Eudaimonia

Eudaimonia (Greek: εὐδαιμονία [eu̯dai̯moníaː]), sometimes anglicized as eudaemonia or eudemonia /juːdɪˈmoʊniə/, is a Greek word commonly translated as happiness or welfare; however, "human flourishing or prosperity" has been proposed as a more accurate translation.[1] Etymologically, it consists of the words "eu" ("good") and "daimōn" ("spirit"). It is a central concept in Aristotelian ethics and political philosophy, along with the terms "aretē", most often translated as "virtue" or "excellence", and "phronesis", often translated as "practical or ethical wisdom".[2] In Aristotle's works, eudaimonia (based on older Greek tradition) was used as the term for the highest human good, and so it is the aim of practical philosophy, including ethics and political philosophy, to consider (and also experience) what it really is, and how it can be achieved.

Discussion of the links between virtue of character (ēthikē aretē) and happiness (eudaimonia) is one of the central concerns of ancient ethics, and a subject of much disagreement. As a result there are many varieties of eudaimonism. Two of the most influential forms are those of Aristotle[3] and the Stoics. Aristotle takes virtue and its exercise to be the most important constituent in eudaimonia but acknowledges also the importance of external goods such as health, wealth, and beauty. By contrast, the Stoics make virtue necessary and sufficient for eudaimonia and thus deny the necessity of external goods.[4]

Definition

The Definitions, a dictionary of Greek philosophical terms attributed to Plato himself but believed by modern scholars to have been written by his immediate followers in the Academy, provides the following definition of the word eudaimonia: "The good composed of all goods; an ability which suffices for living well; perfection in respect of virtue; resources sufficient for a living creature."

In his Nicomachean Ethics (§21; 1095a15–22), Aristotle says that everyone agrees that eudaimonia is the highest good for human beings, but that there is substantial disagreement on what sort of life counts as doing and living well; i.e. eudaimon:

Verbally there is a very general agreement; for both the general run of men and people of superior refinement say that it is [eudaimonia], and identify living well and faring well with being happy; but with regard to what [eudaimonia] is they differ, and the many do not give the same account as the wise. For the former think it is some plain and obvious thing like pleasure, wealth or honour… [1095a17][5]

So, as Aristotle points out, saying that eudaimon life is a life which is objectively desirable, and means living well, is not saying very much. Everyone wants to be eudaimon; and everyone agrees that being eudaimon is related to faring well and to an individual's well being. The really difficult question is to specify just what sort of activities enable one to live well. Aristotle presents various popular conceptions of the best life for human beings. The candidates that he mentions are a (1) life of pleasure, (2) a life of political activity and (3) a philosophical life.

One important move in Greek philosophy to answer the question of how to achieve eudaimonia is to bring in another important concept in ancient philosophy, "arete" ("virtue"). Aristotle says that the eudaimon life is one of "virtuous activity in accordance with reason" [1097b22–1098a20]. And even Epicurus who argues that the eudaimon life is the life of pleasure maintains that the life of pleasure coincides with the life of virtue. So the ancient ethical theorists tend to agree that virtue is closely bound up with happiness (areté is bound up with eudaimonia). However, they disagree on the way in which this is so. We shall consider the main theories in a moment, but first a warning about the proper translation of areté.

As already noted, the Greek word areté is usually translated into English as "virtue". One problem with this is that we are inclined to understand virtue in a moral sense, which is not always what the ancients had in mind. For a Greek, areté pertains to all sorts of qualities we would not regard as relevant to ethics, for example, physical beauty. So it is important to bear in mind that the sense of ‘virtue' operative in ancient ethics is not exclusively moral and includes more than states such as wisdom, courage and compassion. The sense of virtue which areté connotes would include saying something like "speed is a virtue in a horse", or "height is a virtue in a basketball player". Doing anything well requires virtue, and each characteristic activity (such as carpentry, flute playing, etc.) has its own set of virtues. The alternative translation "excellence" (or "a desirable quality") might be helpful in conveying this general meaning of the term. The moral virtues are simply a subset of the general sense in which a human being is capable of functioning well or excellently.

Positive Psychology defines Eudaimonia as a self-discovery, perceived development of one's best potentials, a sense of purpose and meaning in life, intense involvement in activities, investment of significant effort, and enjoyment of activities as personally expressive, deep relationships.[6]

Etymology and translation

In terms of its etymology, eudaimonia is an abstract noun derived from eu meaning "well" and daimon (daemon), which refers to a minor deity or a guardian spirit.[3]

Eudaimonia implies a positive and divine state of being that humanity is able to strive toward and possibly reach. A literal view of eudaimonia means achieving a state of being similar to benevolent deity, or being protected and looked after by a benevolent deity. As this would be considered the most positive state to be in, the word is often translated as 'happiness' although incorporating the divine nature of the word extends the meaning to also include the concepts of being fortunate, or blessed. Despite this etymology, however, discussions of eudaimonia in ancient Greek ethics are often conducted independently of any super-natural significance.

In his Nicomachean Ethics, (1095a15–22) Aristotle says that eudaimonia means 'doing and living well'. It is significant that synonyms for eudaimonia are living well and doing well. On the standard English translation, this would be to say that ‘happiness is doing well and living well'. The word ‘happiness' does not entirely capture the meaning of the Greek word. One important difference is that happiness often connotes being or tending to be in a certain pleasant state of mind. For example, when we say that someone is "a very happy person", we usually mean that they seem subjectively contented with the way things are going in their life. We mean to imply that they feel good about the way things are going for them. In contrast, eudaimonia is a more encompassing notion than feeling happy since events that do not contribute to one's experience of feeling happy may affect one's eudaimonia.

Eudaimonia depends on all the things that would make us happy if we knew of their existence, but quite independently of whether we do know about them. Ascribing eudaimonia to a person, then, may include ascribing such things as being virtuous, being loved and having good friends. But these are all objective judgments about someone's life: they concern a person's really being virtuous, really being loved, and really having fine friends. This implies that a person who has evil sons and daughters will not be judged to be eudaimonic even if he or she does not know that they are evil and feels pleased and contented with the way they have turned out (happy). Conversely, being loved by your children would not count towards your happiness if you did not know that they loved you (and perhaps thought that they did not), but it would count towards your eudaimonia. So eudaimonia corresponds to the idea of having an objectively good or desirable life, to some extent independently of whether one knows that certain things exist or not. It includes conscious experiences of well being, success, and failure, but also a whole lot more. (See Aristotle's discussion: Nicomachean Ethics, book 1.10–1.11.)

