What Is This Thing Called Happiness?

Paperback | March 22, 2012

byFred Feldman

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According to an ancient and still popular view - sometimes known as 'eudaimonism' - a person's well-being, or quality of life, is ultimately determined by his or her level of happiness. According to this view, the happier a person is, the better off he is. The doctrine is controversial in partbecause the nature of happiness is controversial. In What Is This Thing Called Happiness? Fred Feldman presents a study of the nature and value of happiness. Part One contains critical discussions of the main philosophical and psychological theories of happiness. Feldman presents arguments designedto show that each of these theories is problematic. Part Two contains his presentation and defense of his own theory of happiness, which is a form of attitudinal hedonism. On this view, a person's level of happiness may be identified with the extent to which he or she takes pleasure in things. Feldman shows that if we understand happiness as heproposes, it becomes reasonable to suppose that a person's well-being is determined by his or her level of happiness. This view has important implications not only for moral philosophy, but also for the emerging field of hedonic psychology. Part Three contains discussions of some interactionsbetween the proposed theory of happiness and empirical research into happiness.

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According to an ancient and still popular view - sometimes known as 'eudaimonism' - a person's well-being, or quality of life, is ultimately determined by his or her level of happiness. According to this view, the happier a person is, the better off he is. The doctrine is controversial in partbecause the nature of happiness is controve...

Fred Feldman has been a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst since 1969.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:March 22, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199645930

ISBN - 13:9780199645930

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Table of Contents

1. Some Puzzles about HappinessPart One - Some Things that Happiness Isn't2. Sensory Hedonism about Happiness3. Kahneman's "Objective Happiness"4. Subjective Local Preferentism about Happiness5. Whole Life Satisfaction Concepts of HappinessAppendix A. Happiness and Time: More Nails in the Coffin of WLSAppendix B. Happiness =df. Whatever the Happiness Test MeasuresPart Two - What Happiness Is6. What is This Thing Called Happiness?Appendix C. The Meaning(s) of 'Happy'7. Attitudinal Hedonism about Happiness8. EudaimonismAppendix D - Five Grades of Demonic Possession9. The Problem of Inauthentic Happiness10. Disgusting Happiness11. Our Authority Over Our Own HappinessPart Three - Implications for the Empirical Study of Happiness12. Measuring Happiness13. Empirical Research; Philosophical Conclusions14. The Central Points of the Project as a Whole

Editorial Reviews

"a terrific piece of work, a real tour de force. The writing is exceptionally clear, the discussion exceptionally straightforward and sensible, the criticism of other philosophers' accounts of the nature and value of happiness exceptionally careful and insightful, and the presentation ofFeldman's own account exceptionally interesting ... of interest to philosophers at all levels of sophistication" --Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews