Why Happiness, Why Now?
happIness Is ConsIstently desCRIbed as the object of
as being what we aim for, as being what gives purpose, meanin
human life. As Bruno S. Frey and Alois Stutzer argue, “Everybo
happy. There is probably no other goal in life that commands s
gree of consensus” (2002: vii).1 What they are describing is per
sus that happiness is the consensus. Do we consent to happiness
we consenting to, if or when we consent to happiness?
Even a philosopher such as Immanuel Kant, who places the in
happiness outside the domain of ethics, argues that “to be happ
the wish of every finite rational being, and this, therefore, is ine
mining principle of its faculty of desire” ([1788] 2004: 24). And
self suggests rather mournfully that “unfortunately, the notion
so indeterminate that although every human being wishes to a
can never say definitely and consistently what it is that he rea
wills” ([1785] 2005: 78). If happiness is what we wish for, it doe
know what we wish for in wishing for happiness. Happiness m
jure its own wish. Or happiness might keep its place as a wish
be given.
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