Because of this discrepancy between the meaning of eudaimonia and happiness, some alternative translations have been proposed. W.D. Ross suggests "well-being" and John Cooper proposes "flourishing". These translations may avoid some of the misleading associations carried by "happiness" although each tends to raise some problems of its own. In some modern texts therefore, the other alternative is to leave the term in an English form of the original Greek, as "eudaimonia".

Main views on eudaimonia and its relation to aretē

Socrates

David - The Death of Socrates detail
French painter David portrayed the philosopher in The Death of Socrates (1787).

What we know of Socrates' philosophy is almost entirely derived from Plato's writings. Scholars typically divide Plato's works into three periods: the early, middle, and late periods. They tend to agree also that Plato's earliest works quite faithfully represent the teachings of Socrates and that Plato's own views, which go beyond those of Socrates, appear for the first time in the middle works such as the Phaedo and the Republic. This division will be employed here in dividing up the positions of Socrates and Plato on eudaimonia.

As with all other ancient ethical thinkers, Socrates thought that all human beings wanted eudaimonia more than anything else. (see Plato, Apology 30b, Euthydemus 280d–282d, Meno 87d–89a). However, Socrates adopted a quite radical form of eudaimonism (see above): he seems to have thought that virtue is both necessary and sufficient for eudaimonia. Socrates is convinced that virtues such as self-control, courage, justice, piety, wisdom and related qualities of mind and soul are absolutely crucial if a person is to lead a good and happy (eudaimon) life. Virtues guarantee a happy life eudaimonia. For example, in the Meno, with respect to wisdom, he says: "everything the soul endeavours or endures under the guidance of wisdom ends in happiness" [Meno 88c].

In the Apology, Socrates clearly presents his disagreement with those who think that the eudaimon life is the life of honour or pleasure, when he chastises the Athenians for caring more for riches and honour than the state of their souls.

Good Sir, you are an Athenian, a citizen of the greatest city with the greatest reputation for both wisdom and power; are you not ashamed of your eagerness to possess as much wealth, reputation, and honors as possible, while you do not care for nor give thought to wisdom or truth or the best possible state of your soul [29e].[7]

... it does not seem like human nature for me to have neglected all my own affairs and to have tolerated this neglect for so many years while I was always concerned with you, approaching each one of you like a father or an elder brother to persuade you to care for virtue. [31a–b; italics added]

It emerges a bit further on that this concern for one's soul, that one's soul might be in the best possible state, amounts to acquiring moral virtue. So Socrates' point that the Athenians should care for their souls means that they should care for their virtue, rather than pursuing honour or riches. Virtues are states of the soul. When a soul has been properly cared for and perfected it possesses the virtues. Moreover, according to Socrates, this state of the soul, moral virtue, is the most important good. The health of the soul is incomparably more important for eudaimonia than (e.g.) wealth and political power. Someone with a virtuous soul is better off than someone who is wealthy and honoured but whose soul is corrupted by unjust actions. This view is confirmed in the Crito, where Socrates gets Crito to agree that the perfection of the soul, virtue, is the most important good:

And is life worth living for us with that part of us corrupted that unjust action harms and just action benefits? Or do we think that part of us, whatever it is, that is concerned with justice and injustice, is inferior to the body? Not at all. It is much more valuable…? Much more… (47e–48a)

Here Socrates argues that life is not worth living if the soul is ruined by wrongdoing.[8] In summary, Socrates seems to think that virtue is both necessary and sufficient for eudaimonia. A person who is not virtuous cannot be happy, and a person with virtue cannot fail to be happy. We shall see later on that Stoic ethics takes its cue from this Socratic insight.

Plato

Plato's great work of the middle period, the Republic, is devoted to answering a challenge made by the sophist Thrasymachus, that conventional morality, particularly the 'virtue' of justice, actually prevents the strong man from achieving eudaimonia. Thrasymachus's views are restatements of a position which Plato discusses earlier on in his writings, in the Gorgias, through the mouthpiece of Callicles. The basic argument presented by Thrasymachus and Callicles is that justice (being just) hinders or prevents the achievement of eudaimonia because conventional morality requires that we control ourselves and hence live with un-satiated desires. This idea is vividly illustrated in book 2 of the Republic when Glaucon, taking up Thrasymachus' challenge, recounts a myth of the magical ring of Gyges. According to the myth, Gyges becomes king of Lydia when he stumbles upon a magical ring, which, when he turns it a particular way, makes him invisible, so that he can satisfy any desire he wishes without fear of punishment. When he discovers the power of the ring he kills the king, marries his wife and takes over the throne. The thrust of Glaucon's challenge is that no one would be just if he could escape the retribution he would normally encounter for fulfilling his desires at whim. But if eudaimonia is to be achieved through the satisfaction of desire, whereas being just or acting justly requires suppression of desire, then it is not in the interests of the strong man to act according to the dictates of conventional morality. (This general line of argument reoccurs much later in the philosophy of Nietzsche.) Throughout the rest of the Republic, Plato aims to refute this claim by showing that the virtue of justice is necessary for eudaimonia.

Plato and Aristotle in The School of Athens, by italian Rafael
The School of Athens by Raffaello Sanzio, 1509, showing Plato (left) and Aristotle (right)

The argument of the Republic is lengthy and complex. In brief, Plato argues that virtues are states of the soul, and that the just person is someone whose soul is ordered and harmonious, with all its parts functioning properly to the person's benefit. In contrast, Plato argues that the unjust man's soul, without the virtues, is chaotic and at war with itself, so that even if he were able to satisfy most of his desires, his lack of inner harmony and unity thwart any chance he has of achieving eudaimonia. Plato's ethical theory is eudaimonistic because it maintains that eudaimonia depends on virtue. On Plato's version of the relationship, virtue is depicted as the most crucial and the dominant constituent of eudaimonia.

