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What Is This Thing Called Happiness?$
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Fred Feldman

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199571178

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199571178.001.0001

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Subjective Local Preferentism about Happiness

Subjective Local Preferentism about Happiness

(p.53) CHAPTER 4 Subjective Local Preferentism about Happiness
What Is This Thing Called Happiness?

Fred Feldman (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Preferentism is the view that the concept of happiness can be explicated by appeal to the concepts of desire and satisfaction. There are subjective as well as objective forms. According to a typical objective form of preferentism, a person's level of happiness is equal to the extent to which his desires are satisfied. In this chapter a form of subjective preferentism due to Wayne Davis is explained. Arguments are presented to show that this form of preferentism goes wrong in certain types of case. Happiness involves more than just the belief that things are going as you want them to be going. Preferentism confronts a near‐paradox. This involves a person who has one desire: the desire to be unhappy. Davis's theory seems to imply (given certain natural assumptions) that this person believes he is happy if and only if he believes he is unhappy.

Keywords:   preferentism, desire, satisfaction, Wayne Davis, Lois and the dinosaurs, paradox for preferentism

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