whole of the human community; to leave a unilateral view of things, to put oneself in the place of others.

The Value of the Present Instant in Goethe and in Ancient Philosophy, P. Hadot

As Goethe said in a letter to Zeller, this was the characteristic feature of ancient life and art: to know how to live in the present, and to know what he called "the healthiness of the moment." In antiquity, says Goethe, the instant was "pregnant;" in other words, filled with meaning, but it was also lived in all its reality and the fullness of its richness, sufficient unto itself. We no longer know how to live in the present, continues Goethe. For us, the ideal is in the future, and can only be the object of a sort of nostalgic desire, while the present is considered trivial and banal. We no longer know how to profit from the present; we no longer know - as the Greeks did - how to act in the present, and upon the present.

We must certainly agree that the Greeks in general gave particular attention to the present moment, and this attention could take on several different ethical and artistic meanings. Popular wisdom advised people both to be content with the present, and to know how to utilize it. Being content with the present meant, on the one hand, being content with earthly existence. This is what Goethe admired in ancient art, particularly in funerary art, where the deceased was represented not with his eyes raised toward the heavens, but in the act of living his daily life. On the other hand, knowing how to utilize the present meant knowing how to recognize and seize the favorable and decisive instant (kairos). Kairos designated all the possibilities contained within a given moment: a good general, for example, knows how to strike at the opportune kairos, and sculptors fix in marble the most significant kairos of the scene which they wish to bring to life.

It does seem, then, that the Greeks paid particular attention to the present moment. This, however, does not justify us in imagining - as did Winckelmann, Goethe, and Holderlin — the existence of an idealized Greece, the citizens of which, because they lived in the present moment, were perpetually bathed in beauty and serenity. As a matter of fact, people in antiquity were just as filled with anguish as we are today, and ancient poetry often preserves the echo of this anguish, which sometimes goes as far as despair. Like us, the ancients bore the burden of the past, the uncertainty of the future, and the fear of death. Indeed, it was for this human anguish that ancient philosophies - particularly Epicureanism and Stoicism — sought to provide a remedy. These philosophies were therapies, intended to provide a cure for anguish, and to bring freedom and self-mastery, and their goal was to allow people to free themselves from the past and the future, so that they could live within the present.

Both Epicureanism and Stoicism privilege the present, to the detriment of the past and above all of the future. They posit as an axiom that happiness can only be found in the present, that one instant of happiness is equivalent to an eternity of happiness, and that happiness can and must be found immediately, here and now. Both Epicureanism and Stoicism invite us to resituate the present instant within the perspective of the cosmos, and to accord infinite value to the slightest moment of existence.

To begin with Epicureanism: it is a therapy of anguish, and a philosophy which seeks, above all, to procure peace of mind. Its goal is consequently to liberate mankind from everything that is a cause of anguish for the soul: the belief that the gods are concerned with mankind; the fear of post-mortem punishment; the worries and pain brought about by unsatisfied desires; and the moral uneasiness caused by the concern to act out of perfect purity of intention. What is required, in fact, is a total transformation of our lives, and one of the principal aspects of this transformation is the change of our attitude toward time. According to Epicureanism, senseless people — that is, the majority of mankind — are tormented by vast, hollow desires which have to do with wealth, glory, power, and the unbridled pleasures of the flesh. What is characteristic of all these desires is that they cannot be satisfied in the present.

Thus, Epicurean wisdom proposes a radical transformation, which must be active at each instant of life, of mankind's attitude toward time. We must, it teaches, learn how to enjoy the pleasure of the present, without letting ourselves be distracted from it. If the past is unpleasant to us, we are to avoid thinking about it, and we must not think about the future, insofar as the idea of it provokes in us fears or unbridled expectations. Only thoughts about what is pleasant - of pleasure, whether past or future - are to be allowed into the present moment, especially when we are trying to compensate for current suffering.