Aristotle

Aristotle's account is articulated in the Nicomachean Ethics and the Eudemian Ethics. In outline, for Aristotle, eudaimonia involves activity, exhibiting virtue (aretē sometimes translated as excellence) in accordance with reason. This conception of eudaimonia derives from Aristotle's essentialist understanding of human nature, the view that reason (logos sometimes translated as rationality) is unique to human beings and that the ideal function or work (ergon) of a human being is the fullest or most perfect exercise of reason. Basically, well being (eudaimonia) is gained by proper development of one's highest and most human capabilities and human beings are "the rational animal". It follows that eudaimonia for a human being is the attainment of excellence (areté) in reason.

According to Aristotle, eudaimonia actually requires activity, action, so that it is not sufficient for a person to possess a squandered ability or disposition. Eudaimonia requires not only good character but rational activity. Aristotle clearly maintains that to live in accordance with reason means achieving excellence thereby. Moreover, he claims this excellence cannot be isolated and so competencies are also required appropriate to related functions. For example, if being a truly outstanding scientist requires impressive math skills, one might say "doing mathematics well is necessary to be a first rate scientist". From this it follows that eudaimonia, living well, consists in activities exercising the rational part of the psyche in accordance with the virtues or excellency of reason [1097b22–1098a20]. Which is to say, to be fully engaged in the intellectually stimulating and fulfilling work at which one achieves well-earned success. The rest of the Nicomachean Ethics is devoted to filling out the claim that the best life for a human being is the life of excellence in accordance with reason. Since reason for Aristotle is not only theoretical but practical as well, he spends quite a bit of time discussing excellence of character, which enables a person to exercise his practical reason (i.e., reason relating to action) successfully.

Aristotle's ethical theory is eudaimonist because it maintains that eudaimonia depends on virtue. However, it is Aristotle's explicit view that virtue is necessary but not sufficient for eudaimonia. While emphasizing the importance of the rational aspect of the psyche, he does not ignore the importance of other ‘goods' such as friends, wealth, and power in a life that is eudaimonic. He doubts the likelihood of being eudaimonic if one lacks certain external goods such as ‘good birth, good children, and beauty'. So, a person who is hideously ugly or has "lost children or good friends through death" (1099b5–6), or who is isolated, is unlikely to be eudaimon. In this way, "dumb luck" (chance) can preempt one's attainment of eudaimonia.

Epicurus

Epicurus-PergamonMuseum
Epicurus identified eudaimonia with the life of pleasure.

Epicurus' ethical theory is hedonistic. (His view proved very influential on the founders and best proponents of utilitarianism, Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill.) Hedonism is the view that pleasure is the only intrinsic good and that pain is the only intrinsic bad. An object, experience or state of affairs is intrinsically valuable if it is good simply because of what it is. Intrinsic value is to be contrasted with instrumental value. An object, experience or state of affairs is instrumentally valuable if it serves as a means to what is intrinsically valuable. To see this, consider the following example. Suppose a person spends their days and nights in an office, working at not entirely pleasant activities for the purpose of receiving money. Someone asks them "why do you want the money?", and they answer: "So, I can buy an apartment overlooking the ocean, and a red sports car." This answer expresses the point that money is instrumentally valuable because its value lies in what one obtains by means of it – in this case, the money is a means to getting an apartment and a sports car and the value of making this money dependent on the price of these commodities.

Epicurus identifies the good life with the life of pleasure. He understands eudaimonia as a more or less continuous experience of pleasure and, also, freedom from pain and distress. But it is important to notice that Epicurus does not advocate that one pursue any and every pleasure. Rather, he recommends a policy whereby pleasures are maximized "in the long run". In other words, Epicurus claims that some pleasures are not worth having because they lead to greater pains, and some pains are worthwhile when they lead to greater pleasures. The best strategy for attaining a maximal amount of pleasure overall is not to seek instant gratification but to work out a sensible long term policy.

Ancient Greek ethics is eudaimonist because it links virtue and eudaimonia, where eudaimonia refers to an individual's well being. Epicurus' doctrine can be considered eudaimonist since Epicurus argues that a life of pleasure will coincide with a life of virtue. He believes that we do and ought to seek virtue because virtue brings pleasure. Epicurus' basic doctrine is that a life of virtue is the life which generates the most amount of pleasure, and it is for this reason that we ought to be virtuous. This thesis—the eudaimon life is the pleasurable life—is not a tautology as "eudaimonia is the good life" would be: rather, it is the substantive and controversial claim that a life of pleasure and absence of pain is what eudaimonia consists in.

One important difference between Epicurus' eudaimonism and that of Plato and Aristotle is that for the latter virtue is a constituent of eudaimonia, whereas Epicurus makes virtue a means to happiness. To this difference, consider Aristotle's theory. Aristotle maintains that eudaimonia is what everyone wants (and Epicurus would agree). He also thinks that eudaimonia is best achieved by a life of virtuous activity in accordance with reason. The virtuous person takes pleasure in doing the right thing as a result of a proper training of moral and intellectual character (See e.g., Nicomachean Ethics 1099a5). However, Aristotle does not think that virtuous activity is pursued for the sake of pleasure. Pleasure is a byproduct of virtuous action: it does not enter at all into the reasons why virtuous action is virtuous. Aristotle does not think that we literally aim for eudaimonia. Rather, eudaimonia is what we achieve (assuming that we aren't particularly unfortunate in the possession of external goods) when we live according to the requirements of reason. Virtue is the largest constituent in a eudaimon life. By contrast, Epicurus holds that virtue is the means to achieve happiness. His theory is eudaimonist in that he holds that virtue is indispensable to happiness; but virtue is not a constituent of a eudaimon life, and being virtuous is not (external goods aside) identical with being eudaimon. Rather, according to Epicurus, virtue is only instrumentally related to happiness. So whereas Aristotle would not say that one ought to aim for virtue in order to attain pleasure, Epicurus would endorse this claim.

The Stoics

Raffael 070
Zeno thought happiness was a "good flow of life."

