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Classic and Contemporary Readings in Philosophy

Edited by Steven M. Cahn and Christine Vitrano

Publication Date - 16 March 2007

ISBN: 9780195321401

289 pages
6-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock


Happiness has long been a focus of attention for philosophers as well as psychologists. This volume, the only collection devoted to the subject from the standpoint of philosophy, offers twenty-seven classic and contemporary readings exploring the nature of happiness. Part I, a survey of the ways happiness has been treated throughout the history of ethics, includes writings by Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Seneca, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Hobbes, Joseph Butler, David Hume, Jeremy Bentham, Immanuel Kant, Arthur Schopenhauer, John Stuart Mill, Henry Sidgwick, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Jean-Paul Sartre. Part II explores the work of contemporary ethical theorists, including Julia Annas, John Kekes, Richard Kraut, Robert Nozick, and Richard Taylor. The book also includes an introduction by psychologist Daniel Nettle, headnotes for each selection, and essays by the editors. Ideal for ethics courses, Happiness: Classic and Contemporary Readings can also be used in courses in introductory philosophy and positive psychology.


"This is an excellent and comprehensive collection of classic and contemporary sources on happiness. It covers a number of central questions: How should we define happiness? How can we attain happiness? What role does it play in human existence? and What is the relation between happiness and morality? The collection would work well in a wide range of undergraduate philosophy courses."--Jeffrey Flynn, Middlebury College

"A strength of the volume is the fantastic historical selections the coeditors have chosen. In terms of the history of philosophical and theological thinking about happiness in the West, the editors have picked excellent, provocative, and thoughtful selections."--Sandra L. Shapshay, Indiana University, Bloomington

"A very timely and important contribution for college and university philosophy instructors."--David Elliott, University of Regina

Table of Contents

    Introduction, Daniel Nettle
    Plato, The Republic (selections)
    Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics (selections)
    Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus; Leading Doctrines
    Seneca, On the Happy Life (selections)
    Augustine, The Happy Life (selections)
    Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles (selections)
    Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (selections)
    Joseph Butler, Upon the Love of Our Neighbor
    David Hume, The Sceptic
    Jeremy Bentham, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (selections)
    Immanuel Kant, Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals (selections); Critique of Pure Reason (selections)
    Arthur Schopenhauer, On the Variety and Suffering of Life (selections)
    John Stuart
    Mill, Utilitarianism (selections)
    Henry Sidgwick, Happiness and Duty
    Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life (selections)
    Jean-Paul Sartre, Forlornness
    A. Happiness as Pleasure
    Wayne Davis, Pleasure and Happiness
    Daniel Haybron, Why Hedonism Is False
    B. Happiness as Satisfaction
    John Kekes, Attitudinal and Episodic Happiness
    Wladyslaw Tatarkiewicz, Happiness and Time
    C. Happiness as More Than Satisfaction
    Richard Kraut, Two Conceptions of Happiness
    Richard Taylor, Virtue Ethics
    Robert Nozick, The Experience Machine
    Julia Annas, Happiness as Achievement
    D. Happiness and Virtue
    Julia Annas, Virtue and Eudaimonism
    Steven M. Cahn and
    Jeffrie G. Murphy, Happiness and Immorality
    Christine Vitrano, Happiness and Morality