The happy mind does not look towards the future. If we limit our desires in a reasonable way, we can be happy right now. Not only can we be happy, but we must: happiness must be found immediately, here and now, and in the present. Instead of reflecting about our lives as a whole, calculating our hopes and worries, we must seize happiness within the present moment.

The secret of Epicurean joy and serenity is to live each instant as if it were the last, but also as if it were the first. In the last analysis, the secret of Epicurean joy and serenity is the experience of infinite pleasure provided by the consciousness of existence, even if it be only for a moment.

In order to show that one single instant of happiness is enough to give such infinite pleasure, the Epicureans practiced telling themselves each day: "I have had all the pleasure I could have expected." In the words of Horace: "He will be master of himself and live joyfully who can say, every day: 'I have lived.'" Seneca also takes up this Epicurean theme: "When we are about to go to sleep, let us say in joyous cheerfulness: "I have lived; I have travelled the route that fortune had assigned to me." If God should grant us tomorrow as well, let us accept it joyfully. That person is most happy and in tranquil possession of himself who awaits tomorrow without worries. Whoever says: "I have lived", gets up every day to receive unexpected riches."

This is the spiritual exercise Marcus himself calls "delimiting the present." Delimiting the present means turning one's attention away from the past and the future, in order to concentrate it upon what one is in the process of doing. The present of which Marcus speaks is a present delimited by human consciousness. The Stoics distinguished two ways of defining the present. The first consisted in understanding the present as the limit between the past and the future: from this point of view, no present time ever actually exists, since time is infinitely divisible. The second way consisted in defining the present with reference to human consciousness. In this case, the present represented a certain "thickness" of time, corresponding to the attention-span of lived consciousness. When Marcus advises us to "delimit the present," he is talking about this lived present, relative to consciousness. This is an important point: the present is defined by its reference to man's thoughts and actions.

It is a waste of time to worry about what is long gone, or what will perhaps never occur; we must therefore "delimit the present." "All the happiness you are trying to achieve by long, roundabout ways: you can have it all right now. . . . that is, if you leave everything past behind you, entrust the future to providence, and if you arrange the present in accordance with piety and justice.

Seneca describes the same exercise as follows: "Two things must be cut short: the fear of the future and the memory of past discomfort; the one does not concern me any more, and the other does not concern me yet. The sage enjoys the present without depending on the future... Liberated from the burden of worries which torture the mind, he does not hope for or desire anything. He does not plunge forward into the unknown, for he is happy with what he has [i.e. the present, which is all that belongs to us]. And don't believe that he is content with not very much, for what he has is everything."

Happiness, then - that is, for the Stoics, moral action or virtue - is always total and complete, at each moment of its duration. Like pleasure for the Epicurean sage, the happiness of the Stoic sage is perfect. It lacks nothing, just as a circle, whether it is large or small, still remains a circle. The same is true of a propitious or opportune moment or favorable opportunity: it is an instant, the perfection of which depends not on its duration, but rather on its quality, and the harmony which exists between one's exterior situation and the possibilities that one has. Happiness is nothing more nor less than that instant in which man is wholly in accord with nature.

For the Stoics, as for the Epicureans, it is the imminence of death which gives the present instant its value. "We must carry out each action of our lives as if it were the last." This is the secret of concentration on the present moment: we are to give it all its seriousness, value, and splendor, in order to show up the vanity of all that we pursue with so much worry: all of which, in the end, will be taken away from us by death. We must live each day with a consciousness so acute, and an attention so intense, that we can say to ourselves each evening: "I have lived; I have actualized my life, and have had all that I could expect from life." In the words of Seneca: "He has peace of mind who has lived his entire life every day."

In order to understand the preceding, we must bear in mind what moral action, virtue, and wisdom meant for the Stoics. Moral good - for the Stoics, the only kind of good there is — has a cosmic dimension: it is the harmonization of the reason within us with the reason which guides the cosmos, and produces the chain of causes and effect which makes up fate. At each moment, we must harmonize our judgment, action, and desires with universal reason. In particular, we must joyfully accept the conjunction of events which results from the course of nature. At each instant, we must therefore resituate ourselves within the perspective of universal reason, so that, at each instant, our consciousness may become a cosmic consciousness.