Stoic philosophy begins with Zeno of Citium c.300 BC, and was developed by Cleanthes (331–232 BC) and Chrysippus (c.280–c.206 BC) into a formidable systematic unity.[9] Zeno believed happiness was a "good flow of life"; Cleanthes suggested it was "living in agreement with nature", and Chrysippus believed it was "living in accordance with experience of what happens by nature".[9] Stoic ethics is a particularly strong version of eudaimonism. According to the Stoics, virtue is necessary and sufficient for eudaimonia. (This thesis is generally regarded as stemming from the Socrates of Plato's earlier dialogues.) We saw earlier that the conventional Greek concept of arete is not quite the same as that denoted by virtue, which has Christian connotations of charity, patience, and uprightness, since arete includes many non-moral virtues such as physical strength and beauty. However, the Stoic concept of arete is much nearer to the Christian conception of virtue, which refers to the moral virtues. However, unlike Christian understandings of virtue, righteousness or piety, the Stoic conception does not place as great an emphasis on mercy, forgiveness, self-abasement (i.e. the ritual process of declaring complete powerlessness and humility before God), charity and self-sacrificial love, though these behaviors/mentalities are not necessarily spurned by the Stoics (they are spurned by some other philosophers of Antiquity). Rather Stoicism emphasizes states such as justice, honesty, moderation, simplicity, self-discipline, resolve, fortitude, and courage (states which Christianity also encourages).

The Stoics make a radical claim that the eudaimon life is the morally virtuous life. Moral virtue is good, and moral vice is bad, and everything else, such as health, honour and riches, are merely "neutral".[9] The Stoics therefore are committed to saying that external goods such as wealth and physical beauty are not really good at all. Moral virtue is both necessary and sufficient for eudaimonia. In this, they are akin to Cynic philosophers such as Antisthenes and Diogenes in denying the importance to eudaimonia of external goods and circumstances, such as were recognized by Aristotle, who thought that severe misfortune (such as the death of one's family and friends) could rob even the most virtuous person of eudaimonia. This Stoic doctrine re-emerges later in the history of ethical philosophy in the writings of Immanuel Kant, who argues that the possession of a "good will" is the only unconditional good. One difference is that whereas the Stoics regard external goods as neutral, as neither good nor bad, Kant's position seems to be that external goods are good, but only so far as they are a condition to achieving happiness.

"Modern Moral Philosophy"

Interest in the concept of eudaimonia and ancient ethical theory more generally enjoyed a revival in the twentieth century. G. E. M. Anscombe in her article "Modern Moral Philosophy" (1958) argued that duty-based conceptions of morality are conceptually incoherent for they are based on the idea of a "law without a lawgiver".[10] She claims a system of morality conceived along the lines of the Ten Commandments depends on someone having made these rules.[11] Anscombe recommends a return to the eudaimonistic ethical theories of the ancients, particularly Aristotle, which ground morality in the interests and well being of human moral agents, and can do so without appealing to any such lawgiver.

Julia Driver in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy explains:

Anscombe's article Modern Moral Philosophy stimulated the development of virtue ethics as an alternative to Utilitarianism, Kantian Ethics, and Social Contract theories. Her primary charge in the article is that, as secular approaches to moral theory, they are without foundation. They use concepts such as "morally ought", "morally obligated", "morally right", and so forth that are legalistic and require a legislator as the source of moral authority. In the past God occupied that role, but systems that dispense with God as part of the theory are lacking the proper foundation for meaningful employment of those concepts.[12]

Modern psychology

Eudaimonic well-being Joshanloo
Eudaimonic well-being in 166 nations based on Gallup World Poll data

Models of eudaimonia in psychology emerged from early work on self-actualization and the means of its accomplishment by researchers such as Erik Erikson, Gordon Allport, and Abraham Maslow.[13]

Central theories are Diener's tripartite model of subjective well-being, Ryff's Six-factor Model of Psychological Well-being, Keyes work on flourishing, and Seligman's contributions to positive psychology and his theories on authentic happiness and P.E.R.M.A. Related concepts are happiness, flourishing, quality of life, contentment,[14] and meaningful life.

