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date: 22 May 2017

Abstract and Keywords

For at least 2500 years, philosophers in the East and West have debated the nature and cultivation of happiness, generating a rich historical collection of theories, definitions, and insights. Philosophers have also developed valuable methods that can be used effectively in the study of happiness. The chapters in this section explore some of the central ideas about happiness from the history of philosophy, as well as some of the key methodological contributions of philosophy to current debates about happiness. The historical chapters show that there has been widespread disagreement about happiness, point out the importance of avoiding presentism in its study, and raise questions regarding the ethical application of knowledge about happiness. The analytical chapters show how philosophy can help in the normative quest for more satisfactory theories of happiness and point to the importance of collaborating with empirical psychology and other disciplines in the study of happiness.

Keywords: happiness, philosophy, presentism, suffering, worthwhile happiness, values, virtues, meaning, normative, philosophical method, reflective equilibrium, unhappiness

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