Because the sage lives within his consciousness of the world, the world is constantly present to him. In Stoicism, even more than in Epicureanism, the present moment takes on an infinite value: it contains within it the entire cosmos, and all the value and wealth of being.

It is quite remarkable that the two schools of Stoicism and Epicureanism, in other respects so opposed, should both place the concentration of consciousness upon the present moment at the very center of their way of life. The difference between the two attitudes consists only in the fact that the Epicurean enjoys the present moment, whereas the Stoic wills it intensely; for the one, it is a pleasure; for the other, a duty.

One might say that Goethe himself, in his way of living the present moment, was also "half Stoic and half Epicurean." He enjoyed the present moment like an Epicurean, and willed it intensely like a Stoic. In Goethe, we re-encounter most of the themes we have enumerated above; in particular, the delimitation of the present followed by expansion into the totality of the cosmos, which we observed in Epicureanism and in Stoicism.

This is the same secret of happiness which Goethe formulated in the "Rule of Life": Would you model for yourself a pleasant life? Worry not about the past Let not anger get the upper hand Rejoice in the present without ceasing Hate no man. . . . And the future? Abandon it to God.

The "rule of life" - that "high wisdom" - consists in looking neither forward nor behind, but in becoming aware of the uniqueness and incomparable value of the present. In Goethe, then, we find the same exercise of delimitation of the present that we had encountered in ancient philosophy. This exercise is, however, inseparable from another exercise, which consists in becoming aware of the inner richness of the present, and of the totality contained within the instant. By delimiting the present, consciousness, far from shrinking, swells to fill the dimensions of the world; for that vision which "looks the instant in the eye" is the disinterested vision of the artist, the poet, and the sage, which is interested in reality for its own sake.

Enjoying the present, without thinking about the past or the future, does not mean living in total instantaneousness. Thoughts about the past and the future are to be avoided only insofar as rehashing past defeats, and cowering in fear of future difficulties, can cause distractions, worries, hopes, or despair, which turn our attention away from the present, where it ought to be concentrated.

In the last analysis, then, it is eternity - that is, the totality of being - which gives the present moment its value, meaning, and pregnancy. "If the eternal remains present to us at each instant, we do not suffer from the fleetingness of time." The ultimate meaning of Goethe's attitude toward the present is thus, as it was for ancient philosophy, the happiness and the duty of existing in the cosmos. It is a profound feeling of participation in and identification with a reality which transcends the limits of the individual. "Great is the joy of existence, and greater yet the joy we feel in the presence of the world."'

In his work on Winckelmann, Goethe presents this wonderstruck consent to being - to the being of the entire cosmos - as characteristic of the ancient soul. "If man feels at home in the world as within an All, an All which is great, beautiful, noble and precious; if the pleasure of living in harmony with this All gives him a pure, free delight, then the universe - if it could be conscious of itself- would exult with joy; it would have attained its goal, and would be amazed at this summit of its becoming and its being. After all, what good is all this profligate abundance of suns, planets, moons, stars, Milky Ways, comets, nebula, worlds in the process of becoming and which have come to be, if, when all is said and done, one happy man does not rejoice, unconsciously, in his own existence?"

Nietzsche: "Let us assume we say "Yes!" to one single, unique moment: we have thus said yes, not only to ourselves, but to the whole of existence. For nothing is isolated, neither in ourselves nor in things. And if, even once, our soul has vibrated and resounded like a string with happiness, all eternity was necessary to create the conditions for this one event; and all eternity has been approved, redeemed, justified, and affirmed."

The call of Socrates speaks to us more now than ever before: "Take care for yourself." This call is echoed by Nietzsche's remark: "Is it not the case that all human institutions" - to which we might add: "as well as the whole of modern life" - are intended to prevent mankind from feeling their life, by means of the constant dispersion of their thoughts?"