Projects per year
The article identifies and discusses two contrasting views of happiness. There has been a strong tendency in philosophy, psychology and the social sciences to think of happiness as the possession of certain goods, be it pleasurable experiences, satisfied desires or personal traits or achievements. I argue that while this way of thinking about happiness is natural and to some extent inescapable, it clashes with the still more intuitive, but theoretically underdeveloped, notion that happiness depends on the way lives as a whole are lived or play out. I try to explicate this more holistic and dynamic notion of happiness and to motivate it by considering cases in which structural or contextual features seem to matter to happiness, while also recognizing the possible limitations of such an approach.