See also

References

  1. ^ Daniel N. Robinson. (1999). Aristotle's Psychology. Published by Daniel N. Robinson. ISBN 0-9672066-0-X ISBN 978-0967206608
  2. ^ Rosalind Hursthouse (July 18, 2007). "Virtue Ethics". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 2010-06-05. But although modern virtue ethics does not have to take the form known as "neo-Aristotelian", almost any modern version still shows that its roots are in ancient Greek philosophy by the employment of three concepts derived from it. These are areté (excellence or virtue) phronesis (practical or moral wisdom) and eudaimonia (usually translated as happiness or flourishing.) As modern virtue ethics has grown and more people have become familiar with its literature, the understanding of these terms has increased, but it is still the case that readers familiar only with modern philosophy tend to misinterpret them.
  3. ^ a b Verena von Pfetten (4 September 2008). "5 Things Happy People Do". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2010-06-05. But researchers now believe that eudaimonic well-being may be more important. Cobbled from the Greek eu ("good") and daimon ("spirit" or "deity"), eudaimonia means striving toward excellence based on one's unique talents and potential—Aristotle considered it to be the noblest goal in life. In his time, the Greeks believed that each child was blessed at birth with a personal daimon embodying the highest possible expression of his or her nature. One way they envisioned the daimon was as a golden figurine that would be revealed by cracking away an outer layer of cheap pottery (the person's baser exterior). The effort to know and realize one's most golden self—"personal growth," in today's vernacular—is now the central concept of eudaimonia, which has also come to include continually taking on new challenges and fulfilling one's sense of purpose in life.
  4. ^ Klein, Jacob (2012). Reason, Religion, and Natural Law: From Plato to Spinoza. OUP USA. pp. 63–64. ISBN 9780199767175. LCCN 2012001316. According to Irwin, the Stoic thesis that loss and tragedy do not affect an agent's welfare does not imply that a rational agent has no reason to regret such a loss, for on Irwin's account of Stoic theory the life of virtue and happiness and the life that accords with nature constitute independently rational aims... A number of considerations tell against this interpretation, however. One such consideration is merely an ex silentio appeal. No Stoic source, to my knowledge, suggests that actions may be justified with respect to anything other than what contributes to the end of happiness, and virtue alone does this in the Stoics view. A few texts, moreover, are explicit on this point. Cicero's summary of Stoics' ethics in De finibus 3 considers and rejects the suggestion that Stoic theory is implicitly committed to two final ends, virtue and a life that accords with nature, where these are conceived as independent objectives at which a rational agent might aim... Independent, that is, in the strong sense according to which one of these rational objectives may be realized while the other is not. See Irwin (2007), p. 316: 'Virtuous action. therefore, is not sufficient for achieving the life according to nature, which includes the natural advantages.' Irwin is certainly correct to point out that virtue is not sufficient for attaining the natural advantages, preferred indifferents such as health and wealth. But it is the Stoics' critics, not the Stoics themselves, who maintain that the actual possession of these items is a necessary condition of the life according to nature.
  5. ^ Aristotle, also David Ross, Lesley Brown (1980). "The Nicomachean Ethics". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2010-06-05. Verbally there is very general agreement, for both the general run of men and people of superior refinement...CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ https://lup.lub.lu.se/search/ws/files/4275774/3168522.pdf
  7. ^ Uncertain (19 September 2008). "How "God" functioned in Socrates' life". DD:Religion. Archived from the original on 26 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-05. Men of Athens, I am grateful and I am your friend, but I will obey the god rather than you, and as long as I draw breath and am able, I shall not cease to practice philosophy, to exhort you and in my usual way to point out to any of you whom I happen to meet: "Good Sir, you are an Athenian, a citizen of the greatest city with the greatest reputation for both wisdom and power; are you not ashamed of your eagerness to possess as much wealth, reputation and honors as possible, while you do not care for nor give thought to wisdom or truth, or the best possible state of your soul?"
  8. ^ Richard Parry (Aug 7, 2009). "Ancient Ethical Theory". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 2010-06-05. Socrates says that a man worth anything at all does not reckon whether his course of action endangers his life or threatens death. He looks only at one thing — whether what he does is just or not, the work of a good or of a bad man (28b–c).
  9. ^ a b c Dirk Baltzly (Feb 7, 2008). "Stoicism". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 2010-06-05. But what is happiness? The Epicureans' answer was deceptively straightforward: the happy life is the one which is most pleasant. (But their account of what the highest pleasure consists in was not at all straightforward.) Zeno's answer was "a good flow of life" (Arius Didymus, 63A) or "living in agreement", and Cleanthes clarified that with the formulation that the end was "living in agreement with nature" (Arius Didymus, 63B). Chrysippus amplified this to (among other formulations) "living in accordance with experience of what happens by nature"; later Stoics inadvisably, in response to Academic attacks, substituted such formulations as "the rational selection of the primary things according to nature". The Stoics' specification of what happiness consists in cannot be adequately understood apart from their views about value and human psychology.
  10. ^ "The ethics of virtue: The Ethics of Virtue and the Ethics of Right Action". wutsamada.com. 2010-06-05. Retrieved 2010-06-05. legalistic ethics rest on the incoherent notion of a "law" without a lawgiver: DCT unacceptable; and the alternative sources of moral "legislation" are inadequate substitutes
  11. ^ G. E. M. Anscombe (January 1958). "Modern Moral Philosophy". Philosophy 33, No. 124. Retrieved 2010-06-05. Originally published in Philosophy 33, No. 124 (January 1958). ... The first is that it is not profitable for us at present to do moral philosophy; that should be laid aside at any rate until we have an adequate philosophy of psychology, in which we are conspicuously lacking. The second is that the concepts of obligation, and duty—moral obligation and moral duty, that is to say—and of what is morally right and wrong, and of the moral sense of "ought", ought to be jettisoned if this is psychologically possible; because they are survivals, or derivatives from survivals, from an earlier conception of ethics which no longer generally survives, and are only harmful without it. My third thesis is that the differences between the well‑known English writers on moral philosophy from Sidgwick to the present day are of little importance.
  12. ^ Julia Driver (Jul 21, 2009). "Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe: 5.1 Virtue Ethics". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 2010-06-05. In the past God occupied that role, but systems that dispense with God as part of the theory are lacking the proper foundation for meaningful employment of those concepts.
  13. ^ Ryff, C. D. (1989). "Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 57 (6): 1069–1081. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.57.6.1069.
  14. ^ Graham, Michael C. (2014). Facts of Life: ten issues of contentment. Outskirts Press. pp. 6–10. ISBN 978-1-4787-2259-5.

Further reading

  • Ackrill, J. L. (1981) Aristotle the Philosopher. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-289118-9
  • Anscombe, G. E. M. (1958) Modern Moral Philosophy. Philosophy 33; repr. in G.E.M. Anscombe (1981), vol. 3, 26–42.
  • Aristotle. The Nichomachean Ethics, translated by Martin Oswald (1962). New York: The Bobs-Merrill Company.
  • Aristotle. The Complete Works of Aristotle, vol. 1 and 2, rev. ed. Jonathan Barnes, ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, [1984]. Bollingen Foundation, 1995. ASIN B000J0HP5E
  • Broadie, Sarah W. (1991) Ethics with Aristotle. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ASIN B000VM6T34
  • Cicero. De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum: "On Ends", H. Rackham, trans. Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1914). Latin text with old-fashioned and not always philosophically precise English translation.
  • Epicurus. "Letter to Menoeceus, Principal Doctrines, and Vatican Sayings," 28–40 in B. Inwood and L. Gerson, Hellenistic Philosophy: Introductory Readings, Second Edition Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 1998. ISBN 0-87220-378-6
  • Irwin, T. H. (1995) Plato's Ethics, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Janello, Martin (2013) Philosophy of Happiness, Palioxis Publishing, 1000 pages, ISBN 978-0-9910649-0-8
  • Long, A. A., and D.N. Sedley, The Hellenistic Philosophers, vol 1 and 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987)
  • Norton, David L. (1976) Personal Destinies, Princeton University Press.
  • Plato. Plato's Complete Works, John M. Cooper, ed. Translated by D. S. Hutchinson. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 1997. ISBN 0-87220-349-2
  • Urmson, J. O. (1988) Aristotle's Ethics. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Vlastos, G. (1991) Socrates: Ironist and Moral Philosopher. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-9787-6
  • McMahon, Darrin M., Happiness: A History, Atlantic Monthly Press, November 28, 2005. ISBN 0-87113-886-7
  • McMahon, Darrin M., The History of Happiness: 400 B.C. – A.D. 1780, Daedalus journal, Spring 2004.

