Happiness – Philosophical Definition

happiness philosophy

How to define happiness ? How to achieve it ? The heart of Ancient Philosophy

In ancient philosophy, the purpose of human life is happiness, and perfect ending Supreme Good. Modernity (Schopenhauer, Camus, Sartre, Kant) is much more pessimistic about its possibility. Between the two, the Christian moral tried to replace happiness with virtue as the goal of life.

Happiness does not consist in pleasure, as if pleasure can be achieved, satisfied, happiness never surrenders it is a project: “Our happiness will never be a full enjoyment, where there would be nothing to desire anymore, but in a perpetual progress to new pleasures and new perfections “(Leibniz)

General Definitions:

State of complete satisfaction, characterized by its fullness and stability. Distinct pleasure, very ephemeral, and joy, more dynamic than happiness.

Specific definitions of philosophers:

Aristotle: “If it is true that happiness is the activity according to virtue, it is obvious that this is one that conforms to the most perfect virtue, that is to say that the part of man’s highest. The activity of this part of ourselves, an activity consistent with its own virtue which is perfect happiness “(Nicomachean Ethics)

Leibniz: “Our happiness does not consist in a full enjoyment, where there would be nothing to be desired, but in a perpetual progress to new pleasures and new perfections” (From Monadology)

Kant: “Happiness is the satisfaction of all our inclinations” (Critique of Practical Reason)

Kant: “The power, wealth, consideration, even health and the wellbeing and contentment of his condition, is what we call happiness” (Metaphysics of Morals)

Hegel: “Happiness is not a singular pleasure, but a sustainable state, on the one hand an emotional pleasure, on the other hand also the circumstances and means by which, at will, cause of pleasure” (Phenomenology of mind)

Schopenhauer: “The positive and perfect happiness is impossible, you just have to expect a comparatively less painful condition” (The World as Will and as Representation)

Nietzsche: “What is happiness?” The feeling that power increases, that resistance is being overcome “(The Antichrist)


Cite this article as: Tim, "Happiness – Philosophical Definition, May 9, 2012, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, May 9, 2012, https://www.the-philosophy.com/happiness-philosophical-definition.

Leave a Reply