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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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Whole Life Satisfaction Concepts of Happiness

Whole Life Satisfaction Concepts of Happiness

(p.70) CHAPTER 5 Whole Life Satisfaction Concepts of Happiness
What Is This Thing Called Happiness?

Fred Feldman (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The most popular concepts of happiness among psychologists are ones according to which happiness is “satisfaction with life as a whole”. There are hundreds of non‐equivalent forms of Whole Life Satisfactionism. However, every precise conception either requires actual satisfaction with life or requires hypothetical satisfaction with life. Arguments are presented to demonstrate that a person can be “happy” even though he is not actually making any judgment about the extent to which he is satisfied with his life. Other arguments show that a person can be “unhappy” even though it is not correct to say that if he were to think about his life, he would be dissatisfied with it. This shows that happiness cannot be identified with whole life satisfaction. Appendix A contains discussion of problems concerning interactions between temporal considerations and WLS theories of happiness. Appendix B discusses the idea that happiness can be defined as the score that a person achieves on a suitable happiness test.

Keywords:   whole life satisfaction, Bernard van Praag, Wayne Sumner, Wladyslaw Tatarkiewicz, Elizabeth Telfer, lability problem, instability problem, absolutism, hypotheticalism, Timmy, Tammy, Valerie Tiberius

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