External links

Apatheia

Apatheia (Greek: ἀπάθεια; from a- "without" and pathos "suffering" or "passion"), in Stoicism, refers to a state of mind in which one is not disturbed by the passions. It is best translated by the word equanimity rather than indifference. The meaning of the word apatheia is quite different from that of the modern English apathy, which has a distinctly negative connotation. According to the Stoics, apatheia was the quality that characterized the sage.

Whereas Aristotle had claimed that virtue was to be found in the golden mean between excess and deficiency of emotion (metriopatheia), the Stoics sought freedom from all passions (apatheia). It meant eradicating the tendency to react emotionally or egotistically to external events, the things that cannot be controlled. For Stoics, it was the optimum rational response to the world, for things cannot be controlled if they are caused by the will of others or by Nature; only one's own will can be controlled. That did not mean a loss of feeling, or total disengagement from the world. The Stoic who performs correct (virtuous) judgments and actions as part of the world order experiences contentment (eudaimonia) and good feelings (eupatheia).

Pain is slight if opinion has added nothing to it;... in thinking it slight, you will make it slight. Everything depends on opinion; ambition, luxury, greed, hark back to opinion. It is according to opinion that we suffer.... So let us also win the way to victory in all our struggles, – for the reward is... virtue, steadfastness of soul, and a peace that is won for all time.

Pyrrhonism also seeks the eradication of disturbing feelings that depend on beliefs about nonevident matters and a moderation of feelings based on sensations such as pain. The term was later adopted by Plotinus in his development of Neoplatonism, in which apatheia was the soul's freedom from emotion achieved when it reaches its purified state.

The term passed into early Christian teaching in which apatheia meant freedom from unruly urges or compulsions. It is still used in that sense in Orthodox Christian spirituality, and especially in monastic practice.

Aristotelian ethics

Aristotle first used the term ethics to name a field of study developed by his predecessors Socrates and Plato. Philosophical ethics is the attempt to offer a rational response to the question of how humans should best live. Aristotle regarded ethics and politics as two related but separate fields of study, since ethics examines the good of the individual, while politics examines the good of the city-state.

Aristotle's writings have been read more or less continuously since ancient times, and his ethical treatises in particular continue to influence philosophers working today. Aristotle emphasized the importance of developing excellence (virtue) of character (Greek ēthikē aretē), as the way to achieve what is finally more important, excellent conduct (Greek energeia). As Aristotle argues in Book II of the Nicomachean Ethics, the man who possesses character excellence does the right thing, at the right time, and in the right way. Bravery, and the correct regulation of one's bodily appetites, are examples of character excellence or virtue. So acting bravely and acting temperately are examples of excellent activities. The highest aims are living well and eudaimonia a Greek word often translated as well-being, happiness or "human flourishing". Like many ethicists, Aristotle regards excellent activity as pleasurable for the man of virtue. For example, Aristotle thinks that the man whose appetites are in the correct order actually takes pleasure in acting moderately.

Aristotle emphasized that virtue is practical, and that the purpose of ethics is to become good, not merely to know. Aristotle also claims that the right course of action depends upon the details of a particular situation, rather than being generated merely by applying a law. The type of wisdom which is required for this is called "prudence" or "practical wisdom" (Greek phronesis), as opposed to the wisdom of a theoretical philosopher (Greek sophia). But despite the importance of practical decision making, in the final analysis the original Aristotelian and Socratic answer to the question of how best to live, at least for the best types of human, was to live the life of philosophy.'

Ethical egoism

Ethical egoism is the normative ethical position that moral agents ought to do what is in their own self-interest. It differs from psychological egoism, which claims that people can only act in their self-interest. Ethical egoism also differs from rational egoism, which holds that it is rational to act in one's self-interest.

Ethical egoism holds, therefore, that actions whose consequences will benefit the doer can be considered ethical in this sense.

Ethical egoism contrasts with ethical altruism, which holds that moral agents have an obligation to help others. Egoism and altruism both contrast with ethical utilitarianism, which holds that a moral agent should treat one's self (also known as the subject) with no higher regard than one has for others (as egoism does, by elevating self-interests and "the self" to a status not granted to others). But it also holds that one should not (as altruism does) sacrifice one's own interests to help others' interests, so long as one's own interests (i.e. one's own desires or well-being) are substantially equivalent to the others' interests and well-being. Egoism, utilitarianism, and altruism are all forms of consequentialism, but egoism and altruism contrast with utilitarianism, in that egoism and altruism are both agent-focused forms of consequentialism (i.e. subject-focused or subjective). However, utilitarianism is held to be agent-neutral (i.e. objective and impartial): it does not treat the subject's (i.e. the self's, i.e. the moral "agent's") own interests as being more or less important than the interests, desires, or well-being of others.

Ethical egoism does not, however, require moral agents to harm the interests and well-being of others when making moral deliberation; e.g. what is in an agent's self-interest may be incidentally detrimental, beneficial, or neutral in its effect on others. Individualism allows for others' interest and well-being to be disregarded or not, as long as what is chosen is efficacious in satisfying the self-interest of the agent. Nor does ethical egoism necessarily entail that, in pursuing self-interest, one ought always to do what one wants to do; e.g. in the long term, the fulfillment of short-term desires may prove detrimental to the self. Fleeting pleasure, then, takes a back seat to protracted eudaimonia. In the words of James Rachels, "Ethical egoism ... endorses selfishness, but it doesn't endorse foolishness."Ethical egoism is often used as the philosophical basis for support of right-libertarianism and individualist anarchism. These are political positions based partly on a belief that individuals should not coercively prevent others from exercising freedom of action.

Eudaemon (disambiguation)

Eudaemon was an ancient city in Arabia.

Eudaemon or Eudaimonia may also refer to:

Eudaemon (mythology), a type of daemon in Greek mythology

Eudaimonia, a concept in Aristotelian ethics and political philosophy

Eudaemons, a 1970s group of physicists named after the Aristotelian concept

Eudaemonia (moth), a genus of moths native to sub-Saharan Africa

Excellence

Excellence is a talent or quality which is unusually good and so surpasses ordinary standards. It is also used as a standard of performance as measured e.g. through economic indicators.

In modern public relations and marketing, "excellence" is frequently criticized as a buzzword that tries to convey a good impression often without imparting any concrete information (e.g. "center for excellence in ...", "business excellence", etc.).

Happiness

Happiness is used in the context of mental or emotional states, including positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. It is also used in the context of life satisfaction, subjective well-being, eudaimonia, flourishing and well-being.Since the 1960s, happiness research has been conducted in a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including gerontology, social psychology, clinical and medical research and happiness economics.

Hexis

Hexis (Ancient Greek: ἕξις) is a relatively stable arrangement or disposition, for example a person's health or knowledge or character. It is an Ancient Greek word, important in the philosophy of Aristotle, and because of this it has become a traditional word of philosophy. It stems from a verb related to possession or "having", and Jacob Klein, for example, translates it as "possession". It is more typically translated in modern texts occasionally as "state" (e.g., H. Rackham), but more often as "disposition". Joe Sachs translates it as "active condition", in order to make sure that hexis is not confused with passive conditions of the soul, such as feelings and impulses or mere capacities that belong to us by nature. Sachs points to Aristotle's own distinction, explained for example in Categories 8b, which distinguishes the word diathesis, normally uncontroversially translated as disposition. In this passage, diathesis only applies to passive and shallow dispositions that are easy to remove and change, such as being hot or cold, while hexis is reserved for deeper and more active dispositions, such as properly getting to know something in a way that it will not be easily forgotten. Another common example of a human hexis in Aristotle is health (hugieia, or sometimes eu(h)exia, in Greek) and in cases where hexis is discussed in the context of health, it is sometimes translated as "constitution".

Apart from needing to be relatively stable or permanent, in contexts concerning humans (such as knowledge, health, and good character) hexis is also generally understood to be contrasted from other dispositions, conditions and habits, by being "acquired" by some sort of training or other habituation.According to Plotinus, virtue is a hexis of the soul that is not primarily related to praxis and habituation; hexis is a quality of being in an active state of possession that intellectualizes the soul in permanent contemplation of the intelligible world (Enn. VI.8.5.3–37).Other uses also occur, for example it is sometimes translated as "habit", based upon the classical translation from Greek to Latin "habitus", which also comes from a verb indicating having.

Being in a truly fixed state, as opposed to being stable, is not implied in the original Aristotelian usage of this word. He uses the example of "health" being a hexis.

"Having" (hexis) means (a) In one sense an activity (energeia), as it were, of the haver and the thing had, or as in the case of an action (praxis) or motion; for when one thing makes and another is made, there is between them an act of making. In this way between the man who has a garment and the garment which is had, there is a "having (hexis)." Clearly, then, it is impossible to have a "having" (hexis) in this sense; for there will be an infinite series if we can have the having of what we have. But (b) there is another sense of "having" which means a disposition (diathesis), in virtue of which (kath' ho) the thing which is disposed is disposed well or badly, and either independently or in relation to something else. E.g., health is a state (hexis), since it is a disposition of the kind described. Further, any part of such a disposition is called a state (hexis); and hence the excellence (arete) of the parts is a kind of state (hexis).

So according to Aristotle, a "hexis" is a type of "disposition" (diathesis) which he in turn describes in the same as follows...

"Disposition" means arrangement (taxis) of that which has parts, either in space (topos) or in potentiality (dunamis) or in form (eidos). It must be a kind of position (thesis), as indeed is clear from the word, "disposition" (diathesis).

And specifically it is the type of disposition "in virtue of which (kath' ho) the thing which is disposed is disposed well or badly, and either independently or in relation to something else".

The wording "in virtue of which" was also described in the same passage...

"That in virtue of which" has various meanings. (a) The form or essence of each individual thing; e.g., that in virtue of which a man is good is "goodness itself." (b) The immediate substrate in which a thing is naturally produced; as, e.g., color is produced in the surface of things. Thus "that in virtue of which" in the primary sense is the form , and in the secondary sense, as it were, the matter of each thing, and the immediate substrate. And in general "that in virtue of which" will exist in the same number of senses as "cause." For we say indifferently "in virtue of what has he come?" or "for what reason has he come?" and "in virtue of what has he inferred or inferred falsely?" or "what is the cause of his inference or false inference?" (And further, there is the positional sense of kath' ho, "in which he stands," or "in which he walks"; all these examples denote place or position).

In Aristotle then, a hexis is an arrangement of parts such that the arrangement might have excellence, being well arranged, or in contrast, might be badly arranged. Also see Aristotle's Categories viii where a hexis ("habit" in the translation of Edghill) is contrasted with a disposition (diathesis) in terms of it being more permanent and less easy to change. The example given is "knowledge" (epistemē).

In perhaps the most important case, Aristotle contrasted hexis with energeia (in the sense of activity or operation) at Nicomachean Ethics I.viii.1098b33 and Eudemian Ethics II.i.1218b. The subject here was eudaimonia, the proper aim of human life, often translated as "happiness" and hexis is contrasted with energeia (ἐνέργεια) in order to show the correctness of a proposed definition of eudaimonia - "activity (ἐνέργεια) in conformity with virtue"

Now with those who pronounce happiness to be virtue, or some particular virtue, our definition is in agreement; for ‘activity (ἐνέργεια) in conformity with virtue’ (aretē) involves virtue. But no doubt it makes a great difference whether we conceive the Supreme Good to depend on possessing virtue or on displaying it—on disposition (ἕξις), or on the manifestation of a disposition in action. For a man may possess the disposition without its producing any good result, as for instance when he is asleep, or has ceased to function from some other cause; but virtue in active exercise cannot be inoperative—it will of necessity act (praxis), and act well (eu praxei). And just as at the Olympic games the wreaths of victory are not bestowed upon the handsomest and strongest persons present, but on men who enter for the competitions—since it is among these that the winners are found,—so it is those who act rightly who carry off the prizes and good things of life.

Happiness then, is an energeia, but virtue of character (often translated as "moral virtue") is made up of hexeis. Happiness is said to deserve honoring like the divine if it actually achieved, while virtue of character, being only a potential achievement, deserves praise but is lower.

History of ethics

Ethics is the branch of philosophy that examines right and wrong moral behavior, moral concepts (such as justice, virtue, duty) and moral language. Various ethical theories pose various answers to the question "What is the greatest good?" and elaborate a complete set of proper behaviors for individuals and groups. Ethical theories are closely related to forms of life in various social orders.

James Otteson

James R. Otteson (; born June 19, 1968) is an American philosopher and political economist. He is the Thomas W. Smith Presidential Chair in Business Ethics, Professor of Economics, and executive director of the Eudaimonia Institute at Wake Forest University. He is also a Senior Scholar at The Fund for American Studies in Washington, D.C., a Research Professor in the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom and in the Philosophy Department at the University of Arizona, a Visitor of Ralston College, a Research Fellow for the Independent Institute in California, a director of Ethics and Economics Education of New England, and a Senior Scholar at the Fraser Institute. He has taught previously at Yeshiva University, New York University, Georgetown University, and the University of Alabama.

Kasia Wilk

Katarzyna Wilk (born 3 January 1982 in Lubin, Poland) is a Polish contemporary rhythm and blues singer, more commonly known as Kasia Wilk.

In 2008, she began her solo career with the hit single "Pierwszy raz" which reached position 51 on the Polish National Top 50 music chart. Previously she was a vocalist for KTO TO, Dreamland, and Groovestreet. She has also collaborated with Mezo. In 2004, she received an award at the Polish National Song Festival in memory of Anna Jantar.

Philosophy of happiness

The philosophy of happiness is the philosophical concern with the existence, nature, and attainment of happiness. Philosophers believe, happiness can be understood as the moral goal of life or as an aspect of chance; indeed, in most European languages the term happiness is synonymous with luck. Thus, philosophers usually explicate on happiness as either a state of mind, or a life that goes well for the person leading it.

Positive psychology

Positive psychology is "the scientific study of what makes life most worth living", or "the scientific study of positive human functioning and flourishing on multiple levels that include the biological, personal, relational, institutional, cultural, and global dimensions of life". Positive psychology is concerned with eudaimonia, "the good life", reflection about what holds the greatest value in life – the factors that contribute the most to a well-lived and fulfilling life.

Positive psychology began as a new domain of psychology in 1998 when Martin Seligman chose it as the theme for his term as president of the American Psychological Association. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Christopher Peterson and Barbara Fredrickson are regarded as co-initiators of this development. It is a reaction against psycho-analysis and behaviorism, which have focused on "mental illness", meanwhile emphasising maladaptive behavior and negative thinking. It builds further on the humanistic movement, which encouraged an emphasis on happiness, well-being, and positivity, thus creating the foundation for what is now known as positive psychology.Positive psychologists have suggested a number of ways in which individual happiness may be fostered. Social ties with a spouse, family, friends and wider networks through work, clubs or social organisations are of particular importance, while physical exercise and the practice of meditation may also contribute to happiness. Happiness may rise with increasing financial income, though it may plateau or even fall when no further gains are made.

Pyrrhonism

Pyrrhonism was a school of skepticism founded by Pyrrho in the fourth century BC. It is best known through the surviving works of Sextus Empiricus, writing in the late second century or early third century AD.

Self-acceptance

Self-acceptance is acceptance of self.

Subjective vitality

Subjective vitality refers to a positive feeling of aliveness and energy. It is often used instead of measures of subjective well-being in studies of eudaimonia and psychological well-being. It is also a better predictor of physical health when assessed by a doctor than subjective well-being.

The Coronation Triumph

The Coronation Triumph is a Jacobean era literary work, usually classed as an "entertainment," written by Ben Jonson for the coronation of King James I and performed on 15 March 1604. Jonson's work was half of a total performance, the other half written by Thomas Dekker. The work was especially significant in the developing literary career of Jonson, in that it marked the commencement of his role as a writer of masques and entertainments for the Stuart Court, a role he would fill for the next three decades.

The entertainment "confusingly goes by several names" – including The King's Entertainment, and Part of the King's Entertainment in Passing to His Coronation. Under the latter title, Jonson's work was entered into the Stationers' Register on 19 March 1604 and published later that year along with another of his Stuart entertainments, The Entertainment at Althorp, in a quarto printed by Valentine Simmes for the bookseller Edward Blount. The work was reprinted in the first folio collection of Jonson's works in 1616, and was included in the collected works thereafter. (Dekker's portion, which included contributions from Thomas Middleton, John Webster, and Stephen Harrison, was published separately in the same year, as The Magnificent Entertainment Given to King James.)

Jonson's text is dominated by a range of mythological figures (Euphrosyne; Plutus; others) and personifications (Agape; Eudaimonia; Eleutheria; Theosophia; Tamesis, for the River Thames; others) reciting the praises of the new monarch. It was performed while James's coronation procession passed through a series of triumphal arches.Jonson's first attempt to win royal patronage had not been a success: his play Cynthia's Revels was a failure when acted at Court in 1601, and led to no preferment from Queen Elizabeth. His luck with the new dynasty was much better: Jonson composed several more entertainments in the early Jacobean era, and in 1605 his first masque, The Masque of Blackness, was presented at Whitehall Palace. From that time down to Chloridia in 1631, Jonson was the primary author of masques for the Stuart Court.

The Good Life

The Good Life or Good Life may refer to:

Eudaimonia, a philosophical term for the life that one would like to live, originally associated with Aristotle.

Virtue ethics

Virtue ethics (or aretaic ethics , from Greek ἀρετή (arete)) are normative ethical theories which emphasize virtues of mind and character. Virtue ethicists discuss the nature and definition of virtues and other related problems. These include how virtues are acquired, how they are applied in various real life contexts, and whether they are rooted in a universal human nature or in a plurality of cultures.

Well-being

Well-being, wellbeing, or wellness is the condition of an individual or group. A high level of well-being means that in some sense the individual's or group's condition is positive.

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